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Full text of "The Tyne and its tributaries"

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THE TYNE AND ITS TKIBUTAEIES. 



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A TBIBT7TABY WATEBPALL. 



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THE TYNE 



AND ITS TRIBUTARIES. 



DESCRIBED AND ILLUSTRATED 



BY 



W. J. PALMER. 



S'^:^ 




\ ( N r / / ,:^ V 



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. FLB 'K 



'•^^UiAV^l^-'^ 



LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS, 

YOEK STREET, OOVBNT GARDEN, 
1882. 



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CHISWICK PRE.SS : — C. WHITTINGHAM AND CO. TOOKS COURT, 
CHANCERY LANE. 



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INTRODUCTORY. 

THE basin of a noble river as seen from some elevated point would 
be a grand spectacle^ especially were it possible to take in at a 
glance the fountain-head^ the intricate ramification of tributaries, the 
broad main-stream, and final absorption by the ocean. In such a view 
the tree-like character of the river would be conspicuous. But in 
the nomenclature of a river and its tributaries the unity of this figure is 
necessarily broken. 

" The Ttnb '^ stands only for the trunk of the river tree, the two main 
streams which unite to form it, and all the other branches have their own 
names; and thus nominally the water of Tyne is divided into many 
waters, — the rivers North and South Tyne, the Allen, Reed, Nent, Der- 
went, and Team, besides lesser streams, bums, and sykes, whose name 
is legion, though bnt parts of an indivisible whole. Its bubbling spring 
is as truly Tyne as its broadest reaches below bridge. " The child is 
father of the man.*' 

Instead of regarding it as formed by the junction of the Rivers North 
and South Tyne, Thk Ttn£ might be described as rising near Cross-fell 
in Cumberland, and receiving the North Tyne as an affluent. 

In Cross- fell the great Penine range culminates ; the high lands from 
which it rises on the east side boast in Alston the highest market-town, 
in Coalcleugh the highest village, and in Ashgillside the highest inhabited 
house in England. 

It is in this elevated district that we find near each other the aoarces 
of the three great industrial rivers of the North — the Tees, the Wear, 
and the Tyne. The Tyne flows northwards as far as Lambley, where it 



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• •• 



VUl INTRODUCTORY. 

takes to the depression caused by the groat fault in the coal-field known 
as the Ninety- fathom Dyke ; after which it flows in an easterly direction, 
until it reaches the sea ; it serves with its tributary the Derwent, as the 
boundary between Northumberland and Durham. The Tees divides 
Durham and Yorkshire, whilst the Wear takes a middle course through the 
county of Durham . The three neighbouring rivers have much in common 
— Hie same industries thrive on their banks; if one of them is flooded, with 
something resembling human sympathy the others are flooded also ; and 
from the same birthplace they flow all to the eastern sea. 

Our smaller map shows by a dotted line the water parting of the 
north of England, where the rivers and burns divide as they flow to 
the eastern or western seas; the dividing line is perhaps narrowest 
where the Tipalt a tributary of the Tyne, and the Irthing a tributary of 
the Eden, approach each other ; but, doubtless, in this land of " many 
waters,^' the smaller streams, in the accident of flood, get mixed in 
playing round the base of the hills, and change their direction for a time 
towards the sea opposite to that which usually receives them. 

We know how great riveris alter their course, and wo may cite here an 
interesting instance in connection with the past history of the Tyne. 
Mr. David Bum, of the Geological Survey, has discovered that the 
Irthing, though first of all flowing westward as it does now, must during 
a long intervening period have flowed eastward and joined the Tyne at 
Haltwhistle, and so made for the sea at Tynemouth, instead of mixing its 
waters with the Eden, and flowing past " merrie Carlisle '' to the Solway 
Firth. 

The water parting in the north has frequently formed the boundary 
between estates, and is then known as the Heaven- water boundary. Dandy 
Dinmont claimed such a boundary for his farm in Liddesdale, not far from 
the source of North Tyne, which he describes in his own way when 
laying his case before Mr. Pleydell the lawyer : — '^ Now I say the march 
rins at the tap o' the hill where the wind and water shears.^^ 

" The Tyne waters two dales, both having their hills so boggy with 
standing water on the top that no horsemen are able to ride over them/' 
So runs an account of the upper Tyne districts given in the early part 
of the seventeenth century. Side by side with the above statement may 



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INTRODUCTORY. ix 

be placed the modem report of no less an authority than John Grey of 
Dilston: — " The valleys of North and South. Tyne, with others branching 
from thero^ contain land of excellent quality^ and a£fbrd many specimens 
of superior husbandry/' Cultivation advances surely if slowly, making 
its way generation after generation upwards towards the fell-tops ; the 
farmers now point to higher *' bits of splendid land which must pre- 
sently come under the plough, though not perhaps in their time/' 

Nevertheless the country through which this part of the Tyne flows, and 
through which it is proposed to take the reader, has still primitive features 
which have an interest for the stranger, — ^it is yet a land of natural wood 
and ancient mosses. 

The district has geological and archaeological features of unusual 
interest — ^relics of earlier inhabitants, British camps, barrows, and tumuli. 
Roman remains abound, many of which, hidden for centuries under the soil, 
have been brought to light again in our time by the enthusiastic enterprise 
of such men as Dr. Bruce and Mr. John Clayton; the latter has acquired 
the proprietorship and directed the excavation of no less than four com- 
plete Roman stations in the district, whilst Dr. Bruce is well known as 
the accomplished author of '' The Roman Wall.'' 

Traces, too, there are of other invaders who successively visited Britain; 
traces of the Danes and of our Saxon fore-elders, in place-names and local 
phrases; memorials also of the early introduction of Christianity into 
Northumberland ; and finally, of the long period of Border warfare : the 
remains of the latter are such as best illustrate the character of the times, 
being those of great strongholds with immensely thick walls and strong 
positions which* enabled them to outlast the stormy times in which they 
were reared. Specimens abound of fortified buildings, military, ecclesi- 
astical, and domestic, in castles, peels, and fortified farm-houses. 

Of ordinary dwellings, remains are not plentiful in the district, and 
what has been said of Elsdon parish applies to many parts Ijring near the 
Border : — '' In Elsdon parish, which extends twenty miles, and contains 
74,935 acres, there is not a single house 100 years old, except a peel."' 
The same writer says ; — " There are in this county of Northumberland 

* See Tumor's «* Domestic Architecture." 
b 



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X . INTRODUCTORY. 

few if any houses^ aa distinguished from places of defence, earlier than 
James I/' 

Thus imcient castles, keeps, and a few church towers make up almost 
all that is left to bridge over the gap made by the devastating fire and 
sword during the centuries which followed the departure of the Romans ; 
there are remains of British camps and of Roman stations, but scarcely 
anything to illustrate the mode of living — apart from fighting — of the 
Borderers until after the Union. 

The muse of History must have found the times too hot, and handed 
over the subject to Caliope, who, in inspiring ihe minstrels, has given for 
history — ballads j and if concerning many a frowning fortress washed by 
the Tyne we can find no word of history, we must rest content with such 
shadowy glimpses of the men and the times as the ballads and legendary 
lore of the country afford. 

The preceding remarks more directly apply to the two vales of the two 
great branches of the river ; the interest changes after the confluence is 
passed, but does not abate ; ancient keeps and churches still beautify the 
banks of Tyne, though after passing the " Metropolis of the North '^ the 
river assumes for the remainder of its course an entirely industrial 
aspect, amid all the smoke of which there is nevertheless a weird 
picturesqueness ; and in the absence of castles and ancient buildings 
fancy sees looming through the mist ^' towers and battlements,'^ though 
they be only chimneys of chemical works, which, in the style and 
character of their structure, have indeed a considerable resemblance to 
castles when seen thus. Night, too, has its lurid shows of blast furnaces 
and coke-ovens, and past all these the river flows to the sea, interesting 
to the last. 

The three divisions of the river are about equal in length — from the 
sea to the confluence thirty-two miles, from the latter to the source of 
the North Tyne thirty-four miles, and to that of the South Tyne thirty- 
five miles. 

This makes the town of Hexham very central. 

The railway keeps company with the river throughout; the North 
Eastern line from the sea to Haltwhistle, from whence a branch follows 
the South Tyne to Alston; while the North British accompanies the 
North Tyne, and passes its source. 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

DRAWN AND ENGRAVED BY W. J. PALMER. 

PAOB 

A TRIBUTARY WATERFALL Frontispiece 

Supposed Roman Sculpture op Rivee God of North Tyke ... 2 

North Tyke Head 6 

Kielder Castle . . .12 

Driving Sheep into a Stell — Snowstorm 16 

Water-ouzel 17 

Junction of Lewis-burn and North Tyne 19 

Lewis-burn 22 

Falstone 23 

Whickhope-burn 26 

Stannersburn 31 

The Smuggler's Leap 32 

Bellingham from the Bridge 40 

Harbshaw Lynn 41 

Bellingham Church 43 

Bellingham Church, Interior of 43 

Salmon Speering prom Trows 45 

Heslbysidb 46 

Otterburn Cross 47 

On the Reed . .53 

Rob op Risingham 56 

Porch op Chipchase Castle 57 

Chipchasb Castle 59 

A Pbep from Chipchasb Park 62 

Haughton Castle 63 

Haughton Castle 65 

CocKLAW Tower as it is Q^ 

♦CocKLAW Tower as it was 67 

Teckitt Lynn 68 

Remains op Roman Buildings 69 

Forum at Cilurnum 71 

Chollbrford Weir. North Tyne in Flood 77 

Roman Bridge, Eastbrn abutments 80 

c 



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Xll LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 

Hkad op South Tynb 82 

LoNNTNG Head 83 

q-arragill 86 

First Bridge on South Tyne 86 

LoNNiNG Head. Fortified Farmhouse 89 

Cross Fell 90 

Clargill Force 9i 

Clargill Force 92 

AsHGiLL Force 93 

Nbnt Force 96 

Old Mine Pump .97 

Alston 99 

Market Place, Alston 107 

KiRKHAUGH Church 108 

Randalholmb 109 

Slaggypord . Ill 

Williamston 114 

Lamblbt Viaduct 116 

Knaresdalb Church 118 

Unthank Hall 119 

Featherstonb Castle 121 

Ruins op Bellister Castle 124 

Blenkinsop Castle 126 

Blbnkinsop Hall 126 

Thirlwall Castle 128 

Haltwhistle Castle 131 

WiLLIMONTSWTKE 133 

Bbltingham Church 136 

Langlby Castlb 136 

Langley Castle 137 

Haydon Church Tower 139 

Chbstbrholm Bridge 140 

Crag Lough 141 

Haltwhistlb-burn 148 

Ruins op Staward Peel 149 

Staward Peel (distant view) . .150 

On thb Allen 162 

On the Allen 163 

Whitfield Church 164 

A Keel op the old type 156 

Warden Rocks 167 

The Meeting op the Waters 169 

Warden Mill-dam 162 



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• •• 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. XIU 

PAOK 

Staircase to Moot Hall, Hexham 163 

Porch of Duke*s House 164 

Hexham 165 

St. John Lee 168 

Arcade op Cloister, Hexham Abbey 170 

The Abbey Church, Hexham 1 71 

The Abbey Gate, Hexham 1 73 

Interior op Hexham Abbey Church 175 

Frithstol 177 

Stone Staircase in Hexham Abbey Church 179 

Queen's Cave 180 

DiLSTON Tower 181 

Dilston Castle 183 

Earl's Apple Tree, Dilston 185 

swallowship 186 

• Bkaufront Castle 187 

Countess' Camp 190 

CoRBRiDGE Peel 191 

Aydon Castle 193 

CORBRIDGB MaRKET-PlACE 195 

The Bridge, Corbridge 196 

External Staircase, Aydon Castle ^ 198 

Bywbll Cross 199 

Bywbll Castle 200 

Bywell Churches 205 

Minster Acres 207 

Oriel Window, Prudhoe 208 

Pbudhoe Castle 209 

Chbrryburn 214 

ovingham 215 

Bewick's Grave 219 

Ryton Cross 220 

Road to Ryton 221 

Newburn 224 

George Stephenson's Birthplace 228 

Fountain at Benwell 229 

Denton Hall 230 

Dr. Johnson's Walk, Denton 232 

Ebchester Church 233 

Mill-dam at Swalwell 234 

The Sneep 241 

ScoTswooD Suspension-Bridge 246 

Pink Tower, Newcastle 248 



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XIV LIST OP ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAOB 

The Keep, Newcastle 261 

St. Nicholas* Tower 253 

• Newcastle from the River 253 

High Level Bridge 257 

Old Houses near Newcastle 259 

Keel 260 

* Ford Pottery 263 

The old Wallsend Colliery 264 

Coal Staith 265 

•Ship- Yard .•...-. 266 

* Blast Furnaces at Night 268 

Ballast-Hill 269 

• PwEvinAT. WfiRirs . . . . ^ _ . 270 



Tug with Ballast- Hopper going out to Sea 304 

Acknowledgments are due to the following gentlemen for sketches used in the 
illustration of the book, as follows : — 

To Mr. J. P. Gibson for sketch of Craghough. 
„ „ C. J. Durham „ „ „ Cilurnum. 
„ „ J. Jackson „ „ „ Old Wallsend Pit. 

„ „ Mason Jackson „ „ „ Grave op Bewick. 
„ „ W. H. Overend „ drawing subjects marked on the 

above list with am asterisk. 



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ERRATA. 

Page xi. " liflt of lUnstratioiis," line nineteen, far Spbibiko read Sfiabino. 
Pagexiy. Line aix from below, /or CRiQHonaHrdad Criq Louqh. 
Passim^ for Lynn read Linn. 

„ ,, Swallwell read Swalwell. 



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RIYER GOD OF NORTH TYNB. 

" Here 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ thou mayst perceive 

The local deity with oozy liair 

And miaeral crown beside his jagged urn 

Recumbent. Him thou mayst behold, who hides 

His lineaments by day, yet there presides, 

Teaching the docile waters how to turn ; 

Or, if need be, impediment to spurn, 

And force their passage to the salt sea tides." 

Wordsworth. 



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CHAPTER I. 



NORTH TYNE HEAD. 




' IR T. DICK LAUDER'S '' Rivers of Scot- 
land/' which contains a chapter on *'The 
Tyne/' was, by a well-meaning friend, sug- 
gested to the writer when he began to ar- 
range notes to accompany his sketches. 
Lauder's Tyne, however, is that which enters 
the sea near Tantallan Castle, on the coast 
of Haddingtonshire. The misleading refe- 
rence raises a smile when we imagine the 
resentment of an old-fashioned English Bor- 
derer on hearing "Canny Tyne" classed 
amongst Scotch rivers. Nevertheless, our 
English Tyne has, so to speak, Scotch water in its veins, as its most 
northerly springs are in Roxburghshire, over the Border. Over the 
Border! there is still an exhilarating ring in the words. The last 
remains of the last of the castles and forts which marked the boundary 
line are crumbling away, and nearly three centuries of Union have 
elapsed, yet our interest in the Northern Marches remains unabated. 

Before starting in quest of the source of North Tyne, one glance 
at the map will suffice to show the Tweed, the Cheviots, and the 
Liddel as chiefly forming the boundary. And one line of history will 
serve to remind, that the Tweed first beoame the boundary between 



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4 NORTH TYNE HEAD. 

Northumberland and Scotland after the battle of Carham^ in 1018^ when 
the English sustained a defeat; and that Cumberland was not finally 
annexed to England^ and the present boundary fixed^ until 1237^ after a 
defeat of the Scotch. The most westerly spur of the Cheviot range 
is Peel Pell, '' at the foot of which/^ says Hodgson, " North Tyne has 
its source, and runs in a most sluggish manner along a level plain, 
from which circumstance it is called the Deadwater, until it joins Bell 
Bum/^ The natives, however, contest the statement, and the Ordnance 
Survey bears them out, in placing the source a little farther north than 
the Deadwater, which they thus make its first tributary. Well-informed 
inhabitants of the district point out a spot as that of the true rise, within 
the enclosure of the North British Railway Company between the stations 
of Saughtree in Scotland, and Kielder in England. It is about two 
miles north of the latter, near some old stone-cutting sheds connected 
with a quarry seen on the Fell side, and some yards beyond a sulphur 
well which here marks the Border, and from which, it being in Scotland, 
one may help one's self to a draught without leaving England ; so say the 
*' Dalesmen '^ here. In passing, Chalmers' observation on this spring 
may be quoted, that *' it is much frequented by persons suffering from 
scrofulous complaints, and only wants proper accommodation to make it 
a place of greater resort.'' Old inhabitants speak to having seen many 
years since round the spot, a cluster of wooden houses for bathing, &c., 
but these have disappeared long since. Leaving the well behind, the 
explorer may be sure of his mark when he sees two streams close 
together — one flowing northwards, which is called the Liddel, the other 
being the Tyne. Here, then, the same marsh gives birth to two border 
rivers, brother streams cradled together, but divided henceforth, as were 
the men of their respective dales for so many centuries ; Liddesdale men 
against Tynedale men, in many a bloody fray — ^rivalry, which happily is 
now only represented in the occasional and harmless contests of athletic 
sports. The rise of North Tyne can scarcely be called romantic in its 
immediate surroundings, unless the railway itself may be said to acquire 
poetry, from the fact that it follows the route formerly taken by the 
Liddesdale men in their raids upon the Fenwicks of Tyne. For some 
little distance the river is insignificant in size. A silver thread in a 



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NORTH TTNB HEAD. 7 

channel of peat as black as night, one might describe it, whilst another 
would see only a boggy ditch. But sluggish as the Border Tyne is 
in its early flow, it does credit to the wild features of its birthplace, 
receiving soon after its start the tribute of burns superior in size and 
volume ; these come racing down from the Fells on either side of the 
valley to join the river, after a career by hill and dale, and craggy preci- 
pice, with endless tumblings among mossy stones and boulders. Each of 
these tributaries is worth a lingering visit, and many of them are made 
interesting by history and tradition. The scenery of North Tyne, its far- 
stretching moors, with drooping skies, drear morass, solitary trees, and 
lonely houses, has still so much of the primitive, as to make it easy to 
recall the days of Border story. But beyond every other feature in the 
landscape, the rivers and burns seem resonant with the romance of the 
hills that give them birth, and incline one to the bard's invitation, 

..♦♦♦♦ let U8 match 

This water*8 pleasant tune 

With some old Border soug." — Wordsworth. 

They seem to move to the wild measure of the old minstrels' airs, and 
with the very rhythm of the ballads themselves, as bounding from moor- 
land spring they come with gallop and swirl till some big rocks give 
sudden check, when follows the strife of waters, and all its mingled 
sounds, with eddyings and murmurings, until by-and-bye there is subsi- 
dence, into the death-like stillness of deep pools, ere they finally lose 
themselves in the river. 

After seeing a few of those burns, the visitor will not be surprised 
at the aflFectionate interest with which the people regard their native 
streams, cherishing still in their memories the history or legends attached 
to them. 

Near the source of North Tyne some remains may still be seen of the 
Cat-rail, an ancient work composed of a ditch with a rampart on either 
side, extending from Galashiels to Peel Fell. There seems some uncer- 
tainty as to its having been raised by Britons, Picts, or Saxons ; but as 
Professor Veitch says,^ " It is more likely to have been raised by the 

> « Poetry of the Scotch Border," p. 9a 



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8 NORTH TYNB HEAD. 

Britons dwelling in the plain against the Picts, dwellers on the hills, than 
vice versa.*' Dawstane Rigg, on the line of the Cat-rail, and near Peel 
Pell, was the scene of an important battle, where Aidan, King of Scots, 
was, with the Britons of Strathclyde, defeated by the Saxons. Peel Fell 
belongs to the seldom- visited Cheviot range, the general knowledge of 
which does not extend much beyond that obtained at school, with per- 
haps a faint remembrance of its outline as hazily seen in the far distance 
of some favourite view in the northern counties, but no nearer view than 
that which the Danish sailors had, to whom, as Gray^s '' Chirographia '* 
informs us, the Cheviots afforded the first sight of land when they visited 
our shores. Prom the summit of Peel Pell an extensive prospect in- 
cludes the line of the Roman Wall to its end at Bowness, and part of it 
in its eastern direction over Wall Fell ; it shows, too, the course of our 
river, with Cross Pell in the distance, whence South Tyne comes to meet and 
join the stream whose small beginnings we have seen at Peel FelFs base. 
Peel Pell is the highest hill on North Tyne, being 1975 feet above the 
sea, and is said to be more craggy than most of the Cheviot range, but 
affords good pasturage, especially suited to the Cheviot breed of sheep 
peculiar to the district. This sketch would be incomplete without some 
reference to these prominent natives, which are to be seen dotted 
over the hills, giving life and brightness to the sombre moorland. The 
Cheviot breed is the principal one pastured on the farms of Upper 
North Tynedale. This distinct race of sheep dates from time imme- 
morial. They are vrithout horns, their faces and legs are white; 'their 
wool is short, and, though not of the finest, is used for some kinds of 
cloth ; they are of quiet habits, and, it is said, " possess all the inde- 
pendence of the mountain race, without the indocility which distinguishes 
some other races." They feed more on the grass, less on the shoots of 
heath, than the black-faced breed, and hence they are adapted to the 
country of North Tyne, where there is a large range of varied pasturage. 
There is much to interest in the Cheviot sheep : they are not so soon 
scared as others, even the young ones wiU calmly contemplate a stranger 
on the moors and let him come quite close to them without moving; 
they have a sharp look that seems common to all ranks of creatures in 
these regions. 



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NOBTH TYNE HEAD. 9 

A noticeable habit of the sheep in this dale^ is that of moving upwards 
to the Fell tops towards sunset, where they remain for the night. Is it 
the sun^s rays that they covet, and so move upwards to secure the last 
and the earliest ? Or is the heather couch of the summit a luxury wanting 
in the valley, which has, however, sweeter grass f Or does instinct warn 
them that hill tops are safest in storms and freest from damp ? This habit 
of the sheep may be common to all districts, but we have not noticed it 
elsewhere, and think it peculiar to this. The precarious life of sheep 
during the period of Border raids, suggests the possibility that the 
present race may have inherited the practice from their ancestors, who 
may have been regularly driven up the hills at night for protection ; and 
it will be remembered that we are now in one of those vales over which 
the eye of the Scotch riever ranged with keen desire, as the following 
snatch from an old song tells us : — 

" There's walth o' kye i' bonny Braidlees, 
There's walth o' yonses i' Tine ; 
There's walth o' gear i' Gowanbnm, 
And they shall a' be thine." 

Any one visiting this district will be sure to hear of the terrible winter 
storms to which it is subject, and will make some acquaintance with the 
shepherds, and gain some knowledge of their hard lives. '^ Storms,^' 
says the Ettrick Shepherd, " constitute the various eras' of the pastoral 
life ; they are the red lines in the shepherd^s manual ; the reminders of 
years and ages past ; the tablets of memory, by which the ages of his 
children, the times of his ancestors, and the rise and downfall of his 
families are invariably ascertained.^' An extreme instance of the storms 
which visit these districts, given by the same author, is known as the 
thirteen drifty days, in 1620, when on the Eskdale Moor out of upwards 
of 20,000 sheep, only about forty young wedders were left, and five old 
ewes ; and the farm of Phaup was without stock or tenant for twenty 
years. It was after a similar storm, as an old story gives it, that. John 
Scott, a Border farmer, known as ^' 6ou£Sn Jock,'' exclaimed '^ Ochon ! 
Ochon ! and is that the gate o't ? a black beginning makes a black end." 
Then, taking down a rusty sword, he addressed it thus : '' Come thou 





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10 NORTH TYNB HEAD. 

awa, my auld frien, thou and I mun e'en stock Bourhope-law ance mair/^ 
The Border clans^ however^ needed no each visitation to induce a raid on 
a neighbour's flocks. A North Tyne tradition tells how the Robsons 
— of whom we shall find more in the next chapter — oDce made a foray 
into Liddesdale^ to harry the Grahams^ and drove off a flock of their 
sheep down into North Tyne. Unfortunately, the sheep proved to be 
scabbed, and communicated the disease to the other sheep of the Bobsons. 
Upon this, the latter made a second raid into Liddesdale, and took seven 
of the most substantial of the Grahams they could lay hands upou, and 
hanged them forthwith, with the warning, that the *' neist tyme gentle- 
men cam to tak their schepe, they war no to be scabbit/' 

Good types of the shepherd are met with here; simple, earnest, 
serious, and strong, as is consistent with the nature of their employment, 
which brings them face to face with the sublime in nature. Hereditary 
shepherds, for the most part, they have in their families strange tradi- 
tions of harder times in contrast with the more peaceful era in which 
they themselves live. 

Hutchinson's unfavourable remarks about the shepherds of the 
district have been objected to, but as when he wrote (1776) the Border 
was still in an unsettled state — the moss-troopers and cattle-lifters having 
scarcely disappeared from the scene — and since, as John Grey, of Dilston, 
once said, it was not until after the accession of George III., in 1760, that 
the king's writ could be said to run through this part of the country, it 
is not surprising if Hutchinson did not find the hereditary shepherds of 
these wilds such as we find them a century later. When Macaulay's 
History appeared, much indignation was raised in North Tynedale by his 
description of the natives, so coloured, as it evidently is, by his imagina- 
tion. On this subject we give the following remarks by Dr. Charlton : — 

'^ Macaulay's reference for the truth of his assertion is to the journal 
of Sir Walter Scott's visit to Alnwick in 1827, when he was received by 
the then Duke of Northumberland, in which is the reference to a conver- 
sation with His Grace. ' He tells me his people in Kielder were all 
quite wild the first time his father went up to shoot there. The women 
had no other dress than a bed-gown and petticoat. The men were 
savage, and could hardly be brought to rise from the heath, either 



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NOBTH TTNB HEAD. 11 

througli sidlenness or fear. They sang a wild tune^ the burden of which 
was " orcina^ orcina^ orcina/^ The females sang, the men danced round, 
and at a certain part of the tune they drew their dirks, which they 
always wore.' It is well known Sir Walter Scott loved to improve any 
story which gave an air of additional romance to his wild Border descrip- 
tions. The old gipsy king of Yetholm declared he did not recognize his 
own stories when they came back to him from Abbotsford, and we 
strongly suspect the late worthy owner of Eielder would not have dis- 
covered his own plain tale of his particular first visit to that place, under 
the cloak of romance thrown over it by the great novelist. 

*' Sir J. Swinburne writes, in 1856 : — ' I have been landed proprietor 
at the head of North Tyne for seventy years and more ; my acquaintance 
commenced some twelve years before. I remember old people who in- 
habited that country before the rising under Lord Derwentwater (1715) ; 
but I never witnessed myself, nor ever heard a word from any person, of 
such customs as Macaulay alludes to. The Borders were as quiet in my 
earliest youth as they are at the present day/^ 

North Tyne shepherds, if they be '' silly shepherds " in the Miltonic 
sense, are not generally so in any other ; they maintain a shrewd reticence 
as to their masters' affairs. A recent fact was communicated about one of 
them at Hareshaw Head who had been rather persistently questioned by a 
visitor in the shooting season about the number of sheep that there were 
on his master's farm. " How many scores f persisted the sportsman. 
*' Well, sir,'' was the reply, " there be more half scores than scores." It 
is said that no one knows but the shepherd how many sheep are owned 
by his master. 

Kielder Castle is not one of the ancient Border strongholds, but 
simply a castellated shooting-box belonging to the Dukes of Northumber- 
land, by one of whom it was built about a century ago. The moors 
surrounding it abound with grouse, both black and grey, and for the 
angler there is good sport in the Eielder Bum. On alighting at Kielder 
Station a glimpse is caught of the tower, above some trees, and no other 
guide is needed. Leaving the wilds, a little vale is entered, delicious 
with the scent of the pines and meadow-sweet, vocal with the plash of 
the stony-bedded river, and presently passing on without encountering 



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12 



NORTH TTNB HEAD. 



any disappointing prohibition, one is made aware of the house^ which 
stands on a green knoll near the confluence of two streams, Kielder Bum 
mingling its larger stream with that of the Tyne, which is still small, 
three miles from its source. The change of scene is very noticeable here, 
and the contrast complete, as many trees of various kinds surround the 
castle, which is sheltered, and suggestive of comfort, shut oflf from the 
wilderness of moor and bog, its foreground made bright by the sunny 
haugh and the sparkling bum. Some birds common to semi-Alpine 




^ KIELDER CASTLE. 

districts are found by the North Tyne, and the late Dr. Charlton noted 
many habitats of species becoming every year rarer in England. The 
eagle at long intervals has been observed at different points as far as 
twenty miles down the river. The osprey has been seen in late years 
fishing in the upper part of the river, but there seems no instance known 
of the osprey building in the district, though many specimens of the bird 
have been shot. The same authority mentions the peregrine, which will 
soon, however, be extinct, owing to the unceasing war waged against it 
by keepers. The kestrel is more fortunate, owing to its preying chiefly 



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NORTH TTKE HEAD. 



13 



on mice. Both tbe long and abort-eared owl breed here. Many sea-birds 
are frequently found on the moors; and the lesser black-backed gull, 
which breeds on a muddy flat at Haly-pikes, with the familiar lapwing, 
make the valleys resonant with melancholy notes, which harmonize per- 
fectly with the landscape, when the sky is low and the sun is down. The 
pretty water-ouzel has its habitat in many places on North Tyne. On 
speaking of the bird in the neighbourhood it was found to be better 
known as the " water craw,'^ by which name it was known to a native 
ornithologist of the county, who described it in 1544. 

A tradition of this district gave Leyden subject for his ballad of 
" The Cout of Kielder,'' in the '' Border Minstrelsy .'' The epithet '' Cout '' 
or " Colt,'^ according to Leyden, had reference to his strength^ stature, 
and activity. The scene of the encounter described in the ballad was 
the banks of the Hermitage ; the time, the reign of King Bruce ; the 
chief personages, the Cout of Kielder and his foe. Lord Soulis of Liddes- 
dale. Tradition represents the latter as combining prodigious strength 
with cruelty, avarice, and treachery. In the poem, young Kielder, being 
near the castle of his adversary on a hunting excursion, was decoyed 
with his train into the festive hall to partake of refreshment. The treache- 
rous Lord Soulis in time unmasks himself, and in the fray which follows, 
Kielder, who wears charmed armour, takes no hurt, but stumbling in his 
retre&t across the river, his enemies held him down below the water, and 
the charm not being waterproof he perished. The scene of his death is 
still pointed out as ''The Cout of Kidder's pool.*' 

The Bttrick Shepherd lays the scene of his pathetic poem, " Sir David 
Graeme," on North Tyne, some verses of which we quote. The lady 
awaits in vain the coming of Sir David to take her from her father's 
tower. 

" The dow flew east, the dow flew west, 
The dow flew far ayont the fell ; 

An* sair at e'en she seemed distrest, 
But what perplex'd her could not tell. 

" But aye she coo'd, wi* mournfu* croon, 

An ruffled a' her feathers fair ; 
An lookit sad as she war boun' 

To leave the land for evermair. 



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14 NORTH TYNE HEAD. 

" The lady wept, an* some did blame, — 
She didna blame the bonnie dow, 

But sair she blamed Sir David Graeme, 
Because the knight had broke his vow. 

** For he had sworn by the stams sae bright 
An by their bed on the dewy green, 

To meet her there on St. Lambert's night, 
Whatever dangers lay between. 

« « « « 

** The day arrived, the evening came, 

The lady looked wi' wistful ee ; 
But 0, alas ! her noble Graeme, 

From e'en to morn she didna see. 

" An' she has sat her down an' grat. 
The warld to her like a desert seemed, 

An' she wyted this, an' she wyted that, 
But o* the real cause never dreamed. 

*' The sun had drunk frae Kieldar fell 
His beverage o' the morning dew ; 

The deer had crouched her in the dell, 
The' heather oped its bells o' blue : 



" The lady to her window hied, 

An' it open'd o'er the banks o' Tyne ; 

' An' 0, alak ! * she said an' sighed, 
* Sure ilka breast is blythe but mine ! 

" * Where hae ye been, my bonnie dow, 
That I hae fed wi' the bread an' wine ? 

As roving a' the country through, 

O, saw ye this fause knight o' mine f ' 

" The dow sat down on the window tree, 
And she carried a lock o' yellow hair ; 

Then she perched upon that lady's knee, 
An' carefully she placed it there. 

«« < What can this mean ? This looks the same 
That ainoe was mine. Whate'er betide 



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NORTH TTNB HBAD. 15 

This look I gave to Sir David Graeme, 
The flower of a' the Border side.' 



** The dow flew east, the dow flew west, 

The dow she flew ayont the fell, 
An' back she came wi' panting breast 

Ere the ringing o' the castle bell. 

" She lighted ahiche on the holly-tap, 

An* she cried, * cor-dow,' an* flattered her wing 

Then flew into that lady's lap. 

An* there she placed a diamond ring. 

" ' What can this mean ? This ring is the same 
That aince was mine. Whatever betide. 

This ring I gave to Sir David Graeme, 
The flower of a* the Border side.* 

« « « « 

** An* she has sat her down an* grat," &c» 

" When lo ! Sir David's trusty honnd, 
Wi* hompling back, an* a waefu* eye, 

Game cringing in an* lookit around. 
But his look was hopeless as could be. 

** He laid his head on that lady's knee, 

An' he lookit as somebody he would name ; 

An' there was a language in his howe e'e 
That was stronger than a tongue could frame. 



*' She followed the hound owre muirs an' rocks. 
Through mony a* dell an* dowie glen. 

Till frae her brow an* bonnie goud locks, 

The dewe dreepit down like the drops o* rain. 



<* An' aye she eyed the gray sloth hound. 
As he windit owre Deadwater fell. 

Till he came to the den wi' the moss inbound. 
An' 0, but it kythed a lonesome dell ! 



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16 NORTH TYNB HEAD. 

*' An* he waggit his tail, an* he fawned about, 
Then he cowied him down sae wearilye, 

* Ah ! yon's my love, I hae found him oat, 
He's lying waiting in the dell for me/ 



" Sae softly she treads the wee green swaird, 
Wr the lichens an* the ling a' fringed around, 

* My een are darkened wi* some west- weird, 
What ails my love, he sleeps 8a6 sound ? * 

" She gae ae look, she needit but ane, 

For it left nae sweet uncertainty ; 
She saw a wound through his shoulder bane, 

An* in his brave breast two or three. 



** There*s a cloud that fa's darker than the night. 

An* darkly on that lady it came ; 
There*8 a sleep as deep as the sleep outright, 

'Tis without a feeling or a name.'' 




DBnONG 8HE£P INTO A STELL. SN0W8T0BM. 



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CHAPTER II. 



HOPES, BURNS. AND HAUGHS.— FALSTONE AND THE MOORS. 







■tt|H|nHHHV^A MONGST Border terms, those at the head of 
^^^^^^KL ^ ^^^^ chapter are familiar, and as our way lies 

^^KtK^KK^j^k^^^ amidst scenery which abounds in hopes, 
^Br -^ ^ burns, and haughs, we may refer to the deri- 

vation of the words before examining the 
features in the landscape for which they 
stand. 

Hope and haugh, with fell and force, are 
^^ old Norse; indeed Worsaae tells us that 
exactly similar words are in use in Norway 
to-day. When the Norwegians visited Britain they generally settled in 
those parts of the country that were hilly like their own, and they called 
our hills, fells ; our waterfalls, fors or fosses ; and the flat pastures among 
the hills and by the river, haughs. 

'^ The word hope, among Norsemen,'^ says Mr. Carr, " was generally 
applied to the mouths of rivers, and to havens into which rivers discharge 
themselves. On Tyneside, hopes are side- vales, having generally an outlet 
in the larger valley of the river. Most of the hopes are watered by bums, 
which have much to do with their conformation.'^ Mr. Carr points out 
that " hopes '^ give their names to the burns, and so differ from the 
larger valleys, which have theirs from the rivers which flow through them ; 
thus we have Thomhope-bum, and Harthope-burn, not Thor^iburn- 



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18 HOPES, BURNS, AND HAUGHS. 

hope, &c. The names of some of them are interesting, such as Hind- 
hope, Hart-hope, Row-hope, and Hare-hope, which point to their having 
been the secluded haunts of these animals. 

Bum — pure Saxon — the Border word for a brook, is applied to nearly 
all the tributaries of the Tyne ; the term brook, by which we designate 
small flat country streams, would seem misapplied in reference to these 
of mountain birth. 

As Thames and Tyne diflfer, so do their tributaries. Thames head is 
about 170 miles from London Bridge ; the river is at the latter place 
about 370 feet lower than at its source. Tyne — South Tyne Head — is from 
thirty-five to forty miles from Hexham, and the difierence of elevation 
between the two points is from 1,700 to 1,800 feet, the Tyne having a 
fall more than four times greater over a distance four times less. The 
Thames and its brooks flow over tolerably even beds, whilst the Upper 
Tyne and its bums, meet with many rocks and impediments in their 
course. 

Julia, in a passage expressing the force of her passion for Sir Proteus, 
describes the burn and the brook side by side. 

" The more thou damm'st it up, the more it burns ; 

The current, that with gentle murmur glides, 

Thou know'st, being stopped, impatiently doth rage ; 

But, when his fair course is not hindered. 

He makes sweet music with the enamelVd stones, 

Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge 

He overtaketh in his pilgrimage ; 

And 80 by many winding nooks he strays, 

With willing sport, to the wild ocean/' * 

And Robert Burns tells a secret when he sings — 

** The muse, nae poet ever fand her 
Till by himsel he learned to wander 
Adown some trotting burns meander 
And na* think lang." 

There is seldom anything about the spot where they enter the river, 
suggestive to a stranger of the nature of these beautiful streams, which 

' " Two Gentlemen of Verona," act ii, scene 7. 



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■.4 . :i 



t 




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FALSTONE AND THE MOORS. 21 

only exhibit their charms to those who will take the trouble to follow 
them into their deep sequestered vales. 

As the stranger travels over high ground through North Tynedale, 
he observes in the dips between the fells^ and filling in the Lines of the 
ravines, sometimes a plantation of dark pines, more often woods of primi- 
tive oak, ash, and alder ; these tell us that a bum flows there, and if it 
be within ear-shot, something of the music of the bum may be caught 
on the breeze; and when, thus invited, a stranger allows himself to be 
enticed, beauty unthought of, meets his eye in these fairy glens. The 
fairies have ceased to visit them, but they are still the habitats of rare 
birds and plants. Geologists find fossils in their rocky banks, the sports- 
man the otter, whilst the fortunate fisher fills his creel. 

The border word hatigh, Mr. Brockett traces from the Icelandic 
hagi, flat ground by a river, but this description falls short of the value 
these meadows have in the landscape. The haughs are the bright spots in 
these grey northern vales, where they are found fenced off from the fell 
land, full of freshness derived from neighbouring burn or river, and for 
the most part alluvium. 

Besumiug now our Tyneside course, leaving Kielder behind, and 
crossing the river by the bridge, Bewshaugh farm is passed, and on the 
opposite side of the river is the farm musically named, after the stream 
which flows by it, the Go wan-burn of the old song quoted in the last 
chapter. 

Lewis-burn bridge is about two miles below Kielder ; the stream has 
a greater breadth, force, and volume than has yet been attained by North 
Tyne itself. The confluence is shown in the sketch as it appeared from 
a point one mile further down; both streams are shallow where they 
meet in the flats of a wild valley, the burn working a sort of delta in the 
haugh in joining the river. Shallow as it is at this point, a short way 
up it runs broad and deep, with its still water darkened the more by an 
overshadowing pine wood ; a few yards further, and it makes a passage 
like that shown in the sketch. Going on we find the fells stony and 
barren, closing in upon the stream with high precipitous cliffs at one 
side, and the further the stream is followed, the wilder it becomes. 

Lishope-burn, one of its feeders, flows through a district famous as 



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22 



HOPES, BURNS, AND HAUGHS. 



having been a great stronghold of Border thieves in the sixteenth centorj, 
" a marvellous strong place of woods and waters/^ This Lewis-bum is a 
favourite one with anglers^ and the otter haunts its banks. 

Prom Lewis-bum mouth across the wide valley looking south-east^ 
Plashetts is seen ; to reach it the river is crossed by an unusual kind of 
suspension-bridge^ the suspenders passing under the footway instead of 
above it. The vale is very pleasing here, and the river-side walking 
delightful. Plashetts-bum is worth exploring, with its lynn at Wane- 
hope. Wanehope, with Kielder, Tarset, and Emithope belonged in the 




LEWIS-BURN. 



time of Edward I. to the estate of John Comyns, the competitor for the 
crown of Scotland, who was assassinated by Robert Bruce in the cloister 
of Grey Friars, Dumfries, in 1360. And about here can be traced, it is 
said, the limits of Kennel Park, an ancient hunting ground of the earlier 
feudal barons, *' and there is,^^ says Dr. Charlton, ^' a tradition still current 
that the ruined east wall of the park wtis the last spot that harboured a 
wild red deer in this district.*' 

The colliery at Plashetts has no detractive eflFect on the scenery ; it 
lies hidden away among the hills, and is approached by a railway incline 



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FALSTONE AND THE MOORS. 



23 



connected with the ^' North British/' The pit village attached is like no 
other that the writer has ever seen. Its position is most secluded 
among the hills that feed the Belling bum ; the rows of houses are not 
so formal as usual^ and the effect of the nice long gardens attached to 
many of them^ most of which were well stocked and tended^ was very 
striking amid sterile surroundings. Conversing with one of the in- 
habitants at work in his garden^ the writer had confirmed, a statement 
which had been made to him at Falstone, that prior to the construction 
of the railway, coals were carried from Plashetts across the Border by 
ponies, one man having charge of a score of them, more or less, the 




PALSTONE. 

coals being carried in '^ pokes /' they made their way over the tops of 
the fells, passing the night on the moor, and foraging as they went, on 
the land where they happened to be. ^'Cheerful Ned'' was a well- 
remembered character in Falstone, who had been driver of such a team. 
It must have been a picturesque sight from the top of Black Belling to 
watch them trailing over the fell. 

Mr. Lebour says of Plashetts : ^* Here one of the oldest (geologically) 
seams of coal in the carboniferous rocks is being worked ; this coal is the 
thickest known in the limestone series." 

The road which was diverged from to see Plashetts leaves the river 
for a space, and passes through a noble pine wood at the back of Mounces, 
a shooting-box of the Swinburnes. On the side of the wood exposed to 



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24 HOPES, BURNS, AND HAUGHS. 

the westerly winds, the number of fine trees which lie as they fell, torn 
up by the roots, give a definite idea of the force of the gales to which 
they have succumbed. Mounces past, there is a very pretty bit of 
North Tynedale about Otterstone Lee. A little further south is Emmet- 
haugh. Looking now down stream to a spot where anglers are almost 
always to be found at work during the season, the confluence of Whick- 
hope bum with Tyne is seen. 

The greater Whickhope bum flows through a tree-studded valley, 
resembling that of the Trossachs, with birch and ash, and tree-topped 
purple rocks, island-like, rising out of the long-grassed and ferny plain, 
where numerous cattle graze. By the side of the bum, the stratified face 
of a small abandoned slate quarry is curiously stained by the iron in the 
water which drains through it from the moors. All the burns are 
strongly impregnated, and the thirsty soul has to try other sources. 
There is a well-known spring near the entrance of the Whickhope 
Valley, of a most refreshing character. A solitary house — a shooting- 
box belonging to the Duke of Northumberland — is seen higher up the 
valley, and that passed, a farm comes into view, backed by high fells, 
from the summit of which may be seen the vale of the Annan, and large 
tracts of moorland, with some of the most extensive sheep-farms in the 
county. At the top of the fell, by the shooting-box, a good view is 
obtained of the Lynn, which is on the lesser Whickhope burn, a tributary 
of the greater. Between Whickhope and Falstone the road passes over 
hill and dale, and the most pleasing sort of moorland is seen from the 
high ground, looking across the Vale of Tyne, where lie the haughs, 
so characteristic of Northumberland. From the road, midway between 
Whickhope and Falstone, Emmet-haugh was seen by the writer, with an 
additional joy about it ; it was 

** « « « Lammastide, 

When the muir men make their hay." 

It was too far down in the valley to see clearly the haymakers or their 
implements, but not too far to mark progress, which was seen in the 
changing colour of the haugh under the scythes of the mowers, pale 
green taking the place of red, as the dock and field-flowers fell with the 



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FALSTONE AND THE MOORS. 



26 



grass ; and in no place do the meadows show a more brilliant and varied 
display of wild flowers than are* present in the haughs of North Tyne. 

Head-qaarters at Falstone must next be described. The place is a 
small rustic centre of few houses irregularly clustered about its two 
churches, English and Presbyterian — the Scotch church on the north 
side of the village, the English on the south, their towers facing each 
other, between them a road coming up from the river, which it crosses 
by a strong stone bridge of three arches. The sketch given was taken 




WHICKHOPE-BUBN. 



from the right bank of the river. Falstone is a favoured village in a 
district where woods are scant, having about it many trees; and the 
farm-houses and cottages of the neighbourhood bear testimony to the 
spread of improvement — the old thatch has given place to the slate- 
roofed stone building, more convenient if less picturesque. On the other 
side of the river, just opposite to Falstone, is Stannersbum, i.e., Stony 
bum, frequently almost dry, which gives name to this ancient hamlet ; and 
the cottages here, and at Donkley-wood, further down the river on the 
Falstone side, exhibit the primitive style of North Tyne dwellings of the 
humbler sort. b 



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26 HOPES, BURNS, AND HAUGH8. 

Falstone bas^ besides its churches, a school-house and a post office. 
Worshippers^ scholars^ and letters being collected from widely scattered 
homes mid lonely moors, or in sequestered hopes. Education is appre- 
ciated in North Tynedale, as is attested in one way by the many miles of 
walking to and fro — ^a matter of course to many of the scholars. It adds 
a charm to an excursion when these are met in small troops amid the 
recesses of the hills, fording the burns, and making the sternest wilds 
jocund with merry shouts. Sunday morning presents a lively picture at 
Falstone, as worshippers come in by many a mountain track, riding*^ 
driving, or on foot — among the latter conspicuously the shepherds — and 
the stranger soon discovers that the Scotch church is the fold to which 
almost all are drawn. As for the English church, on one particular 
Sunday the time for service had arrived, but there was no bell, and on 
inquiring of a young man at the church gate, the writer was told that 
ringing the bell was not thought of until the parson was seen coming. 
While speaking, the clergyman came in sight, and informant hastened to 
" ring in'' the flock, which, all told, numbered eleven. The service was 
dull, without singing, and there was an air of mildew about everything, 
including surplice and sermon.^ The church is a plain building, with 
square tower, built more for strength than beauty. In the burial-ground 
are some old gravestones ; a few of the most ancient have, roughly cut, 
the implements of the different trades pursued by the under-named. The 
oldest in the churchyard seems to be that of a blacksmith, probably 
one who had done many a bit of smith's work for the moss-troopers in 
their later days. Presbyterianism gained vantage ground here in Reforma- 
tion times, and still holds it. The Presbyterian church at Falstone was one 
of the first established in England ; it has lately been almost entirely rebuilt, 

Falstone affords the best head-quarters when making excursions in 
Upper Tynedale. 

The "Black Cock'' is the sign of the comfortable inn close to the 
church. The sign is the same as that of the house, concerning which 
Stephen Oliver the younger wrote so genially some forty years ago. But 
few old-fashioned characteristics are to be found in the new *' Black 

^ Since this description was written, the church has been restored, and all 
things set in order. 



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FALSTONB AND THE MOOBS. 27 

Cock/' built on the site of the old one ten years since. Mistress Ridley^ 
whose " cakes and good cheer " the above writer commended so highly, 
is succeeded by one who sufficiently understands the wants of wayside 
travellers. Fishers and shooters are her most considerable customers, the 
summer months othenvise bringing but occasional visitors to this little- 
known district. 

Falstone is famous among antiquaries as the place where the fragment 
of a Runic cross was found, which is now in the Museum at Newcastle ; it 
is said to be unique in England, in that it bears twice over the same inscrip- 
tion in one and the same dialect, but written in two different alphabets. 
Runic and Romanesque. Mr. Daniel Haigh some years ago deciphered it : 

** Eomer set that after Hroethbert 
A memorial after his Uncle 
Pray for his soul." 

In Hroethbert, says Dr. Charlton, we have the equivalent to the 
Robert of our day, and the descendants of Robert would be Robertson or 
Robson, which now, as of old, is the chief surname about Falstone. We 
think we have evidence here of the Robsons some twelve hundred years 
ago, in the very district where, till lately, they held sway. Whether old 
Hroethbert was the ancestor of the Wight Riding Robsons of the old play, 
" Honest, save doing a little shifting for their living,^' we will not say. 

Sir Robert Bowes, in his report of the state of the Border in 1550, 
describes the people of North Tynedale as standing mostly by four 
surnames, the Charltons, Robsons, Dodds, and Milbums ; and in docu- 
ments of both prior and subsequent dates referring to the district, all 
these surnames frequently recur. Even now, the surnames of the dale 
are chiefly limited to these, and not a little confusion is occasionally 
caused to the stranger when he finds that every one seems to be a 
Robson, a Ridley, or a Charlton. 

All sorts of ingenious cognomens are invented by the natives to 
distinguish people of the same family name, in which difference in age, 
stature, temperament, complexion, and sometimes their trades, are made 
use of to identify them, the surname being frequently dropped altogether. 

The dilemma in which a stranger may sometimes find himself, is well 
illustrated by a fact related to the writer by a friend. Shortly after a 



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28 HOPES, -BURNS, AND HAUGH8. 

new minister had arrived in Falstone^ a basket of new-laid eggs waa left 
at the manse with Mrs. Robson's compliments^ and two of the younger 
members of the household were sent to thank the sender^ but the 
finding the right Mrs. Robson was a long business indeed^ and resulted 
also in such a succession of gifts of new-laid eggs as to increase the 
dilemma not a little. The new servant at the manse was a Robson^ but went 
by the name of '^ Sally the Clogger/' The surname of Ridley is common 
also here. Old Mrs. Ridley, of the " Black Cock/^ who was sister to the 
laird of Palstone, ^' got nothing but MoU/^ as the district phrase goes. 

Nearly opposite to the inn^ and also close to the church, is the laird's 
house, which has been altered and extended. Some portions of the older 
building, originally a fortified farm-house, remain but little changed, 
except in the use to which they are put. What was formerly the byre, 
into which the cattle were driven for protection, is now a sitting-room, 
the arched roof being retained. The walls, four feet thick, are without 
sunk foundations, the lowest layer of stones being of great size. The 
arched doorway, which apparently had led into the byre from the open, is 
now in the centre of the house ; above it is the probable date of the 
building, " 1610.^' The building is similar in many respects to that 
at Lonning Head described further on. 

In the old days the fortified house was all that constituted Falstone, 
and it has been thought that the name originated in the Anglo-Saxon 
^'faeston,'' a fastness. At Hawkhope, close to Falstone, and at Ridge 
Farm at the mouth of Smailes Burn, there are still to be seen consider- 
able portions of like buildings^ relics of the Border era. The late date 
over the archway at Falstone, being subsequent to that of the Union, 
illustrates the fact of the continuance of the old state of things long 
after the accession of James I. In all these buildings a large apartment 
for the protection of the cattle, under the same roof as that which 
covered the laird, was the important consideration. 

On a spot a little to the north of Stannersburn, still marked on the 
Ordnance map by the word Peel, there stood in recent years extensive 
remains of a Border Keep ; in the end, however, the utilitarian laird saw 
in it materials for a wall needed close by, and to that purpose its stones 
were put : it had been a picturesque ruin, and a fine ash tree, self-sown. 



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FALSTONE AND THB MOOBS. 29 

had entwiued itself about it. In the aututnn of 1877 the writer saw on 
the site the bleached remains of stem and roots of the tree^ which in 
making its way down to its rightful soil had " gripped '' so tenaciously 
the blocks of stone^ that in the final overthrow they fell together^ the relics 
of the old Peel Tower locked in the embracing arms of the tree. Many 
regrets there were in the village when the ruin fell. 

For walking over the hills a compass should be counted among the 
indispensables ; and this not only when the traveller is depending upon 
himself to make out the road^ but also to enable him fully to avail himself 
of any directions he may be lucky enough to get through a chance meet- 
ing with a shepherd^ for the natives use the points of the compass much 
more generally than do those of the South in giving directions^ as witness 
at the railway station, *^ Any more for the ^ west/ ' north/ or ^ south ? ' ^^ as 
the case may be, is sufficient to keep the passengers right, the confused 
volley of names so familiar elsewhere, being dispensed with. An odd 
instance of the practice was noted in a hayfield, where a pike was com- 
pleted all but adjusting the rope to keep on the top in case of wind : a 
Cumberland man wishing a slight shifting of the rope, shouts to his mate 
on the other side of the pike, " A little more to the sooth, mon.^^ North- 
men appear to enjoy this peculiarity in common with the Chinese. As a 
writer tells us, "Although there are words in Chinese for right and left, 
they are very seldom used. . . . You will frequently hear of the ^ north 
hand,^ the ^ south ear,' &c. The packages on a mule are ' too heavy on 
the south side ; they must be shifted northward,' and so on. Even on a 
cloudy day, or in a labyrinth of streets, when no guides to orientation are 
visible, the Chinaman can always determine his north and south approxi- 
mately.'' * The Scotchman who in church asks his neighbour to " sit a 
bit wast," would be in this way quite at home in China. 

To return to the hills. There are the sheep paths not to be despised 
where all is not terra-firma, and for following them there is the good 
reason that one or other of them will lead into the shepherd's track ; 
to walk or ride off the track, the initiated tell us, needs some experience 
of moor in man or horse, and some knowledge of the appearance of spreats 
and stool-bent, which indicate a firm footing. 

' See review in " Academy," April 20, 1878. 



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30 HOPBS, BUBNS, AND HAUGHS. 

There are many interesting walks around Falstone. A first ascent 
of the hill behind the village becomes a protracted performance^ owing to 
attractions of scenery by the way. Through the spaces between the 
pines and the larches the river is seen where it makes a complete horse- 
shoe bend^ and new ranges of moorland are always coming into view^ 
until, when the summit is reached, this repetition of successive lines of 
hill-tops retiring under the sky in a far horizon, can only be likened to 
the " multitudinous sea/' 

Eastward, are tracks to Earl's-seat, Highfield, and the head of 
Tarset-burn ; and northward, to Hawkhope and the Black Belling already 
referred to. 

Each of these tracks may be followed pleasantly on foot in fair or 
simply showery weather (the latter shows the moors in perfection) , but 
no one should be tempted to try one of those expeditions when it is, 
in the language of the country, '^ a bit softish,'' when truly everything is 
soft above, below, and not the least he who should persevere in pursuit 
of a prospect when and where nothing is visible outside the radius of a 
few yards. However, should he be overtaken by a sudden downfall, and 
can make his way to one of the few farm-houses thereabout, he is sure to 
find hospitality, and whilst drying by a cheery fire, is pretty certain to 
be regaled with some strange story of times past, connected with build- 
ings whose ruins, or families whose descendants, are scattered here and 
there over these hills. The moorland of North Tynedale is a great 
feature with those who enjoy such. Others of a different temperament, 
may agree with Dr. Johnson's (as it seems to us) libellous description of 
such scenery : *' That it affords little diversion to the traveller, who seldom 
finds himself either encountered or overtaken, and who has nothing to 
contemplate but grounds that have no visible boundaries, or are separated 
by walls of IbOse stones. The variety of sun and shade is here utterly 
unknown. There is no tree for either shelter or timber. . . . An eye 
accustomed to flowery pastures, and waving harvests is astonished and 
repelled by the wide expanse of hopeless sterility.'' 

Dr. Johnson is here in unison with a large number of persons with 
whom that landscape is preferred, which has suggestions of a comfortable 
sort, and the signs of not being '^ far from the busy haunts of men." To 



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FALSTONE AND THE MOORS. 31 

others it is given to find a keen delight in pathless wilds away from the 
^' madding crowd." 

In the "tragic use of landscape'' the moors have ever a face of 
gloom, and the epithets generally applied to them are of that character. 
It is not necessary to say that they have other aspects ; aspects so well 
depicted in the pages of the Brontes. From "Jane Eyre'' you may cull 
such expressions as " the purple moors " — " the hollow vale, with pebbly 
bridle path" — "wildest little pasture fields, bordering a wilderness of 
heath" — "the fascination and consecration of its loneliness" — "the swell 
and sweep of the ground " — " the wild colouring communicated to ridge 
and dell by moss, by heath-bell " — " by flower-sprinkled turf, brilliant 
bracken, and mellow granite crag." 

And of " Wuthering heights " Swinburne says : " All the heart of the 
league-long billows of rolling and breathing and brightening heather is 
blown with the breath of it in our faces as we read ; all the wind, and all 
the sound, and all the fragrance and freedom and gloom and glory of the 
high north moorland." 

Yes ! these " nurselings of the moors," who knew them under all 
aspects, eloquently express just what the people of North Tynedale say 
of their native hills : " In winter nothing more dreary — in summer 
nothing more divine." 




t^vw^^^f I y^i-^'v^iffwfmw^'ir^ff^^^' 



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CHAPTER III. 



PROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 



HIGHLY suggestive is the scenery between Fal- 
stone and Bellingham. Here follows a sketch 
which might have been prompted by it : — 

"The contemplation of a herd of dark-coloured 
mountain cattle in the North of England, of 
small size, and yet with ragged, ill-fiUed-out 
contours, standing on a wintry day in a land- 
scape filled with birch, oak, alder, heath, and 
bracken, has often struck me as giving a picture 
which I might take as being very probably not 
wholly unlike that which the eyes of the ancient 
British herdsman were familiar with/^ ^ Upper 
North Tynedale presents many such pictures, 
and very beautiful are the patches of natural 
wood, the last remnants of forests which formerly extended over the fells 
and down to the river^a brink ; many of these have been saved to us in 
the march of agricultural improvement by the impracticable nature of the 
ground which they cover. Opposite to Donkley Wood, for instance, a 
village about one mile below Falstone, are to be seen purple rock and 
natural wood mingled in delightful confusion, high crags, tree-topped, 

* George Rolleston, M.D., F.R.S. See Appendix to " British Barrows,'* by 
Canon Greenwell. 




THE smuggler's I^AP. 



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FROM FALSTONB TO BBLLINGHAM. 33 

here and there^ rising above the general levels and mostly reflected in the 
river when it is qoiet enough. 

Such '* bits '^ of primitive Britain are precious ; representatives of the 
ancient flora^ which have held their ground here through unbroken 
generations until now ; but the men and women who once animated the 
scene^ where are their descendants P Vanished, the last of them, out of this 
district centuries since, before the conquering foreigner. Something of 
the veritable background of an ancient picture we have before usj but for 
the figures, we must have recourse to imagination. 

Wordsworth, it has been said, was the first to give poetic expression 
to the thought which associates with a modem landscape those who in a 
former age had been witnesses of the same scene. Many of his poems 
express it, but none more exquisitely than the well-known stanza com- 
mencing — 

" Hail, Twilight I sovereign of one peaceful hoar 



Thas did the waters gleam, the moan tains lower 
To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest 
Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest 
On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower 
Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen 
The self-same vision which we now behold. 
At thy meek bidding, shadowy power brought forth ; 
These mighty barriers and the gulf between ; 
The floods, — ^the stars, — a spectacle as old 
As the beginnings of the heavens and earth ! " 

In another vein we are more impressed with the signs of change 
which lie on the surface of the earth and beneath it. The ancient 
Briton knew a forest-covered land of which there remain but scattered 
hints. 

^* Those mighty forests, once the bison's screen. 
Where stalked the huge deer to his shaggy lair 
Through paths and alleys roofed with sombre green. 
Thousands of years before the silent air 
Was pierced by whizzing shaft of hunter keen." 
J 



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34 FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 

Our maps contain traditions of snch, in retaining the word forest for 
large districts now perfectly treeless ; and when the old peat-bogs among 
the fells are explored they are found to hold the relics of many such ; 
wide-spread remains are there of birch^ oak^ and alder^ — the trees named 
in Prof. Rolleston^s sketch above, — also there are found the fossilled 
remains of fauna and flora now extinct in the district. 

About a mile north-west of Falstone is an ancient peat-moss, visited 
by the writer, and probably that referred to by Hodgson. Prom accounts 
given to the latter by natives, it would appear that twenty years before 
his visit, the tree stems and stumps standing out of the bog must have 
been considerable, as the people were in the habit of resorting to it for 
wood to be used in various ways ; the final use to which these venerable 
relics were applied is said to have been in the making of brimstone 
matches during the last days of the tinder-box. 

Mr. Lebour referring to this subject and locality says : " The largest 
and thickest stems known to me are to be seen in great numbers in the 
thick moorland capping the fells immediately to the south of Shillingburn- 
haugh in the fork between Whickhope-burn and the North Tyne River.'^ 

In connection with the history of the peat-mosses. Dr. James Geike 
tells us of the great Ice Age, when the summit of the Cheviot range 
formed the parting of the glaciers flowing to the north and the south ; 
he tells us of alternating periods when Britain was covered with ice, and 
of inhabitants in interglacial times, and of the landscape they beheld ; he 
speaks of the age succeeding the last glacial epoch, when great forests 
covered the land, that in its turn being followed by one too humid for 
their continuance, which dying down, the close thick cover of peat-moss 
sprang up, which still covers so large a part of the beautiful county of 
Northumberland . Now he tells us another change is in progress. " The 
rate of increase of peat-moss is much exceeded by its decay, and there is 
good reason to believe that the eventual disappearance of the peat that 
clothes our hill tops and valley bottoms is only a question of time.'' ' 

The initial to this chapter gives a sketch of Smales-bum, near Pal- 
stone, to which tradition has linked a story of smuggling times. 

' See articles on " The CheviotB " in *» Good Words," for 1876. 



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FROM FALSTONE TO BBLLINGHAM. 35 

A mile from its mouth the bam passes between precipitous rocks^ 
sufficiently close for an exceptionally agile man to leap from one side to 
the other, but the risk of an ugly fall of thirty feet or so had hitherto 
deterred the prudent from the attempt. Love of dear life, or liberty, 
tradition says, nerved a man to take the leap in smuggling days, when 
hard pressed by the officers, and he thus earned his escape, as his pur- 
suers lost time by a more circuitous route. The scene of this adventure 
is now called ^^ Smales^ Leap,'' or the '' Smuggler's Leap." Apart from 
the story, it is a strangely wild bit. Smuggling, as is well known, was 
ripe on the Border for a long period, the habit arising out of the diflferen- 
tial duty levied on whiskey. And many are the tales of the ingenuity 
displayed by those engaged, in evading the vigilance of the exciseman. 
A company of mourners following a rude country hearse would be pur- 
veying in the latter a cargo of spirit, instead of the more material part. 
The ponies employed in taking coals over the Border would return laden 
with kegs of whiskey,* the latter freight bringing a larger profit than the 
former. The descendants of rievers would make hardy smugglers, and 
doubtless their method of gaining a livelihood, like that of their an- 
cestors, was regarded with a lenient eye by themselves as well as some 
others, and when change of legislation took away their living, many 
would be as ready to press claims for compensation as the blacksmith 
parsons when the Gretna Green marriages were done away with a few 
years since. 

Hitherto this chapter has treated only of the country around Falstone, 
or to the north of it. We now proceed down stream, and soon, Greystead 
Church comes in sight. It is sufficiently elevated to make it visible from 
many points in the road — church, river, and trees composing well in 
many a pretty view. The square-towered church resembles that of 
Falstone. 

The parishes of Greystead and Falstone formed originally, part of 
Simon-burn parish, which, until it was subdivided was the largest parish 
in Northumberland. The livings remain in the gift of Greenwich Hos- 
pital, and have generally been bestowed on navy chaplains. One of the 
most interesting features of the village of Greystead is its school-house ; 
it is come upon unexpectedly by the wayside. A babbling bum runs 



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36 FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 

by one end of it, across which a simple plank bridge conducts to a moor- 
land track. So nnassuming is the aspect of the low building that no 
thought of a school would cross the mind, if there were not heard, above 
the music of the bum, the unmistakable utterances of scholars in class. 
The road passes so close to the building that a passing glimpse shows 
how many are gathered within, and that the School Board insist on 
more space being provided here creates no surprise. It is a pleasure 
to hear only expressions of esteem for the accomplished Dominie who 
has devoted himself to the mental training of the boys and girls of this 
district. 

The track spoken of above leads over the moor to Dally Castle Mill. 
The Ordnance map marks the spot as Dally Castle, but there is now 
much more mill than castle, for of the latter only a few stones remain, 
incorporated with the former. About a mile below Greystead there is a 
fine wide stretch of country, where three valleys and their streams are 
united. Tarset-bum on the left, and Chirdon-bum on the right, coming 
into the Tyne nearly opposite to each other ; the bums are considerable, 
and their vales are wide. Tarset-bum flows under a railway bridge of 
three arches just before the confluence, near which formerly stood the 
castle, named after the burn. Dally Castle is similarly situated on the 
Chirdon-bum. When the writer visited the site of Tarset Castle he 
found it garrisoned by three ancient cows, peacefully chewing the cud in 
the midst of a severe storm. Grass covers the whole of the eminence, 
and even the few stones which have been allowed to remain ; the lines of 
the walls may still be made out, and also the moat. When Mackenzie 
visited it he found the walls partly standing, ^' of about four feet 
thick, and of the finest ashler work," " being almost surrounded by a 
moat ten yards wide.'' A native of the district, whom the writer met, 
was exercised as to how the water had been conveyed to the moat, 
pointing out that though there were the remains of three dams which 
appear to have conducted water from the hills, only one would have 
flowed naturally into the moat. Possibly Tarset Hall may have had 
its fish-ponds. Very little is known of the history of this stronghold. 
In 1526 it appears to have been garrisoned by Sir Balph Penwick, 
who had gone thither, seeking to apprehend one William Ridley, an out- 



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FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 37 

law, as Dr. Charlton says, " probably one of the Ridleya of South Tyne, 
concerned in the murder of Nicholas Featherstonehaugh/' The men of 
Tynedale, espousing the cause of Ridley, attacked Sir Ralph under 
Charlton of Bellingham, and it is believed that on this occasion Tarset 
Castle was burnt down. It was never rebuilt. 

Of Dally Castle scarcely more remains than of Tarset. History may 
be silent about them, but around their ancient walls there grew up 
fanciful stories in which the two were associated ; it was believed that a 
subterranean way connected them, passing under the bed of the river ; 
their sites were long regarded as haunted spots, and old people used to 
say that chariots and horsemen had been seen driving through the air 
between one building and the other at the charmed hour of midnight. 
From high ground on Hareshaw Common a distant view takes in the 
sites of these two castles, and at Hareshaw Head there formerly stood 
Gibb^s Cross, one of the numerous small stone crosses which were at one 
time common in these secluded districts. A popular legend connected 
the castles with the cross. The gaunt lords of Tarset and Dally loom 
giant-like through the mists of story. It would appear that whilst no 
love was lost between these neighbours themselves, a secret attachment 
was formed by Gilbert of Tarset for the sister of his rival of Dally ; their 
clandestine intercourse was detected at last, and in the fight which ensued, 
Gilbert suffered defeat, crossed the Tyne, and made for the wilds of 
Hareshaw, where his enemy overtook him, and Gibb^s Cross is said to 
mark the spot where Gilbert fell, mortally wounded. 

About three miles up Tarset-bum, the Black-bum falls into it ; the 
lynn of this bum is said to be one of the highest in the vicinity, falling 
over high precipitous crags. An excursion to the spot should include a 
visit to the two Border Peels, which are there close at hand, and may be 
reached by following up the bum from the railway station, or from 
Fal stone over the moors past Highfield. 

There is a story still current in North Tynedale with which the Tarset 
peels are closely connected ; it belongs to the latter end of the seventeenth 
century, when one of the Milburn clan known as " Barty of the Comb '' 
occupied the peel at the Coomb in Tarset. Barty was a skilful swords- 
man, and possessed of great strength, and needed it in holding his own 



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38 FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINQHAM. 

against the not infrequent visits of Scotch rievers ; and Corbit Jack^ whose 
peel stood a little higher up the bum^ was his faithful ally in many a 
return raid across the neighbouring Border. Here is the story aa the 
late Dr. Charlton used to tell it: — 

'' One morning, when Barty arose, his sheep were all missing ; they 
had been driven off by Scottish thieves during the night. He im- 
mediately summoned Corbit Jack, and arming themselves, they followed 
the track of the sheep over the hill, down the Blakehope-bum into Reed- 
water, and thence across the border north of the Carter, into Scotland ; 
here they lost the trace, and they seem to have been unprovided with a 
' sleuth-hound * to track the thieves. Barty, however, insisted that they 
should not return empty-handed, and, after a short council, they decided 
that the Leatham wethers were the best, and accordingly they drove off 
a goodly selection of these and commenced their retreat. The loss was 
soon perceived by the Scottish men, who immediately despatched two of 
their best swordsmen to recover the booty. They overtook Barty and 
Corbit Jack at Chattlehope Spout, and insisted that the wethers should 
be given up. Barty was willing to return half the flock, but he would 
not go back 'toom-handed ' to the Comb. The two Scots being picked 
men would not hear of a compromise, and the fight began directly, in the 
long heather above the waterfall. Barty called out, ^ Let the better man 
turn to me I ' and the Scot, after a few passes, ran his broadsword into 
Barty's thigh. He of the Comb jumped round, and wrenched the 
sword, so that it broke, and at the same moment he was attacked from 
behind by the other Scot, who had already slain his comrade, Corbit Jack ; 
Barty made one tremendous back-handed blow, caught the second Scot 
in the neck, and, as he expressed it, ' garred his heid spang alang the 
heather Hke an inion.^ His first assailant tried to make off, but was cut 
down ere he had run many yards. Barty took both the swords, lifted his 
dead companion on to his back, and, in spite of hia own wound, drove the 
sheep safely over the height down to the Comb, and deposited Corbit 
Jack^s body at his own door.'' 

Muckle Jock of Bellingham, who claimed to be a descendant of 
Barty of the Comb, is still remembered by some of the oldest inhabi- 
tants ; he used to boast of more than once having cleared Bellingham 



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FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 39 

Pair with the Tarset and Tarret-burn men at his back, to the old Border 

cry of 

" Tarset and Tarret-burn, 
Hard — and heather bred, 
Yet— yet— yet." 

Mr. M. A. Denham^ in his ^' Slogans of the North of England " gives 
a variorum reading of the above : — 

" Up wi' Tarset and Tarret-burn, 

And down wi' the Beed and the Tyue ; " 

a cry which down to recent times has been often the occasion of broken 
heads^ as the lads of the insulted Tyne and Reed cannot possibly hear 
their native streams and dales depreciated by those who dwell on the 
borders of such insignificant streams as the Tarset and Tarret.^ 

Chirdon-bum boasts a rare sight in the savage gorge of the Seven 
Lynns, where the nest of the kestrel, it is said, may still be found. 

Hareshaw Lynn is the most beautiful of any waterfall connected with 
the Tyne, and if Hareshaw Head be reached by way of the vale of Tarset, 
the bum may then be traced over one of the choicest bits of Nature's 
undisturbed domain, — Hareshaw Common, — ^long famed for the grouse 
which abound upon it. The Lynn, however, is the '' lion " of Belling- 
ham, and is best approached from that town, which has a station on the 
railway next to Tarset. The road to Bellingham on the other side of the 
Tyne is a good one, and about two miles from Tarset passes through the 
beautiful park of Hesleyside and by the ancient home of the Charltons, 
one of the oldest families of North Tynedale. The old tower of Hesley- 
side, which was pulled down at the end of the last century, was that re- 
ported by Sir R. Bowes as in 1542 the only one in the country of 
Tynedale, a district which did not extend lower than the junction of the 
Tyne with the Reed just below Bellingham. The modem house stands 
but slightly above the level of the river, but is conspicuous for a long 
distance down stream, backed as it is by dense towering woods which 
extend over many acres. We have here the first sight of thickly- 

^ Tarret burn is a tributary of the Beed, as Tarset is of the Tyne. 



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40 



FUOM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 



timbered land^ and signs of cultivation are more abundant at every turn 
of the stream. 

Tramping one day from Greystead to Bellingham, the writer overtook 
a weary trio of women^ the oldest one leading a horse and cart. Just 
then an ugly turn in the river came into view, swollen and wild after a 
day's rain, and the road had there the appearance of leading down to the 
river. The old woman turned to inquire if they were right for Belling- 
ham^ and on being reassured, expressed a reasonable satisfaction on 
finding that they would not have to go through " that water." There is 




BELLINGHAM, PBOM TH£ BBIOGE. 

something simple and pretty in this Border use of the word " water *' for 
a stream; in Cumberland, lakes are so called; on the Border, rivers. 
The expression recalls many an old song ; and in this way, on the above 
occasion, — the wayfarers left behind, there came to mind a verse from 
" The Water o' Tyne : ''— 

" I cannot get to my love, if I would dee, 

The water of Tyne runs between him and me, 

And here I must stand with the tear in my e'e, 
Both sighing and sickly, my sweetheart to see. 

'* 0, where is the boatman my bonny honey P 
where is the boatman ? bring him to me, 

To ferry me over the Tyne to my honey, 

And I will remember the boatman and thee." 

The three wayfarers were doubtless of the tribe of Tinkers or 
" Potters ; '' the latter, vendors, not makers, wandering descendants of 



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FROM FALSTONB TO BELLINGHAM. 



41 



the former inhabitants of the North Tyne, Coquet, and Reed valleys, 
many of whom had squatted down about Bellingham, in times past giving 
some trouble to the authorities. Two miles below Hesleyside is the 
small market-town of Bellingham ; its general aspect is only moderately 
busy, but since the middle of the sixteenth century it has been known as 
providing a market for the people of North Tynedale. It has now seven 




HARESHAW LYNN. 

annual fairs, the most important being for lambs and wool, the Bellingham 
wool fair being the largest in the county. There is a miniature Town 
Hall. A castle once occupied a site which is now grass-covered, near 
the railway station ; it was held by the family of the Bellinghams, one 
of whom. Sir Allan, was deputy warden of the Marches in the reign of 
Henry VIII. 



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42 FROM FALSTONE TO BBLLINGHAM. 

The stone bridge is a feature here; there were great rejoicings at its 
opening in 1835. Many lives had been lost through the want of such a 
convenience at this part of the river, and a bridge, with most people a 
favourite object in the landscape, has certainly added a pictorial element 
here of which the natives are justly proud. 

Hareshaw Bum enters North Tyne opposite Bellingham : the Lynn 
is reached by following the course of the burn to where it emerges from 
a thickly-wooded dene, in the bottom of which it runs. By a wicket- 
gate the wood is entered, and paths cross and re-cross the bum over 
rustic bridges. There are about two miles of sylvan track, the stream 
showing at each turn more activity, small falls being succeeded by larger, 
until the waterfall is reached. When seen against the sky, as it comes 
rushing through the passage it has worn for itself, closed in by vertical 
rocks on either side, the trees meeting overhead, the Lynn has the effect 
of a torrent streaming though a vast open window. Before it shoots the 
rock, its streams intercross in a manner which distinctly characterizes it. 
The Sandstone Bock, picturesquely broken and iron impregnated, makes 
a glowing setting for the burn as it falls white to the shelving rock below, 
from which it presently makes the lower fall. Mr. Le Boer says : '^ There 
is no better iustance of the power of erosion (possessed by even such a 
little stream) or of the immensity of time required for the effects of that 
power to become appreciable, than this deep cleft of Hareshaw Lynn, 
which the rushing of the water is continually though imperceptibly 
deepening." 

About fourteen years since a fire occurred which destroyed a large 
part of the village of Bellingham ; the thatched roofs which had prevailed 
gave place to slate, giving a modern appearance to the old place. Some 
ancient stone buildings are still standing, the most interesting being 
the church. In the churchyard here, the celebrated physician. Sir John 
Fife, lies buried, and looking over his tranquil resting-place there is seen 
a pleasant view, taking in a pretty turn in the river, with its wooded 
banks on the opposite side. The curious little church is thus described 
by Dr. Charlton : — 

'' Bellingham Church is an ancient structure consisting of a chancel 
and nave, with a chantry on the south side. The nave is covered by a 



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FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 



43 



remarkable stone roof, of which very few examples exist in England. It 
is semicircular, and traversed from side to side by hexagonal ribs of 
stone, about 2 ft. 10 in. apart. These ribs are covered by heavy grey 




BELLINGHAM CHX7BCH. 



stone slabs, and the whole is so ponderous a structure that numerous 
buttresses are required outside to support the roof. The chancel has had 
a wooden roof, and is without buttresses. The tradition of the country 
is that the chancel was twice burnt down by the Scots during the Border 




INTERIOR OP BELLINGHAM CHURCH. 



wars, but we find no record of it in the State-papers of that period. The 
chancel was, however, unroofed and ruinous in 1609. The extremely 
narrow windows of the nave (they were formerly even narrower than at 
present) would make the nave available for purposes of defence, as in 



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44 FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 

some of the Cumberland Border churches^ where the steeple was appa- 
rently built with this intent. The doors, which were probably barred 
with iron, were secured internally by three massive bolts. The chantry 
chapel on the south side (it is probably the chapel of St. Catherine men- 
tioned in old records) is likewise stone-roofed, and contains a piscina and 
a bracket for a statue. The altar of the chantry stood under the east 
window of the chapel. Within the last few years the floor of the church 
has been raised some few feet, to the utter destruction of its internal pro- 
portions, and a building — for we can give it no other name — ^has been 
erected at the west end. The earth round the church has been raised by 
repeated interments to a great height." 

As devastators, the Danes have quite as bad a name as the Scots, in 
the annals of the Border counties, in which the entry " burnt by the 
Danes'' occurs repeatedly. Villages, abbeys, and monasteries bear 
marks of their visitation ; possibly, however, as Worsaae says, his country- 
men were not more of firebrands than the Saxons (our forefathers) , but 
coming later, their acts were more distinctly handed down ; he would 
impress upon us that it was the resistance of the Danes that hindered 
William the Norman from conquering Northumberland and Cumberland, 
as he had other parts of this country. When Worsaae visited our 
northern counties in 1846 he met faces exactly resembling those at home, 
and says : '' Had I met these persons in Norway or Denmark, it would 
never have entered my mind that they were foreigner s.'* 

The English language has not borrowed many words from the 
Danes ; neither the place, names, nor the local phraseology of the Tyne 
districts include many words of Danish origin. 

Surnames ending with son or sen are extremely common, however, 
and this termination, says Worsaae, never used by the Saxon, is quite 
peculiar to the Scandinavian races, "Johnson'' being one of the 
commonest names in Iceland ; notably over the shops and inn doors 
of Bellingham, and other villages in the north of England, are such 
names found. 

The Danes settling in flat country, and often neai* the coast, have 
given us words having reference to the sea, shipping, &c., and here on 
the North Tyne river there has been a method pursued of salmon killing. 



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FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 



45 



which, if not itself of Danish origin, yet used boats and implements with 
Scandinavian names. In the neighbourhood of Belli ngham, and higher 
up the river where salmon cannot be taken with the net, spearing from a 
boat was formeriy a common practice. The boat used was double, united 
only at stem and stem by a cross-piece. Stephen Oliver the younger, 
who saw them in use about 1835, writes thus : — 

^' In spearing salmon from these ' trows/ as the country people call 
them, there are usually two men employed, one to guide them by a pole 
called a ^ bang,' and the other, armed with a ^ leister/ stands with one 




SALMON SPEARING FROM "TROWS. 



leg on each ' trow ' looking down into the water between them ready to 
strike when a salmon shows himself/' 

Mr. Worsaae tells us that "leister'' is from the Danish lyster or 
Icelandic Ijoster, a barbed iron fork on a long pole ; and trow is a Jut- 
land word for ferry-boat: — two small boats, originally trunks of trees, 
hollowed out and held together by a cross-pole. He who wishes to pass 
over, places a foot in each trough or boat, and rows himself forward with 
an oar or pole. (Was it a Jutland tailor who introduced the word 
trousers to this country ?) It is said that Edmund Ironsides and Canute 
the Great rowed over to the Isle of Olney in the Severn in such boats 



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46 



FROM FALSTONE TO BELLINGHAM. 



at the time when they concladed an agreement to divide the country be- 
tween them.' 

The above method of taking salmon was a favourite one with 
poachers^ of whom at one time Bellingham housed not a few, who could 
tell many a racy story of leistering adventure and frequent fray with the 
watchers ; but coming down to our own times it is pleasant to recur to 
the honourable testimony to the people of Bellingham and neighbourhood 
contained in the Report of the Parliamentary Commission on the Employ- 
ment of Women and Children, 1867. Among the printed answers to 
questions put by the Commissioners are the following: "The people 
value education very much, and many of the children come several 
miles to school/' 

"A few shepherds in the hills keep a schoolmaster among them; 
Virgil, Horace, and Csssar are not strange to them/' 

^^ Children of agricultural labourers remain at school until fourteen or 
fifteen years of age/' And Mr. Charlton, of Hesleyside, said : '' There 
appears no necessity for enforcing any amount of education.'' Happy 
Bellingham I 




HESLEYSIDE. 



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CHAPTER IV. 



BEEDSWATER. 



J 



' UST below Bellingham^ our river, whilst re- 
flecting increasing signs of culture on its 
banks^ is beginning to keep a steadier pace^ 
when its waters are disturbed by the entrance 
of the turbulent Beed, the most important 
affluent of North Tyne, the springs of which 
are to be found as far back in the Cheviots as 
those of the Tyne itself. The Reed receives 
most of its tributary streams from land lying 
east of it, and thus aa an auxiliary it raises 
levies for our river in districts more removed. 
First among these tributaries are Otterbum, 
and Elsdon burn, which are within the com- 
pass of a walk from Reedsmouth station. 

The way to Otterbum lies through West Woodbum, and on by 
Watling Street, the ancient Roman Road, which, passing through Reeds- 
date, crosaes the Cheviots into Scotland. This road will be seen again 
at Corbridge, near which it crosses the Roman Wall at right angles, and 
where it had a bridge over the Tyne, and then passed southwards, 
through Ebchester and Chester-le- Street. Keeping to Watling Street, 
about two miles from Woodburn, Troughend Hall is seen on high ground 
to the left, be^rt with dark tre^s. It formerly belonged to the Reeds^ 




OTTEBBUBN CBOfiS. 



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48 RBEDSWATER. 

and is an ancient place^ about which there hangs a tale referred to here- 
after. 

Leaving Watling Street by a field path to the east of Tronghend, the 
river is crossed close to where the Otterbum empties itself into the Reed. 
This bum gives name to the quiet village on its banks^ which is sheltered 
by fine treea^ and is on the old Chevy Chase Soad^ from Newcastle to 
Edinburgh. It contains a substantial inn^ called the Percy Arms. Otter- 
bum is famous in Border history as the site of the great battle of August 
19th, 1388. ^' Following the rivulet northwards, one comes to a stretch 
of benty upland that extends from the Fawdoun Hills for two miles west- 
ward, to a ridge that runs down to the present public road through the 
valley of the Reed. On that benty upland did the fight of Otterbum 
rage through that August night till morning. At first the Scots were 
driven back, suffering severely, but gradually they pressed their antago- 
nists westward in a line along the valley of the Reed. Fully a mile and 
a half from where the battle began, the Douglas fell. The spot is 
marked by what is inappropriately. called ^Percy's Cross,' now sur- 
rounded by a small plantation. But the real spot, and the one originally 
marked by the cross, was about seventy- three yards north-east of its 
present site. A recent discovery made at Blsdon Church, about three 
miles distant from the scene of conflict, may be regarded as throwing 
some light on the slaughter. There, skulls to the amount of a thousand 
have been disinterred, all lying together. They are of lads in their 
teens, and of middle-aged men ; but there are no skulls of old men, or of 
women. Not improbably these are the dead of Otterbum." * 

The story of the Battle of Otterbum comes down to us immor- 
talized in the two well-known ballads, one of which, giving the Scotch 
version of the affair, is printed in the "Border Minstrelsy,'' that in 
" Percy's Relics " being the English version ; the minstrels flattered their 
respective nationalities, ascribing the victory accordingly. *' Chevy 
Chase," and the " Hunting of the Cheviot," although very similar to 
" The Battle of Otterbum " are ascribed to a later date, and it has been 
suggested, may refer to a subsequent fight also between a Percy and a 

» •* The History and Poetry of the Scottish Border,'' by J. Veitch, LL.D., p. 388. 



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REEDSWATER. 49 

Douglas^ which occurred at Pepperden, near the Cheviots, in 1436, about 
fifty years after the Battle of Otterbum. 

'' Chevy Chase " was the ballad to which Sir Philip Sidney referred, 
when he exclaimed, in his " Defence of Poetry,'^ '' I never heard the old 
song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than 
with a trumpet/' How much more must these stirring strains have moved 
the hearts of the hardy men who lived among the scenes of these heroic 
deeds, and whose own struggles from generation to generation were not 
forgotten in the songs of the minstrels who magnified the deeds of 
Douglas and Percy. No wonder that among the more degenerate Bor- 
derers of Post-Union times there lingered with the old traditions a glint 
of the ancient chivalry ! 

Elsdon bum is crossed on the return from Otterburn. Blsdon 
village, which is reached by a cross road, lies among hills which stretch 
away to the north, east, and south of it, all moorland of the wildest. 
Many objects of interest are found here ; in addition to the church, which 
is ancient, there is the old tower, now the rectory house, but formerly the 
residence of the Lords Warden of Reedsdale. The arms of the Umfiraville 
family, who for a long period held the lordship, are still pointed out on 
the face of the building ; they are also to be seen on the front of Whitton 
Tower at Rothbury, on the Coquet. Both these towers are now rectory 
houses. '' ' Cedant arma togSB ' '' (writes Stephen Oliver the younger) '' was 
the notice to quit, served upon the warlike tenants of Elsdon Tower, when 
Cheviot Hills ceased to be the boundary line between two hostile nations. 
The occupation of the Lord of Reedsdale was gone, for there were no 
longer wolves in the county, nor enemies of the king to encounter within 
the four seas ; and the Border rider, clad in a rusty steel jack, and armed 
with a long sword, stalked out, and the rector, having on a new cassock 
and a clean band, walked in, and hung up his goodly beaver in the hall, 
where the former tenant used to hang up his helmet.*' ^ 

In 1870 we saw that the byre of the Peel had been transformed into 
the drawing-room of the rectory house. The Castle is known to have 
been in existence at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Of greater 

* " Bambles in Northumberland,'* by Stephen Oliver the younger, p. 109. 

H 



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50 RBEDSWATER. 

antiquity is the artificial mound^ generally called the Mote Hill^ a short 
distance from the tower, and supposed to be of British origin ; but what 
purpose it serred, whether for worship or defence, public meeting, or 
burial, nothing certain is known. Elsdon parish was, until recently, one 
of the largest in England ; its length was twenty-one miles, and its 
breadth about five ; on the north it reached to the Scottish Border, but 
its population was as sparse as the area was great. 

Following Elsdon bum to the Reed, and past where Black-burn falls 
wildly over a confused heap of grey boulders. East Woodbum is ap- 
proached. The river divides it from West Woodbum, the starting- 
point of this excursion. Between Woodbum and Reedsmouth is the 
spot that 

*( » » » » gg^^Q Bertram name, 
The moated moond of Bisingham." 

So Sir Walter Scott in ^' Rokeby,^' in which also he does honour to " sweet 
Woodburn^s cottages and trees.'' Risingham is the modem Habitancum, 
for here was a Roman station on Watling Street, the grass-covered site 
of which is still plainly marked. Camden mentions an altar which was 
removed from the Reed, bearing the name Habitancum. Dr. Bruce re- 
marks that the name does not occur in the older writings, or in the 
'' Notitia,'' an ancient document which contains an account of the principal 
dignitaries, civil and military, of the Roman Empire throughout the world ; 
the learned, however, conclude that such was the Roman name of Rising- 
ham. The site of the station, about half a mile S.W. of Woodbum, can 
be clearly made out: it has now the distinction of being one of the 
sweetest bits of grass land in the vicinity. The stump which is all that 
remains of the curious figure of Robin of Risingham, mentioned by 
Horsley and others, was still to be seen in situ in 1877. It is in rudely- 
sculptured bas-relief, cut on the face of one of the sandstone rocks, on the 
side of a hill in a field near Woodbum railway station. The proprietor 
of the field, in a fit of anger, caused by the number of visitors to see the 
figure, broke off the upper part ; it was during the lifetime of Sir Walter 
Scott, who, in a note to '' Ivanhoe,'' referred to the churlish proceeding 
in terms of strong disgust. The engraving taken from Horsley shows 



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RBBDSWATBR. 51 

the whole figure; the mark across the lower part indicates the frac- 
ture^ the part under the line being all that remains. Many conjee- 
tares have been hazarded as to the signification and origin of the figure. 
Sir Walter gleaned a local tradition of two brothers, giants, who lived, 
the one at Woodburn, the other being Rob of Risingham. From 
Horsley's figure it might well have been a rude '^ Diana,'* although 
Horsley himself thought it a figure of the Emperor Oommodus as 
Hercules. 

Geologist, artist, angler, and antiquary alike find their pleasure by 
the banks of the Reed. The Ridsdale ironstone beds which belong to 
Sir William Armstrong, abound with fossils, and Mr. Lebour gives a 
list of nearly one hundred different specimens collected there, and now 
placed in the Museum of the College of Physical Science at Newcastle. 
The North Tyne and Reed valleys are rich in traces of early inhabitants. 
Cairns, ancient camps, terraces, hut circles, and tumuli abound in the 
district, and these remains throw some small light on the nature of their 
pre-historic occupants, and scientdfic investigation finds in them partial 
answers to the Poet's questioning — 

" What aspect bore the man who roved or fled 
First of his tribe to this dark fell, who first 
In this pellucid current slaked his thirst P ** 

River DiAddon, stanza xvii. 

According to Canon Greenwell, barrows long-shaped, and barrows 
round, contain burials, the skulls in which correspond in shape to the 
mounds under which they lie ; the oldest are the long barrows, which 
contain remains of the earliest known race in Britain akin to the Basque 
or Iberian ; while associated with the round barrows we have the broad 
or oval skull of the ancient Celt. 

The only barrow opened by Canon Greenwell in this neighbourhood 
was one about a mile east of ChoUerton, the upper part of which was en- 
tirely made of stones. 

At Warks-haugh, near the village of Wark, a little lower down the 
Tyne than Reedsmouth, a low and fiat barrow was found to contain 
burials both of burnt and unbumt bodies, one of the former being de- 



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52 RKED8WATBB. 

posited in a cinerary nm^ whilst there was associated with one of the 
latter a peculiarly marked food vessel. In the immediate vicinity of 
Swinbnme^ several cairns have produced cists^ one of them containing a 
jet necklace and other articles. Canon Greenwell possesses " a very fine 
specimen of a drinking cup which was discovered at Smalesmouth in a 
cist with an unbumt body.'* In a cairn on Chesterhope Common, the 
unusual occurrence of gold was met with in the shape of a necklace of 
globular beads. 

Very interesting are the traces of terraces on the fell sides, believed 
to have been planned and cultivated by pre-historic races. Such are to 
be seen near Plashetts station opposite Mounces, and at other places. A 
stone monolith at Swinburne is amongst the few monuments found on 
the Tyne of a class generally ascribed to the Druids. But our faith in 
Druid temples of stone, &c., is much shaken since reading Mr. Fergusson's 
interesting work on " Ancient Rude Monuments.'^ 

There are numerous camps of British as well as Roman construction 
in Reedsdale, and good examples on both sides of Watling Street ; and 
at Blue Crag there is one described by Mr. MacLaughlan as a large and 
strong fortress with twelve hut circles distinctly traceable, and others 
there are nearer to Woodbum, as at Steele and Broomhope. At the 
last-named spot, the Camp hill is a wedge-like promontory defended on 
each side and towards the Reed by natural precipices, and approached by 
a spiral ascent like that of old Sarum Hill in miniature. Besides those 
mentioned above, there are others — indeed, the word camp is dotted over 
the district in all directions on the Ordnance Map. 

The river scenery affords good subjects for the artist. A high 
eulogium is paid to it by Professor Veitch, when he says of the Reed that 
in all its features of hill and glen it is another Yarrow. 

The following descriptive verses are selected from Roxby's '' Lay of 
the Reed water Minstrel : '* — 



** He*ll sing Beedswater^s muirlands wild, 
Where whirring heath-cocks flee, 

Where limpid wells and heather bells 
Delight the sportsman's e*e. 



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RBBDSWATER. 

" The dreary Darden's misty moor, 
Rude rocks, and • murky tarn,' 

The cliffy cove, the craggy doure, 
Nan-moss and lone Hare-caim. 

" He'll sing of Raylee's woody vale, 
Where rippling streamlets flow. 

Where eglantines and lilies pale, 
And rathe primroses grow ; 

" Where waving birks and hazels brown 

O'erhang the flowery brae, 
Where throstles hail the blushing morn 

Wi' many a tuneful lay." 



5S 




ON THE BEED. 

The reader must fain linger a while longer in this valley, with its 
peaceful pictures, and its hospitable folk, for there is nothing here but 
the wild river itself to suggest the turbulence of former times, for was 
not Reedsdale worse even than North Tynedale itself for lawlessness and 
rapine F A chat with some of the old folks here is calculated to make 
rest more restful after climbing the hills, especially if fortune seat the 
weary traveller beside one of the legend-loving natives of the dale. 
Such an one, for the information of the writer, pointed to where over the 
hills " was Girsonsfield, the place the Ha's lived at ; " and then came the 



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54 RBBDSWATER. 

story of the death of Percy Beed^ a tragedy, the minutest detailR of which 
are given. 

The victim, Percy Reed, soldier and huntsman, was proprietor of 
Troughend Hall, opposite to Otterbum, an estate of high lands in the 
centre of Reedsdale, of which he was a warden or keeper, his betrayers 
being the brothers Hall of Girsonsfield, who, impatient at his honest vigi- 
lance towards the law-breakers, and knowing that they themselves were 
not among the most loyal, laid a plot for his life, and found willing tools 
in the Crosiers, a moss-trooping clan from Liddesdale across the Border. 
The '' fause hearted Ha's " (so were they and their descendants called 
ever after) kept their resentment quiet until opportunity offered in the 
shape of a hunting expedition, in which they accompanied their victim. 
After the day's sport they retired to a solitary glen at Batehope, near 
the source of the Reed, and here the Crosiers came down on the party 
and slew their victim, helpless as he was, for tradition says his com- 
panions in the chase had watered the barrel of his long gun, and fixed 
his sword so firmly in the scabbard, that it could not easily be drawn. 
Such is the story which the Reedsdale narrator gives us in his own, or in 
the words of the old ballad, and goes on to speak of the haunted banks 
of the Reed, between Todlawhaugh and Pringlehaugh, where — 

" Oft by the Pringle's hannted side 
The shepherd sees Eeed^s spectre glide." 

Bohehy. 

Some talk there might be of the " Raid of the Reedswire.'* The 
ballad recounts a skirmish, which took place in 1575 at one of the Border 
meetings. Sir John Carmichael was the Scottish warden, and Sir John 
Forster held the same office on the English Middle March. These 
meetings for redressing wrongs done on the Border frequently led to 
fighting, as on this occasion, when a true bill had been found against 
Farnstein, who was a notorious English freebooter. The statement that 
he had been allowed to fiy from justice led to high words between the 
wardens; then quickly followed a discharge of arrows from Sir John 
Forster's men, who were a reckless band^ chiefly from Reedsdale and 



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REEDSWATER. 55 

Ty nedale, and the Fen wicks were there in great force, as a verse from the 
spirited Scotch ballad tells us : — 

" We saw come marching over the knowes 
Five hundred Fenwicke in a flock, 
With jack and gpeir and bowes all bent, 
And warlike weapons at their vrill." 

In the contest that followed, the English at first had the best of it, 
but the Scots, relieved by the well-timed arrival of a company of 
Jedburghers, changed the aspect of affairs, and eventually gained the 
day, making prisoners the English warden, Sir Cnthbert CoUingwood, 
Francis Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford, some of the Fenwicks, and 
other well-known Border Chiefs. 

Such work as this made up the every-day life on the Border, and to 
it gravitated the reckless and dissolute, to whom the steady cultivation of 
the soil was attended with so much difficulty, that they preferred the 
more congenial way of ^' making the Border feed them/' In the course 
of time. Borderers became a distinct race, but it was only the worst of 
them who lost their sense of nationality and the ties of kindred, and 
were outlaws to both nations. The government of neither country was 
zealous in putting down offenders here, as they found it convenient when 
at war, to have on the spot men born and bred to strife to receive the first 
brunt of the attack. In those days there was a large population on the 
Border, but little notice was taken of the fact that there were more 
people than the land could maintain in honesty. In the reign of Edward 
VI., Sir Robert Bowes reported that it was possible to raise 1200 able 
men in Reedsdale and Tynedale ; and in the previous reign the Duke of 
Northumberland, writing to the King, promised to '' lette slippe them of 
Tyndaill and Riddisdail for the annoyance of Scotland.'^ The Duke 
seems to have regarded " them " as so many sleuth-h^ounds. Surely as 
long as the authorities continued to press into their service notoriously 
' « lawless clans in their own scarcely more reputable raids on the hereditary 
foe, it was not surprising that these wild clans should consider themselves, 
in a manner, licensed to carry on their private feuds and plundering. 

Perhaps the most corrupt times on the Borders were those just pre- 
ceding the Union. After the Union, as might be expected, some gene- 



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56 REEDSWATER. 

rations passed away before the worst habits of the Border clans were era- 
dicated : as late as the beginning of the present century a strong taste 
for wild living prevailed among them ; and the Reedsdale farmer of the 
period has been described as careless^ boisterous^ unlettered^ and half 
civilized^ but happy^ free^ and hospitable^ withal hard as the hills his sheep 
grazed on, ready at all times to shake hands^ or break a head ; he had a 
bite and a bottle for any one, and was wont to say ^' he would rather 
treat a beggar than lose good company." ^'Elishaw/^ says Roxby, 
"was a place of note in Reedsdale for merry makings and nights of 
revelry, and the rendezvous of vagrant trains of faas and tinkers. Lord 
Cranstoun of convivial memory had a place here, but alas ! these days 
are gone and the grandeur of Blishaw is no more.*^ 

Let us hope, however, that the times will never change the people of 
these northern dales in respect of the hospitality, keen sense of humour, 
and enjoyment of life which characterize them ; and as for their ancestors, 
we cherish their memory in association with words printed by Gray on 
the title-page of his " Chorographia : " 

NOBTHUMBERLAND THE BULWARK OF ENGLAND AGAINST THE INROADS OF 

THE SCOTS. 




BOB OF BISINGHAM. 



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CHAPTER V. 



NORTH TYNB CASTLES. OHIPOHASB AND HAUGHTON. 




FOBCH OF CHIPCHASE 
CASTLE. 



[IVB miles below Reedsmouth is the quiet little vil- 
lage of Wark^ not to be confounded with that other 
more famous hamlet^ in the same county^ whose 
castle^ battered by the Scots in many a siege^ still 
shows remains on the banks of the Tweed. Around 
our Wark, once the capital of North Tynedale, 
memories of a different kind are gathered of the 
days when it was the assize town of the district. 
The Record 0£Sce preserves two valuable documents 
which give account of law proceedings held at Wark 
six hundred years ago. The earliest of these docu- 
ments refers to a session of the Scottish courts held 
here in 1279^ under Alexander III., during the last period of Scottish 
occupation ; the other, referring to the Courts of the Liberties of Tyne- 
dale, held at the Mote Hill, Wark, under Edward I., in 1293, Tynedale 
being then under English rule again. 

These records afford a lively picture of the rude life of the period ; in 
them the present representatives of old Tynedale families, high and low, 
may get a glimpse of their ancestors and their mode of living. Estates 
are frequently mentioned as being in the possession of families whose 
descendants own them at the present day ; in them, also, we obtain some 
information of the notable families about whom, fiskmiliar as their names 

I 



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68 NORTH TYNB CA8TLBS. 

are in Border lista^ history has very little to tell us ; but what these 
documents have to say concerning these families does not raise them in 
our estimation much above their fellows ; they were the heads of society, 
whose chiefs, landed proprietors, country squires, and country parsons, 
too, were more or less tarred with the same brush as the rievers them- 
selves ; nevertheless, it would appear there was a better show of justice 
in Tynedale at this period than in the later times referred to in the last 
chapter. 

To about the date of these records many of the old Border castles are 
ascribed, and some of these are the subject of this chapter. 

How rich Northumberland is in castles^ the remains of castles, and 
the sites of strongholds, is generally known. A list drawn up in the 
year 1460 contains the names of 115 castles and towers existing in the 
county at that time ; and, says Mr. Sidney Oibson, of the thirty-seven 
castles, eleven have disappeared, eighteen are more or less in ruin, and 
only eight are maintained for use and habitation ; and of the seventy- 
eight Border towers or peles, only a small number are maintained in 
habitable condition. As we follow the course of the Tyne to the sea, its 
banks will not be found wanting in fine specimens of feudal castles, as 
well as Border towers, and among the latter on North Tyne, Chipchase 
and Haughton are characteristic examples, the largest, most perfect, and 
interesting of their kind. . Professor Y eitch has the following in reference 
to the word pele : '' The Border keep bears the same name peel, or pile, as 
the Cymri gave to their hill dwellings (pill, moated or fossed fort).'* 
Many of their circular and oval forts, popularly called camps and rings, 
can be traced on the hills on both sides of the Border, and in them the 
Cymri defended themselves against the Picts, Scots, and Saxons. And (we 
quote the same author) " the people who had displaced these old Cymri 
settled on the hills, almost in the very spots where they had lived, and 
borrowed from them the names of their dwellings." 

Chipchase Castle is on the left side of the North Tyne, about one 
mile from Wark. It represents in the ancient and modem part of its 
structure the reigns of Edward I. and James I., and each part charac- 
teristic of the time in which it was erected. In this combination the 
Jacobite architect contrived for us a memorial structure commemorative 



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CHIPCHA8B AJTO HAUGHTON. 61 

of the close of the Border wars. The old fortress with all its warlike ap- 
pliances was wanted no more^ but so long as the last of its grey walls re- 
sist decay^ there will be a reminder of the times left behind ; of the fighting 
lords of Chipchase; of Peter de Insula/ who probably built it, of the Um- 
fravilles, and of the Herons, a branch of the powerful family of Ford 
Castle associated with the field of Plodden. Of the Chipchase branch 
was the Sir George Heron, who was slain in the raid of the Redeswire 
before referred to. One of the family was sheriff eleven years in suc- 
cession, and to one, Cuthbert Heron, we owe the modem structure, for 
whom it was built in 1621. It has been said of this building that ''it 
would be attractive amid the best specimens of the Jacobean style.'' In 
how much better taste does the old pile appear than in some ancient 
buildings with modern attachments, where the new is out of harmony 
with the old; or we find the ancient and modem so jumbled together as 
-to spoil all. The following description of the ancient part of Chipchase 
is by Mr. Hartshome '? — 

'' The pele, properly so called, is a massive and lofty building, as 
large as some Norman keeps. It has an enriched appearance given to 
it by its double-notched corbelling round the summit, which further 
serves the purpose of machicolation. The round bartisans at the angles 
add to its beauty^ and are set in with considerable skill. The stone roof 
and the provisions for carrying ofi^ the water deserve careful examination. 
Over the low winding entrance-door on the basement are the remains of 
the original portcullis, the like of which the most experienced archaeo- 
logist will in vain seek for elsewhere. The grooves are also visible, and 
the chamber where the machinery was fixed for raising it is to be met 
with, even, as at Goodrich, where the holes in which the axle worked, 
and the oil- way that served to ease its revolutions, may be seen ; but at 
Chipchase there is the little cross-grated portcullis itself, which was 
simply lifted by the leverage of a wooden bar above the entrance, and let 
.down in the same manner.'' 

A few years since in exploring the keep, there was discovered a little 

^ Godwin's " EngliBh Archaeologist's Guide '' says it was built by P. de Insula 
about 1250. 

' Quoted by Rev. G. B. Hall, in his "Memoir of Chipchase Castle.** 



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62 



NORTH TTNE CASTLES. 



chapel in the thickness of the walls, opening on the principal chamber. 
The old keep has its ghostly visitant, one Sir Reginald Fitzarse, wko 
haunts the scene of his imprisonment and starvation. During hundreds 
of years (they say) at intervals the clank of the unfortunate knight's 
armour was wont to be heard as he walked here at the eerie hour of mid- 
nighty and some aver that it may still be heard. Leaving musty dun- 
geons and the misty legends which they generate, and gaining the fresh 
air, the stranger is charmed by the beautiful situation of the castle as 
seen from diflTerent parts of the park. 




A PEEP FBOH CHIPCHASE PABK. 

The river, too, presents itself in sweet passages of alternating quiet 
and unrest, and on its other shore we see between the trees glimpses of 
Nunwick Park and Simonbum. Amongst other things in the interior of 
the modern building which attract attention is the very fine black oak 
chimneypiece, the carving of which is in bold relief, and represents the 
march of time. 

A claim is put in for Chipchase as the scene of Hogg's story of " The 
Long Pack,'' so popular on Tyneside. The story is well known, and too 
long for insertion ; and as to the superiority of claim between Chipchase, 



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HAUGHTON CABTLB. 



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CHIPCHASB AND HAUGHTON. 



65 



Swinburne^ or Lee Hall near Bellingliam^ we must leaye that with the 
remark that it would not be difficult to find other lonely places on the 
Tyne besides these which would almost equally well answer the require- 
ments of the story. 

Haughton Castle is lower down the river than Chipchase^ and on the 
opposite side. Barrasford railway station is convenient for it, from the 
platform of which is one of the best views of the castle, only wanting the 
water. A near view is obtained from the path along the left bank of the 




HAUGHTON CASTLB. 



river, which is easily found, leading to the primitive ferry boat, which is 
worked by an overhead rope and pulley.. The castle, stands fronting the 
river, partly hidden in a grove of trees amongst which pines, and particu- 
larly the graceful larch, preponderate. North Tyne, now grown big and 
strong, rushes past it, chafing and foaming through intricate straits among 
grey rocks grooved and worn by the action of untold winters of angry 
flood. 

This stronghold, ancient, grey, and ivy-mantled, has externally the 
true aspect of a Border castle. ^' The figure is of a double square with 



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66 



NOKTH TYNE CASTLES. 



two parallel yaults of a simple construction rnnning on the basement 
from end to end. The south front has been the most ornamental^ 
although at present the north side with its projecting garderobes and 
corbelling is the most picturesque/' Internally it has been fitted to the 
requirements of modem life ; it always seems to have been inhabited, 
and once had its Baron's Hall. It is thought probable that William de 
Swinburne built it^ of whom we find frequent mention in the records 
above referred to, and from their account we may infer with Dr. Charlton 




GOCKLAW TOWEB AS IT IS. 



that "he was evidently a powerful chieftain, and greatly involved in 
disputes with his weaker neighbours, whose lands he seems to have been 
disposed to lay claim to at all seasons.'' 

The tail-piece to this chapter notes a pretty fall on a tributary of 
Crook-bum, which latter joins the Tyne nearly opposite Chipchase 
Castle. The writer, however, did not approach the Lynn by following 
up Crook-bum. It rests on his memory as a very pleasant finish to a 
drive from Hexham through the country to the west of Haughton Castle. 
Swinburne and its castle were sighted on the way, and the beautifully 



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CHIPCHASE AND HAUGHTON. 



67 



wooded park of Nunwick. Then there was pleasant travelling on foot 
among rocks^ stones^ and trees^ along the then rather dry bed of Teckitt- 
bnm before the Lynn came in sights where it falls among boulders^ 
bright with varied moss and lichen^ standing heaped upon each other^ 
and strewn about in wild confusion. A keen enjoyment is found in 
clambering over these rough blocks^ thus gaining a sufficiently high 
standing-point to see along the gleaming surface of the bum as it glides 
to its fell over flat rocky ledges, upon one or other of which is pretty sure 




COCKLAW TOWEB AS IT WAS. 

to be seen, bobbing in its characteristic manner the water-ouzel, where a 
cautious observer may have a capital opportunity of watching it in its 
true habitat. Teckitt Lynn has been known as the haunt of a small 
family of these birds for many seasons. It has been very satisfactory to 
find a recent writer vindicating the fame of this bonnie bird from a 
calumny which should have been exploded before ; for it has been shown 
that, instead of eating the roe of fish, &c., it devours many water-beetles 
which are known to feed upon fish spawn, so that the water-ouzel is 
actually one of the best guardians of a fishery. 



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68 



NORTH TYNE CASTLBS. 



Oocklaw Tower, near ChoUerton, is considered to be a good example 
in ruins of a class of border keep, less imposing than Haughton or 
Chipchase, but larger than many of its kind. It is so much fSEillen into 
decay as not to admit of exploration above the byre. The farmer on 
whose land the tower stands, puts the byre to its old use, only the cattle 
now go in and out without haste. 




TECKITT LYNN. 



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CHAPTER VI. 



CHOLLERFORD. 




LHIS will be mainly a chapter 
on Roman antiquities ; they 
cluster here^ making it classic 
ground. The comfortable 
inn near the bridge has no 
doubt often afforded refresh- 
ment to the itinerant bent on 
a survey of the Roman Wall. 
The stations of Yindolana 
and Borcovicus are in the neighbourhood^ but these are more generally 
approached from Haydon Bridge, or Bardon Mill on South Tyne, and 
come under notice in the chapter on the Northumberland lakes. 

At Carraesburgh, about three and a half miles from Chollerford, are 
to be seen the remains of Procolitia ; its grass-covered ramparts are well 
defined, and here so recently as the autumn of 1876 an important dis- 
covery of Roman coins and other antiquities was made. The very spot 
had been visited and described by Horsley in 1 732, but the treasure was 
effectually hidden under a mass of rubbish. Fortunately, the station 
had been acquired by Mr. Clayton, the well-known antiquary, whose 
workmen, on removing the rubbish from what appears to have been a 
Roman bath, came upon the treasure. It is conjectured that before the 
departure of the legion holding the station, whether in retreating before an 



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70 CHOLLERFOBD. 

enemy or otherwise^ the treasure had been hidden with the hope of some 
day returning for it, which hope was never fulfilled, whereby Mr. 
Clayton's collection is greatly enriched. In this great ''find'' there 
were 20,000 coins, a few rings, and twenty altars, the latter all dedicated 
to a goddess with the hitherto unknown name of Coventina. Many 
suggestions have been made by antiquaries as to the derivation of the 
name. The following is from a paper by Dr. Hoppell, read before the 
Cambrian Archsoological Association : — 

'' One has suggested ' Gover,' the head of a stream ; another, Convenae, 
a tribe of Gaul. But it seems more probable that Coventina, if a British 
goddess, was the Keltic Mnemosyne, and that her name indicates that 
she was the goddess of remembrance from 'cof,' memory, 'cofen,' 
memorial. In tracing derivations, the natural action of the human mind 
must be taken into account. To call a goddess ' Springhead,' or by 
the name of a tribe of men, seems unreasonable ; to call her Mnemosyne, 
or by a name of similar signification, seems natural ; and if her temple 
were erected on a spot famous in contemporary story, it would be appro- 
priate and just." 

Mr. Clayton's seat, " The Chesters," is situated on the west side of the 
river, close to ChoUerford. This is the modern Cilumum ; it was one of 
the most important stations on the line of the wall, and commanded the 
valley of North Tyne. Under the direction of the present proprietor 
nearly the whole of the station has been excavated. Cilurnum is sup- 
posed to have been the work of Agricola about 81 a.d. The earliest in- 
scribed stone found here is of Antoninus Pius. Tacitus, in his life of 
Agricola, mentions that after the first campaign he tried to civilize the 
Britons by introducing comforts and luxuries, houses, baths, and forums. 
The camp existed before the wall, which runs to the centre of it, and 
leaves it from the centre. In camps formed at the same time as the wall, 
it forms the northern rampart of them, as at Procolitia. The total area 
of the camp at Cilurnum is about six acres. Amongst the most in- 
teresting parts yet opened out are the remains of the Forum, and of the 
bridge over North Tyne. The sketch of the former was made by Mr. 
C. J. Durham, who was on the spot soon after the excavations were made 
in 1876. 



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CHOLLERFOKD. 73 

The floors of b. and d have been raised abont two feet at a period sub- 
sequent to the original erection, the space between the two floors being 
filled in with earth and rubble. On the Curiaa^ dd, a hearth was found 
with coal. 

Amongst the interesting statuary in Mr. Clayton^s collection is one 
figure which has a special interest for us in our river ramble. We refer 
to that engraved on the title-page, believed to be a representation of the 
river-god of North Tyne. It was found near the east gateway of the 
station which led to the bridge. 

There is nothing more interesting along the whole course of the wall 
than the remains of this bridge ; the foundations of the pier may be seen 
any day when the water is clear. The western abutment is submerged, 
but a considerable part of the eastern abutment is to be seen high and 
dry some distance from the present river banks. To see this we must 
cross by the modem bridge on Wade's military road, now the highway 
from Newcastle to Carlisle, most of which was made upon the Roman 
wall itself, fi-om which it diverges, however, near ChoUerford, and crosses 
the river about half a mile above the site of the ancient bridge ; the latter 
is reached by a foot path through the plantation by the river side. The 
following is firom the pen of Mr. Clayton : — 

'' The first specific mention of the existing remains of this bridge is 
made by Gordon, the Scottish antiquary, who gave his observations to 
the world under the title of ' Itinerarium Septentrionale ' in the year 
1726.'' " Descending," says Mr. Gordon, " from the high ground, and 
passing through a place called Brunton-on-the-Wall, we came to the 
bank of the river called the North Tyne, where are the vestiges of a 
Roman bridge to be seen, the foundation of which consists of large 
square stones, linked together with iron cramps ; but this bridge, how- 
ever, is only seen when the water is low." In the summer of 1783, 
Brand, the historian of Newcastle, waded in the stream, and found innu- 
merable square stones with holes in them, wherein iron rivets had been 
fixed, lying embedded on the spot. Hodgson, the historian of North- 
umberland, examined more minutely than his predecessors had done the 
remains of the bridge, and he found " that many of the stones of the piers 
remaining in the water were regularly pierced with an oblong hole, wider 

L 



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74 CHOLLERFORD. 

at the bottom than at the top, plainly for a lonis by which they had been 
let down to their present beds/' showing that the Romans perfectly un- 
derstood an invention in modem times ascribed to a French engineer in 
the reign of Louis Quatorze^ who gave to his invention the name of his 
sovereign. 

In Dr. Brace's admirable work on the Roman Wall, is a most accurate 
plan of the remains of this bridge visible in the bed of the stream, con- 
sisting of the foundation stones of the western abutment, and of two piers 
at equal distances jfrom each other. Dr. Bruce shadows forth a conjec- 
tural line for the eastern land abutment, and of two piers at equal dis- 
tances from each other, on the assumption that it would be found buried 
in the bed of the stream opposite to the western abutment. It was re- 
served for the sagacity of Mr. W. Coulson, of Corbridge, to discover, in the 
spring of the year 1860, the remains of the eastern land abutment of the 
bridge of Cilurnum, which have been since fully developed by the spade. 
In shape and position this abutment corresponds with that shadowed 
forth by Dr. Bruce, excepting that it is removed considerably to the 
landv^rd of the stream. 

Those who have seen the magnificent remains of the Pont du Grard 
lighted by the glorious sun of Languedoc, may think lightly of these 
meagre relics of the bridge of Cilurnum, under the darker skies of North- 
umberland ; but it may be safely affirmed that the bridge over the river 
Garden does not span a lovelier stream than the North Tyne, and that so 
much as remains of the masonry of the bridge of Cilurnum leads to the 
conclusion that this bridge, as originally constructed, was not inferior in 
solidity of material and excellence of workmanship to the mighty struc- 
ture reared by Roman hands in Gaul.^ 

During the seventeen centuries which have elapsed since the bridge 
stood perfect, the river has shifted its course westward; and sitting 
upon the remains of the eastern abutment of the old bridge one can 
scarcely see the river for the trees which occupy the ground it has 
relinquished ; but if unseen, still audible is North Tyne in the roar of 
the flooded weir, and as he triumphs over the ruins of the past, singing 

1 " Archaeologia iEliana," N.S., vol. vi. p. 80. 



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CHOLLERFORD. 75 

the old song of the river-gods^ the refrain of which has been interpreted 

for ua-^ 

** I go on for ever.*' 

St. Oswald^s Ghnrch^ near the Roman wall^ a quarter of a mile east 

from ChoUerford railway station, is interesting as the site of a battle, 

foaght A.D. 635, between the army of the Saxon Oswald, Christian king 

of Northambria, and the united forces of the British king Cadwalla and 

the Pagan king of Mercia. The field opposite St. Oswald's Church was 

in Bede's day known as Hefen-field, or heavenly field, and here it was 

that King Oswald — his army being hemmed in — " Set up the cross, and 

invoking the name of God, by &ith overcame his enemies/' Whilst Bede 

enlarges on the holiness and miracles of St. Oswald, Eflwarch Heu chants 

a lament for Cadwalla, the last but one of the ancient British kings, the 

hero of fourteen battles and sixty skirmishes, all prosperous for the 

Britons — 

*< As the water flows from the fountain 

So will our sorrow flow this livelong day for Gadwallawn.** 

So ends the bard's lament. 

ChoUerford Weir is worth seeing when the river is in flood ; its lines 
are almost lost under the vast volume of water, but the salmon pass is 
still visible where it divides the weir, as in our illustration. The flood and 
the locality bring to mind the ballad of '' Jock o' the Side," transferring 
thought from Boman times to a later period. If the subject of the ballad 
had any foundation in &ct, the occurrence must have taken place at the 
close of the sixteenth century. It is said that Jock assisted the Earl of 
Westmoreland in his escape after his unfortunate insurrection in 1570, 
when Westmoreland exchanged his coat of plate and sword with Jock, 
thus taking the disguise of a Scottish borderer. 

" Jock o' the Side " commences thus : — 

" Now Liddesdale has ridden a raid, 

But I wat they had better hae staid at hame ; 

For Michael o' Winfield he is dead, 

And Jock o' the Side is prisoner ta*en.** ^ 

1 '* Kichardson*B Legends," vol. i. p. 37. 



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76 CHOLLERFORD. 

The sympathies of Jock's uncle. Lord Mangerton, are enlisted, who is 
found willing to part with all he has '' Ere Johnnie shall die/' He senda 
three men harnessed with steel to Newcastle town to set Jock free ; they 
go on their horses '' the wrang way shod/' 

** At the Cholerford they a' light down, 

Aud there, wi* the help of the light o' the moon, 

A tree they cut, wi' fifteen nogs on each side, 
To climb up the wa' of Newcastle touu." 

This reached in due course, 

" They fand their stick baith short and sma\" 

'^ Then up and spak the Laird's ain Jock ; 

• There's naething for't ; the gates we maun force.' 
But when they cam the gate until, 

A proud porter withstood baith men and horse/* 

With ballad facility the jail is reached, the porter slain, Jock set free, 
and the party set off to return. 

" The night, tho' wat, they did ua mind. 

But hied them on fu' merrilie, 
Until they cam to Cholerford brae, 

Where the water ran like mountains hie. 

" But when they cam to Cholerford, 

There they met with an auld man ; 
Says, — * Honest man, will the water ride P 

Tell us in haste, if that ye can.' 

r 

*' ' I wat weel no,* quo' the gude auld man ; 

' I hae lived here thretty years and three, 
And I ne'er yet saw the Tyne sae big, 

Nor running aues sae like a sea.* " 

After some discussion they take the water^ and scarcely reach the 
other side when the sound of pursuers is heard; these are too faint- 
hearted to follow, and Jock and his deliverers '^hie them away to 
Liddesdale/' 

The otter is still hunted on North Tyne, — Lewisburn, Ohollerford, and 



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CHOLLERFORD. 79 

Chipcliase Castle dams being amongst its favourite localities. '^ Where 
the river runs deep and still (says ' Plunger/ a contributor to ' The 
Field ') the otter makes its couch^ high up in dry sandy banks ; the en- 
trance to it is under the surface of the water. The conchy formed of dry 
grass and moss, has always a communication with the surface by means 
of a small hole, for a due supply of air ; the orifice is so small, and con- 
cealed among bushes and long grass, as to be only found by the scent of 
the hounds. It is difiicult to conceive how a large animal like the otter 
can possibly contrive to dig such a minute gallery unless we suppose that 
he merely appropriates that of a water-rat or mole to his own use, which 
supposition is most likely correct, as otherwise it would seem a task of no 
small difficulty for the animal to excavate in the solid bank a burrow 
whose orifice being below the water would not admit of respiration being 
carried on during its formation. The otter never leaves his couch by day 
unless disturbed, but as soon as the shades of evening set in, he issues 
forth in quest of his food. In his fishing excursions up stream, instead 
of down, his manner of proceeding is as follows. On leaving his couch, 
he usually swims until a bend of the river occurs, when he leaves the 
water and cuts across the land to the next bend ; this variation may be 
repeated many times until he reaches the termination of his beat, where 
he enters a previously prepared hold, or returns in a similar manner to 
the one he had left* It is usual for an otter to travel in this way from ten 
to fifteen miles along the course of a river in a single night, and seldom 
less than eight or nine.'^ With these travelling propensities it is not sur- 
prising to find that otters migrate from one river to another, especially 
in a district like that under consideration, where in the network of 
streams the tributaries of different rivers often almost touch. It is said 
that otters from the North Tyne visit the South Tyne, the Derwent, and 
the Wear, but only on their way to the Tees, as the first-named rivers 
are too much subject to the influx of lead to be eligible habitats for a 
creature whose food is fish. 

At Warden, the north and south branches of our river unite their 
streams to form The Tyne : the prospect from the top of Warden Hill 
acquires a peculiar interest in connection with the confluence, showing as 
it does the course of the two streams by which we have been wandering. 



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80 



CHOLLBRFORD. 



making for the same point as they come from widely separated sonrces^ 
from Cross- Pell, bounding the western, and jfrom the Cheviots the northern 
horizon. On the summit of the hill are the remains of a circular camp ; 
in olden times it was probably a beacon-hill. In 1138, according to Prior 
John of Hexham, the greater part of King David^s army rested here, on 
their way to Newcastle, after having raised the siege of Wark on Tweed. 
The North Tyne at Warden is at its best for close views among the rocks, 
and to the last it sustains its character for wild beauty. An old mill-dam 
here attracts attention, a most primitive structure, the river banks and 
bed have supplied the materials, unsquared stones and logs, put together 
in '' rough and ready fashion,'* but sufficiently strong to bank up the water 
for the service of the mill, although through cracks and crannies, in spirts 
and little cascades, the water will find its way, giving some picturesque- 
ness to this old-fashioned mill-dam. Will the reader compare the sketch 
of it with that of one given in the Derwent chapter ? The water makes 
its way to the Warden mill apparently by a natural passage in the rock, 
through a fissure it may be seen faintly gleaming, as it flows in the dark- 
ness. A little further down, the Warden rocks, which stand high out of 
the water, dark and rich in colour, and tree-topped, are very striking, and 
the geologist will have us observe the marked inclination of the rocks on 
account of a great fault which crosses the river here. 




ROMAN BRIDGE. EASTERN ABUTMENT. 



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SOUTH TYNE. 



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HEAT) OP SOUTH TYNE. 



I seek the birth-place of a native stream/* 

Wordsworth. 



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CHAPTER VII. 



SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 




LOMNING U£AD. 



FROM Warden, whither we have been 
conducted along the banks of the North 
Tyne, let us in fancy travel as the crow 
flies, in a south-westerly direction, and 
alighting, find on the flanks of Cross 
Fell, in Cumberland, the rise of South 
Tyne ; thence follow the course of that 
river back again to Warden, where 
North and South Tyne end, and Tyne proper begins. The writer 
approached Cross Fell in 1875, from Stanhope in Weardale, by stage to 
Cowshill, and from the inn at the latter halting-place by " trap " over 
the Fells to Grarragill. The drive will not quickly be forgotten; the 
road was fairly good, rising the greater part of the way, but finally 
making rather a rapid descent upon the village. The country passed 
through on the way was rugged and wild, though fine in its way, but 
beyond certain striking views of Cross Fell — among the best to be had 
from the south-east — it had no high degree of beauty. Nature has 
been more fruitfully busy beneath the soil; famous lead mines are 
worked here, and although many of them are pretty well worked out, 
there have been recent openings which have produced great winnings. 
Cross Fell forms the last of the ridges which comes successively into 
sight at every great rise in the. road, and this variation of the sky line is 



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84 SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 

almost the only change of scene to be observed. Nothing else tempted 
the eye from this rising series of ridges rnnning parallel with the road^ 
alike sombre in tone ; no trees were to be seen for miles^ nor any relief 
of colour on this occasion^ not even where the sun in a cloudless steely 
sky went to his setting behind the gloom of the sullen hills. That 
highest hill had for its original name ^^ Fiend's Fell/' before St. 
Augustine^ as tradition says, erected the cross upon its summit, and thus 
scattered the fiends which inhabited it, christening it Cross-fell. A 
weird region it is now, but a solitary traveller whose way lay through it 
in those days must have had an eerie time of it indeed, as he saw ridge 
rising on ridge, until the dreaded fell itself rose before him. The zeal of 
the saint and his forty monks we may well believe went far to clear the 
district of its foul tenants, and if any elfish sprites or ^' ill things '' having 
braved Augustine's cross had lingered about the fell in later times, to the 
days of the passing of the Reform Bill, surely every ghost of them will 
have been laid by that concert of fifty brass bands on the summit, which 
took place during the great popular rejoicings in the north on that 
occasion ; however. Cross Fell is sweet and fresh with moss-covered top, 
and innumerable springs and streams play about its base. 

The last bit of this wild drive to Grarragill was by a cross-road from 
a point near Nent-Head, one of the roughest tracks ever dignified by the 
name of road ; it afibrded, however, a pleasant change in the landscape, 
as the way lay up and down across the ridges instead of parallel with 
them ; the lines of the fells were broken more picturesquely, 'the inter- 
vening valleys had a more cheery air, and this land of rugged fell and 
solitary moorland, was felt to possess its charm. 

The driver on reaching Gaxragill pulled up at the door of the best of 
the two inns which the little village contained; the exterior did not 
promise more in the way of comfort than had been looked for, nor at first 
sight did the hostess, who received her visitors with a shy glance, seeking 
to know where they had come from, with a scrutiny more appropriate to 
the old Border days. To satisfy her, however, was the work of a moment, 
and once in the house, all was changed ; there was plenty of comfort, and 
all sorts of consideration from the prudent Cumbrian mistress of the 
'' George and Dragon." 



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SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 



85 




A pretty place is Gar- 
i-Hgill, standing ljl2t feet 
above the sea-levelj with 
the young river running 
pa^tj and its bright little 
gruon, aurronnded by 
w 1 li tu - wash ed eo t titg es 
and many treos^ inakieg 
Hwoot contrast to the 
dark hilU among which 
it is set. The windows 
of the inn look out upon 
the green; the village 
well is there, and is, as 
everywhere, the chat- 
ting-place for old and young: the forge, and the shops of the little 
community are taken in at a glance. Conspicuous by their absence, 
however, are any signs of doctor or butcher, the nearest place for either 
being Nent-Head or Alston, each four miles distant, and no conveyance 
can be obtained nearer. 



GA&&AGILL. 



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86 



SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 



Amongst the many unfamiliar namea over the doors in this Cum- 
berland village is that of Yipond^ which is supposed to be a contraction 
that has befallen the surname of the Norman family of Yittrepont, 
anciently lords of the manor, and reference to whom is found as far back 
as 1315. 

The pleasing aspect of the place, its accommodating inn, and the 
genial simplicity of its folk, were such as to invite a short stay, and an 
excursion to Tyne Head was made. In pursuit of this object the road 
on the west side of the river is taken, which, rising gradu-illy, commands 




FIKST BRIDGE ON SOUTH TYNE. 

good views of the course of the river, and of the burns which come in on 
its eastern shore, of Ash Gill Side, and the graceful lines of the wood 
which hides its bum, but this and Glargill receive special attention in 
the next chapter. 

The view of Clargill-burn mouth is picturesque as seen across the 
valley, nearly opposite to which, by the ruins of old mine buildings, our 
road turns westward. No houses are to' be seen now, excepting here 
and there a miner's '^ shop.'* The road, which is pretty good, is used 
principally for mineral traffic ; it passes Tyne Head, and leads to mines 
beyond. Road-making in these wilds is not a hopeful business, as was 



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SOUTH TYNB HEAD. 87 

illustrated a short time since, when a new one was simply erased by. the 
first winter storms. Visitors are rarely seen in these regions, unless 
they are connected with the mines, or the time is the shooting season. 
At different points in the road a shepherd was interviewed, also a miner 
on his way to his work ; and higher up. Colonel Byng's watcher, who 
proffered rest in his '' shop,'' for so he called the shooting-box : and the 
appearance of such raroB aves on their solitary beats was the cause of some 
speculation and query among the kindly and intelligent natives of these 
fells, with whom it was always a pleasure to chat, thus easily earning a 
description which afterwards came to the ears of the writer, '* he seems 
fond of a bit o' crack," the speaker using an expression (common in the 
north of England) which Shakespeare uses in the same sense in " Love's 
Labour's Lost," where the king says : — 

" And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack." 

There are wayside attractions which invite attention; amongst bo- 
tanical specialities, the charming litjile flower. Grass of Parnassus, is seen 
in profusion, and a grateful surprise it is to meet with it in such a 
'' setting," especially when seen, as it was on this occasion, for the first 
time. Some rare mosses are to be found, and the mineral riches of the 
country suggest themselves here and there by exposed veins of ore ; and 
quartz and crystals of varied hue crop out on the road itself. 

South Tyne receiving now but few and trifling tributaries, narrows 
rapidly as the source is approached, but is full of life and motion : still 
further into the recesses of the fells it draws us on, until it is difficult to 
trace it in the marsh ; a little further, and the spot is reached which is 
sketched at the head of this chapter, and which is pointed out as the true 
rise of our river, the infant South Tyne, 

** Cradled nnrsling of the mountain.** 

The ground is marshy all about, and we were told that while much of the 
water about disappears in a dry season, the fountain stream shown in the 
sketch is always running. The sky line of Cross-fell is not in view just 
where the river starts — a little further along the road a good view is 
obtained ; but here the stream in the foreground is that of the river Tees 



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88 SOUTH TYNB HEAD. 

in its earliest stage. Cross-fell ia a disappointment at first to the stranger 
who notes on the ordnance map 2,892 feet as its height above the level of 
the sea, which is about thQ same as that of Goat-fell in Arran ; but the 
latter rises from the plain nearly level with the sea, while the base of 
Cross*fell rests on an elevated tract itself raised about midway between 
the summit of the hill and the sea ; but when from a point sufficiently 
distant either on the Barnard Castle or Stanhope road, the whole mass of 
hills comes into view. Cross-fell topping all, appears of respectable 
height. 

On re-visiting the district in 1877 the writer approached it on the 
western side, where the view obtained from the " Settle and Carlisle *' 
railway is more imposing. 

Colonel Byng's gamekeeper was pjoud of the elevation of his " shop,'' 
which the sappers and miners had told him was the highest inhabited 
dwelling but one in England. 

Nomenclature takes a fanciful turn on the Border, where everything 
has its name, each tiny brook, the marked stones of the stream, the 
hopes or little valleys, and individual fields. There were pointed out 
from near Tjme Head three houses respectively named : " Seldom seen,'' 
'' Late and soon," and " Ayont the Cleugh." Curiously enoagh, '^ Sel- 
dom seen" also was heard of as a name given to a house at North Tyne 
Head, but the one was hidden in a deep cut valley, and the other in 
the clouds. 

Returning by the same road, the shepherd was again met with, 
coming across the first bridge on our river, a rustic structure of wood, 
not common in this stony region. 

The Tyne at Garragill, after receiving several tributaries, is not very 
wide, but there are evidences of its having been a larger stream in the 
remains of the old wall still to be seen, which was constructed to keep 
the river from flooding the meadows. It now, however, confines itself 
to a narrow but rocky channel, grooved and fretted in a curious way by 
the impetuous stream, which at low water forms an interesting study. 

The gorge of Garragill-bum is geologically interesting, as there may 
here be seen exposed all the strata of the district in one spot. The 
village has in its neighbourhood a most characteristic curiosity in one 



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SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 



89 



of the few existing specimens of the fortified farmhouse. *'Lonning 
Head '' means Lane head, by which latter name it is now becoming gene- 
rally known. It stands at the top or head of a st«ep lane leading up 
from the south-east corner of the village — not such a lane as we may see 
in Surrey or Kent, shaded by thick hedges of hazel and sweet briar ; — 
instead, there are here stone walls, and the roadway is like nothing so 
much as the stony bed of a torrent, and, indeed, such it was when the 
writer was on it in a heavy shower of rain, which phrase but weakly 
conveys the idea of such a downfall as is common among these Cum- 
berland hills. 




LONNING HEAD. FORTIFIED FARMIIOUSF. 

The initial to this chapter gives a slight sketch of the exterior of the 
building, which is perhaps the best example of the kind, being but slightly 
altered from its original state. The owners and their cattle were housed 
under the same roof, a practice for which there was good reason at the 
date of its construction, as proved in the chronicles of the Border, and the 
Border practically extended much further south than Garragill, as the 
annals of Lancashire give proof. In the old days the cattle and humanity 
used the same entrance, the cattle turning to the right and humanity to 
the left, and although the reason for such an arrangement has long passed 
away, it is still kept up at Lonning Head, much to the discomfort of the 
dame who has to keep the place clean and sweet. The good health of 
the occupants is fair proof that this work is well done, the present mistress 



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90 



SOUTH TYNE HEAD. 



having lived all her life in it without having had a day^s illness, and she is 
now more than eighty years old. The interior is given as showing best 
the thickness of the walls, quite three feet, and the windows are contrived, 
as usual in such structures, so as to present the narrowest front externally. 
The primitive method of constructing these strongholds without sunk 
foundations is illustrated here. At the back of the house are seen ex- 
posed, the huge undressed stones which, simply placed on the ground, 
support the upper structure. The initial to Chapter XXII. shows the 
same thing in the sketch of Ebchester Church. 

Further references to Garragill will occur in succeeding chapters. 




CROSS-PELL. 



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CHAPTER VIIL 



WATERFALLS. 




j<)Kf;E/ the Camborland word for waterfall, 
Jiaw been familiarized by Wordsworth in his 
poetry of the lake district. There are no 
torecs or falls on the South Tyne itself, 
although it has a gradual fall of 1,500 feet 
before it joins the North Tyne; but the 
irilutaries in making their way from the 
tolls to the river, in many instances take a 
tHIl of some considerable depth just before 
r nti ring the valley. It is so with Clargill, 
Ashgill, and Nent; in the descendiug flood 
they give their last and chief display, and 
in the melody of falling waters their last and sweetest music, just before 
losing themselves in the '^ brimming river .^' 

Clargill Force is the first in order down stream ; the bum at its con- 
fluence is seen from the Garragill road, near the Tyne Head mines. By 
crossing a small bridge over the river at this point, and proceeding about 
two hundred yards by the burn side, Clargill Force is reached. It is 
essentially pretty, for only when in great flood would there be a sufficient 

* Norse eettlers introduced the word Force to this and other districts — to 
Wensleydale, for instance — where it takes the form of fosse, where the falls are 
Associated with the same geological features as those in South Tynedale. 



CLARGILL FORCE. 



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92 



WATERFALLS. 




CLAIIGILL FOllCK. 



yoluxne of water to make it grand : the air of desolation which hangs 
about the valley is banished from this favoured nook^ whore savage 
nature seems subdued by her own music ; the veil of waters falls with 
softening lines over the scarred face of the rock, like classic drapery, half 
hiding, half revealing, and wooes life into the furrows of its hard visage ; 
trees, so sparse in the valley, and ferns of many kinds, cluster here, adding 
fresh contrasts of brightness to the rude elements of the spot, and 
assisting gracefully at the ceremonial of Clargill paying tribute to 
Tyne. 

Of the force itself, the curious can have a private view, and be intro- 
duced behind the scenes under the overhanging rock, and behind what 



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WATERFALLS. 



93 



they nmy consider, if they like, as a permanent but semi-transparent drop- 
scene, and foot-lights they may see in the reflection of the myriad drops 
as they strike the floor of the rocky stage, glimpses of moving sky, 
rustling trees, and tumbling water between the spurts of the showei^y 
cascade. 




ASHGILL FOIMJE. 



The whereabouts of Ashgill Force may be guessed at also from the 
Garragill road on the west side of Tyne Valley. The burn flings its 
waters over a precipitous rock into a wooded glen, and flows on hiding 
for the rest of its way. It is within two miles from Garragill, from 
whence it is approached by the Barnard Castle road, which has a bridge 
^ei' the burti just above the falL A little way past the bridge the game- 



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94 WATERFALLS. 

keeper's house is seen^ and the entrance to the wood^ with a path to the 
&11 close by. This fall is the highest. in the neighbourhood; it has a 
characteristic^ common to others of this -district^ in the absence of in- 
terruptions in the descent of the water; from below^ nothing is seen of 
the bum before it passes the edge of the rock and falls without break till 
it reaches the boulders and stones which trouble its waters for the rest of 
its course. Hero is the same passage behind the waterfall as at Clargill^ 
and^ on examination of the rock^ it is seen that underneath the limestone 
of which the chief part of the entire mass is composed^ is a bed of loose 
soft shale, ten or twelve feet thick, the wearing away of which has 
formed a recessed passage under the more durable rock above. The 
effect of these brook cascades is very charming, though wanting the 
grandeur and sense of power belonging to some of the falls of Cum- 
berland, where the seething waters are thrown foaming from one ledge 
to another. The Ashgill stream, though it falls fifty feet sheer, in dry 
seasons comes down in narrow streams light and sensitive to the breeze, 
which seems to play upon them, spiralizing them for a little, then letting 
them fall dissipated into separate drops. Along the edge of the rock 
there is the sparkling movement of the water as it falls from ever- 
varying drip-points, as if under the touch of deft fingers wandering over 
the keys of an instrument. 

" The waters fall with difference discreet, 
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind they call 
The gentle warbling wind low answering." 

Spenser. 

The name Ash-gill may have reference to the abundance of ash-trees 
in the glen (as Hodgson suggests), gill signifying glen or dene. To 
follow the bum through the wood to the river is a choice pleasure here ; 
abundance of wild flowers and ferns adorn the banks, making the glen a 
delightful retreat in a district so stem. 

The Ashgill-side estate is the property of the London Lead- Mining 
Company ; adjoining is Presdale and Little Gill, spoken of as well worth 
a visit. 

The Nent ranks as a river, although its course is shorter, and ita 



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WATERFALLS. 95 

stream narrower than many of the burns in its vicinity, but its channel 
seems uniformly deeper. Near its source is the village of Nenthead ; 
here are not only mines but smelting works, where may be seen the 
various processes connected with lead. The ore is taken there from the 
mines, and there the refining is done, and the silver associated with lead 
in the ore is separated from it. Many visitors go to Nenthead to see 
these things, and also to inspect the wise arrangements to meet the 
needs of a mining population by which the London lead-mining Company 
have made it a model lead-mining village. 

Hodgson writes of an age preceding the age of lead, when ^' the 
little valley of Nent was a fairy land, and had its flowery meadows, 
and wild shaws, and bosky braes, with Nentsbury for its capital/^ 
Nentsbury, from its name, was no doubt an early English or Danish 
settlement. We forbear to give Hodgson^s contrasting picture of Nent 
in after times, preferring to note, that still many *' bits '' remain to be 
enjoyed, though not with unmixed pleasure, and to refer visitors to 
a great engineering work of Smeaton^ whereby a vast amount of 
water from the mines, to the great relief of the Nent, is conveyed direct 
to the Tyne. 

Nent Force is one of the sights of the town of Alston, which town 
occupies the angle formed by the Tyne and Nent at the confluence : the 
Force is seen at the end of a short turning in the main street of Alston. 
There is a higher and a lower force ; the latter being the most consider- 
able is the one sketched for this work. The outlet to the Nent Force 
level above referred to is seen on the left hand when facing the cascade ; 
besides the purpose already referred to, the projectors had that of 
exploring the manor from Alston to Nenthead. The stupendous work 
of excavating this tunnel was commenced just one hundred years ago. 
When the writer sketched the force in 1876 there was the shattered 
wreck of an old punt-like boat at the entrance of the level, and so it 
would seem to be long since an excursion had been made up this under- 
ground passage, such as some writers have described. A boat, it is said, 
can be pushed up as far as Nentsbury Shaft, four miles distant, and the 
effect under the light of the torch is not difficult to imagine. The Nent 
appears to receive this objectionable tributary after making the fall, but 



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96 



WATERFALLS. 



paasing presently under its last bridge^ precipitates all as a bad business 
into the Tyne. 

There are other waterfalls some distance further down the river, 
reference to which will fall in better when their respective localities come 
to be treated. 




NJSNT t'OBCE, 



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CHAPTER IX. 



MINES AND MINERS. 




LSTON is the first town on South 
Tyne, and is four miles from Garra- 
gill, the first village. A marked 
increase is now noted in the breadth 
of the river, it having received many 
tributaries between these two places 
from the high lands lying under 
Cross Fell, such as Black-bum, 
OLD MINE PUMP. Shield-watcr, and several smaUer 

streams. The altitude is still great, and Alston standing 960 feet above 
the sea level, is stated to be the highest market-town in England. It 
stands on a hill, and has gardens sloping down to the Tyne, and many 
striking views are to be obtained of it from different points in the 
neighbourhood. There are two main streets, one parallel with the Tyne, 
the other with the Nent ; the latter is an excessively steep street, leading 
to the market-place ; there are some good shops, and the houses, built 
principally of stone, look bright and clean. 

Alston market cross was erected by the Right Hon. Sir W. Stephenson, 
a native of the district, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1764 ; his 
brother, also a civic dignitary, resided at Knaresdale Hall on South 
Tjme. The name of the latter is kepft fresh in the memory of the widows 
of Alston and Gktrragill, as under his will sixteen of them annually 

o 



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98 MINES AND MINERS. 

receive a crown-piece. Alston is the metropolis of the mining popu- 
lation. The church, built recently, is a large and handsome edifice, 
erected on the site of an older one, and is under the patronage of 
St. Augustine, from whom, and his missionary monks, Cumberland re- 
ceived early, if not first lessons in Christianity. Alston parish is the 
only one in Cumberland belonging to the diocese of Durham. 

In the engraving of Alston it is the Town Hall which is seen to 
have a spire ; the other prominent building is the Church, which was 
without a spire when the sketch was taken, but it will probably be added 
before long, as well as a peal of bells. The church bell formerly in use 
here is said to have once been the dinner bell at Dilston Castle, a story 
which reminds us that Alston Moor and its lead mines yielded the prin- 
cipal part of the revenue of the Greenwich Hospital estates, being part 
of the confiscated property of the unfortunate Earl of Derwentwater. 
Accounts say, that William the Lion King of Scotland gave the manor of 
Alston to William de Vetripont. The Hiltons of Hilton Castle, Durham, 
held it from about the middle of the fifteenth century until 1618, when it 
was sold to Sir Francis Radcliffe, of Dilston, from whom were descended 
the Earls of Derwentwater. There are good inns at Alston, which make 
it a convenient place for head-quarters when visiting the district, and a 
horse and conveyance are easily obtained. Four main roads meet at 
Alston; from Penrith, from Barnard Castle through Teesdale, from 
Stanhope through Weardale, and from Hexham across Allendale. Fine 
and characteristic views are to be had on these roads, generally having 
Cross Fell for crown and centre. It is well worth while, for instance, to 
climb the fell to the east of the town, turning off a little from the Hexham 
road. On a summer evening, when the mists are rising, Tyne Valley, 
looking west by south, presents a charming picture ; below, white Alston 
seems floating above the level lines of mist, which hover, dream-like, 
over the faces of the meadows, the unseen river haunted by the mists 
which indicate its course, and on either rising shore, the whitened 
cottages and farmsteads — always such bright spots on the sides of Alston 
Moor — are seen gleaming still through the evening vapours far away up 
the valley ; and, as we stand looking, a solitary cloud, fleecy and white, 
floats before the opposite fell, then rests for some moments on a pro- 



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MINBS AND MDrSRS. 101 

jectiiig crag^ and presently disappears. The highest point in the back- 
ground is of course where Cross Fell rears his crest above Rotherhope, 
Ousley, and Skirlwith Fells. The entire highland mass is now seen 
tenderly dovetailed by the gentle vapour that rests in the hopes and 
valleys, and between the ridges, and there is a special halo above Green 
Castle Tarn, where it lies calm among the hills. Another delightful 
walk is that along the Penrith road, say to the sixth milestone ; Black- 
bum, one of the wildest of South Tyne bums, is seen on the left hand, 
where it tumbles itself over a precipitous bit of crag; accounts say 
thirty feet in height (this is the height credited to all the falls on 
Tyneside, except Ashgill, and ordnance maps give not the measurement) . 
The confluence of the bum and the river takes place in a spot having 
about it all the elements of the sublime. Along the road the stranger 
sees about the people he meets and their scattered dwellings, much to 
interest him. The occupations of farm-life have a stem aspect in this 
wild country, and especially if thoughts of winter cross the mind. 

Further along, as it climbs the mountain side, is clearly seen the old 
Roman road, called the Maiden Way, which extended from Caervoran on 
the wall to Kirby There. Another track may be seen leading up to 
Cross Fell from the west ; this is the road from Eden Hall, the seat of 
the Musgrave family, to their shooting-box, which may be discerned 
high up, white against the black fell, seeming almost in the sky. 
Above the point where the two roads meet, the ancient Maiden Way has 
been turned to the use of the shooting parties in making their way to the 
house on the fell. Passing on, a turn in the Penrith road brings in sight 
the last of the stipulated milestones, and from near this point may be seen 
on a clear day the Firth of Solway. From the summit of Cross Fell 
under the same favourable circumstances both the western and eastern 
seas are visible. 

The Penrith road passes over Hartside ; it is on this side of Cross 
Fell that the phenomenon known as the helm wind is best witnessed, and 
most severely felt, and the writer conversed with natives of Gkirragill 
who had been out in, and subject to its fury. The following is a good 
description of it : — 

'* AH mountain districts are subject to sudden and violent gusts of 



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102 MINBS AND MINEB8. 

wind^ from the interruptions which the ridges of high land create to the 
general currents of the air ; but that which is called the Helm- wind at 
Grosa Fell is one of the most remarkable of these phenomena. It occurs 
at uncertain times between the end of September and the month of May^ 
and occasionally, though rarely, in summer. It is stated that, when not 
a breath of wind is stirring, and scarcely a cloud is to be seen, there is 
suddenly formed a line of clouds called the ' Helm,' extending nearly 
north and south along the top ridge of the mountain ; and nearly parallel 
to this another line of clouds, called the ' Bar,' forms itself. The first of 
these lines of clouds is well defined at its western, and the other at its 
eastern edge ; and the lines unite at their northern and southern ex- 
tremities, so as to contain between them an elliptical space, whose length, 
in the north and south direction, varies from eight to thirty miles, and its 
breadth, in an easterly and westerly direction, from half a mile to four or 
five miles, the highest point of the ridge of mountains being about the 
middle of the first line of clouds. In a few minutes after the formation 
of the Helm, a violent wind begins, within the space between the clouds, 
to blow from some eastern point of the compass, but generally from due 
east to due west : its force is such as to break trees, disperse the grain 
in stacks, and overturn a cart with its horse ; it continues frequently for 
nine successive days, and its noise is said to resemble that of the sea in 
a violent storm, but it is seldom accompanied by rain. No satisfactory 
hypothesis has yet been oflfered to account for the phenomenon ; but 
that which seems most probable is, that the air from the coast of North- 
umberland, being cooled as it rises to the summit of the mountain, and 
there condensed, descends from thence with great force, by its gravity, 
into the district at the foot of the western escarpment.'' 

South Tyne is so much associated with lead-mines, and the face of 
the country through which the river flows is so much influenced by them, 
as to make this chapter necessary, and however much the landscape may 
occasionally suffer from their presence, there is a great deal of interest 
attached to the mines and miners themselves. That the surface of the 
country is much spoiled, is not to be denied, and our river in being 
utilized does not altogether escape abuse at the same time. . From their 
sources the South Tyne and its affluents, the East and West Allen, the 



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MINES AND MINERS. 103 

Nent^ and the Derwent, are pressed into the service of the mines as a 
direct motive power^ for steam is but little — ^if at all — used at Allen- 
heads and vicinity ; and in return for such good offices the streams are 
made to receive the sconringa of the mines^ by which the fish are 
poisoned or scared away^ and to the lover of the picturesque it is not a 
little annoying to find the approach to one of the prettiest of water&lls 
encumbered by all the litter of lead- washing apparatus. The angular 
and rugged forms of the hills indicate to the initiated the presence of 
lead ore, and distinguish the country from other parts of Tyneside^ where 
the coal-producing country is seen to be smooth and undulating. The 
lead is worked on Alston Moor in levels boi*ed into the sides of the hills^ 
and the appearance of these adits or levels will have become familiar 
enough to a visitor after spending a short time in exploring the shores 
of South Tyne. The writer visited an old mine at Tyne Head^ and found 
travelling in the levels on foot not very delectable^ on account of the 
amount of water always found in them^ which makes its way through 
cracks and crannies^ having this advantage however, that it brings in a 
certain amount of fresh air with it, and thus assists in ventilating the 
mine. Visitors are generally content to seat themselves in one of the 
tubs, or waggons, for collecting the ore, a train of which is drawn on 
jnetals by a single Gralloway, with a mounted boy for driver. The pas- 
sages vary from three to four feet in width, and six feet in height, but 
very uneven as to the latter, caution being constantly necessary to keep 
head on shoulders; each person carries a tallow candle, and by the 
glimmering light thus afforded, the veins of lead ore are seen, accom- 
panied by others of sulphur, occasionally copper, and sometimes, but 
rarely, iron. The stranger exploring Tyne Head mines, will doubtless 
have pointed out to him what was once called in a lease the backbone of 
the earth, described as a cross vein of sulphur running from south-east to 
north-west, containing pyrites of sulphur, and here and there yellow 
copper ore ; it is said to be in one part three hundred feet in width. 
Some of the levels extend long distances, and have passages leading off 
to other levels higher and lower. The Blackett level at Allanheads is 
seven miles in length. Alston and Nent are said to afford excellent 
opportunity for working mines, as the lead ^^ bassets ^^ out on each side of 



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104 MIKES AND MINERS. 

their vales^ and levels can be driven in cheaply^ and are generally worked 
by private adventurers and small companies of miners. Deep workings 
with shafts are seldom seen on Alston Moor^ bat near Langley there is a 
very deep lead mine which is worked by means of a shaft. The level 
system is said to have been first used in the Forest of Dean, and intro- 
duced here by Sir William Blackett. The '' old man ^^ is the local phrase 
by which ancient mining excavations are described, and a very ancient 
mining centre is Alston Moor. In the year 1333, when the manor of 
Alston was in the possession of Robert de Vetrepont, there was a mint as 
well as lead mines here. Records mention lead got in Henry IV.'s 
reign, and there seems every reason to believe that the Romans worked 
lead here as elsewhere, as in making their roads, and in the course of 
their excavations they must have sometimes worked across the veins of 
lead ore, and in the Roman station of Whitley, near Alston, the presence 
of lead in some quantity, in a spot not disturbed since their occupation, 
points the same way. 

We turn to the Miner. 

When the writer walked from Grarragill to the source of South Tyne, 
it was on a Monday morning, and he had before him on the road miners 
on their way to work, singly or in groups, and occasionally a party of 
them in a cart. Seen at various points in the winding ascent, they had a 
picturesque appearance, each man with a bag of spotless white over his 
shoulder ; in most cases he was wearing a smock equally clean. The 
bag contained provisions for the working week, which alternately is of 
four or five days, working longer hours in the short week, but making 
forty hours per week. Thus, leaving his home on the Monday, he would 
return on the Thursday or Friday, as the case might be. On the occasion 
referred to above, a miner^s '' shop " was reached ; this is not a work- 
shop, but simply the lodging of a company of miners during their absence 
from home. On entering the not very capacious dwelling, around the 
fire were seen six or eight stalwart men and boys preparing for the week's 
work, civil and intelligent, and ready with local information. The fire 
is kept going all the year round in these somewhat cold regions, the 
necessity for which will be readily allowed when the altitude is remem- 
bered. 



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MINES AND MINERS. 105 

The miners form a distinct race, generally intermarrying, and for 
centaries have handed down from father to son habits simple and primi- 
tive. Their wages average about one pound per week ; the practice of 
advancing '^ lenf or " subsist ^^ money is pursued, and the settling day 
is sometimes postponed indefinitely, but they are, notwithstanding, a 
saving class ; it must be mentioned, however, that many of the miners 
have a small farmstead on the fell side which they till with more or less 
success, a cow or two sometimes forming part of their small stock, and 
thus the lot of the Alston Moor miner, by dint of thrift and industry, 
may be a fairly prosperous one. 

Since the railways have begun to open up the country many primitive 
customs are said to be disappearing, but, judging from personal obser- 
vation, these are the sort of people to avail themselves wisely of the 
advantages which proceed from wider intercourse, whilst they are not 
likely soon to lose the characteristics noticed by the Commissioners on 
Education, presented to Parliament in 1861, ''a steady, provident, 
orderly, and industrious people; a high-minded people, disdaining 
pauperism as the deepest degradation .'* The large proprietors have 
erected schools which are duly appreciated. 

In 1875, being in Garragill, the writer wished to see a daily paper, 
and went to the only shop likely to afford one, and found that no such 
thing was ever to be booght in the place, but was obligingly offered the 
key of the reading-room, as the only place where one could be seen ; it 
was a room the size of which was in proportion to that of the village, 
being small, but having a capital supply of magazines and reviews of the 
highest order, as well as newspapers, a display which spoke volumes for 
the people. 

The Rev. — Monkhouse, of Garragill, mentioned the eagerness of 
the young men for advanced instruction, and instanced the son of a miner 
who had passed creditably in his college, and was then an officiating 
clergyman in the Church of England. 

The miners^ farmsteads are prominent features in the landscape of 
this part of South Tynedale, their whitened walls relieved by the dark 
foliage of a few sheltering trees which are generally found about them, 
the interiors of the oldest of them being very much on the same plan as 

P 



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106 MINES AND MINERS. 

Lonning Head, of which a sketch has been given. The initial to this 
chapter gives a sketch of an ancient pump for clearing the mines of 
water, a conspicuous object by the wayside on entering Garragill from 
Alston. Not far from this is still pointed out the Garragill poachers^ 
level; the story of the Garragill poachers is still referred to with 
some pride by the miners, and the writer hearing of the existence of 
a little book which contained the story, inquired for it of an old lady 
said to be related to the author. It was not forthcoming however, 
having been lost, notwithstanding the precaution of the owner, who said 
that she had had it bound up with the Church Catechism, apparently 
with the idea that the latter would act as a preserving charm ; a second 
application in another quarter was more successful. The chief points of 
the story have been extracted from the little book, which is written in 
the dialect of the district. 



The Poachers op Garragill: a story of 1819. 

Some of the miners had caused a reproach to fall upon the good 
name of the district by poaching on the adjacent moors ; by working 
in gangs they were able to set pW local authority at defiance, and finally 
brought upon the neighbourhood a military invasion. A party of the 
18th Hussars stationed at Newcastle, and not long returned from 
Waterloo, were sent at the instance of Colonel Beaumont and Mr. 
Brandling to bring the offenders to justice. The excitement amongst 
the natives of this quiet valley on the appearance of soldiers amongst 
them can easily be imagined, and, as the story goes, no less startling to 
the men of war was their new field of operations in a mining district ; 
briefly, the poachers led the soldiers a " wild-goose chase '' among the 
fells, strange to them, and ii^ the recesses of the mines, whither they 
durst not carry pursuit very far. After a stay of some time they had 
not effected a single capture, and their exasperation was increased not a 
little by the taunts of the natives, who acknowledged them good enough 
to fight the French, but no match for Garragill men. 

The affair was brought to a termination by the mediation of some 



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MINES AND MINERS. 



107 



gentlemen who called a parley^ and drew up a petition^ and upon the 
young men promising to give up their guns aiid dogs^ and to trespass no 
more, the soldiers were withdrawn. 




THE MARKET-PLACE, ALSTON. 



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CHAPTER X. 



FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 




KIRKHAUGH CHUBCH. 



TATITH Alston still for head quarters, ex- 
■ " cursions down stream are convenient 
by rail, though most enjoyable on foot. 
The- railway follows very much the same 
course as the river, but the scenery is 
of that nature which asks a lingering 
pace. Cumberland and lead-mining 

J are left behind with the Alston district, 

which district, so sterile and bare at the 
end of the last century^ that it was stated not to have more than ^^ twelve 
acres of tillage,'* now presents a more cultivated appearance. Presently 
a pastoral Northumberland valley is entered, the river winds and widens 
between broad level haughs, giving fertility to the lower slopes of the fells; 
pretty woods and glens are seen which mark the course of numerous bums, 
the latter inviting frequent diversions. Ale-bum and Gilderdale-bum join 
South Tyne at a short distance from each other, and they here form the 
boundary line between Northumberland and Cumberland. Ale-bum is 
the first met with ; it joins the river on the east side. The course of the 
bum is well seen from the road which passes over the fell tops towards 
Allendale town. Prom this high ground may be seen a fine stretch of 
moorland, and extensive views in many directions. Randalholme> an 
ancient manor-house^ is situated close to the confluence of the Ale-burn 



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FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLBY. 



109 



and the South Tyne ; it now forms part of a farmhouse^ much of which 
is new ; the oldest part is that depicted here, sketched from the garden. 
On the front of the building there is a stone with the inscription, " Virtute 
acquiritur honor," and the initials and date, G. R. R. 1746. Hodgson 
" apprehended that this was the Raynerholme of which Robert de Veto- 
ripont died seized in 1370," and that this was the capital messuage which 




BANDALHOLM£. 



Nicholas de Vetripont had at Alston at the time of his death in 1315, 
Randalholme being within the precincts of Alston, and the only piece of 
ancient masonry in the district. 

Gilderdale-burn enters the river on the other side a little further 
down ; it comes from a boggy district called Gilderdale Forest, where, 
however, no forest is, but only the peaty remains of one. There are 



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no FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLBY. 

large tracts in various parts of the north marked as forests on the map^ 
which are now treeless. In Gilderdale there is a chalybeate springs the 
waters of which are collected into a sort of tarn covered with a thick 
scnm^ sapposed by Hodgson to be a deposit of yellow oxide of iron, 
which, by exposure to great heat, becomes red ; this pigment is much 
used by the inhabitants of the district for painting and colouring their 
hearths, tiled floors, &c. 

The bum has attractive features, and is said to be well worth ex- 
ploring. 

Whitley Castle is the name given to a place between the banks of the 
Gilderdale-bum and South Tyne. The remains of a Roman station are 
to be seen here. Dr. Bruce describes it as a supporting station, and points 
out the peculiarity of its form, which is that of a trapezoid (generally the 
stations are quadrangular), and in addition to ordinary walls, it is defended 
on the western side, which is the most exposed, by seven earthen ram- 
parts, and on the north by four. The Maiden Way passes by the east 
side of the station* The hamlet of Whitley has the honour of being the 
birthplace of John Wallis, the first historian of Northumberland. His 
'^ Natural History of Northumberland,'* written when he was curate of 
Simonbum, North Tyne, occupied him for twenty years, and was com- 
pleted in 1769. 

Continuing along the banks of South Tyne, the austere features 
which characterized its earlier course give place to those more familiar 
in river scenery. Cereal crops are seen in favoured spots, and always 
there are the sheep grazing on the hills; cattle stand in the shallow 
pools, while the angler is fishing in the deeper ones. The humanity of 
the district makes no sign in particular, scattered cottages sufficing for 
the inhabitants. 

Eirkhaugh Church, the first to be seen after changing counties, 
beautifully placed in the middle of the valley, is a small modern edifice in 
an ancient churchyard. 

Ancient village churches are not abundant on the Tyneside of either 
border county, a fact partly accounted for in the chronicles of Scottish 
raids ; and the English Reformed Church seems to have made little way 
here in its early time, perhaps through positive neglect of the district, as 



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FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 



Ill 



some aver^ though strangely enough it may be noticed in passing, that to 
the banks of South Tyne we are directed for the birthplace of Ridley, 
himself a chief star of the Reformation in England . Scotch Reformers 
seem to have been more busy on the English Border, as we find Presby- 
terianism the favourite form of worship in many parts of it, although 
Methodism is the rule where a mining population preponderates. Such 
old village churches as there are have little to recommend them except 
beauty of situation, and are disappointing to anyone familiar with the 
picturesque country churches of the south. Generally tlioy are small 
and damp, and distinguished principally by the cluster of gravestones 




SLAQGYPOUD. 



around them, and by the privileged bell which swings ostentatiously in 
an open belfry of the simplest form, and although these rude structures 
are fast disappearing, the new ones in sparsely populated places are 
built very much in the same fashion. 

The next village by the river is Slaggyford, which is an ancient 
place, and was once, tradition saysj a market-town, and had its fair ; it 
still keeps up its annual ^^ feast.^^ Signs of former pre-eminence are now 
wanting at Slaggyford ; its importance began to decline when Alston 
came to the front. A voluminous modem gazetteer mentions Slaggyford 
only as a railway station, but it is still, as old writers describe it, the 
principal vill age on South Tyne between Alston and Haltwhistle, which 



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112 FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 

says but little for the extent of population in South Tjne hamlets^ and 
none of these villages will detain the stranger long. In these thinly- 
inhabited districts the churches are isolated^ and the cottages have to be 
looked for, but of pleasing river scenery there is abundance. 

The traveller from Slaggyford to Lambley has choice of ways, — an 
upper road — the turnpike, which leaves the low road soon after quitting 
the village, the low road keeping near the river, which it crosses by Eals 
Bridge, and afterwards re-crosses by a wooden bridge, and there is 
the railway. The four ways, the river and the roads, keep close 
company for some part of the way. Both the roads show different 
aspects of very interesting country ; the low road passes through Knares- 
dale. But to see a river well it is needful to find the angler's path, which 
is by copse and scrub, losing itself now and then on pebbly banks, and 
through shallow pools and fords, and no one knows the river as your 
fisherman does, who has " fished every inch of it,'^ as he will toll you, and, 
being a lover of nature, as are most toilers of these north country dales, he 
will soon prove to you that he has an eye for the picturesque as well as for 
the fish in the river. All about Slaggyford are to be seen choice views 
of the stream, pleasant corners, and quiet reaches reflecting old world 
backgrounds of moor, and remnants of ancient woodlands. In pursuing 
this path, little ground is covered before encountering the incoming of 
some bum, which needs to be followed up a little in search of a way 
across, by unpremeditated stepping stones, or rustic bridge, and possibly 
asking a diversion of greater length, to the temporary neglect of the 
river itself ; such a burn is the Knar, one of the wildest of South Tyne 
tributaries, from which Knaresdale has its name; it enters the river 
through its western bank, as do the principal bums hereabouts. The 
fells are higher on this side, the most conspicuous varying from 1,500 to 
2,000 feet in height; and from the recesses of these hills, the streams — 
mountain torrents they may be called — come racing down, with a 
seeming consciousness that to stay would be to waste their sweetness on 
the sterile uplands from which they spring, and so they hasten, nothing 
loth to lose themselves in the larger river. 

To the Knar, however, acknowledgments are due for good work done 
on its own account, and near its confluence with Tyne it may be studied 



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FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 113 

as a good example of the way in which burns model the land into knolls 
and hollows, especially in vdnter floods, which Nature during countless 
springs and summers has been busy in beautifying with graceful trees 
and verdure. Knaresdale Forest is a thing of the past, and, as at Kirk- 
haugh and many other parts, its place is now occupied by the succeeding 
mosses. Wallis mentions the existence of red deer on the forest land in 
his time, about a century ago. Knaresdale Hall, a seventeenth century 
house, still stands, with many proofs of having been a stronghold in its 
day, but it appears mow a farmhouse, and is the property of Mr. Wallace, 
of Featherstone. Around it are signs of what some think was a moat, 
whilst others see the remains of ancient fish-ponds: the situation is fine, 
the front commanding views of some of the most beautiful parts of South 
Tynedale. 

Mr. Peter Bum, who in his book of '' English Ballads '^ has caught 
much of the ^'ancient ring,'* has put into verse a floating legend of 
Knaresdale Hall, for which the reader is referred to his book, the ballad 
being too lengthy for insertion here. 

Knaresdale Church, the subject of the tail-piece to this chapter, is a 
very plain structure, but also a characteristic specimen of the church 
architecture of the district, and was built in 1838 on the site of the old. 
one. Local papers of the period record a curious christening which 
reveals an odd picture of life in South Tynedale so late as the year 1838. 

^* On Sunday, June 16th, Mr. J. Dickinson, of Eals, in the parish of 
Knaresdale, Northumberland, collected together thirty-two of his friends 
and neighbours to become sponsors for his eight children. After breakfast 
the party set out for the church, Dickinson, who is a musician, playing 
several of his favourite airs on the violin at the head of the merry group, 
the mother bringing up the rear with the youngest child in her arms. 
They were met at the church by the Kev. Thomas Bewsher, the Rector, 
who christened the eight children, observing that in all his ministry he 
never before had had such a presentation.'* ^ 

Sketching in South Tynedale in the latter days of August is to be 
within sight and sound of the sportsman. The writer heard of splendid 

' " Bichardsou^s Hist.," Ac, vol. v. 22. 
Q 



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114 



FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 



sport on Williamston Poll, which rises sheer from the river opposite 
Knaresdale ; it is a beautiful moor, but the wonder seemed to be how 
anything could be done on ground raking at such an angle. This is the 
time of year when the villages assert themselves more than at any other, 
and there is unwonted life and activity abroad. The neighbourhood of 
Knaresdale, Williamston, and Softley, deserves the eulogies of Hodgson, 
and few rivers show such a pleasing union of wild and sweet scenery, 
where the lower fells are broken up into wildly angular forms, beautified 
by trees which adapt themselves gracefully to evevy declivity — trees 
uot grouped, but thinly scattered, with slight stems and foliage of light 
sprays, which let you see the background through; trees quite cha- 




WILLIAMSTON. 



racteristic of Upper Tyne, self-sown, and growing because they like to 
grow there. Some of the fords across the bums where they are widest, 
form delightful pictures, approached up and down steep banks, with the 
simplest footbridge by the side. The river is crossed by a stone 
bridge at Eals, and here its increased size is noticeable ; and the writer 
found the satisfaction of contrast in still water seen for the first 
time since leaving the source of the river; in the repose of twilight 
South Tyne reflected perfectly the high, precipitous, and tree-covered 
banks, which shut out the sky to the north and west ; but on a subsequent 
occasion from the same point of view — the bridge — there was seen only 
troubled water without reflections. The writer would here remark that 



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FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLEY. 117 

his notes and sketches purport to give the topographical facts under the 
same phases and effects as he himself saw them. The waterfalls^ for 
instance^ shown in a previous chapter^ are as they appeared in a 
moderately dry season. Few have not at one time or another felt dis- 
appointment in following the track of a describer^ who has indulged either 
in glowing accounts^ or in the reverse strain of detraction^ and without 
being necessarily open to the charge of unfaithfulness^ — the fact being, 
that enjoyment of Nature depends so much on the varied moods of Nature 
herself, as well as on that of the observer, time as well as place must be 
taken into consideration. For instance, the accident of mist gives a 
grandeur to a hill or other view which without it would be nothing 
remarkable. Again, a traveller comes into the place late in the evening, 
after a fatiguing march ; the sentiment of repose rests on his mind, and 
the surroundings at sunset seem to harmonize with the feelings of the 
moment ; but under the morning light, with the mind awake and lively, 
the bare topographical features of the place give no pleasure. Or again, 
he comes to a place unvisited before, in a mountainous region ; the clouds 
are low, and from the window of his lodging a dreary wall of mist is all 
that is visible ; but in the morning with what delight he sees 

'* Mountains, on whose barren breast 
The laboaring cloads do often rest." 

Then, as Emerson says, '' Nature is not always tricked in holiday attire ; 
the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume, and glittered as if for 
the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy to-day .'' 

Many more such changes and surprises will occur to the reader 
touching the vicissitudes of travel ; to go up a river, valley, or road in- 
stead of coming down, will sometimes make all the difference in the aspect 
and excellence of the scenery ; a few yards to the right or left, all the 
difference in a particular view. Extend the observation, and include 
difference of temperament in the individual, and the effect of that in 
different descriptions of the same scenery. Certainly writers on Tyne- 
side differ to an amusing extent; to wit, compare Hodgson with 
Hutchinson, making due allowance for the half century between the dates 
of their vrriting ; it has been said of the latter that " he seems to have 



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118 FROM ALSTON TO LAMBLRY. 

gone up and down the country with peas in his shoes/' suggesting a 
sufficiently uncomfortable habit of mind for the pursuit of the pleasures 
of travel. Of course the moral to which this diversion tends is ; see the 
country for yourself, and not too hastily. 

Crossing the bridge of two arches, the small and well-sheltered village 
of Eals is come upon, of which there is not much to say. 

The valley here has high hanging hills on either side of the river, 
and the base of the eastern side bears signs of having been shaped by 
the river when it ran in its old course. There is a wooden bridge by 
which the river is re-crossed, and shortly after Glen Dhu bum, with one 
of the finest falls in the district, is reached. The bum is narrow, closed 
in with trees, and thickly studded with mossy boulders ; persevering 
climbing and jumping is amply repaid by the sight of the fall secluded 
in a deep glen of varied trees. A singular view of it from above may 
be obtained from near the turnpike road, which crosses the burn a field's 
length from where it falls. This road gives of course a variation of 
scenery, and is throughout a very pleasant way between Slaggyford and 
Lambley. The latter place is less than a mile distant from the fall. 

Lambley viaduct is within a few feet of the height of the high level 
bridge at Newcastle, and is a fine object from many points. Near the 
viaduct, a place is pointed out on the river banks where part of the great 
fault in the coal-field, known as the ninety-fathom dyke, is exposed. 




KHABBSDALE GHUBGE. 



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CHAPTER XI. 



SOUTH TYNE CASTLES. 




HERE is a wooden bridge across the Tyne at- 
tached to the side of Lambley viaduct^ at a 
lower level than the railway, crossing which, 
and keeping to the right bank of the stream, 
a delightful walk leads through a fine park, and 
by the front of Feaiherstone Castle. When 
Hutchinson wrote a century ago, '^ the castle 
was little more than a square tower, calculated 
for defence against those tribes of robbers, the 
moss-troopers.'^ Since then considerable al- 
UMTHANK HALL. tcratious aud additions have been made to it, 

the new parts being more or less in keeping with the old, the whole form- 
ing a handsome castellated mansion. Part of the modem work is a gallery 
sixty feet long. The front of the building, which is wide, is pleasantly 
varied by its projections, recently added turrets, and dissimilar windows, 
and ivy adds to the picturesqueness of the embattled walls. The existing 
structure is mainly due to the present proprietor, Hope Wallace, Esq., who, 
upon attaining his majority, set about reconstructing it. It is a charming 
seat, and there is no scenery more grand and beautiful on the whole of 
the river than that which surrounds the castle. Here and there from 
distant points on high ground glimpses of the castle may be had, when it 
is seen to rest with an air of dignity and comfort in a surrounding of 



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120 SOUTH TTNE CASTLES. 

wooded heights^ backed by the sterile fell tops ; the river revealed by 
the sheen on its surface^ now and again^ through openings in the deepest 
recesses of the woods. Old writers say, the tower of the ancient family 
who held the place through many generations, stood on higher ground^ 
where there were two stones called Featherstones ; the old place 
falling into decay, a castle was bailt on the haugh below, hence the name 
of Featherstone-hangh. The estate is known to have been in possession 
of the Featherstones for ages. The first of the family, tradition says, was 
a Saxon chief, who, coming to this country, settled in Northumberland in 
the eighth century. The name occurs many times in records of different 
periods, and representatives are now found widely scattered in several 
English counties, in Ireland, and the colonies. The last of the family 
who possessed the Northumberland castle and estate was Sir Matthew 
Featherstone ; from him it passed by sale to the Wallace family, in 
which it remains. One of the most famous of the Featherstonhaughs 
was Sir Albany, high sheriff of the county in 1530, who was killed in a 
Border feud, an event commemorated in Surtee's famous ballad, be- 
ginning — 

" How the fierce Thirlwalls, and RidlejR all, 
Stout Willimondswick, 
And Hardriding Dick, 
And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will o' the Wall, 
Have set on Sir Albany Featherstonhangh, 
And taken his life at the Deadman's-shaw/* 

The lines are well known from the fact of Sir Walter Scott having 
worked them into his poem, '' Marmion,'' under the impression that he 
was quoting an ancient ballad, thus falling into a trap laid by the author, 
who, intending it as a pleasantry, sent to him his own. composition with 
a plausible account of the manner in which ^' the supposed old ballad had 
fallen into his hands.^' In the verse are named localities which are in 
the neighbourhood of the park, and the lines well illustrate what to this 
day remains a peculiarity of the district, viz., the frequent recurrence of 
the same family name, and the practice arising out of it in early times 
of dropping surnames for general purposes, and using in their place 
other distinguishing names. '' Hardriding Dick,'' *' Willimonds- 



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SOUTH TTNB CASTLElS. 12S 

wyke/' and " Will of the wa*," were all Ridleys,' but not of the same 
family, Hardriding, Willimondswyke, and the Wa' (Roman Wall), being 
localities with which these worthies were connected by birth or other- 
wise. 

At the lodge by which the park is left, a distant but very impressive 
mountainous view is obtained up the Hartley-burn vale. There is a colliery 
near, but not visible from this point. As the writer was not able to get a 
nearer view of this interesting burn he cannot do better than quote from 
a paper read before "The Tyneside Naturalist Field Club:'' — "The 
Hartley-bum has two branches; the left is called Blackburn, which 
abounds in basaltic precipices ; the water after running through a deep 
and narrow channel is thrown over a columnar brae in a succession of falls. 
The basaltic columns below rise to a great height, and further down 
where the stream crosses the dyke the strata are broken and dip at every 
angle, and are also intersected by veins of basalt. The diluvium is a 
bed of reddish clayey gravel, in which are embedded nodules of new 
red sandstone, masses of granite, and other products of countries to the 
west and northwards.^' 

The next castle in order is Bellister, which is quickly reached from the 
lodge, previously mentioned, and is taken on the way to Haltwhistle ; of 
the latter place a good comprehensive view is had from this high road 
above Bellister Castle, the two places being half a mile distant from each 
other. The castle stands well relieved by dark woods, through which 
our road has led from Featherstone, and is close to South Tyne opposite 
to its confluence with the Tipalt river or bum, which comes from moor- 
lands sending tributaries not only to North and South Tyne, but also 
to the Irthing. Not much remains of this stronghold ; it belonged to 
the Blenkinsops, a family which figured conspicuously in the Border 
wars in this district, and of whom more hereafter. Now it is a ruin left 
fo decay. From a near point the most characteristic bit for a sketch 
seemed that engraved here, the stand-point being among the ruins. The 
rock on which it was built is sufficiently bare in places to show that 
Mackenzie was mistaken in describing it as upon an artificial mound. 
There was a moat round it, and it must have been a strong tower, though 
not of the first grade : there is a modern castellated fisirmhouse attached 



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124 



SOUTH TYNE CASTLES. 



to the rain. The place passed ont of the hands of the Blenkinsop 
family early in the present centnry. 

The spirit of the grey man of Bellister haunted the castle for centuries 
(according to tradition) , and down to the year of grace 1800 stories of 
recent visitations were credited in the neighbourhood. '' The Grey Man 
of Bellister ** when in flesh was a wandering minstrel^ who came to the 




RUINS OP KELUSTER CASTIA 

castle seeking protection and the night's rest^ which the chivalrous and 
generous feeling of the day readily accorded ; but the boon had not long 
been conceded ere dark suspicions began to rankle in the breast of the 
lord of Bellister; that the minstrel was a spy sent by a neighbouring 
baron was a conclusion quickly arrived at^ distrust therefore sat upon 
his countenance^ which the minstrel failed not to notice ; and when the 



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SOUTH TYNB CASTLES. 



125 



signal was given for withdrawal, the minstrel, auguring treachery, dis- 
appeared from the castle. The bloodhounds ordered out were soon upon 
his track, and came up with the poor old minstrel hard by the willow 
trees near the banks of the Tyne, and before any of the party could reach 
them they had finished their dreadful work. Remorse for the outrage 
seized the baron, and he slept with his fathers ; but the injured spirit 
still frequented its ancient limits unsatisfied and unappeased. At some 




BLENRINSOP CASTLE. 



periods it was more than usually outrageous, which was ever the prelude 
of some impending misfortunes to the house of Bellister and its de- 
pendants. 

The grey man no longer appears at Bellister, or traverses the broken 
pathway, near which the clump of willows still responds in sad murmurs 
to the wizard blast of evening; but the rustic passes it with a beating 
heart, and the rider gives the spur to his horse and hurries past. 

Instead of crossing the Tyne to Haltwhistle at once, the reader is 
invited to follow the course of the Tipalt, which is the same as that of 



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126 SOUTH TYNE CASTLES. 

the high road, and rail to Carlisle. Unfortunately, we have the railway 
between the road and the barn, and not much of the latter is seen until 
Blenkinsop is reached. The picturesque ruins of the castle, grey 
lichened and iyy-mantled, are seen from the road, pleasantly situated on 
a grassy knoll, and commanding a view of the vale of Tipalt, down to 
South Tyne and Bellister. This seat of the Blenkinsops for many gene- 
rations shows now only crumbling walls of the square tower, three sides 
of which still stand in decay. In 1833 the castellated building on the 
south side was added, as a residence for the agent of the adjacent 
colliery. The proprietors had so much veneration for the old place as 
to permit a chimney or shaft from the pit to make its appearance in the 




BLENKINSOP HALL. 



midst of the ruin (it has been left out in the sketch) . The castle itself 
was built in 1339, when Thomas de Blenkinsop had a license to fortify 
his mansion on the borders of Scotland. Hodgson says, ^^ The old family 
residence stood on the right bank of the hope or valley of Glenwhelt ; 
prior to the conquest it had probably belonged to one Blencan, from 
whom the place and township derived its name, for in tfie oldest writings 
it is called Blenkan or Blenkens-hope.'^ It was an important place in 
troublous times. In 1416 and 1488 we find it on the list of Border 
castles, still in the hands of the same family, but garrisoned by Percy, 
Earl of Northumberland, theft warden of the West and Middle Marches. 
Half a century later it is mentioned as being out of repair, John Blen- 
kinsope as owner. It has been in the possession of the Cotilsons since 



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SOUTH TYim CASTLBS. 127 

1727> one of that family having married a Blenkinsop, heiress to the 
estates. 

Blenkinsop Hall^ of which a sketch from the east is given, stands 
finely on the crest of the hill which slopes down to the Tipalt. It is on 
the opposite side of the valley to the castle, and between it and Bellister. 
It was built by Colonel Blenkinsop of the castle. The castle has its 
legend — "-The White Lady of Blenkinsop/' 

Bryan de Blenkinsop was gallant and brave, and his praises were 
snng by the minstrels, but he had an inordinate love of wealth, and de- 
clared he would never marry until he met a lady possessed of a chest of 
gold heavier than ten of his strongest men could carry into his castle. 
After the lapse of some years he brought home a wife and the box of 
gold, but the lady caused the gold to be secreted, and would not give it 
up, and at length the young lord suddenly left the castle, and went no 
one knew whither. His lady was inconsolable, and at last with her 
attendants went forth in search. Their fate is enveloped in mystery ; 
they returned not to Blenkinsop, but tradition tells us that the lady, 
filled with remorse, cannot rest in her grave, but must needs wander 
back to the old castle, and mourn over the chest of wealth, the cause of 
all their woe. Here she must continue to wander until some one shall 
follow her to the vault, and, by removing the treasure, lay her spirit to 
rest. 

The neighbourhood in which the ruins of Thirlwall Castle are 
situated is a. very interesting one on many accounts. It stands due 
north of Blenkinsop on the banks of the Tipalt ; this is a slow stream, 
and more like a south country brook than a Northumberland bum. In 
its present plight, one of advanced decay, the castle has a strangely 
picturesque aspect, with two or three scrubby pines before it, a cottage 
or two, a stunted willow, and the bum, with stepping stones, fiowing 
below. What remains of the shell of the ancient stronghold stands on a 
rocky boss, about thirty feet above the stream ; " it was in a measurable 
good reparation '^ in 1550. The manor of Thirlwall had a bad character 
for proneness to thieving. It is supposed that the proprietors ceased to 
make it their residence after the rebellion of 1646. In 1831 the south 
wall fell into the Tipalt. Thirlwall could never have made a very eligible 



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128 



SOUTH TYNB CASTLES. 



domestic residence according to modem ideas of comfort^ but no donbt it 
was adapted to the times in which it was erected^ the windows being 
small and narrow. In 1759^ when rubbish was being removed from the 
interior, the flooring of a room was discovered, consisting of three courses 
of flags one above another, with a stratum of sand lying between each. 
The walls in some places are as much as eight and nine feet in thickness, 
and the place seemed solely calculated for purposes of defence, and like 




TUIRLWALL CASTLE. 

most of the castles in the north was vaulted at the bottom for cattle 
and for prisoners. To Hutchinson, '^ the whole had the appearance of 
a horrid gloomy dungeon, where its ancient tyrants dealt in deeds of 
darkness/' 

Thirlwall Castle affords a good example of the vicissitudes through 
which building materials pass in the course of centuries. The castle was 
built entirely of stones taken from the Roman Wall, and from the castle 



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SOUTH TTNE CASTLBS. 129 

were taken materials to build adjacent cottages ; some of these in their 
turn have been removed^ and of their stones^ doubtless^ some have found 
their way into the modern cottages near the spot. The ancient family 
of De Thirlwall took their name from that of the manor and castle. In 
1369, John de Thirlwall died, supposed to be the Thirlwall mentioned in 
records of the Tower of London, who died at the age of 145 years, the 
oldest squire in the north of England, and was said to '' have been in 
aro(us sixty- nine years.'^ In remote times the proprietors of the manor of 
Thirlwall were called barons, and there is a legendary story communicated 
by William Pattison to Richardson's "Local Historian's Table Book'* 
somewhat as follows : — A baron of Thirlwall returned from the wars with 
groat spoils, amongst which was a table of solid gold, the report of which 
spread far and wide. In course of time the castle was attacked and 
taken by the Scots, the baron and his retainers slain, and then came a 
search for the treasure. This had been known to be night and day under 
the guard of a mysterious dwarf; dungeon and vault were searched in 
vain ; and no wonder, as tradition says, the dwarf during the heat of the 
fray, threw the treasure into a deep well, and then jumped in himself, 
and, by diabolic power, drew the top down over himself and his charge, 
and it used to be said it was still under a spell which could only be re- 
moved by the son of a widow. Strange to say, the enchanted well has 
never been found. 

Close to Thirlwall are great Roman remains ; there is the station of 
Carvoran on the Roman Wall. The north fosse between Carvoran and 
Thirlwall is particularly well developed. Burdoswald, the largest station 
on the Wall, is about three miles from Carvoran, and between these two 
there are five other stations. In the vicinity are also Gilsland, Lanercost 
Priory, and Naworth, but these places are on the Irthing ; at Thirlwall 
we are close to the " water-parting '' of the north of England. Near 
the castle, the Tipalf and the Irthing approach each other, the former 
belonging to the eastern watershed, and Rowing to the German Ocean, 
and the latter belonging to the western, and flowing to the Solway 
Firth. 

Haltwhistle can now be conveniently reached by rail from G^eenhead, 
a station less than half a mile from the ruins just visited. Hautwyesill 



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130 SOUTH TYNE CASTLES. 

is the old spellings and is thought by a modem writer to mean the holy 
hill of the high water. Hodgson adopts a Norman derivation: haut, 
high, wee, watch, the high watch hill or beacon. It is certainly diffi- 
cult to discover any such signification under the modem spelling, but, 
as with the place-names in many parts — the original meaning being for- 
gotten — the name became easily corrupted into a meaningless compound 
which, while it dropped the sense, retained something of the original sound . 
The conspicuous mound which appears to have had to do with the origin 
of the name of the town, is seen on arriving before the place ; it has the 
appearance of a British camp, and belongs to a very remote period. The 
church, which is ancient, has recently been restored ; its burial-ground 
is interesting, containing some curious old tombstones, the more modem 
ones striking the stranger as being unusually large. Many of them are 
six feet high, and broad in proportion, a peculiarity said to be common 
in the west, and about Carlisle. Mr. Jenkinson, in his excellent '' Guide 
to Carlisle and its Neighbourhood,^^ which has appeared since this work 
was commenced, gives some notes from the tombstones here, which go 
far to prove the healthiness of the district. '' Very few of the grave- 
stones are without the record of some one who lived to the age of sixty 
years ; he noted 341 above that age, 150 of which were above seventy- 
five, two being above 100/' Can there be any possible connection be- 
tween the fact of the longevity of its inhabitants and the number of its 
licensed public-houses, which was, in 1877, ten, the population of the 
town being only 1500 F The town has a market and some good shops. 
There is an ancient building which may have been a peel at one time — 
now it is a temperance hotel. The only building, however, which 
justifies special reference, is that sketched here. The natives dignify it 
with the name of Haltwhistle Castle; in its present condition it has 
nothing externally to distinguish it from the other poor houses which 
adjoin it at the east end of the town, except that winch makes it precious 
to the antiquary, the machicolation of a loop-holed turret. There seems 
little doubt but that this is all that remains of the Tower of Haut- 
wisel mentioned in the list of Border towers referred to in Ch. V., and pro- 
bably it was the official residence of the bailiff, acting under the warden 
of the Marches, for Haltwhistle did not escape in troublous times. The 



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SOUTH TYNE CASTLES. 131 

'' Fray of Hautwyssell/' the subject of an ancient ballad, took place when 
Carey, Earl of Monmouth, was Warden. Hodgson quotes from Carey : 
'^ The first thing the Liddesdale men did was the taking of Haltwesell, 
and carrying ofi^ prisoners and their goods ; seeking justice at the hands 
of the Scotch king, Carey obtained permission to take his own revenge, 
so long as honest Scotch subjects should be unhurt. Carey found the 
outlaws in strongholds of Tarras, and not to be got at. Sim of the Cathill, 
an Armstrong with more temerity than the rest, came out after them, and 
was speared by Ridley of Haltwhistle ; they vowed revenge on the spot, 
and coming subsequently to Haltwhistle, they burnt many houses, 
securing to themselves the goods ; and, as they were running up and 




HALTWHISTliE CASTLE. 

down the streets with lights in hand to do more mischief, ^ there was one 
other Ridley that was in a strong stone house ' (possibly the one sketched 
above) that made a shot out at them, and it was his good hap to kill an 
Armstrong, one of the sons of the chiefest outlaw,'* and further revenge 
was threatened by the Liddesdale men. This took place in 1598. 

A great natural feature of the place is its burn, Haltwhistle burn, 
which flows out of (Jreen Lee Lough, one of a group of solitary tarns, 
high up on the moors, known as the Northumberland lakes, which form 
' the subject of another chapter. The junction of Haltwhistle bum with 
the Tyne takes place just below the peel ; near is a flag quarry, which has 
been extensively worked ; this is passed in following the bum. A very 



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182 SOUTH TYNB CASTLES. 

pretty passage in the course of the stream is that where it is seen racing 
down the face of a dam^ where^ if the bnm is not too fiill^ it takes the fall 
in a fantastically intricate way by channels it has worn for itself^ and 
which defy the eye to follow them. There is a sadden turn in the stream 
here^ following which^ and taking the ascending path^ which rises con- 
tinually, the immensity of the gorge through which the little bum has 
cut its way arrests the attention. Far up the rocky sides of the ravine, 
other quarry workings are found, and a short distance from this the road 
ends : to pass the limits of the quarry is to enter upon high farm lands 
on that side of the bum to which we have kept ; whilst on the opposite 
side the fell rises perpendicularly, and to a much greater height, clothed 
with various kinds of pine and fir, the face of the rock jutting out in 
quaint forms here and there. The view from this midway station over- 
looking the burn is grand, and perhaps from no point of view is the 
scenery so impressive as it is from this, where the eye ranges from pre- 
cipitous heights down to the gorge beneath and away. 

Willimontswyke and Unthank are on the opposite side of the South 
Tyne, the latter between one and two miles south-east from Haltwhistle. 
Willimontswyke (the spelling is after the ordnance map) is about two 
miles further east ; both places are interesting through their connection 
with the name of Bishop Ridley, and, although of the two Willimonts- 
wyke is generally regarded as the birthplace of the martyr, there are 
conflicting opinions on the subject. Mr. Peter Bums puts the case 
thus : '' His biographer states that he was born at Willimoteswick, 
while Hodgson, the learned historian of Northumberland, writes in 
respect to Unthank: 'It was the birthplace of Ridley the martyr, 
some time about the year 1600.^ Bishop Ridley, just before his death, 
16th October, 1555, wrote : ' Farewell, my beloved syster of Unthank ; ' 
and to his cousin, ' Farewell, my well-beloved and worshipful cousin. 
Master Nicholas Ridley of Willimoteswick.' The fact of his sister being 
resident at Unthank, and his cousin at Willimoteswick, strengthens the 
belief that Unthank was his paternal home. The Rev. Dixon Brown 
most obligingly writes : ' I believe there is little doubt but that Unthank 
belonged to the Ridley family, as his farewell letter is addressed to ' my 
beloved sister of Unthank/ When I first came to Unthank there was 



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SOUTH TYNB CASTLES. 



135 




a room traditionally called the Bishop's Room, certainly in the oldest part 
of the house. But I question much whether in the time of Bishop Ridley, 
IJnthank Hall was anything more than a peel tower with about two 
rooms/' 

A sketch is given of the tower of TJnthank Hall overlooking a 
beautiful turn in the river; a little further, on the same side of the 

river, we come to the junction of the Allen 
with the Tyne; this affluent is described in 
another chapter. Just before crossing the 
Allen, Beltingham Church is passed ; its burial- 
ground possesses a rarity in Northumberland 
in the shape of a fine old yew tree. The 
Beltingham yew is a venerable one, and is 
still vigorous, though having lived through the 
years of a Norman chapel which preceded the 
modem one. 

Langley Castle, with which this series con- 
cludes, is three or four miles still further east 
on the same side of the river, but it is more easily approached from 
Haydon Bridge, distant a mile and a 
half. It is described in Turner's 
" Domestic Architecture of the Middle 
Ages '' as a fine example of a tower- 
built house of the latter half of the 
fourteenth century. Its ashler stone- 
work appears as sharp and good as 
though it had only just been put up, 
but neglect and abandonment have de- 
prived its upper parts, windows and openings, of some of the masonry, 
the interior with its fittings having been destroyed by fire at some remote 
period. On approaching it for the first time we seem to see the old 
stronghold very much as it must have appeared when it was the habitable 
seat of the barony of Tynedale. It has a strong tower or turret at each 
of the four comers, and immensely thick walls ; its position is not much 
raised above the plain, and there has been no moat round it, or external 



BELTINGHAM CHUBCH. 




LAMGLET CASTLE. 



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136 SOUTH TTNB CA8TLBS. 

defence^ the founders having relied on the strength of its walls and the 
garrison behind them. The barony of Tynedale was held by the Lucys 
or Lacys. Anthony de Lacy procured a charter for a market and fair 
for Hay don Bridge. It is remarkable as having remained with a long 
line of successive heiresses. In 1388 an important marriage took place 
between Maud, heiress of Lord Lucy and widow of Gilbert de Umfra- 
ville, with Harry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who rebuilt the castle, 
thus uniting the two most renowned, powerful, and wealthy families in 
the north. Subsequently, the barony was in the possession of the Earls 
of Derwentwater, and now forms part of the estates of Greenwich Hos- 
pital. The entrance is by one door only, and from the wide circular 
stone staircase — the only one — there are passages which led to rooms in 
every part of the building : the position of the banqueting room can be 
made out, and several chambers can be explored, but communication 
with many of the rooms has been cut off. One of the towers is open 
from the base to the sky ; the outside walls remain almost perfect to the 
top with the doorways, fireplaces, and windows alone indicating the 
chambers it formerly contained. 

A fine view is obtained from the top of one of tte towers ; some of 
the country there seen appears in the background of the larger sketch 
taken from high ground to the east of the castle. Keeping company 
with the road from the castle to Haydon Bridge is a bright bum with a 
pretty waterfall. Is this the burn that Hodgson speaks of as the cruel 
Syke, traditionally the scene of some desperate fray which gave name to 
the bum ? Here is an old couplet referring to the same : — 

** Till the Cruel Syke wi* Scottish blode rins rede 
Thoo maan na sowe corn by Tyneside.*' 

Reference here to East Land Ends must not be omitted; it was 
the birthplace of one of England^s most popular painters in modern 
times, John Martin. The house in which he was bom has been pulled 
down, and it is doubtful whether any part of the bmlding now standing 
was contemporary with the painter. The place is distant about half a 
mile from Langley Castle, and is a suburb of the town of Haydon Bridge. 
The river and surrounding country above and below this little town. 



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SOUTH TYNB CASTLES. 139 

which has part on either side of the river^ are very pleasing. There are 
many good residences in the neighbourhood. The river about AUerwash 
is particularly charming^ vrith banks of rock and wood. 

Haydon Bridge had its hero in one swift of foot^ the famous Ned 
Coulson, of whom the natives 'have many stories of pedestrian feats^ 
practical jokes, and eccentricity of character. On the other side of the 
river at Pour-stones is the celebrated Prudham stone quarry. The stone 
is a very beautiful and durable sandstone for building purposes, very 
pure, and not so liable to weather stains as are most sandstones. In the 
modem Town Hall of Hexham, built of well-selected stone from this 
quarry, it is seen to advantage. It is said that at one time this stone was 
thought of for the building of the present Houses of Parliament. 




HATDON CHUBCH T0W2B. 



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CHAPTER XII. 



THE NORTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 

** Next these came Tyne, aloug whose stony bank 
That Roman monarch built a brazen Wall, 
Which might the feebled Briton strongly flank 
Against the Picts that swarmed over all, 
Which yet thereof Gualsever they do call ! " 

Faerie Queen, Book IV. Can. xi. 



INASMUCH as they contribute to 'Hhe Water of 
Tjne" as well as on account of the Roman 
remains which are found in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood, these lonely sheets of water, locally 
called ''loughs,^' claim our notice here. The 
high lands in which they are set, varying from 
600 to 800 feet above the sea level, are con- 
spicuous in the northward prospect from the 
banks of the Allen described in the last chapter. 
Two of these lakes. Green-lee-lough and Crag- 
lough, are feeders of South Tyne by the burns 
which flow out of them. Haly-pikes, separated 

somewhat from the rest of the group, sends water by Crook-bum to the 

North Tyne. 

Green-lee-lough may be reached by a road which follows the course of 

the Haltwhistle-bum from the Tyne to Caufields, where is to be seen the 




CUESTERHOLM BRIDGE. 



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THE NOBTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 143 

best preserved example of the Roman Mile-CastleB^ so called from the fact 
of their being placed at the distance of about one Roman mile from each 
other along the whole length of the wall. It was excavated in 1848 by 
Mr. Clayton; the walls were found to have seven or eight courses of stone 
standing. Haltwhistle-bum at this point changes its name, and from the 
wall to its source (Green-lee-lough) is known as Caw-bum. From this 
lake the others may be easily reached by following the line of the wall. 

Crag-lough may be reached from Bardon Mill Station by a road which 
follows much the same course as the Chinely-bum. On the way, the 
picturesque bridge shown in the initial is crossed at Chesterholm. A fact 
noted by Dr. Bruce may be mentioned here, as forming a thread in the 
history of our river. In Chinely-bum, not far from the bridge, water is 
seen bubbling up in the middle of the stream ; this is caused by the surplus 
water of Grindon-lough, which, having flowed for two and a half miles 
underground, insinuates itself into the channel of Chinely-bum, and 
completes its journey to the Tyne by a daylight route. Chesterholm is 
the modem Yindolana. The Roman station, with its walls, ditches, and 
gateways, may still be made out. Near it, and close to the junction of 
Chinely-bum with another stream, is an ancient British barrow, and a 
Roman milestone, — the latter the only one inBritain standing in its original 
position. There is a path by the bum-side, leading up to Crag-lough ; 
but when the writer visited these lakes, he was shown a nearer way by his 
friend, Mr. J. P. Gibson of Hexham, who accompanied him. It being 
summer-time, and a dry season, a bog which lies under the crag was 
passable, and through a gap in the ridge the lake was reached at the 
opposite end to that from which the bum flows out. The engraving of 
Crag-lough is from a sepia drawing by Mr. Gibson. 

We here meet with the great Whin Sill, " a name/' says Mr. Lebour, 
^' given to a sheet of dolerite, which probably underlies almost the whole 
of the southern and eastern portions of the county of Northumberland.^' - 

The crag reflected in the lake is part of the outcrop of this flow of 
basalt, which stretches across the country from Greenhead to a few miles 
south of Berwick. There has been much discussion amongst geologists 
as to the nature of this formation. Whilst some have argued that it was 
a regularly inter-bedded trap, others, with Mr. Lebour, think '' it was of 



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144 THE NORTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 

undoubted igneous origin, a purely intrusive mass, injected, just as the 
ordinary dykes are, long after the deposition of the rocks amongst which 
it lies.'^ The sketch shows the columnar character of the rock, and from 
a nearer point of view the exposed edges of the advanced columns look 
sharp as razor-blades, giving marked character to the tsuce of the cliff. 
The sketch shows also the Roman Wall trailing over the highest part of 
the crag, as it does over some miles of the same ridge. And one of the 
most interesting features of the wall in the neighbourhood of these lakes, 
is its unswerving directness, taking hills and valleys as they are met with. 
By following the course of the wall over the crags eastward, Broomlee- 
lough is reached, which, an old legend says, holds sunken treasure, kept 
there by a spell unbroken to this day. Near the lake is Borcovicus, the 
modern Houseteads, one of the most important Roman stations, in which 
so many interesting remaims have been found, for a description of which 
the reader is referred to Dr. Bruce's work. We give here, however, his 
remarks on the east gateway of the station. *' The holes in which the 
pivots of the doors moved will be noticed. The upper part of the door 
was fixed in a similar manner. This enables us to understand how Samson 
lifted the gates of Gaza out of their position, and carried them away. The 
stone against which the gates struck when they were closed, remains. We 
might suppose that this stone would be an obstruction to carriages en- 
tering the city. No doubt, however, the kind of chariot used was the 
biga^ requiring two horses — and in that case, the horses would allow the 
stone to pass between them. The horses, too, would probably be small. 
In the middle of some of the narrow streets of Pompeii, boldly projecting 
stepping-stones occur, which have been placed there for the convenience of 
foot passengers. These do not seem to have interfered with the transit of 
wheeled vehicles, as the ruts in the streets show. Here, too, as well as 
at Pompeii, the Roman chariots have left their mark behind them. A rut 
" about eight inches deep appears in the stone threshold of the gateway, on 
each side of the central stone, evidently caused by the action of wheels. 
The grooves which are shown in the accompanying cut are a little more 
than four and a half feet apart/^ ^ 

1 •* Wallet Book of the Roman Wall." Dr. Bruce. Page 119. 



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THE NOKTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 145 

'' We now pass through the field-gate to examine the outside of the 
north wall and the north gateway. Excepting the bridge of the North 
Tyne, this gateway is the finest piece of masonry on the line of the wall. 
The large square blocks forming its base have been skilfully and securely 
laid. Their joints are as close as ever.'* 

Quite near to Broomleo-lough formerly stood Sewing or Seven 
Shields Castle. It is now ploughed land^ nothing remaining to mark 
the spot^ 

** Savo a fosse that marks the moor with greeu.'* 

Sir Walter Scott adopted the locality for his poem of ^' Harold the 
Dauntless/' and the details of his enchanted castle seem to have been 
suggested by the name of that which once stood here. 

** The castle arose like the birth of a dream ; 

The seveu towers ascended like miat from the ground. 

Seveh portals defend them, seven ditches surround." 

And further on King Adolph hangs 

** O'er each arch-stone a crown and a shield." 

It should be noted here, however, that the word '' shield " i.s common 
in place-names all over this moorland, and on both sides of the Border^ 
it being derived from *^ skale,'* the old Norse for a shepherd's hut. 
Connected with the place is a legend of Arthur similar to those asso- 
ciated with many other places in Great Britain. The locality in this 
instance, however, adds interest to the oft-repeated tradition, in the light 
of the new theory of the historic King Arthur advanced by Mr. Glennie 
and Mr. Skene, since adopted by Professor Veitch, who agree in finding 
the scene of the Arthurian exploits in the district now known as the 
lowlands of Scotland. They agree in evolving out of the mist of monkish 
fable a substantial historic King Arthur, who, some time isifter the de- 
parture of the Romans from Britain, succeeded Ambrosius as ihe Guledig, 
Pen- Dragon, or leader of the Britons. Between the wall of Hadrian and 
the wall of Antonine, both reaching from the eastern to the western sea^ 
the former from Tynemouth to the Solway Pirth, the latter from the 
Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde, was the country which formed the 

u 



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146 . THE NORTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 

ancient Cymric kingdom of Strathclyde, and in the view of these 
" hard-headed Scotchmen/' as Mr. Ferguson playfully styles them, ifc 
was the Britons of Strathclyde whose Pen- Dragon King Arthur became, 
leading them successfully in twelve great battles against the Picts and 
Angles, who immediately after the Itoman evacuation had commenced to 
swarm over the northern wall. 

Mr. Ferguson, having failed to discover in the lowlands of Scotland 
the " ancient rude monuments " which his own theory requires for mark- 
ing the sites of these battles, rejects the Scotch sites in favour of others 
found widely scattered through England. Some facts adduced give 
consideralble force to the views of the Scotch writers. In one of ** the 
ancient books of Wales,'' — and they contain all that wo can learn of King 
Arthur, — he is styled the *' Defender of the Wall." In marking out the 
localities of the twelve battles, the Scotch gentlemen appear to have at 
least no greater difficulties to contend with in the names of the places 
than Mr. Ferguson and others meet with, and also in their favour is Mr. 
Glennie's list of some 150 place-names in the lowlands more or less asso- 
ciated with the name and doings of King Arthur. To this list may we 
not add Sewing Shields, which is situated under the wall of the south 
side, barely outside the bounds of ancient Strathclyde, which included so 
much of what is now Northumberland. The legend of Sewing Shields 
belongs to the period when the historic had passed into the mythic 
Arthur; as Professor Veitch says, the *' Passing of Arthur" was bis 
meeting with death in the battle of Gamelon. The Cymri did not believe 
their King Arthur was dead, but that he would certainly return, and lead 
them forth again to victory: In the Verses of the Graves, xliv., the 

bard says — 

*• A mystery to the world is 
The grave of Arthur." 

Out of this arose the abundant legends, of which that of the cavernous 
halls beneath Sewing Shields Castle affords one. Here reposed the spell- 
bound king in the '^ charmed sleep of ages;'' the usual spell-dissolving 
sword and horn are among the details of the story, and the locality has a 
confirmatory tradition, telling of an adventurous shepherd who found 
and followed a clue into these; dreamy halls, and saw the queen and court 



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THB NORTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 147 

reposing, Revarently he reached the sword, and cut the garter; and as 
the sword was bioii^g slowly dheathed the" spell assumed its ancient power, 
atid they all gradually sunk to rest, but not before the monarch had lifted 
up his eyes and hands, and exclaimed :— ' 

" 6 wbe botkle that evil day 
On; which this witlcBs wight was born. 
Who drew the- sword, the garter cut, 
But never blew the bii^lo-horn." 

Terror brought on loss of memory, and the shepherd was unable to give 
any correct account of his adventure, or to find again the entrance to the 
enchanted hall. 

Near the wall are two remarkable ledges on a ridge of sandstone, 
also associated with a grotesque tradition of King Arthur and his queen. 
The black dyke is an ancient cutting, which passes close by the King and 
Queen Crags. The purpose of it does not now seem clear, but it is said 
to have extended from the confines of Scotland into Yorkshire. There 
are elevated spots at hand, such as Winshields, 1,200 feet above the sea, 
from whence fine prospects are obtained, embracing the four lakes and 
distant views of much of the country described in the last two chapters. 
The general aspect of the country is wild in the extreme; an extensive 
portion of it north of the wall is well called the Waste. To see it from 
high ground, or to pass through it, is to obtain at this day a picture 
highly suggestive of its former aspect when it formed part of the debat- 
able lands on the Border. The following oft-quoted passage from 
Camden shows how this country impressed him : — 

'^ Prom hence the Wall bends about Iveston ; Porster and Chester on 
the Wall near Busygap noted for robberies, where we heard there were 
forts, but we durst not go and view them, for fear of the moss-troopers /* 
and Hutton, who made a survey of the Wall when eighty years of age, 
has left a pithy account of his journey. Going over the same ground, 
he says, " A more dreary country than this in which I now am dan 
scarcely be conceived. I do not wonder it shocked Camden ; the country 
itself would frighten him without the moss-troopers.^' 

But there are attractions in this district not only for antiquarians, 
geologists, and lovers of legendary lore; naturalists have also their 



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148 



THE NORTHUMBERLAND LAKES. 



favourite hunting-grounds on the shores of the lakes and the crags, 
rarities both of the animal and vegetable kingdom being found among 
them. Haly-pikes, rather remote and difficult to get at, is remarkable 
as a breeding place of the black-headed gull. The Tyneside Naturalist^s 
Field Club have had several excursions here, and from their published 
proceedings we learn that '' on the north side of the Crag-lough were 
found Potamogeton rufescens, P. peifoliatus, and P. Pectinattis, Turning 
over the stones at the water's edge, two beautiful freshwater zoophytes 
were discovered, new to the north of England ; a few freshwater shells 
also, among them Physa Pontonalis, Pl^norbis alhns, and An^yltis lacus- 
trisy in small size, being dwarfed by their exposure in this elevated 
situation. A scarce little bivalve, Pisidium nileJum, was also found. 
Broraley-lough was reached by two botanists intent upon obtaining ^ the 
glory of this barren waste,' the beautiful white water-lily, Nymph wa 
alba, which here grows truly wild. Scutellaria (jalericvlaia was likewise 
found growing upon the margin of this lake. A single specimen of the 
wild balsam, hnpatiens noli vie tangere, was found near Crag-lough." 




HALTWH4STIE BURN. 



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CHAPTER XIII. 



THE ALLEN 




' I "HE most considerable affluent of the South I'yne 
is the Allen or White River; it has two sources 
hidden away amongst the intricate ramifications 
of feils, riggs, and moors which characterize 
South Northumberland^ where it joins Weardale 
and Cumberland. The two springs are about 
thftee miles apart, and their streams do not 
snite until they have run a course of ten or 
eleven miles^ an irregular ridge of high land 
lying between them: the East Allen rising 
at Allenhead^ a bnsf centre of the lead- 
mining industry, and the West Allen coming 
down from Coalcleugh Moor. 

The Allen proper has a run of about four miles before it enters the 
Tyne near Ridley Hall. Overlooking the confluence of the two branches 
of the river is the steep hill called Cupola Bank, from which fine views 
are obtained, including one of the beautiful vale of Whitfield, through 
which the West Allen flows ; and northwards, above the woods which 
clothe the steep banks of the Allen proper, the charmed crags of Sewiog 
Shields, and the high ground over which l^e Roman Wall extended, 
come into view. 

The Staward Station on the Allendale branch of railway is convenient 



RUINS OF STAWABD FEEL. 



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150 



THE ALLEN. 



for visiting the ruins of the peel and the best parts of the river ; the 
Station is near the Cupola bank, and stands almost as high; the stream 
flows below in the deep-cut gorge. 

Before entering the woodlands the eye is arrested by the sublime 
masses of comitless tree forms, which rise above the brink of the glen, 
and which to the sense of magnitude add that of multitude, the latter a 




staWard i'^el; 

characteristic of grand landscape scenery so well realized in the works of 
Turner, and sometimes in those of Martin. . It may be, that John Martin, 
whose birthplace we have just visited, only two. miles distant, received 
here early inspirations which afterwards found expression in some of his 
highly popular pictures. Entering the woods Staward Peel is reached by 
a icart road. A distant glimpse of the ruin from this road has been sketched 



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THE ALLEN. 151 

for the reader. It is difficult to coaceive a position better fitted for defence 
in the rude times in which it was built, it being on the crest of a craggy 
peninsula clothed to the summit with dense wood, isolated from the main- 
land—except by the narrow strip of land left by nature, by which it is 
approached — and washed at its base by the waters of the Allen and its 
tributary the Harsondale bum. 

There is not much left of the ancient stronghold : part of the wall of the 
tower, with that familiar of ruins, an ash tree, growing among the top 
stones, assisting time and weather in the work of dissolution ; and here 
and there a few stones remaining in tsitu assist in a mental restoration of 
its gateway, which had been defended by drawbridge and portcullis, and 
a moat with outer wall of stone and earth. The annals of Staward Peel 
have not been preserved ; it is said to have belonged at one time to the 
Friar Eremites of Hexham, also to have been held in later times by a free- 
booter, known as Dicky of Rings wood, of whom a somewhat amusing story 
is told, which we give as briefly as possible, the period being the early 
part of last century. One night he possessed himself of a pair of fat oxen, 
taken from a farm at Denton, near Newcastle, and made his way into Cum- 
berland with his prize. When near Lanercosthe met with a farmer, who 
praised the kine and bought them, the freebooter the while eyeing the 
beautiful mare which the farmer rode ] the latter, not discerning the 
character of his companion, invited him to his house, and over a bottle of 
wine Dicky proposed to purchase the mare, but without success. The 
freebooter blamed him not, but recommended care in securing it at night, 
or he might find his stable empty one morning, which drew on the farmer 
to show him the strength of the lock, of the nature of which Dicky made 
himself master, and departed. In the morning the mare was gone ! The 
robber, losing no time, was on his way home, when crossing Haltwhistle- fell, 
he met a farmer, who asked if he had seen a couple of oxen in his travels. 
Dicky, without hesitation, said he had, and directed him to the very place 
where he had sold them. ^' Ton ride a good mare,^^ said the farmer, ^^and 
I am knocked up with tramping ; will you sell her ? " After some bartering, 
a price was agreed upon^ and the farmer mounting, made the best of his 
way to recover his cattle, which he soon recognized grazing in a field. He 
at once greeted their apparent owner : '^ I say, Sir^ these cattle are mine ; how 



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152 



THE ALLEN. 



cameyoa by them?'' which led to the rejoinder," And that, Sir. is my mare; 
how came yoa by her?'' The two, on comparing notes of the person 
from whom they had purchased, found that they had been daped by a 
rogae of no common order. 

After exploring the mins of Staward Peel the descent to the river 
banks may be made. This stream has not been over-praised, though con- 
tracted indeed is its narrow valley. Carving and doubling repeatedly, 
there is no long vista or distant horizon : on every side the eye rests on 




ON THiS ALL£N. 



near rocky precipices, or finds between sky and water only the wooded 
steep of trees densely packed, and thronging each other, as if contending 
for the soil, whilst here and there a tree juts out from a crag, and hang- 
ing on by slender threads of exposed root, which as some traveller has said, 
a mendicity officer would describe as " being without visible means of 
support." The trees are in great variety — alder, ash, and larch being 
most conspicuous. 

The waters of the Allen ring all the changes of mountain streams : 
for the most part the river bed is stouy with shelving rocks, over which 



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THE ALLEN. 



153 



by tama the stream glides or tumbles with ^' endless laughter/' and 
though generally flowing between steep banks, it now and then laves the 
margin of a grassy flat, on which the eye rests awhile with perfect 
content. In autumn days no more delightful retreat could be found than 
that which this deep glen of the Allen affords, where, islanded on one or 
other of the numerous big stones in mid stream which may be reached 
wifchout haste over nature-placed stepping-stones, you may dream away 
the hottest hours with the music of plashing waters all around, a luxury 




ON THE ALLEN. 

enhanced not a little if a thought of the busy town cross the mind. 
After such refreshment it is well to push up strearm, and gain the height 
again by a stairpath cut in the rock, as nearly vertical as possible, which 
is found on the right bank of the river near the cupola bridge. Crossing 
the latter, and following up the West Allen, the vale of Whitfield is 
entered. 

Whitfield Hall occupies a pleasant site between the river and one of 
its tributary bums. The extensive grounds are planned on a broad 
principle, retaining all that Nature has done for the spot, altering and 



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154 



THE ALLEN. 



shutting out as little as possible, so gaining a look of openness and 
freedom only possible* in a place like this, remote from any large town. 

Amongst the natural beauties of the place are the Monk-wood^ and 
Monk-wood crags. These latter are isolated crags that rise from the 
stream and are crested with oak trees ; solemn woods are here^ in which 
the raven builds. 

The higher streams of both East and West Allen are traced to a 
district of bleak fells and moorlands called Allenheads, at an altitude of 
1,400 feet above the level of the sea ; but wild as the region is, Mr. Beau- 
mont's park at Allenheads is famous for its beauty. 







WHITFIELD CHURCH. 



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TYNE PROPER. 



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A KEEL OK THE OU) TYPE. 



'* With commerce freighted/* 

" Not hurled precipitous from steep to steep ; 
Liugering no more *mid flower-euamelled lands 
And blooming thickets ; nor by rocky bands 
Held ; — but in radiant progress toward the decj) 
Where mightiest rivers into powerless sleep 
Sink and forget their nature.'* 

Wordsworth. 



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CHAPTER XIV. 



THE MEETING OE THE WATERS. 




WARDEN llOCKS. 



iHOMAS MOORE has immortalized 
the melody of meeting waters^ and 
tht) title of his song is now the 
popular name by which many a 
tanfluence of streams is known in 
its own locality, that of the two 
Tyncs amongst the number. 

All old Cumbrian couplet de- 
scribes one such union in rougher 
form, thus: — 



•* The Esk and the Liddlo 

Run a striddle, 

And meet at the Mote/* 

In a more stately way does quaint old Gray describe the confluence of 
the North and South Tyne rivers : ^^ They meet west of Hexham, and 
salute one another.'' 

Shakespeare^ in " King John,'' develops the idea, where Hubert, 
expatiating on the advantages of a marriage between the Dauphin and 
the Lady Blanche, says : — 

" Oh two such silver currents, when they join, 
. Do glorify the banks that bound them in : 



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158 THE MEETING OF THE WATERS. 

And two snoh shores to two such streams made one, 
Two such controlling bounds shall yon be, kings. 
To these two princes, if you marry them/* 

King John, act ii., scene 2. 

But Spenser it is who in his grand allegorical manner in the book of 
the " Faery Queen/' introduces us to " Proteus' Hall/' 

" Where Thames doth the Mod way wed 
And feasts the sea-gods all/* 

And amongst 

•• * * the names of all those floods 

And all those nymphs which then assembled were/' 

with the famous rivers, is our Tyne, notably the most northerly river 
of Great Britain, honoured with invite to the feast, save — 

** Tweed, the limit betwixt Logris land 
And Albany/' 

Rivers from Wales and some five-and-twenty from Ireland were 
there, and rivers from all the known world, but the Scotch were left out 
in the cold. If Spenser had been an English Border minstrel, chanting 
'^The Marriage of Tyne,'' he could liot have made a more marked 
exclusion ; perhaps if the completion of the '^ Faery Queen " had been 
delayed for seven years, until after King James had proclaimed the union 
of the two countries, the famous rivers of Scotland would have found 
grace with the poet, as they certainly would now grace the feast at 
Warden were any modern bard to sing the wedding of the Tyne, Liddle 
(the ancient feud forgotten), and all the Scotch daughters of Cheviot — 
Jed, and EaIc, Oxnam, Rule, and Beaumont waters, with neighbouring 
Yarrow, should be there, and without going out of the family, more 
^'floods and nymphs" would swell the train of either Tyne, than 
Thames himself could boast, although such exultation, were it uttered in 
presence of the latter, might lead to high words, for do not rivers call 
each other names, after the manner of the ^^ Twa Brigs " in Bums ? 
Father Thames might so far forget himself as to nixitter " Coaly Tyne I '* 



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THE MEETING OF THE WATERS. 161 

'^ Coaly Tyno ! '* Did Milton ever see the river, or Spenser ? Probably 
not. It is not a little remarkable that such scant praise has been given 
by the poets to so beautiful a river, which it must have been throughout, 
even as late as Milton's day, before Newcastle as we know it and the 
hundred smoky industries which cluster there and line the shores of the 
river thence to the sea, had been thought of. 

Milton's epithet has found its way into the refiratin or chorus of more 
than one of the popular songs of the Tyne, as in the following ; — 

" Tyne river, mnoing rough or Rmooth, 

Makes bread for me and mine ; 
Of all the rivers north or south 

There's none like coaly Tyne. 

So here's to coaly Tyne, my lads,'* Ac. 

There is no manner of doubt as to the pride which the natives have 
in their river, even taking the lower view which inspired the above lines ; 
but we look in vain for a notice among the elder poets, who, if they knew 
it at all, must have seen it before it was greatly spoiled. Scott aqd 
James Hogg in later times have made the Upper, and especially North 
Tyne, familiar in romance and ballad, whilst Akenside would fain sing 
well of his native river ; but no native poet has spoken up for Tyne so 
boldly as did Robert Bums for his native streams, both in complaint and 
cheery vindication, expressing feelings which are doubtless latent in 
many a Tynesider's breast : — 

" Ramsay an' famous Ferguson 
Gied Forth, an* Tay a lift aboon, 
Yarrow an' Tweed to mony a tune 

Owre Scotland rings ; 
While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr an' Doon 

Naebody sings. 

*• The Ilissns, Tiber, Thames an' Seine 
Glide sweet in mony a tunefn' line ! 
But Willie, set your fit to mine, 

An' cock your crest, 
We'll gar our streams and burnies shine 

Up wi' the best." 
Y 



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162 



THE MEETING OF THE WATERS. 



But no one sings the marriage of the Tynes — of South Tyne with 
North Tyne; — South Tyne, a son of toil, from fountain-head and earliest 
springs associated with mines ; and beautiful North Tyne, a daughter 
of the moors, is she not known as the brightness of the smiling haughs, 
and the joy of flocks which come down to her at noon ? Well ! under 
Warden Hill, these two streams become one ; they came swiftly and 
joyously to their union, but now take a more dignified pace, flowing at 
leisure past Hexham's ancient towers, by Beaufront, Dilston, Corbridge, 
and the green lawns of Bywell, soon, however, to resume work, — increas- 
ing work, — of pastoral service less and less, and finally there remains 
for Coaly Tyne but one long working day, midst smoking' chimneys, 
blazing furnaces, and forests of masts, until it reaches The Sea. 




WARDEN MILL-DAM. 



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CHAPTER XV. 



HEXHAM. 




FTBR the oonflaence, the river, — now Tyne 
proper, — runs for a short distance in the same 
direction as that of I^orth Tyne, bat soon bends 
to that of South Tyne, from west to east. The 
united stream is so wide as to make strangers 
wonder to see no boats upon its surface, but 
although quite noble in its breadth, it is almost 
everywhere shallow. After making the bend, 
its main channel is under the left bank ; on the 
opposite side it has many channels, which cut 
up Tyne Green into flat grassy islands and pro- 
montories. When the floods are rising, it is 
diverting to watch the action of the water here, the islands are covered, 
and the river moves in a broad compact mass, its progress marked less 
by breaks and current lines than by floating branches of trees torn from 
the banks, or lumps of foam so well churned among the rocks higher up, 
that they hold their own afber floating for miles. When this great 
volume of water is seen bearing down on the bridge, the effect is very 
imposing, and the spectator begins to understand how it is that so many 
bridges have been carried away here and elsewhere on Tyne in times 
past. At the west end of Tyne Green two noisy little burns unite their 
streams and hurry to the Tyne. These streams ate interesting as having 



STAIBCA8E TO MOOT HALL. 



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164 HEXHAM. 

both given name to the ancient town which overlooks them. Richard of 
Hexham^ prior of that monastery in the reign of Henry II., describes 
the town under the name of Hextoldesham, stating that it was so called 
from the Hextolburn ; it occurs also in ancient writings as Halgutstad, 
from the other stream called Halgut. Both names are Saxon, the latter, 
Halgut, signifying " Holy Stream;" formerly a tongue of land between 
the burns where they unite was called Holy Island. Some forgotten 
tradition may have regarded the stream as the scene of a baptism by 
Paulinus or some early apostle of Christianity in Northumbria. The 
Hextol is now called Cockshaw-burn ; the Halgut,— Cowgarth- burn ; 
after the districts through which they flow. Hex- 
ham has the tone and hue of antiquity about it, 
and travellers by the rail are familiar with its aspect, 
in which figure the three presiding buildings — the 
Church, Moot Hall, and the Keep. Most of the 
Hexham of to-day was raised upon the ruins of 
Saxon Hexham; Dr. Bruce and others see good 
reasons for regarding it as having been an impor- 
tant Roman station not less than 300 years before 
the Saxon period. 
^ '^ j^ jg rather remarkable that Wilfrid ^s crypt, 

POKCH OF DUKES HOUSE. '^ ^ ' 

under the present abbey church — being almost the 
only important relic of Saxon Hexham — should afibrd at the same time 
the strongest evidence of there having been once a Roman station here, 
as the crypt is almost entirely built of Roman stones: inscribed stones, 
one of them bearing the name of Severus and his two sons, having been 
built into the walls. 

If the town is approached by the Bull Bank, the fact of its being built 
on an eminence is duly impressed on the mind, this steep street leading 
up from the north ends in the market-place, on the west side of which 
is the Abbey Church ; on the east side is the beautiful old tower with 
gateway, of a date not later than the reign of Edward II. Passing under 
the arch, the quaint stone staircase (sketched in the initial) is seen lead- 
ing to the hall above the gateway, and a little further east is the third 
conspicuous building in Hexham — square, massive, and grim, formerly 




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HEXHAM. 



167 



the stronghold of the place. Hodgson thinks it to bo the Turns do 
Hexham, mentioned in the list of castles in 1460; and for such a pur- 
pose its position on the brow of the hill is sufficiently commanding ; its 
walls are nine feet thick, a striking external feature being the boldly 
projecting corbels, which must originally have supported a platform or 
gallery extending round the whole of the building; the interior has 
vaulted dungeons and other features of antiquarian interest. 

Returning to the market-place, we observe it is somewhat changed 
since Allon made his drawing of it : the picturesque houses then adjoin- 
ing the gateway have made way for modern stone buildings, and the 
characteristic jmnt is gone. In other respects it must have been greatly 
improved, but it will take a great deal to modernize this interesting old 
town. 

In the reign of Henry II., according to Prior Richard, Hexham was 
of medium size and slenderly inhabited, although the remains of antiquity 
then existing witnessed to its having been " very large and stately.'' In 
subsequent centuries, very often was the enemy before Hexham, andjbhe 
extension of its borders was not a result to be looked for. The dissolu- 
tion of monasteries deprived Hexham of a chief element of its importance, 
but neither the Reformation nor the Union greatly affected the aspect of 
the place or its fortunes, its chief interest being centred in its ancient 
buildings and their associations, and as long as Hexham is duly con- 
cerned in the maintenance of the architectural riches which it has in- 
herited from the past, so long it must continue to attract visitors — as 
pilgrims to a shrine. 

The town does not appear to have been walled at any time. The 
streets are irregular, like those of most ancient towns, and their names 
are suggestive ; they immortalize no worthies of the district, but have 
some significance as connected with the history of the town, thus, ''Battle 
Hill,'' or with the ancient church, as " Priest's Popple." In some other 
instances they signify relative positions ; '' Gilligate," which leaves the 
market-place at the north-west comer, is a contraction of St. Giles's 
Gate, so called from St. Giles's Hospital, to which it leads. The word 
gate here, as often in the north country, means road, street, or way. 
This is the district which suffers moat in the time of floods, when both 



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168 



HEXHAM. 



the burns which run through it overflow their bankn. Hexham has in 
the past been noted for its tanneries^ its manufactures being of those 
things which in the eyes of genteel critics form such significant parts of 
dress — hats, gloves, and boots; but as these trades have declined its 
import^mce as an agricultural centre has increased. 

The situation of the town demands some notice ; it stands high, in the 
midst of the beautifully wooded scenery which characterizes the banks of 
all three Tynes within the radius of a few miles from the confluence. In it« 
immediate neighbourhood are some most interesting places, historically and 




ST. JOUN LEE. 

pictorially. Its ancient towers are conspicuous in many beautiful prospects 
from the high lands about ; and the river is seen in some of its finest 
passages, as it flows, for instance, past the Hermitage, so called in memory 
of St. John of Beverley, who enjoyed here the retirement of the Eagle's 
Mount. During the time that he held the See of Hexham, he founded an 
oratory here, and on or near its site now stands dedicated to him the 
church of St. John Lee, its spire rising above the summit of the woods. 
The Priest's Seat, a favourite spot westward from the above,^is on an emi- 
nence from which the river is seen to great advantage. Wander where one 
may about the old place, one is always coming upon some memory of the days 



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HEXHAM. 169 

of its ecclesiastical importance, of its proudest period^ — that of the episco- 
pate—during which flourished such men as St. Cuthbert, the Venerable 
Bede, St. John of Beverley, and the goodly company of luminaries of the 
eariy Anglican Church who were intimately connected with Hexham, and 
whose relics and tombs were great attractions in its first church. Perhaps 
the most conspicuous figure among them all was St. Wilfrid — who has 
been styled the Star of the Anglo-Saxon Church — whose patron. Queen 
Etheldreda, bestowed upon him the whole of Hexhamshire when he selected 
Hexham as the site of .what proved to be " the chief architectural glory 
of that age,'' the church and monastery dedicated to St. Andrew. It 
was completed in 674, and was the fifth church built of stone in Britain. 
Of all the monasteries over which Wilfrid presided, this was considered 
the first in excellence of beauty ; detailed accounts of its splendour are to 
be found in the writings of Prior Richard. At this period Northumber- 
land enjoyed the highest reputation for enlightenment in all England, and 
Wilfrid's abbey was like a university, to which were attracted the sons of 
nobles; much is said by historians of the high state he held here in 
his palmy days, but with the retirement of Etheldreda to a convent 
Wilfrid's star began to wane ; a quarrel arose between the new queen and 
the bishop, and it would appear that the Archbishop Theodore, — himself 
unfriendly to Wilfrid, — took advantage of the quarrel, and, assembling a 
synod, proposed a division of the see of Northumbria ; this decided on, 
Hexham, Lindisfame, and Whitherne were set up as separate sees. 
Wilfrid could not see his diocese thus cut up without active protest and an 
appeal to Rome, which, although it obtained the pope's mandate in his 
favour, also procured for him imprisonment and banishment during King 
Egfrid's lifetime. In the succeeding reign a reconciliation took place 
between Theodore and Wilfrid, and the sees of Hexham and Lindisfame 
were ceded to the latter; these he held during five years, after which a 
farther change was projected, and Ripon was made a separate see ; the 
spirit of the proud churchman was roused once more, and it followed that 
he was again kept out of his diocese for many years, which he spent at 
Rome, but at length, by a compromise, he was permitted to enjoy in 
peace his monasteries of Ripon and Hexham until his death, four years 
after, in 709. 

z 



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170 



HEXHAM. 



Wilfirid in prosperity was Wilfiid the magnificent^ bnt it was chiefly by 
his acts in times of adversity that he earned a title to saintship^ — by his 
successful missionary work among the south Saxon heathen during his 
first banishment^ and by similar work on the Continent when under a cloud 
on his way to Rome for the last time. 

^' As nightingales sing the sweetest when farthest from their nests^ so 
Wilfrid was most diligent in God's service when at the greatest distance 
from his own home." 

^^ His life was like an April day, often interchangeably fair and foul, and 




ABCADE OF CLOISTEB. 

after many alternations he set fair in full lustre at last.'^ — Fuller's 
'' Church History.'' ' 

Hexham was an ecclesiastical see for rather less than 150 years, being 
held in succession by twelve or thirteen bishops, the last of whom, Tilferd 
(who died 821), is reported to have fled on the first approach of the Danes. 
When they appeared on the scene, Hexham sufiered greatly, and eventually 
Wilfrid's abbey-church was laid in ruins (875), and remained in utter 
neglect until the twelfth century, when the monastery was re-founded. 
The bishopric was for a time united to that of Lindis&me; that see was by 
the same ruthless Danes rendered untenable, and a new bishopric was 

^ See ** Fasti Eboracensis, Lives of the Archbishops of York," edited by 
James Baine the Younger. 



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THE ABBET CUUBCH, HEXHAM. 



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HEXHAM. 



173 



reared out of the ruins of Hexham and Lindisfarne at Chester^Ie-Street. 
Eardulf,last bishop of Lindisfarne, became first bishop of Chester-le- Street, 
and the last bishop of Chester-le- Street became first bishop of Durham. 
Tho: bishopric was transferred to Lindisfarne about 860, thence to Chester* 
le-Street 883, and to Durham in 996. In the beginning of the twelfth cen- 
tury, soon after Henry I. capae to the throne, Ralph Flamberd, then bishop 
of Durham, received tnerited punishment at the hands of that king, and 
the barony of Hexham w&a taken out of his jurisdiction and given to the 
archbishop of York, and remained a peculiar of that see until the 
beginning of the present century, when Hexham was again united to 
Durham. ' ^ 




THE AlUJEY GATE. 



Li endeavouring to recall Saxon Hexham we have but little assistance 
from existing remains. Up to recent times fragments of the old parish 
church were to be seen built into houses in the neighbourhood of Back 
Street, anciently St. Mary's Chare. Besides this church dedicated to the 
Virgin, there was St. Peter's, of which nothing remains, nor is its site 
known ? these were both works of St. Wilfrid, the great church builder. 
On the western side, among many monastic remains, there exists the 
beautiful abbey gate, believed to be part of Wilfrid's Saxon church. Dr. 
Bruce notices a peculiarity in it. ^^ In front of the gate has been a 
vaulted portico, where a mounted messenger might await communications 
yrith thQ prior. It is said that the last superior of the priory was hanged 
here at his own gates." Better attested, however, is the account of the 



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174 HEXHAM. 

reception which Henry VIII/s commissioners met with on their approach 
to take possession of the monastery ; they foimd the gates closed and the 
battlements lined with armed men^ most prominent amongst the latter 
being a canon^ the master of Ovingham — a cell belonging to Hexham ; he 
stood on the walls in full armour^ with a bow bent^ with arrows^ and to 
the summons of the commissioners^ answered : '^ We be twenty brethren 
in this house, and we shall die all or that you shall have this house/' 

Mention should also be made here of the important find of Saxon 
coins in 1832. Mr. Adamson^ in a paper communicated to the Society 
of Antiquaries, estimates the number, of coins at 8,000; they were con- 
tained in a brass bucket without cover ;-— this, and a large number of the 
coins are now in the British Museum. This treasure was found at a 
depth of seven feet in the churchyard, on the west side of the south 
transept, and it appears probable that it was buried here on the approach 
of the Danes, whom we know rather as the destroyers than the builders 
of churches ; they did nothing to repair the mischief they had wrought ; 
that work was left for their successors, the Normans, to whom we owe 
the present abbey church. The restoration was commenced under the 
Norman archbishop, Thomas II. of York, in 1113, but not completed 
until nearly a century had elapsed ; and archesologists tell us that the 
principal portions are not of earlier date than 1200. On entering the 
church, the first view is of its longest remaining portion — the tran- 
sept, at the south end of which is the only entrance. The great west 
door and the nave were destroyed in 1296 by the Scots, and never 
rebuilt. The church has suffered curtailment at the other end also, 
where the lady chapel stood; this had become so dilapidated that it 
was thought well to remove the ruins when the east end was restored a 
few years since. It has been much regretted that when the last resto- 
rations were carried out, the funds were not sufficient to include this great 
feature of the church. The building was of grand proportions, the choir 
and lady chapel measuring ninety-five feet, the transept 156 feet, the nave 
on the same scale ; so that it was larger in plan than some of the lesser 
cathedrals of England, such as Carlisle and Bipon. 

The view of the transept is best from the north end'; the effect is 
solenm and- impressive. It is thus described by Mr. Sidney Gibson : — 



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INTEIUOn OP THE ABBEY CHURCH. 



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HEXHAM. 177 

*' The height, extent, and solemn character of this part of the noble pile 
afford a fine example of the impressive sublimity of early English church 
architecture. The tower is supported by four light and lofty arches 
springing from massive tall clustered pillars, opening into each of the 
four divisions of the cross. The foliage of the piers is singularly elabo- 
rate and graceful ; and the arrangement of the triforia throughout the 
edifice is almost matchless in any building of the period for beauty and 
effect. The enrichments and character of these galleries are very similar 
to those at Holyrood. Above the triforia, on either side, is a row of 
clear story windows.'^ The choir is very interesting, and conveys well 
the idea of height. It is unusually well-lighted, and with all its elaborate 
clustering of shafts and repetition of arches it is light and elegant 




PRITHSTOL. 



throughout ; the chancel is considered to be the earliest part of the church. 
The original carved oak stalls still remain, but are unhappily wanting the 
canopy or tabernacle work, which was cut away in the last century to 
make room for modern galleries. 

Near the altar on the north side of the choir is the frid or frith stol, 
seat of peace, or sanctuary chair. This stone seat is of great antiquity ; 
it may have been, as has been suggested, 'Hhe seat on which the 
bishops of the see were consecrated, perhaps even that in which the 
kings of Northumbria were crowned.'^ It is believed to be a relic of the 
Saxon church of Wilfrid, by whom the privilege of sanctuary was obtained 
for Hexham ; it was retained down to the reign of Henry VIII., when it 
was limited, and in James I.'s reign abolished. 

Among the antiquities of the church is the mortuary-chapel known as 

AA 



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178 HEXHAM. 

the shrine of Prior Richard^ but now understood to be of a date subsequent 
to his time ; Dr. Bruce suggests Prior Rowland Lechman, 1479 to 1499. 

The little chapel is complete in itself^ having a stone altar with five 
crosses. The exterior, the best preserved side, shows beautiful flam- 
boyant tracery in black oak; the panelling is of wood, the base being 
of stone, on which are carved figures very grotesque and rude, in 
the execution of which the artist-monks no doubt found expression 
for the quaint humour which would be ever irrepressibly bubbling up 
under the cowl and cope, in spite of the rules of the order. On the 
stalls, where the seats turn up, the under-side is found to contain similar 
art-eflForts. In the interior of the shrine, the panels have paintings of 
Saints Peter, Andrew, and John, and the suffering Saviour. Similar to 
these, are some on the rood screen, which latter is very beautiful, flam- 
boyant in character, but of late date. The paintings, which are numerous, 
are very much defaced. The Dance of Death affords subject for some of 
the panels. There is no ancient stained glass in the church. Amongst 
monumental effigies are many of beautiful design ; there is one of a cross- 
legged figure of one of the Umfravilles, more than one of which powerful 
baronial family were benefactors of the church, and near are two others of 
the thirteenth or fourteenth century, of a lady and a warrior ; the latter 
probably Galfrid de Aydon. There is also the effigy of Henry Beaufort, 
Duke of Somerset, who was captured at the battle of Hexham, and after- 
wards beheaded. Sepulchral stones bn the pavement have been numerous, 
and many of them with brasses ; of these, one is in memory of Robert 
Ogle, who died a.d. 1404. Perhaps the most ancient is that with the 
inscription, *' Joannes Malerbe Jacet Hie,*' which is still visible in the 
floor of the south side of the choir. 

The massive stone staircase engraved here is very noteworthy, being 
unique in this country. Its position in the church is shown in the page 
engraving of the interior. On the landing is the doorway leading by a 
spiral flight of steps to the belfry. The ancient bells were six in number, 
the largest — St. Mary's, was also called the Fray bell when used alone ; 
after fiuthfully warning the townsfolk of the coming of the foe during 
many generations from the date of its consecration in 1404, and taking its 
part in ringing in the Union, it appears to have " cracked its gorge '' 



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HEXHAM. 



179 



amid the rejoicings at the wedding of Sir William Blackett, and was 
finally silenced^ with the other five of the ancient *' ring '' in the melting 
pot, being in 1742 re-cast into the present peal of eight. 

To the west of the chancel are the ruins of the chapter-house, and on 
the west of the south transept there remains a lovely bit of the arcade of 
the cloister. Near it is the abbey, now a private residence, which has not 
much that is ancient. North- 
wards is the beautiful gateway 
engraved in the initial. 

The first and last royal visit 
of a pacific nature to this town 
was in 1139, when King David 
of Scotland (St. David, as he was 
called, on account of his zeal 
for religion) , with Earl Henry, 
his son, met the cardinal-legate 
at Hexham, where they were 
honourably entertained. Only 
the year before this the king 
had visited Northumberland as 
a firebrand, and while engaged 
personally in the siege of Wark, 
had sent William, son of Duncan, 
with part of the army to ravage 
the country ; these, crossing the 
Tyne at Warden, met with such 
a warm reception at the hands of 
the young men of Hexham that it is said not one escaped. The story of 
this deed of valour was no doubt treasured by successive generations of 
the inhabitants of Hexham, and a hatred of the Scots along with it; and 
it appeared to the writer that in 1875 the feud had not altogether died out, 
as he heard a young man, a native of the town, assert with some warmth, 
" that there was a time when he would have ' felled ' a man for suggest- 
ing that there was any similarity between the speech of this neighbour- 
hood and that of the Scots." 




STONE STAIRCASU IN THE ALJlEY CHURCH. 



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180 



HBXHAM. 



The abbey grounds extended to the west of the town, enclosing the 
Seal, where once «valked for pleasure or penance the monks of Hexham. 
Now it is the spacious recreation park of the town, and has many fine 
trees. Notes on Hexham would be incomplete without reference to the 
Queen's Cave. A smart walk from Hexham in a southerly direction, 
under the guidance of one who knows the spot, by a dipping path into 
the woods which mark the course of a stream, the stream followed to 
its junction with another, the latter taken to, followed, crossed and 
re-crossed a score of times and more, — so much does it curve and 
vary in its depth and in the height of its banks, — at last the spot is 
reached after pleasant toil 'mid tangled wood and boulders and pebbly 
fords. The brook runs under high precipitous banks, in many places of 
almost bare rock, with festoons of wild creeping plants which ornament 
rather than clothe it. At the base of such rock is the recess which 
became the refuge of Queen Margaret and her little son; it is on the 
southern bank of the stream, and opposite the farmhouse on Black Hill. 

The cave which the immortal though nameless freebooter thus placed 
at the disposal of the queen (according to a survey made in 1822, for 
Wright's '' History of Hexham") does not exceed thirty-one feet in its 
greatest length, and fourteen feet in breadth, while the height would 
scarcely allow of a person standing upright in it. The entrance has been 
somewhat cleared of late years, but the situation and surroundings are all 
in perfect harmony with the story. 




queen's cave. 



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CHAPTER XVI. 



THE DEVIKS-WATER. 




DILBTON TOWEK. 



fO Satanic tradition is advanced to account for the 
name of this considerable bum, which, tunning 
fourteen miles in a north-easterly course, from the 
mountainous district of Allendale, enters the Tyne 
nearly opposite Corbridge, four miles from Hex- 
ham. Early records assist in tracing the names 
both of the stream, and the barony of Dilfiton 
through which it flows, to the same source. We 
have it on the authority of Mr. Sidney Gibson 
that in records of the reign of Henry II. mention 
of Dilston occurs under the name of Dyvelston, a 
name of which D^Eivellston is not unlikely to have been the original form, 
for although such ownership has not been proved, it may have been the 
property of one IKEivell, whose name occurs in history as far back as 
Henry I. In the reign of Edward I. Sir Thomas Dyvilston held the 
barony. In the sixteenth century it had acquired the name of Dilston, 
and had passed to the Radcliffes of Derwentwater. The Devil's- water has 
the usual changeful character of mountain streams. Now the bum runs 
at large, wide and shallow^ and now over pebbly beds, through a cutting 
in the diluvial soil, between high banks. About Dilston the obstacle of 
hard rock has succumbed little by little to the persistent force of moving 
water ; here the way is narrow, and the stream frets and fumes within its 



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182 THE devil's- WATER. 

straightened bounds'. Higher up among the hills there are signs of the 
existence of a lake before the burn had cut its way to the Tyne. Amongst 
lovely passages which abound^ are those where ancient trees ornament its 
banks, their low spreading branches meeting across the stream, and where 
again the burn is seen tumbling over a crescent-shaped weir. The Linnels 
Bridge, about two miles up, should also be mentioned, which is specially 
interesting as the locality of the encampment of the Lancastrian army 
before the battle of Hexham. 

Hexham Levels, the site of the battle, is in close vicinity. 

But most interesting, on account of romantic associations, is the turn 
in the stream where the grey walls of Dilston Tower look down on the 
water from the wooded heights of the Castle Hill. These grey walls are 
all that remain of the massive quadrangular castle of the Badcliffes, the 
seat of the earls of Derwentwater ; the last of that house being the un- 
fortunate James, third earl, who was bom the year after the creation of 
the first earl, — his brief life of twenty-seven years thus almost covered the 
whole period of the earldom. 

The ambition to become connected with the house of Stuart, ascribed 
to the grandfather, had realization in the marriage of his son to Mary 
Tudor, youngest natural daughter of Charles II. But the sour grapes 
were left for the son of the marriage, and the beheading on Tower Hill, 
February 24, 1716, seems to have followed in almost natural sequence. 
Relatives, — of the same age within a year, — companion^ from infancy, 
and educated together at St. Germains, it is not surprising that the 
attachment was formed between the Chevalier and the young earl 
which was followed by such unhappy consequences. It would appear 
that the earl was only five years in residence at the ancestral hall of 
Dilston from his first coming to the estate to the .time he left never 
to return. But brief as was the time spent among his own people, 
it was long enough for him to become endeared to the tenantry of his 
wide estates and to his neighbours of all ranks, by that innate nobleness 
of character which begets esteem as well as afiection. 

The kindly memories of those few years added deeper shades to the 
melancholy of their close,*— a melancholy which still seems to linger where- 
ever the confiscated Derwentwater estates are met with, and even now 



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DILSTON CASTLE. 



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THE DEVIL's-WATER. 



185 



are occasionally heard regrets at the void created by the extinction of the 
earldom^ as keen as though the blow had fallen on Tyneside but yesterday. 
Linked in a manner with the memory of the last earl of Derwentwater, 
the modem annals of Dilston present us with another and not less imposing 
figure, one who in his way left as groat a void, — John Grey of Dilston. 
Mrs. Butler^s charming biography has made her father's name familiar. 
In 1833, he was appointed to take charge of the Greenwich estates. 
At that time their revenue was £25,000. The year that he resigned he 
sent up to the commissioners £40,000, and the year following his son sent 
up £41,000. Increase of revenue, under John Grey's management, made 
him no enemies ; it carried with it the well-being of the people, reduction 
of rents; improvement of lands and buildings, upon which £10,000 were 
laid out in his time. 




THE earl's apple-tree. 

In the " Memoir,'' the following extract occurs from the '^ Agricultural 
Gazette." John Grey was spoken of after his death as " a leading name 
in English agriculture, a leading exemplar of the duties of land-owning, 
a leading teacher by example and precept of good farming in every 
department of it. He was the personal friend and adviser of, one may 
say, the population of a' province. One of the largest estates in Great 
Britain has grown into full equipment under his guidance, and hundreds 
of houses, homesteads, cottages, of his erection, each contained a family 
who reckoned him their friend.'^ 

The residence of the Greys was a modem house near the ruins of 
Dilston Hall, the situation is thus described by Mrs. Butler : — 

B B 



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186 



THE DEVIL S- WATER. 



''Our home at Dilsfcon was a very beautifal one ; its romantic historical 
associations^ the wild informal beauty all round its doors^ the bright large 
family circle^ and the kind and hospitable character of its master and 
mistress^ made it an attractive place to many friends and guests. It was 
a place where one could glide out of a lower window and be hidden in 
a moment, plunging straight among wild wood paths and beds of fern, or 




SWALLOWSHIP. 



finding oneself quickly in some cool concealment, beneath slender birch 
trees, or by the bed of a mountain stream. It was a place where the 
sweet rushing sound of waterfalls and clear streams murmuring over 
shallows were heard all day and night, though winter storms turned those 
sweet sounds into an angry tost." 



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THE devil's- WATER. 189 

The tail-piece to this chapter is reproduced from a photograph. In 
the tent here represented^ a misguided person claiming to be the Countess 
of Derwentwater spent some little time. 

It pleased many people to believe that in this act she was taking 
rightful possession of her estates. The pretended countess had 
many adherents in the neighbourhood of the Greenwich estates, in 
North Durham, and in Northumberland, where periods of excitement 
recurred from time to time on her account, until the recent sale by 
the Government of a large portion of the estate led to the collapse 
of the afiSur. 

Between Dilston and Beaufront, on the northern side of the river, in 
the days of the last earl there were Jacobite relations, and it has been 
said that in communications between the neighbouring proprietors a 
speaking trumpet was used. Errington, the then chief of Beaufront, was 
"ouf in 1715, and is not forgotten in the ballad entitled ''Derwent- 
water's Farewell:'' — 



•' Then fare thee well, brave Witherington, 
And Forater ever true. 
Dear Shaftesbuiy and Errington, 
Receive my last adieu ! ** 



When the unfortunate earl and his followers left Dilston Hall, on the 
fatal morning of the 16th October, to join the adherents of the Pretender, 
he halted at Beaufront; it being the place where others of the affected 
gentlemen of the north had agreed to meet him. 

In the ancient manor house of Beaufront they used to show a place 
under the oak stair, where, it is said, the earl lay concealed from the 
Government messengers. The Erringtons do not appear to have for- 
feited their estates ; one of them held Beaufront at the beginning of the 
present century. 

In 1837, William Guthbert, Esq., having become the proprietor of 
the estate, laid the foundation stone of the modern structure, which 
occupies the site of the old mansion of the Erringtons. It is an 
imposing building of the domestic castellated style, occupying an elevated 



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190 



THE DEVIL S-WATBR. 



position amidst sylvan surroundings of great beauty^ overlooking a 
wide country watered by the Tyne. It is about midway between Hexham 
and Corbridge. 




"countess'" camp. 



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CHAPTER XVII. 



CORBRIDGE. 




HEY tell us at Corbridge that the vil- 
lage derived its name from the Cor^ a 
small stream which flows by the west 
side of it; but the little word Cor is 
in the Roman Corstopitum and me- 
disBval Corchester as well as in the 
name of the modem town; and they 
0i used to tell of a giant Cor, whose sup- 
posed skeleton was turned up in the 
banks of the stream after a flood some 
time during the seventeenth century. 
Now the bum may well have been 
coRHRiDGE FEEu kuowu iu pro-Romau times by a British 

name^ afterwards latinized in the name of the Roman station on its 
banks. As for the giant Cor, whose height the local comparative anato- 
mists of the day judged, by the length of the thigh bone, to be twenty- 
one feet, his reputed remains are more wisely conjectured to have been 
those of some large animal slaughtered for sacrifice on the altars of Cor- 
stopitum. A more interesting discovery was made under similar circum- 
stances in the banks of a small stream on the east side of Corbridge, 
where, in 1734, a large Roman silver dish, now known as the '' Corbridge 
Lanx,'* — in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland — ^was unearthed 



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192 CORBRIDGB. 

by a blacksmith^s daughter, who was attracted by a bright object, partly 
exposed to view after the subsidence of a flood. It is described as being 
twenty inches long and fifteen broad, hollowed about one inch deep, 
with a flat brim ornamented with grapes and vine leaves, the centre 
being occupied by raised figures of Apollo and Minerva, a priestess and 
tripod, and two altars, the supposed figure of a hunter, a python, a stag, 
and a wolf. It is said to be of good workmanship, and bears no mark 
of the chasing tool. 

From the east of Corbridge, where this classical relic was discovered, 
let us get back to the banks of the Cor, following up which pretty stream 
we are brought into a charming glen ; about two miles from the Tyne, 
northwards, the burn flows in a winding course through this thickly- 
wooded dene, and a picturesque wooden bridge conducts to the ascending 
road to Aydon Castle, which on two sides has deep ravines, giving it a 
position almost unassailable in days when security was the first thing to 
be thought of in choosing a site. 

Aydon Hall, as it is sometimes more appropriately called, is domestic 
rather than military in the style of its architecture. The manor was, in 
the early part of the thirteenth century, given to the family of the 
Aydons : the hall was probably built by Peter do Valibus somewhere 
between 1280 and 1300, the estates coming to him by marriage with 
Emma de Aydon, when the male line of the latter house failed. The 
building is well-preserved, the loopholed outer wall remains in part; and 
within, there is a characteristic open court and outer stone staircase which 
seems to have been originally roofed, and a stable with arched roof of 
stone, — no timber halving been used in any part of the latter structure, — 
a wise precaution of the times. The precipitous cliff and the deep dene 
over which the old hall hangs, have given rise to legends of the usual 
character — of lover's leap, and hair-breadth esctvpes. 

A little to the north of Aydon is Halton Castle^ a peel with considerable 
modem additions ; the original building was of stones from the Roman 
Wall and the station Hunnum ; it had turrets at its four corners. The 
Camaby family — name familiar in Border history — held it at one time. A 
sword of one of them used to be shown here, measuring sixty-four inches 
in length. Corstopitum was an important station, being on the line of 



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AYDON CASTIJi. 



C C 



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CORBRIDGE. 



195 



the northern Watling Street, just where it crossed the Tjne. The 
foundations of the Watling Street bridge are said to be discernible still, 
when sky and water are clear enough. The ruins of the station supplied 
materials for the building of the mediaBval town, and for the more ancient 
parts of modern Corbridge itself. Its church, dedicated to St. Andrew, 
was built of Roman stones, and contains an inscription of ancient 
character: "Here lies in earth, Hugh, the son of Assun.'' In the 
*' Middle Ages," Corbridge was a place of importance ; at one time it was 




CORBRIDGE MARKET-PLACE. 

a borough sending a representative to parliament. Jts chief attraction 
now rests in its antiquity. Once the inhabitants forsook the town and 
camped out on the hills ; that waa when the place was stricken with the 
plague, and it is recorded that when they returned they found the grass 
grown in the streets. 

There is a qnaintness about the old market-place. The cross was 
erected in 1809. The building in the north-east comer, shown in the 
sketch, and also in the initial, belongs to an interesting class of peels 
erected for the protection of adjoining churches, and occupied by their 



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196 



CORBRIDGE. 



ecclesiastics. The Corbridge peel is remarkable for the perfect state 
of the interior^ which shows the whole of the domestic arrangements 
peculiar to the times to which it belongs. Less ancient, but not less 
interesting than the peel, is the bridge ; it was built in 1674, and is the 
oldest on the river, having been the only one strong enough to with- 
stand the force of the great flood of 1771. Its preservation is attri- 
buted to its Roman foundation. Sykes^ Records contain the statement 
in reference to this flood, that such was the height of the water that 




THE BRIDGE. 



during the night some persons stood on the bridge and washed their 
hands in the river. Probably their sense of humour would not have led to 
the freak had they been aware that at the time the new bridge at Hexham 
(only opened the year before amid great rejoicings) was more than half 
demolished, and that at Newcastle the middle arch of Tyne Bridge, and 
two other arches near to Gateshead, were carried away ; and seven 
houses, with shops standing thereon, together with some of the inhabi- 
tants, were overwhelmed in the destruction. 

On the next day, it is recorded of Newcastlf, there fell other houses 



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CORBRIDGE. 197 

into the river, and one (Mr. Patten^s) was earned whole as far as Jarrow 
Slake, about eight miles down the river, and when it was opened, nothing 
was found but a dog and a cat, which were both alive ; let us believe that 
a common misfortune united even these proverbial foes. Amongst 
numerous incidents recorded, connected with this great flood, is that 
pathetic one, of a child in a cradle, alive and well, being taken up hy a 
vessel at sea, off Shields. 

*' The Tyne,'' says Mrs. Butler,' ^^ is a rapid river, subject to heavy 
floods, from the sudden pouring in after rain, of the waters of its many 
feeders from the hills. After thorough draining had become universal, 
the river was subject to still more sudden risings, making necessary a 
great extent of embankment and weirs, to prevent the carrying away of 
the land. Sometimes the bank of waters would come steadily along with 
a dull roaring sound, like the ' bore ' of the Severn. The following letter 
describes the effect of one of these floods, written from Dilston to his wife, 
by J. G. : 'I hope to see you on Sunday morning, but am in poor plight for 
leaving home, having lain awake all night, thinking of the devastation 
which kept me ten hours in the sun yesterday, and which will never be 
repaired in my day. Such a fall of water for four miles square, I never 
heard of in this country. It came down so as to fill tubs standing outside 
in a minute. A messenger from Fourstones came for me early. I went, 
and found the colliery at Fourstones full of water, run in at the mouth ; 
nothing could resist it ; the railway, leading from our limestone quarry to 
the kilns, all run into great holes, and the rubbish lodged in the low 
ground ; Capon's Cleugh bridge and road, which cost us £530 six years 
ago, all gone into Tyne, where it has formed an island, with trees 
washed down, and nearly obstructed the river ; the roads broken up, and 
impassable, all the way to Haydon Bridge. I sent a man round with my 
mare by New Borough and the Fell-top, three miles round; all ditches 
and water courses filled up, and the burns running down wheat-fields, and 
making such gullies ! the lanes several feet deep of soil from the turnip- 
fields, newly done up ! ! A workman was on the line near AUerwash 
Bridge at our mill ; saw the water coming like an avalanche, stepped 

' '* Momoir of John Grey of Dilstoii," p. 143. 



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198 



CORBRIDGE. 



back, and in a moment saw the railway -bridge over Allerwash-burn 
carried bodily into the Tyne, and swept into fragments. A mile further 
west, the ruins of our Capon^s Cleugh bridge, Ac, came in a deluge of 
water and stones and trees against the railway. The culvert for the 
passing of the small burn was stopped ; the train came up, the engine and 
tender got over, but the line broke under the carriages. The guard fell 
through the bottom of his van, was swept in the flood of the burn across 
the Tyne, and landed unhurt in our plantation on the south side ! How 
he escaped being crushed to death among the splinters and broken planks 
of the carriages, I cannot conceive.' 

" Among my earliest recollections at Dilston, is that of seeing sheep 
and cows, and stacks of corn carried away, on several occasions, by the 
sudden rush of waters, and of efforts made to save little children, who 
were sometimes playing on the banks when the river rose, and washed 
down the stream.'' * 

^ " Memoir of John Grey of Dilston," note to p. l-ij5. 




EXTERNAL STAIRCASE AYDON CASTLE. 



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CHAPTER XVIII. 



BYWELL. 



** Was nought around but images of rest ; 
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between. 

« « « « 

And whate*er smacked of noyance or unrest 
Was far, far off expelled from this delicious nest." 




j jYWELL on a sunny summer's day has just such 
a dreamy air as this^ especially when impressions 
of the wilder scenery of the North and South 
Tyne valleys are still fresh in the mind. One 
seems to enter here a garden of pleasaunce, the 
land of flood and fell all left behind^ even the 
river, 

'* Though restless, still a lulling murmur makes/* 

It shapes its banks in easier curves^ and the 
contour of the land is suavity itself. Larch 
and fir no longer predominate^ for here the 

spreading oak and lofty elm, the ash and sycamore, are well represented, 

and an old mulberry tree adorns the river's side. 

It is said that the coldest days here are nearly as warm as the hottest 

in the AUenheads country, a coiTCsponding difference in the aspect 

of the two districts is a matter of course. The lands around are highly 



m WELL CROSS. 



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200 



BYWBLL. 



cultivated, and Bywell is perhaps the trimmest place on Tyne. Historical 
interest is gathered round the architectural group comprising the castle 
and the two neighbouring churches. An old line engraving by Bellers, 
dated 1754, includes these in a general view, curiously entitled Bywell 
Bay. The title is explained by the old use of the word bay for weir. This 
weir is a beautiful object in the foreground of the plate, as it appeared 
before it was lowered about fifty years ago ; the picturesque water-mill 




KYWKLL CASTLE. 



shown in the plate is gone, and the castle was not then, as it is now, over- 
grown with ivy ; the view also shows more wood than exists now, and we 
are told that in Elizabeth's time the barony of Bywell had its forest of red 
deer. Here in earlier times the B^liols doubtless had sport, and probably 
William Rufus himself, who had conferred the barony on Guy de Baliol. 
The forests, the red deer, and the Baliols leave here now no sign. The 
old fortress, sometimes erroneously styled the BalioPs Castle, is the gate 
tower of an unfinished castle of the Nevilles, to whom the barony oame 



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BYWELL. 201 

in Richard II /s reign. Bywell was forfeited by the Nevilles after the 
insurrection of 1569, in which Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, took a 
prominent part. This rebellion was the subject of a famous ballad, '' The 
Rising of the North." With the Earl of Westmoreland was Percy of 
Northumberland at the head of the rising, and a stirring passage in the 
ballad is that of old Norton's appeal to his sons, his co-operation having 
been invited by Earl Percy : — 

*' He sayd, * Come thither, Ohristopher Norton, 

A gallant youth thou seemest to bee ; 
What dost thoa counsell me, my sonne, 

Now that good erle*8 in jeopardy ? * 

<« < Father, my counselle^s fair and free ; 

That erle he is a noble lord, 
And whatsoever to him you hight, 

I would not have you breake your word.' 

" • Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne. 

Thy counsell well it liketh mee. 
And if we speed and scape with life, 

Well advanced shalt thou bee.* 

'* < Come you hither, my nine good sonnes, 

Gallant men I trowe you bee ; 
How many of you, my children deare. 

Will stand by that good erle and mee P * 

'* Eight of them did answer make, 

Eight of them spake hastilie, 
* father, till the daye we dye 

We*ll stand by that good erle and thee. 

** * Gramercy now, my children deare. 

You show yourselves right bold and brave ; 

And whetherso^er I live or dye, 
A father^s blessing you shall have. 

•• • But what sayst thou, Francis Norton, 

Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire P 
Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast ; 

Whatever it bee, to mee declare.' 
D D 



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202 BYWBLL. 

« < father, yon are an aged man, 

Your head is white, your bearde is gray ; 
It were a shame at these your yeares 

For yon to ryse in snch a fray.* 

" * Now fye npon thee, coward Francis, 

Thon never learnedst this of mee : 
When thon wert yonng and tender of age, 

Why did I make soe mnch of thee? * 

" * Bnt, father, I will wend with you, 

Unarmed and naked will I bee ; 
And he that strikes against the crowne, 

Ever an ill death may he dee.* 

*' Then rose that reverend gentleman, 

And with him came a goodlye band 
To join with the brave Erie Percy, 

And all the flower o* Northumberland. 

*< With them the noble Nevill came, 

The Erie of Westmoreland was hee : 
At Wetherbye they mnstred their host, 

Thirteen thousand faire to see. 

*' Lord Westmoreland his ancyent raisde, 

The Dun Bull * he rays*d on hye, 
And three Dog^ with golden collars 

Were there set out most royallye. 

*« Brie Percy there his ancyent spred. 
The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire ; ^ 

The Norton*s ancyent had the crosse, 

* * • « « 

The ballad concludes thus : — 

'* Now spread thy ancyent, Westmoreland, 
Thy dun bull &ine would we spye : 

^ ''Dun Bull," &c — The supporters of the Nevilles, Earls of Westmoreland, were 
two bulls argent, ducally collared gold, armed or, &c. 

^ " The Halfe-Moone,** &c. — The silver crescent is a well-known creet or badge 
of the Northumberland family. 



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BYWELL. 

And thoa, the Erie o* Northamberland, 
Now rayse thy halfe moone up on hye. 

<* But the dan bolle is fled and gone, 
And the halfe moone vanished away ; 

The Erles, though they were brave and bold. 
Against so many conld not stay. 



203 




STOCKSPIELD BUEN. 

" Thee, Norton, wi* thine eight good sonnes, 
They doomed to dye, alas ! for rath ! 

Thy reverent lockes thee coald not save, 
Nor them their faire and blooming yoath. 

*' Wi* them fall many a gallant wight 

They craellye bereav'd of life ; 
And many a childe made fatherlesse, 

And widowed many a tender wife.** 



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204 BYWELL. 

The Earl of Westmoreland escaped to tha continent, but forfeited 
Brancepath and Raby, as well as Bywell, which afterwards came to the 
Fenwicks, whose chief place, however, was Fenwick Towers, near Stam- 
fordham, to the north-east of Bywell. 

About the time of this '^Rising,'' a writer describes Bywell as 
^^ builded all of one street upon the river or water of Tyne, inhabited by 
handicraftsmen, whose trade is in iron work for the horsemen and 
borderers of that country/^ A century later the men of Bywell would 
find their occupation to a considerable extent gone. The Fenwicks had, 
by this time, no longer the retinue of horses and men which were neces- 
sary in keeping up their hereditary feuds with Scottish borderers, 
although towards the end of the century, in the third year of which the 
Union was decreed, cattle-lifting, &c., was still a thriving Border trade. 
A curious picture of these times is found in Roger North^s life of his 
brother, then Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. In 1676, when 
the judge was on the northern circuit, his progress from Newcastle to 
Carlisle took him through the barony of Bywell, and such was the state 
of the country and the roads, that a law then in force obliged the tenants 
of the several manors of the barony to guard the judges through their 
precinct, and, says North, " out of it they would not go, no, not an inch 
to save the souls of them.'' " They were a comical sort of people, riding 
upon negs, as they call their small horses, with long beards, cloaks, and 
long broad swords, with basket hilts, hanging in broad belts, that their 
legs and swords almost touched the ground ; and every one in his turn, 
with his short cloak, and other equipage, came up cheek by jowl, and 
talked with my lord judge. His lordship was very well pleased with 
their discourse, for they were great antiquarians in their own bounds.'' 

To account for the close proximity of the Bywell churches, different 
theories are advanced. One is that they were founded by two sisters. 

The churches are popularly called the White and the Black churches, 
a faint reminiscence, doubtless, of the different orders of monks by whom 
they were served. Canon Tristram suggests that, having adjoining 
manors, they built their churches side by side, for the sake of society for 
their exiled chaplains. Certain characteristics in the tower of St. 
Andrew (shown on the right of our sketch), have led to the supposition 



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BYWBLL. 207 

that it may have been the work of St. Wilfrid of Hexham. In 803^ 
Egbert^ Bishop of Lindisfame^ is said to have been consecrated at Bywell. 
Possibly it was at old St. Andrew's Church that the ceremony was per- 
formed. 

Daring the great flood of 1771, previously referred to, Bywell suffered 
greatly. The " Black Church " received as many of the horses from Mr. 
Fenwick's fine '^ stud " as could be got into it, and it was said that many 
of the poor animals only saved themselves from being carried away by 
holding on to the tops of the pews, and a mare belonging to Mr. Elliott, 
the father-in-law of Thomas Bewick, saved herself by mounting the altar. 
Both churchyards were more or less destroyed by this indiscriminating 
flood. 

There are picturesque passages on Stocksfield bum, which bum 
enters the Tyne on the opposite side, near to the modem bridge and 
railway. Not far from the source of this burn stands ^^ Minster Acres,'' 
with beautiful grounds of its own, and set in a cultivated landscape. 




ir 

J1INST£A ACBlfiS. 



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CHAPTER XIX. 



PllUDHOE AND OVINGHAM. 




^HERE is an old ruinous Castle, walled about, and 
in form not much unlike to a shield hanging 
with one poynte upwards, situate upon a high 
moate of earth, with ditches in some places, 
all wrought with man^s handes as it seemeth, 
and is of all the scyte, with a little garden platt, 
and the banckes by estimacon iij aer. The 
said Castle hath the entrey on the south, where 
it hath had two gates, the uttermost now in 
decay, and, between the gates is a strong wall 
on both sides, and as it appeareth, hath been a 
draw-bridge, and without the same, before it 
come to the utter gate, a turn-pyke for the defence of the bridge/' 

Such was the condition of Prudhoe Castle when Stockdale described it 
in 1586, and in a state of decay it has remained to our day, a relic of the 
feudal age; in order to preserve it as such, Hugh, fourth Duke of North- 
umbldrland, restored the outer walls early in the present century, and at 
the same time the modern additions were made in order to provide a re- 
sidence for the steward ; this is the least interesting part of the river 
front, and it happens to be the most familiar to the passing traveller. The 
site is commanding, as that of a powerful English baronial castle was sure 
to be. A massive wall enclosed it, defended by bastions of great strength, 



ORIEL WINDOW, PBUDHOE. 



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PRUDHOE AND OVINGHAM. 211 

and built on the crest of a now grass-covered cHflf, which rises abruptly 
from the river's brink. Our sketch is, however, taken fipom a point south 
of the ruin, where its most striking features invite investigation. Enough 
is left of the highest pile to assist in a mental restoration of the keep, 
which — ^as was usual in Norman castles — stood within the enclosure, and 
independent of the outworks. The square tower with semi-circular arch 
formed the inner gateway; the '' utter gateway,^' as Stockdale called it, 
is only further gone in decay than when he saw it ; connecting the two, 
there was, it is thought, a covered-way, the walls of which were thick and 
massive. There are also the remains of a watch-tower, of loop-holed bastion- 
towers, with tiers oflow chambers in which it was impossible for the defenders 
to stand upright, and of other apartments for various uses, with stone- 
stairs exposed here and there, quaint windows, broken arches, ivy-covered 
buttresses, and the many suggestive fragments which together make the 
ruins of an old baronial castle so interesting. 

The oriel window over the inner gateway is still tolerably perfect, in 
our sketch it is slightly restored ; for want of space the window was 
built on corbels to make room for the altar of the chapel. It is interesting 
as the earliest known instance of an oriel window. The barbican and 
chapel are said to belong to the reign of Edward I. or early part of 
Edward II., but the lancet windows have been put in subsequently. 

The first baron of Prudhoe was one of the followers of William the 
Norman, known as '' Robert with the beard.'' The Conqueror gave him at 
first the lordship of Sedesdale ''with all its castles, woods and franchises, to 
hold by the service of defending that part of the country from wolves, and the 
King's ennemies by the sword which the said Eling William wore when 
he entered Northumberland." Subsequently, when Northumberland was 
parcelled out into baronies and manors, Prudhoe was bestowed on the 
above Robert, the first of the powerful family of the XJmfravilles of North- 
umberlatid. The barony remained with this family for nearly 300 years, 
with the exception of a short period during which it was alienated, the 
then lord of Prudhoe being among the unruly barons of King John's 
reign. The oldest parts of the castle were probably erected during the 
reigns of Stephen and Henry II., when so many of the baronial castles 
were built. It was famous amongst impregnable fortresses in the time of 



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212 PRUDHOE AND OVINGHAM. 

Henry II., when Odinel de Urafraville held it successfally daring a si^ge 
of three days against William the Lion, who, in the same campaign, 
had destroyed and sacked the massive fortresses of Harbottle .and 
Wark, besides reducing Carlisle. In the following sammer, " the brave 
Odinel and his stout and valiant men,'^ again repulsed the Scottish king. 
In Edward Ill.^s reign, when Harbottle Castle was quite laid in ruins, Gil- 
bert de Umfraville applied for leave to bring his prisoners (taken on the 
Border) to Prudhoe Castle, instead of to the former ; this Gilbert was the 
last of its feudal barons, and died in 1381. The estate afterwards passed 
to the Percys, who now hold it. 

Whilst moving about amongst the ruins of Prudhoe, glimpses are 
obtained of the pretty village on the opposite side of the river, of its 
church, and of many cottages scattered along the ridge of the high river 
bank. In Backus view of Prudhoe Castle, taken last century, the tower of 
Ovingham Church in the background is shown with a dwarf pyramidal 
spire, of which it is certainly destitute now. A great resemblance is 
noticeable between this tower and those of St. Andrew^s, Bywell, and 
Newbum, lower down the river ; the latter is the only one of the three 
which has now a rudimentary spire similar to that shown in BucVs print. 
These towers are now generally assigned to a pre-Norman period. " Thoy 
have the same double lighted belfry windows, with rude balusters, and 
through capitals, the same rubbed borderings, and the same circular 
holes above the lights and within the arched border,'^ and the opinion has 
been expressed that they are all probably the work of the great Saxon 
church-builder, St. Wilfrid himself. 

The old grey tower of Ovingham is not the only memorial of Saxon 
times in this village ; its very name signifies, we aro told, "The home of 
the Offings, or sons and daughters of OfiTa,'' some Saxon settler ; just as 
Eltringham, a little to the west on the south side of the water, was once 
the abode of the Eld rings, or offspring of Eldric or Eldred. And there 
is one feature of daily life here which strangely connects the present 
with the past, for, supposing these Anglo-Saxon families to have been, 
on visiting terms, means of communication can scarcely have been 
more primitive than at present between the two populous villages, — 
for there is no bridge here, — and freights brought as far as Prudhoe 



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PRUDHOB AND OVINGHAM. 213 

by the modero railway are carried over to Ovingham by the old world 
ferry or ford. 

Nevertheless, " Ovingham is not what it was/' is the true lament of 
the oldest inhabitant, although there is no sign of its becoming a 
deserted village; there is plenty of life stirring, and of new buildings 
enough, more than enough, for those who knew the rural Ovingham of fifty 
years ago ; the character of the figures in the landscape has been 
changed, as well as the numbers increased, and conspicuous now-a-days 
are those whose appearance signifies the near vicinity of extensive coal- 
workings, and then there is that most unpicturesque of sights, a pit 
village, not that the ugliness of uniformity is confined to such, — our 
large towns have plenty of it, — ^but how much more jarring it is when seen 
on the wild country side. These unpicturesque innovations are not so 
obtrusive as might be expected however, and from many a point up and 
down stream, the river, the village, and the ruins on the opposite shore, 
have very much the same aspect as they had when Thomas Bewick knew 
them, in the days when, as a boy, going to and from school, he might be 
seen wading across the river at Eltringham Ford (when floods did not 
hinder), just as we see boys doing now whilst the sketch of the village is 
in progress ; now it is necessary to move aside to let a timber waggon 
with six horses go by, it is coming down the road shown in the immediate 
foreground of the view, and presently the driver is seen giving his 
horses rest in mid-stream, before climbing the opposite bank. '' It was 
to Eltringham Ford,'' says Bewick in his autobiography, that " from about 
the year 1760 to 1767, when a boy, I was frequently sent by my parents 
to purchase a salmon from the fishers of the ' Strike ; ' at that time I 
never paid more and often less than l^d. per pound. Before, or perhaps 
about this time, there had always been inserted in every indenture in 
Newcastle that the apprentice was not to be obliged to eat salmon above 
twice a week."* 

It is difficult to move along the banks of the Tyne hereabouts with- 
out being reminded of Thomas Bewick — whose woodcuts have made 
familiar to us so many of its scenes — By well Castle, and St. Nicholas' 

* »• Memoir of Thomas Bewick/' p. 222. 



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214 



PRUDHOB AND OVINGHAM. 



spire occur frequently in the backgrounds of his vignettes; also Gor- 
-bridge and Tynemouth^ and the rocks at Cullercoats ; others illustrate 
the life on the river — an old fisherman with a .leister, men wading 
or crossing on stilts, a man fording the river with his cow, duck 
shooters, &c. 

Thomas Bewick was bom in 1753 at Cherry burn, a mile west of 
Ovingham, but on the opposite side of the river. The birthplace of the 
artist is described by himself as follows : — " Cherrybum House, the place 




CUEBRYBUBh*. 

of my nativity, and which for many years my eyes beheld with cherished 
delight, is situated on the south side of the Tyne, in the county of 
Northumberland, a short distance from the river. The house, stables, 
&c., stand on the west side of a little dean, at the foot of which runs a 
bum. The dean was embellished with a number of cherry and plum- 
trees, which were terminated by a garden on the north. Near the house 
were two large ash trees growing from one root ; and at a little distance 
stood another of the same kind. At the south end of the premises was a 
spring well, overhung by a large hawthorn bush, behind which was a 



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PRUDHOE AND OVINGHAM. ^17 

holly hedge, and further away was a boggy dean, with underwood and 
trees of different kinds.*' * 

Only a portion of the old building remains, and that has been con- 
verted into a byre, but the orchard at this day answers to his description. 
On the west side of the parsonage at Ovingham, which, with its pretty 
garden, overhangs the Tyne on the slope between the church and the 
river, was the school in which Bewick, and " a host of north country 
Worthies received their education.'* 

Bewick's grave is in Ovingham churchyard, on the west wall of the 
tower is a tablet to his memory. A just and comprehensive estimate of 
the works and genius of Bewick was given by John Jackson, his pupil, 
a native of Ovingham,* 

Prom Bewick the art of wood-engraving took new form and life.. He 
made a wise departure from former practice in avoiding the imitation of 
copper- plate engraving ; he saw also that the art was capable of more 
than had been attempted in any previous school, especially in the effective 
rendering of light and shade, of texture and finish of detail. Of the 
success of his own efforts in this direction, his well-known works are full 
of brilliant examples. The most interesting thing about Bewick is 
however, the wide range of his natural powers of mind, and his almost 
exclusive use of pictorial art as his vehicle of expression. Besides 
being, as LcRlio styles him, ''an artist of the highest order, though not 
a painter,^''* ho must always rank high as naturalist, humorist, and 
moralist. His pictorial descriptions of birds and beasts are scientific 
as well as artistic, and in his vignettes and tail-pieces, his pencil and 
graver point the moral, their broader strokes, the humour. Original 
drawings by him are not so numerous as might have been expected, 
they rarely appear at exhibitions ; the following from one of his letters 
partly accounts for £his fact : * — 

' ' Memoir, p. 32. 
* See Jackson on Wood-engraving. 
^ " Handbook for Yonng Paintera." 

^ Letter to Mrs. M. " Memoir of Thomas Bewick/* Appendix, p. 341. 
Since the above was written an interesting exhibition of drawings and wood- 
cuts by Bewick — principally lent by his daughters — has been held in London 
(1880). This collection was rich in original drawings of the birds, and many 

F P 



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218 PRUDHOE AND OVINOHAM. 

''Could I have foreseen that the sketches, which your partiality makes 
you value, would ever have been thought worthy of your notice, 1 cer- 
tainly would have saved more of them for you, and not have put so many 
of them into the fire. And now, if my time and attention were not so 
fully taken up with conducting other parts of my business, I could easily 
famish such without end ; but, when the fancies pop into my head, I 
have not time even to commit them to paper, and I am often obliged to 
sketch them at once upon the wood/' 

From this passage we may infer that, even in those instances when 
he did sketch his designs previously on paper, such originals would often 
be comparatively slight, or Bewick's native shrewdness would have kept 
them from the flames, and farther, his woodcuts themselves show that in 
drawing his subjects on the block he left much to the graver, as witness 
the minute details in the plumage of the birds, and in the tree foliage of 
the backgrounds, as well as the marvellous touches of character and 
expression in the faces and figures of his spirited tail-pieces, work often 
invented instantaneously at the point of the graver. In this directness 
lay the great charm of his work, and in these days, when the division of 
labour is pushed to such extremes, it is refreshing to look back and see 
what Bewick accomplished by himself; as an eng^ver, cutting his own 

vignettes — exqnisito water-colonr drawings of the same size as the *< cats ** — con- 
taining an infinity of detail, and a bcaaty and truth of colour qaite TnarvellonB 
when their minute scale is taken into consideration. Such an Exhibition as this, 
such a rare opportunity of seeing Bewick's best work should have had the efiect of 
reviving the reputation of the artist — a reputation which stood so high during his 
life and for some time afterwards, bnt which, no doubt, had subseqncntly declined, 
his books being shelved and lost sight of, except by a few amateurs and collectors 
The great advance which English engravers after BewicVs time made in the direc- 
tion of firmh of execution perhaps led them to lose sight of the more im{)ortant 
fimth of form and detail so prominent in the work of the forgotten master. In a 
passage describing Bewick^s method of engraving, John Jackson says. — *<He 
adopts no conventional mode of representing texture or producing an effect, but 
skilfully avails himself of the most simple and effective means which his art aflbrds 
of faithfully and efficiently representing his subject. He never wastes his time in 
laborious trifling to diH])lay his skill in execution ; he works with a higher aim — to 
represent natnre ; and, consequently, he never bestows his pains except to express 
a meaning.'* 



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PRUDHOE AND OVINGHAM. 



219 



drawings; as a draughtsman^ putting his own designs on the wood; as 
a designer, drawing his inspiration, not from the poets, but from nature 
at first hand; for the rest, his vivid imagination, strong feeling, and 
humorous sense, gave him subjects without end. 
Wordsworth wrote this of him : — 

•* Oh, now that fcho geaius of Bewick were miae. 
And the skill which he learned on the biiiiks of fclie Tyue, 
Then the muses might deal with me jusb as they chosa, 
For I'd take my last leave both of verses and prose.** 

Lyrical Ballads. 




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CHAPTER XX. 



RrrON AND NEWBURN. 




YTON cannot be seen from the river, but its 
position is happily suggested by the spire of its 
church, seen above the tree-tops. Though " set 
on a hill/^ the village is quite secluded. The 
approach to it, winding from the valley upwards, 
is familiar enough to the railway traveller, who 
can see, before the train has started again from 
the station^ groups of two or three already on 
the path which pierces the wood, soon to 
emerge upon the village green, which is one of 
KYTON ciioss. the rural typo. From thed in and smoke of 

neighbouring industries, Ryton must be a pleasant retreat. 

We are now less than ten miles from Newcastle, and the views from 
the summit, especially that towards the east, is not suggestive of the 
repose of Nature lately found at By well ; tall chimneys, the head-gear of 
coal-pits, furnaces, and factories, become more and more frequent in the 
prospect ; but from this elevation they are seen dissolved into airy 
indefiniteness, whilst the foreground is enlivened by groups of the toilers 
themselves, who frequently in the summer-time make *' merry holiday " 
here. There is a plain stone cross on the green which is crumbling away, 
although the date of its erection was not earlier than 1796. The church 



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RYTON AND NEWBURN. 



221 



stands close by^ and is approached under lofty elms. The good description 
of it which follows, is by Mr. Sidney Gibson : — 

*^ Byton Church is an early English structure of great beauty and 
regularity, dedicated in honour of the Holy Cross. It consists of a nave 
and aisles, with well-proportioned chancel ; the chancel arch is lofby, and 
its screen of carved oak has beautiful tracery ; the west tower is supported 
on arches springing from clustered pillars of early date. The tower is 
surmounted by an octagonal spire> 108 feet high. In the middle of the 
chancel, before the high altar, lies the recumbent figure of a nameless 
ecclesiastic — well sculptured in what appears to be Stanhope marble.^^ 




ROAD TO RYTON. 



The earliest rector recorded was William de Marghe, 1254. The most 
distinguished rector of modem times was Thomas Seeker, who afterwards 
occupied successively the sees of Bristol and Oxford, and in 1758 became 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Ryton has the distinction of starting the first 
Savings Bank in England. When Wallace made his progress through 
Northumberland in 1 297, Ryton was one of the burning villages which he left 
in his wake. The large barrow on the north side of the church, twenty feet 
high, and covered with trees, still awaits the visitation of Canon Green well's 



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222 UYTON AND NEWBUBN. 

discriminating spade. To anyone who indulges in the old-fashioned 
practice of contemplation^ the groves here aflfbrd a congenial spot, and 
the prospect, with all its historical associations, gives abundant subject 
for reverie. 

The view to the west takes in Wylam, and beyond Wylam, the 
remnants of beautiful woods, which, as young Bewick saw them from his 
homo at Cherryburn, extended from Wylam to Bywell, presenting the 
appearance of a continued forest, " but,*' says the old man in his auto- 
biography, '' these are long since stubbed up ; needy gentry care little for 
the beauty of a country, and part of it is now as bare as a mole-hill/^ 

To the east, tall chimneys, piercing a smoky horizon, indicate where 
Newcastle lies, whilst nearly opposite to Ryton stands Newburn, on the 
north side of the Tyne, and on the south stretch the haughs of Stella 
and Newburn. By their extent and level character, these broad mea- 
dows were adapted for a battle-field, but the selection of this site for 
the battle of 1640, between the king's troops and the Covenanters, was 
finally due to the river here being fordable in two places, and to the fact 
of there being no ford nearer to Newcetstlo. On the 27th August of 
that year, Leslie and his " Scots '^ arrived at Heddon-law, just below 
Newburn, where they encamped for the night, " making fires all round 
with coals from the neighbouring pits,'' and welcoming all the English 
who cared to visit them. On the following day Lord Conway, following 
Strafibrd's orders, took his stand on the south side of the river, opposite 
the fords, to prevent the Covenanters crossing. The royal forces numbered 
3,000 foot and 1,500 horse, and before the army could be reinforced, the 
Scots, numbering, it is said, 20,000, precipitated an engagement, the 
result of which, fatal to the king's army. Clarendon described as ** that 
infamous, irreparable rout at Newburn.*' Down to a recent date the breast- 
works thrown up by the English could still be made out, and probably 
they may be seen still, but the writer's visit to the battle-field was cut 
short by a violent and persistent autumn storm, which phenomenon is 
above a joke if it overtakes one in the centre of Stella Haugh. Shelter 
was found in a partially dismantled cottage on the river bank, and a sketch 
of Newburn was secured. It is long since Newburn Bridge succumbed 
to the floods ; a ferry now supplies its place. 



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RTTON AND NEWBURN. 228 

Newbum, with its pretty towered church crowning the hill, is seen 
over many a beautiful stretch of river up and down. It is of great 
antiquity, and, it is said, was a place of note before the Conquest, and 
had some commerce before Newcastle existed. The tower of the church 
has been mentioned in connection with those of St. Andrew's, Bywell, 
and Ovingham, as of pre-Norman work, and possibly due to St. Wilfrid 
himself. In 1827 some parts of the church wore rebuilt; new stone 
mullions and stained glass were introduced. At this church, let us note 
by the way, George Stephenson was married to Fanny Henderson, and a 
little lower down the river, before reaching Wylam, still stands the 
cottage in which the great engineer was bom, just a century ago. 

Perhaps no man has left a deeper mark on the present age than he ; 
his life and character have been made familiar to us by Dr. Smiles, but 
his works, and those he initiated, are found over the whole earth, con- 
tinuous memorials of his indomitable energy and rare skill ; — ^he did work 
which may be favourably compared with that of ancient Rome in the same 
direction. The Romans taught us road-making, but George Stephenson, 
who would early become acquainted with their roads, and with the 
great wall itself — so near to his birth-place — in making iron roads met 
with a new set of difficulties, and overcame them in the true Roman 
spirit; keeping the desirable straight line by tunnelling hills instead of 
surmounting them as the Romans did, and accepting the necessity of 
viaduct and bridge building which the Romans are said to have purposely 
avoided by carrying their roads, &c., over the highest ground. 

The Tyne at Newbum particularly asserts itself as a salmon river, it 
being one of the principal fisheries, and quiet evening pictures are to be 
seen here when the fishermen are laying their nets. As is too well known, 
salmon are not so plentiful on the Tyne as formerly ; great " takes" are 
on record, that, for instance, of June 12th, 1755, when upwards of 2,400 
were taken, and sold at Id. nrA l\d. per pound ; more than 2,000 were 
netted June 20th, 1758, and at Nowburn, August 6th, 1761, no less than 
260 salmon were taken at one draught. This last was within the period 
mentioned by Bewick already quoted. His autobiography * contains 
many sensible hints on the management of salmon rivers, as to " proper 
* " Bewick's Memoirs," p. 222-230. 



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224 



RYTON AND NBWBUBN. 



measares for facilitating^ the paAfuigo of the fish from the soa to breed.** 
" Every improper weir or dam that obstructs this ought to be thrown 
down." ''The filth of manufactures and other refuse should be led away 
and laid on the land ; it would be of great value to the farmer." He dis- 
courses on open and close times, and on the advantage of the total laying 
by of fishing for a whole season in some years. 

Remarking on the porpoise, " that destructive enemy of salmon," " I 
have seen," he says, *' a shoal of them off Tynemouth, swimming abreast 
of each other, and thus occupying a space of apparently more than a hun- 




NEWBURN. 



dred yards crossing the mouth of the river, so that no salmon could enter 
it/* The playground at the mouth of the Tyne appears now to bo more 
troubled by illegal fishers than by porpoises, and to be more a playground 
for watchers and poachers than for the salmon, judging by the hundorous 
evidence produced before Messrs. Buckland and Wal pole's inquiry at 
Newcastle, in June, 1879. 

Bywell dam was lowered about fifty years ago, and since then salmon 
and grisle have been more plentiful in the higher reaches of the river; 



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RYTON AND NEWBURN. 225 

and when floods are out^ great excitement is common in the villages^ 
where almost all men are anglers. At those times salmon are sometimes 
taken above Palstone on North Tyne, but fishers need to be smart to 
profit by those brief seasons, since heavy floods of the Tyne run oflF in 
about three days. Other northern rivers sufi^er more from dams than the 
Tyne, — the Coquet, for instance, where a dam is near the mouth ; and it 
it said that at Galashiels a dam dyke has for many years prevented the 
passage of salmon, hundreds of which have been seen vainly endeavouring 
to leap over it. 

Bewick would probably have been surprised could he have known that 
at this day many improvements for which he saw the necessity have not 
yet passed the stage of discussion. We prefer however, to leave such 
matters in the hands of salmon conservancy boards, and to take up 
Bewick's narrative of a day's fishing : * — " Well do I remember mounting 
the stile which gave the first peep of the curling or rapid stream, over the 
intervening dewy, daisy- covered holme boundered by the early sloe and 
the hawthorn-blossomed hedge, and hung in succession with festoons of 
the wild rose, the tangling woodbine, and the bramble, with their 
bewitching foliage, and the fairy ground, and the enchanting music of the 
lark, the blackbird, the throstle, and the blackcap, rendered soothing and 
plaintive by the cooings of the ringdove, which altogether charmed, but 
perhaps retarded the march to the brink of the scene of action, with its 
willows, its alders, or its sallows, where early I commenced the day's 
patient campaign. The pleasing excitements of the angler still follow 
him, whether he is engaged in his pursuits amidst scenery such as I 
have attempted to describe, or on the heathery moor, or by burns guttered 
out by mountain torrents, and boundered by rocks or grey moss-covered 
stones, which form the rapids and the pools in which is concealed his 
beautiful yellow and spotted prey. Here, when tired and alone, I used 
to open my wallet and dine off cold meat and coarse rye-bread, with an 
appetite that made me smile at the trouble people put themselves to in 
preparing the sumptuous feast; the only music in attendance was perhaps 
the murmuring burn, the whistling cry of the curlew, the solitary water 
ouzel, or the whirring wing of the moor game. I would, however, 
* •* Bewick's Memoirs;* p. 228. 
GO 



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226 RTTON AND NEWBURN. 

recommend anglers not to go alone ; a trio of them is better, and mutual 
assistance is often necessary.'^ 

Very characteristic figures on the banks of Tyne in olden times were 
those jolly brethren of the monasteries, who, by their credentials *' fishers 
of men,^' appear to have been equally keen after the fishes of the Tyne. 
The church, indeed, seems to have had the best of the fishing in those 
days. Amongst the appurtenances to the cells of Tynemouth and 
Jarrow in a.d. 1103, are enumerated no less than twenty-eight fisheries 
within the ancient parish of Jarrow, and the Bishop of Durham owned 
most important fisheries as far up as Ryton, according to an inquisition 
held at Gateshead in 1344. 

Perhaps the time-honoured orthodox character attached to the sport 
of fishing owes its origin to the early patronage of the church ; at any 
rate, moralizing has been in a way connected with it from a much earlier 
date than that of Izaak Walton^s. The book of St. Albans, dated 1496, 
contains the earliest known work on fishing, and is supposed to be the 
work of Dame Juliana Bemers, of St. Albans ; whether so or not, it is a 
treatise written by an expert angler, who recommends the recreation on 
various grounds. 

The '^ Treatyse of fysshynge wyth angle '* commences with a cheerful 
text and a brief exposition : — '' Salamon in his parablys sayth that a good 
spyryte makyth a flourynge aege, that is, a fayre age and a longe ; " and 
it concludes with " Also who soo will use the game of anglynge, he must 
ryse early, whyche thing is proufiytable to man in this wyse, that is to 
wy te, most to the heele of his soule : for it shall cause hym to be holy, 
and to the heele of his body : for it shall cause hym to be hole, also to 
the increase of his goody s : for it shall make hym riche,'* &c. 

There has been brave competition amongst the poet-fishermen of 
Northumberland in singing the praises of diflFerent rivers, which found 
expression in the '' Fisher^s Grarland,'' collected into a volume by Mr. 
Cray hall. 

Amongst the writers were Thomas Doubleday and Robert Roxby. 
The Coquet seems to have most admirers, but the Tyne has its strong 
partisans. Here is a verse from one of the former : — 



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RYTON AND NEWBURN. 227 

** Nae mair we'll fish the coaly Tyne, 

Nae mair the oozy Team, 
Nae mair we'll try the sedgy Pont, 

Or Derwent's woody stream ; 
But we'll awa* to Coquet-side, 

For Coquet bangs them a*, 
Whose winding streams sae sweetly glide 

By Brinkburn's bonny ha*." 

Thomas Doubleday sings in "The Old Fisher's Challenge : " — 

" Oh ! freshly from his mountain holds 

Gomes down the rapid Tyne ; 
But Coquet's still the stream o' streams, 

So let her still be mine. 
There's mony a sawmon lies in Tweed, 

And mony a trout in Till, 
But Coquet — Coquet aye for me, 

If I may have my will.'* 

A Tyne advocate follows thus : — 

** Let high-flier fishermen sing of their streams 

Away on the Tweed or the Coquet ; 
Give me the sweet wave where the black di*mond beams, 

Like the glance from the sky-seeking rocket ; 
Far dearer to me is the slime-covered strand, 

Where old Tyne in his majesty wanders, 
Thau all the gay prospects romantic and grand 
Of the Tweed in its sweetest meander. 
Chorw, — Then hey for the fisher, the creel and the gad. 
And hey for the scenes of his pleasure. 
On Tyne's smiling sides, with a heart light and glad, 
How he waves up the glittering treasure ! 

•*The shores of the Coquet, the banks of the Tweed, 

May boast of a richer profusion 
Of all that is sweetest in flower or in weed. 

To deck the dim haunts of seclusion ; 
But oh ! in their sunny time, never will they, 

In the zenith of all their gay shining, 
So dear be to me as the rude banks of clay 

O'er the Tyne's rapid progress reclining. 

" Then hey," Ac. 



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228 BYTON AND NEWBURN. 

From '' The Tyne-Fiahor's Call'' for 1831, v. 4:— 

" By By well's tower, aud Prudhoe's steep, 

In ruin frowning grey, 
By shady Derwent, dark and deep, 

Secnre the shining prey ; 
Where Gibside's woods wave green in pride, 

Where Tanfield's arch springs high. 
Swift, reach the rovers as they glide. 

And lure them as they lie." 

"Oh! gentle," Ac. 




GEORGE STEPHENSON S COTTAGE. 



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CHAPTER XXI. 



DENTON AND BENWELL. 




LITTLE further east than Ryton, but on the 
opposite side of the river, are situated the 
hamlet and hall of Denton. Externally, the 
latter is a good example of the manor house, 
and probably belongs to Elizabeth's reign ; it is 
built in a style not common on Tyneside. The 
interior has lost character in the process of 
renovation, which has gone on from time to 
time, but the original windows, with stone 
muUions, have been retained ; the part of the 
house which has been least altered is the hall, 
now used as a museum of antiquities. In 1804, 
about 200 yards of the Roman Wall near Denton was levelled for the 
plough, and many interesting objects discovered then, and at other times, 
are carefully preserved in the hall. At Denton burn is to be seen the 
only portion of the Wall now standing in the neighbourhood of New- 
castle. The apple-tree, which had grown up between the classic stones, 
and which was familiar to us in sketches of it, disappeared a few years 
since, and the relic itself has not been otherwise well preserved. 

Of the Manor, of Denton there is mention in records as far back as a.d. 
124fO. In 1380, it was assigned to the prior and convent of Tynemouth, and, 
says Mr. Sydney Gibson, " There is good reason to believe that a chapel 



POUNTAIN AT BBNWEBL. 



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230 



DENTON AND BENWELL. 



and grange were here maintained by the monks of Tynemouth ; '' but 
nothing is known of the builders of the hall, or its earliest occupants. 
In 1760, there was a division of the estate, and Denton came to the Hon. 
Ed. Montague, eminent for scientific attainments in his time, his wife 
being the celebrated Mrs. Montague, whose conversational powers and 
literary talents attracted to the Hall many distinguished persons of that 
day. Amongst her guests. Dr. Johnson, Reynolds, and Garrick are 
mentioned. Of her published letters, which were as highly prized in 
their way as those of her namesake. Lady Mary Wortley Montague, 




DENTON HALL. 

some are dated from Denton Hall, the earliest of which contain descriptive 
references to the scenery surrounding their new home on the Tyne. The 
following extracts from a letter to Lord Lyttleton are perhaps, charac- 
teristic of the period, in the indulgence of exaggerated epithets applied 
to wild country. *' I am yet acquainted only with the surface, which is 
the least valuable part of Northumberland ; *' it is '^ a mixture of the 
cultivated and the rude, the pleasant and the horrid ;" "a wild country 
full of moors, under which lie the coal mines ; the Biver Tyne gave some 
ornament to the scene, and the frequent cottages on the moors, which are 



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DENTON AND BBNWBLL. 231 

built for the pitmen, take off something of the solitariness of the desert ; 
these moovB are not totally uninhabited, but they look unblest/^ We can 
imagine Mrs. Montague and her guest, Dr. Johnson, comparing notes on 
the scenery, and agreeing in depreciating the moors, although the good 
Doctor would think his hostess was admitting too much in allowing that 
'' a person of good taste would not throw them out of the landscape ; 
though they sadden, they dignify it/' 

These quotations are from a letter written about 1760, at which time, 
we are told, crops of corn were raised among the shielings of fishermen 
at the mouth of the Tyne, and North and South Shields might be said 
not to exist, whilst Newcastle was still surrounded by massive walls, and 
pleasant country came close up to them ; and within one year of the date 
of this letter, in June, 1759, we find Wesley recording in his journal, 
" After preaching, I rode on to Newcastle ; certainly, if I did not believe 
there was another world, I would spend all my summers here, as I know 
no place in Great Britain comparable to it for pleasantness/' Doubtless 
a great change has come over the scene during the past century, and 
possibly Wesley would not have written in the same strain now, but all 
has not been deterioration. 

The great march of agricultural progress in the county of which we 
now see the results was still in the future, but however backward the 
country in Mrs. Montague's day, surely there were not here, or in all 
Britain, forests so wild " that you would rather expect to be entertained 
in the evening with the howling of wolves, and yelling of tigers, than 
with Philomel's love laboured song." ^ What a slander on the lovely 
woods of Gibside ! although, to be sure, one might wait there long 
enough for Philomel's notes, which are not heard so far north. 

At Denton Hall there is a '' Johnson's Chamber," and " Johnson's 
Walk ; " it used to be aflSrmed that a ghost walked in both of these ; not 
that of the good Doctor, however, but one having woman's form, and 
bearing, if not answering to, the name of Barbara. 

To , the present proprietor, the writer is indebted for a 

photograph of the Hall, from which the engraving was taken. 

The modem castellated building close to Denton was erected on the 
^ From a letter describing a visit to Gibside. 



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232 



DENTON AND BENWELL. 



spot formerly occupied by Benwell Tower, the ruins of which were re- 
moved in 1831. The latter belonged to the priors of Tynemouth, and 
was their summer residence, and it is said that after Prior Blakeney had 
surrendered the priory of Tynemouth to Henry VIII., he retired hither. 
Close to Benwell is the site of the Roman station, Condercum, where 
(it is said) the oldest coal-pit in the country is. Over part of the station 
a colliery railway was made in 1 8 10, and in excavating here, an interest- 
ing discovery was made of a Woman altar dedicated to Jupiter Dolichenus, 
a deity worshipped by miners. A coal mine near Benwell caught fire 
some time in the seventeenth centurj', and was supposed to be burning 
for thirty years. 




DR. JOHNSON'S WALK, DKNTON. 



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CHAPTER XX If. 



THE DBRWENT. 




EPCHEbTKR CllUnC'II. 



[EAR Scofcswood, another meeting of waters takes 
place ; here Tyne receives the Derwent, the last 
to come in of numerous tributaries from the 
south-west comer of Northumberland, an ele- 
vated tract of country embossed with innu- 
merable hills and narrow hollow vales, which 
rarely widen into plains. In these wilds of 
moor and heath, countless streams have their 
beginnings and pouring down the slopes of the 
hills continue their race along the bottoms of 
the valleys, streamlets uniting to form bums, and burns rivers; although 
bound for the same goal, their courses are divergent, and spread out 
fan-like. We have noticed in earlier chapters how, from this centre, 
the Nent and many other streams have reached the Tyne by a westerly 
course, the East and West Aliens by a northerly course, the Devil's-water 
running north-east, and, omitting others, we now come to the Derwent, 
which flows in an opposite direction to the first-named — the Nent, 
making apparent promise of reaching the sea independently, but towards 
the end shaping her course clearly towards a spot where the dividing hill 
dies away, and where from the woods she glides into the open, and Tyne 
and Derwent also become one. 

That we may see something of the latter stream — the chief tributary 

P9 



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234 



THE DERWBNT. 



of Tyne Proper — we, for a time, tutn our backs to the sea, and doubling 
the point of land, part company with the Tyne ; the rising ground 
dividing the rivers becoming higher and wider, until, upon arriving at 
the spot where two bums unite to form the Derwent, we are from twelve 
to fourteen miles due south of the Tjme at Hexham. But as we pass up 
the vale of the Derwent, we observe many lines of communication be- 
tween it and the vale of Tyne. There is a road to Blaydon, over ground 
scarcely above the level of Derwent Haugh ; or we may make our way to 




MILL-DAM AT SWALLWELL. 

Ryton through Winlaton, well known, as of old, for its community of iron- 
workers: Ryton church had formerly a western gallery built at the 
expense of a company of these Winlaton smiths. Connected with Lintz- 
ford, further up the river, is another way over higher ground to Ryton ; 
a mile or two further, and we come to the mouth of Milkwell-burn, and 
to the ancestral home of the Surtees. And here we think we may trace 
the '*gate " which young Bewick would '* gang'^ from Cherry- burn, when 
bent on a day's fishing in the Derwent ; making for Stanley-burn, which 
would offer attraction by the way, following it up to its source on high 
ground, some ei^ht or nine hundred feet i^bove the sea level, there the 



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The DfiRWEifT. !235 

prospect would delay him for a while unidl the upper streams of the 
Milkwell-bum came under his ken; this bum would presently lead him 
through the oak woods down to the Derwent, and in such a course he 
would be following the boundary line between Northumberland and 
Durham^ which here shifts from the Tyne to the Derwent. 

At Ebchester we again come upon the Roman Road — the northern 
Watling Street — which here crosses the Derwent, and afterwards passes 
over the highest ground in a direct line for Corbridge. And from 
Shotley Bridge, higher up^ a good road takes to Riding Mills, the latter 
part of which appears to have been made on the line of Watling Street 
itself. 

Arrived at Blanchland, we find the Derwent and the source of the 
DeviFs-water so near each other^ that an experimenting otter leaving the 
Tyne by the latter stream, and seeking, like Bewick, new waters to fish, 
would make nothing of walking over-land some moonlight night, from 
the Devil's-water to the Derwent. 

In a rapid survey we have gone the length of the Derwent, keeping 
open the while, so to speak, communications with the Tyne. But so 
beautiful a stream as the Durham Derwent deserves more extended 
notice on its own account^ and taking train on the Consett line, we shall 
find much that is interesting on its banks. So densely wooded is the 
valley from end to end, as to have given rise to a saying once current, 
that a squirrel might travel from Axwell Park, near the mouth, to Shotley 
Bridge, ten or twelve miles distant, without touching the ground. This 
characteristic is very manifest during the railway ride ; the great woods 
which hide many ugly things — ^for, be it remembered, we are passing 
through a colliery district — do, nevertheless, open out here and there to 
show some fair dwelling or spot where the river falls over a picturesque 
dam, and notably to exhibit the wide lawns and terraces of Gibside, and 
the great house itself, with its long low frontage, scarcely beautiful 
enough for its grand setting of woodland. 

Near Lintz-green are the lofty railway viaducts, fine objects from 
many a point of view, and when passing over them, far above the river, 
and level with the tallest tree tops, in company with the high flying rooks, 
the magnitude of these structures is appreciated. 



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236 THE DfiRWEKT. 

Swallwell, the first station on the line after leaving Scotswood, should 
have been noticed by the way. Axwell Park, the seat of a branch of the 
Claveriiigs, is well seen from the platform ; the house is one of those 
plarin-looking edifices, so familiar in published views of '^ Gentlemen^s 
Seats/* The architect, a Mr. Payne, appears to have had a great 
reputation for his " chaste and elegant designs ; '* Bywell Hall, on the 
Tyne, is another of his works. Roger Thornton, a merchant prince of the 
olden times, was possessed of the manor of Swallwell in the early part of 
the fifteenth century; he appears to have been a man of the Dick 
Whittington order. 

The West Gate of Newcastle was said to have been built by him, in 

remembrance that he came from the West Country, according to the old 

saying : — 

'' At the Westgate came Thornton in 

With a hap, a half-penny, and a lamVs skin.** 

Starting in life as a pedler, he became eventually the riohest merchant 
" that ever was dwelling in Newcastle;'* he was nine times mayor during 
twenty-nine years, and was considered one of the greatest characters and 
most munificent patrons of Newcastle in early times. 

Another Worthy, more closely connected with Swallwell, was Sir 
Ambrose Crawley ; it was he who established the colony of ironworkers 
in the place, which exists to this day. A stone in the mill dam on the 
Derwent here, is dated 1691, the year after the arrival of Sir Ambrose at 
Swallwell ; he is said to be the Sir John Anvil of the " Spectator,'* 
No. 289. 

After passing the great woods of Gibside, and the Column of Liberty 
which rises from amongst them, the high viaducts already referred to are 
crossed. The paper mills near Lintz-green are hidden from above ; they 
occupy the banks of Derwent at one of the most beautiful turns of the 
river, and do not improve it. 

After passing Rowland's Gill, and a small ecclesiastical ruin at Friar- 
side, about which nothing is known, we come to Bbchester, a village 
which in its name is a memorial of early Saxon, as well as of Roman times. 
St. Ebba, daughter of Ethelfred, built here a monastery, which was de- 
stroyed by the Danes ; the quaint little church dedicated to St. Ebba 



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THE DERWENT. 237 

stands on the site of the Roman station Yindomara ; the church has 
been quite recently rebuilt, principally of the old materials which were 
originally obtained from the fallen walls of the Roman station. The 
writer was on the spot between the taking down and rebuilding, and 
saw some Roman altars just removed from the walls into which they 
had been built with inscribed sides turned inwards ; in the village he 
saw what he had been taught to look for, — Roman stones inscribed, and 
bearing rudely-cut figures on them, built into the walls of some of the old 



Bbchester in the early part of the last century was a favourite field 
for investigation with the famous Dr. Hunter, native of the neighbouring 
village of Medomsley, who added considerably to the knowledge of the 
antiquities of the district by his personal researches. 

But Derwentside has other attractions besides those which belong to 
the past. Great features of the district are the roads, which, like those 
of the Romans, pass over the highest ground ; by the way, one of them is 
the Roman Watling Street itself, and nothing can well be finer than that 
part of it leading from Ebchester to Leadgate. Then there is the road 
from Bbchester to Shotley Bridge; another from Shotley Bridge to 
Bumhope-field, through Medomsley ; and the old Newcastle road through 
Dipton and Whickham ; to be familiar with these roads is to be acquainted 
with some of the most beautiful scenery in the north of England. These 
great roads are all on the right or south side of the Derwent, and chiefly 
command views of the opposite banks ; but the views from some parts 
of the Dipton and Burnhope-field roads include wooded eminences and 
lands lying between them and the river, and from one spot considerably 
elevated there lie in the field of vision three famous estates : Milkwell 
Burn, and Chopwell, and Hamsterley, which are interesting in connec- 
tion with the names and fortunes of two ancient families of the north — 
the Swinbumes, whose name occurs in the earliest deeds belonging to 
the history of Northumberland, and the Surtees, in whose hands the 
Milkwell-bum estates have remained since 1626. 

The Chopwell woodlands, now in possession of the Crown, were for- 
feited by John Swinburne on account of the part he took in that earlier 
rebellion, known as the Rising of the North, 1569. 



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238 THE DBRWENT. 

Hamsterley^ the third mentioned in the group, formerly belonged to 
the Swinbumes, but passed by sale in 1803 to the Surtees. The gothic 
castellated hall stands finely in lovely grounds watered by the Pont, 
a tributary of the Derwent, which adds the charm of two waterfalls 
in the woods bordering on the gardens. Hamsterley, which is occa- 
sionally shown, has a great local fame, which had its commencement in 
the lifetime of Henry, the last of the Swinbumes who owned it. He 
built the hall, and planned and planted the gardens and pleasure- 
grounds, and Squire Anthony Surtees maintained the place in the same 
nature-loving and tasteful manner which characterized his predecessor. 
Kindly memories of these two notable men will live on in association 
with the landscape which their art helped to beautify. The first, a man 
of books, classic travel, and polished arts, — the other, a good shot, and 
keen fox-hunter, — they found equal pleasure in the retirement of Ham- 
sterley, and in beautifying the grounds and improving the estate. 

The Surtees^ estate, with the Derwent flowing through it, now 
extends from Hamsterley on the right, to Milkwell-bum on the left 
bank of the river. The Chopwell Crown lands are conspicuous to the 
east of the latter. 

The following remark by a writer in 1840 with reference to this 
woodland, reads strangely in these days of ironclads. He says : — '' The 
trees were mostly planted towards the close of the last war ; they were 
designed to supply oak for the navy at some future day, and perhaps will 
be the defence of our grandchildren. ' Our oak is our strength,' and here 
larch and fir shelter the oaken saplings which are destined to guard our 
shores.'^ 

We should have thought that even forty years ago there would have 
been some prophetic signs of the transition from oak to iron. We have 
been told that within this enclosure is now grown only wood destined for 
props. These nine hundred acres of dwarf wood give a curious and most 
characteristic appearance to this part of Derwentside ; so short and so 
thickly planted, level at the top, from the distance it looks like a turf of 
giant moss, rather than a plantation. 

This period of forty years has witnessed a sad alteration in the 
landscape of large districts of our country, a change intimately connected 



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THE DKRWBNT. 239 

with that of the modern substitation of iron for oak as the material of 
strength in all sorts of stractures^ increasing as it does in a manifold 
degree the demand for coal ; but it delights one in this devoted land of 
North Durham^ honey-combed as it is beneath^ and smoke-befouled as 
is the surface^ poisoned its vegetation and its rivers^ to see how much 
loveliness remains ; we are more surprised at this^ than when we find 
new churches with walls rent by the sinking of the ground ; fields and 
pastures rendered dangerous for the horses and cattle^ on account of 
frequently recurring pit-foils; earthy air and water alike defiled^ the 
thriving element fire^ and that to feed it the earth is turned inside out, 
and still the cry is for more. 

I have known there a little dene for twenty years ; I visit ' it 
whenever in the neighbourhood: it once had pleasant footpaths high 
up, and along the bottom of it, and a picturesque farm-house and 
buildings. A croquet club for two or three seasons met in this dene, 
and here in the gloaming have been seen, on the eve of a village 
festival, wrestlers practising for the forthcoming fSte, and a sprinkling of 
spectators on the slope. For such rural pleasures the place seemed 
designed, but when the treasure beneath was reached, that above ground 
had to be sacrificed ; each visit since made, shows some change for the 
worse, and now the house is tenantless from the sinking of the ground, 
the garden a wilderness, and the vegetation sad to see, although nature 
with undying energy puts forth new verdure where she may, to cover 
the waste places. 

I knew, too, a fine old hall; it had appertaining to it spacious gardens, 
avenues of lime and yew and fish ponds, but coal was found near, and the 
slag hills of neighbouring iron works encroached upon it. Each year 
the house is nearer dissolution, and the water in the fish ponds de- 
creased, until now cattle walk dry-hoofed where the fish formerly found 
deep water, and the trees stand with bare limbs, extending further each year 
beyond the ragged foliage of which there was once enougli to clothe 
them in beauty. In this way are marred large tracts of country famed 
in the early part of the century for their loveliness. Yet, after all, the 
surprising and delightful thing is to find how sovereign nature triumphs 
even here. 



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240 THE DERWENT. 

In taking once more the road from Ebchester to Shotley Bridge we 
keep outside a dreary circumference which has the well-known Consett 
Iron Works for a centre, and a smoky radius of about a mile ; and here in 
passing we notice how much better oflF in one respect the workers in such 
centres of industry are than the denizen^ of overgrown towns ; for, from 
Gonsett, which is a perfect inferno of blast furnaces, escape to fields, 
woods, and moors is physically an easy matter. Near, is the beautifully 
situated village of Shotley Bridge, said to have been founded by a company 
of German sword-makers who establish^ themselves there about the year 
1600 ; and about a century later others joined this colony from the Low 
Countries, seeking here an asyli^m from persecution for conscience sake. It 
is said that the quality of the water of the Derwent attracted the original 
settlers to the district. 

" For many years,'' says Mr. le Boer, " la. bed of ironstone was wrought 
in tzhe upper portion of the Gannester series in the Derwent district. It 
was kno¥m as the ' German band,' a grotesque name due, not to any covert 
allusion to itinerant musicians, but to the small colony of German sword- 
makers who in former days worked this ironstone, and plied their trade 
at Derwentside " near Ebchester. Some of the colony settled at Shotley 
Bridge, and there enjoyed the religious liberty denied them in their own 
country ; they mingled with the inhabitants, and soon forgot the language 
of their forefathers. Some of their descendants still reside in the village 
where their ancestors originally settled, the names being now Anglicized 
to Oley, Mole, &c., and in the wall of an old two-story dwelling-house, the 
original materials of which are hidden under a coat of '^ rough cast," there 
still exists a stone above the doorway with ^ German inscription. The 
parish church at Ebchester contains entries relating to some of these 
settlers as early as 1628. The village of Shotley Bridge deserves a more 
extended notice than space enables us to give. The Spa has pleeisant 
surroundings ; it is well if its waters are as beneficial as they are nauseous. 

Within a walk from Shotley Bridge is the village of Muggleswick, on 
a beautiful part of the Derwent, which nea^ here makes a sharp bend 
round a point of land called '^ the Sneep." The word is supposed to be 
from the old Norse snappa,^ a beak. A similar point in Redesdale, at 

1 Or ** Snoppa.** 



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THE DERWENT. 



241 



the junction of Tarset-burn with Hunter's -burn, is called the Snipe, which 
name is also given to the north-eastern point of Holy Island. Further 
up, the Derwenthas all the characteristics of a moorland stream ; it flows 
through a part of the country which the writer first saw from the box-seat 
of a '' brake/' After climbing the steep which rises from the river at 
Shotley Bridge, and driving a mile or two, on looking back we had a 
distant view of Consett. The smoke of its great furnaces on this — a 
lovely day — seemed confined to a tiny space in the boundless sky and 
wide-stretching moorland, but it was not easy to forget what it was like 




THE NNKEP. 



at close range, as we had driven past it but an hour before ; better than 
dwelling on that smoky memory it was to fSEice about with the horses and 
look forward to where a first glimpse was soon to be obtained of the 
thatched cottages of Edmondbyers, a village well known to anglers. 
There was formerly a dangerous ford between it and Greenhead, but there 
is a bridge there now. It was interesting to have pointed out in this wild 
country the birthplace of Lough, the recently deceased sculptor. The 
following description is the result of recent personal observation kindly 
supplied by the Rev. J. W. Mitchell, vicar of Headgate : — 

'' At Greenhead is an archway opening to an avenue which leads to 



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242 THE DERWENT. 

Black Hedley Hall. The structure at Grcenhoad represents a kind of 
castellated gateway with a parapet around it ; the wooden cannon men- 
tioned in former accounts have been removed, but the curious military 
figures remain, one at each corner of the parapet, and two above the centre 
of the archway on either side of the building ; one of them looking out- 
wards, the other up the avenue ; a seventh apparently intended to repre- 
sent a watchman occupies the apex of the roof. These stone figures are 
like the Beefeaters of the Tower, some armed with muskets ; one of the 
centre figures holding a sword in the right hand, and in the other the 
prize of his valour, the head of his enemy. There are figures at Black 
Hedley also, but not on the principal building. Two Highlanders in 
national dress^ not in martial array, but as emblematic of peace, occupy 
the comers of the front elevation of a curious building, the upper part of 
which has been reserved for the pigeons ; one of the Highlanders has a 
shepherd^s crook, and two dogs lying behind him, the other has not the 
crook, and but one dog as his companion. On a higher wall behind the 
front roof are three busts, whether of sages or warriors it is difficult to 
say, but one of them has a spear pointing upwards.'^ 

Black Hedley was for a long time the seat of the Hoppers, one of 
whom, an old soldier, is said to have decorated the hall and entrance in 
the military style described, and probably the initials H. H., with the 
date 1751, over two doorways, one on each side of the archway at Green- 
head, are his. '^ The Hall,'' says a writer already quoted, " is a good speci- 
men of the princely farmhouses of the olden time.'' As we have already said, 
Greenhead was the birthplace of John Lough, and these stone figures 
though more curious than classical, have a certain interest, conspicuous 
as they must have been among the familiar things from infancy upwards 
in the surroundings of the future sculptor. 

Between the trifling essays in sculpture which came in his way as a 
country mason and the execution of the chief productions of his matured 
powers, was the steep up-hill of " art," which ^' is long ; " this, Lough 
surmounted by industry and perseverance, having also the helping hand 
of the cultured Mr. Silvertop, of Minster Acres, mentioned in connec- 
tion with the Tyne. 

In the churchyard of the neighbouring village of Muggleswick are 



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THE DBRWENT. 243 

to be seeiij nays a writer in 1841^ Lough^s first attempt in sculpture^ 
— an angePs head and drapery, on a plain stone, in memory of Jane, 
daughter of John and Anne Mayor. 

Reverting now to our drive through this interesting part of the 
Derwent valley, it is remarked that, after passing the point whence the 
position of Greenhead was pointed out, the country becomes wilder, 
but the moorland vegetation is of the richest in colour and profusion, 
and it retains this character all the way to Blanchland, the goal of our 
excursion. 

Now before seeing this village a strangely false idea of it had pos- 
sessed the writer, from the following statement of some old author which 
had haunted his memory. " Poverty for ages past has reigned here ; 
this is, indeed, the realm of mortification.'^ But poverty made no sign 
when, on landing at Miss Forster's delightful old inn, such ready 
satisfaction was found for appetites made keen by moorland air. The 
poverty and mortification being possibly among the antiquities of the 
district, which have not been well preserved, and should certainly not be 
restored. 

Bishop Crewe, whose portrait adorns the walls of the principal room 
of the inn, by his benefactions did much to improve the condition of the 
natives. 

Blanchland is beautifully situated on the left bank of the Derwent, 
about two miles below the source. The ancient-looking village of grey 
stone buildings has much about it which raises questioning interest. It 
is not strange that its peculiarities should have given rise to the specula- 
tion, that we here see the plan of an old Border village, into which 
its inhabitants and their herds might be gathered and shut in for safety 
when the moss-trooping marauder was abroad. Having no outer wall, 
according to this theory the houses would be built continuously on four 
sides of a central space^ with defensive gateways in the centre of the 
north and south; on the north side there stands now a massive gate- 
way, and the houses have something of this arrangement. But instead 
of dwelling on this idea, our thoughts are thrown back to the time when 
Walter de Bolbeck founded a monastery here for twelve Premonstraten- 
sian canons, missionary monks of St. Norbert's severe rule, said to be 



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!i44 tH£ DBRWENt. 

more rigorous than that of St Augustine. We can imagine, from the 
landscape we now see, what a dreary waste it must have been in those 
far-off twelfth century days, when the first white canons came here as 
preachers in the wilderness. So near as it was to the Border, the 
community folded on these wild moors under the crook of the abbots of 
Blanchland, would require somewhat of the nature of a stronghold, and 
perhaps we do see in the present village a kind of tradition in stones of 
the monastic village which formerly stood here, handed down by succes- 
sive builders before and since the suppression of monasteries. ^ 

An interesting page of English history is that which connects 
Blanchland with that great, but inglorious campaign of 1327. The 
Scots had crossed the border once more with the purpose of wasting 
Northumberland and Durham ; already had the work of havoc pro- 
ceeded far into the latter county, when the youthful king, Edward III , 
with an army of 60,000 men, reached the city of Durham, where after 
some days they had tidings of the wily Douglas and his 20,000 Scots 
being within ten miles of the city, and the army was again put in 
motion, and marched in search of the Scots, being led hither and thither 
by the smoke of burning villages ; and of the difficulties of that march, a 
good idea may be formed by those who know the country within a radius 
of fifteen miles from the boundary stone at the foot of Kilhope Moor — 
where three counties, Northumberland, Durham, and Cumberland meet. 
In their eagerness, starting at midnight, they made slow progress at 
first. " Day began to appear,^' says Froissart, '^ as the battalions were 
assembled at different posts; the banner-bearers then hastened over 
heaths, mountains, valleys, rocks, and many dangerous places, without 
meeting with any level country. On the summits of the mountains, and 
in the valleys, were large mosses and bogs, and of such extent that it 
was a miracle many were not lost in them. False alarms were occa- 
sionally raised of the enemy being at hand, which were caused by the 
stags which were startled at the tumult of men on the heath, and ran 
about distractedly in large herds among the troops. The march was 
continued into Tynedale, the South Tyne being crossed at Haydon, aiid 
here the army remained for about a week, but seeing nothing of the 
foe, they re-crossed the river, and on the fourth day afterwards news 



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The DfiRwfiNT. 245 

of the Scots arrived. It was on his way to meet Douglas, that, 
arriving on the north Hbank of the Derwent, the King turned his horses 
to feed in the fields near a monastery of white monks, which had been 
burnt, and which was called in King Arthui-'s time Blanchland/' 

Here the king, received by the abbot, proceeded to the church, and 
there confessed, ordering masses to be said. 

How the Douglas waited for the English king at Stanhope, and how 
the two armies remained on opposite banks of the Wear, facing each 
other, for a week, and how the Scots gained a great victory without 
fighting a battle, retiring under the shadow of night, and reaching Scot- 
land without pursuit by the English, are matters of history. 

Probably, as Mr. Greatorex says, the name Blanchland came from 
Normandy, where an abbey so named was served by the same order of 
monks. A curious tradition extant is as follows: — "That a party of 
. Scots who once came to pillage the abbey, were unable to find it on 
account of its secluded situation ; but, on their coming to a spot called 
Dead Friar^s Hill, they heard the bells of Blanchland, which the monks 
were ringing for joy at their supposed deliverance ; and, guided by the 
sound, they found their way thither to pillage the convent and slaughter 
the monks. '^ Canon Haine recounts a similar story of Blanchland ,in 
which, instead of a party of Scots, it was the commissioners of Henry 
VIII. who had come to spoil the monastery. 

The abbey is curious and puzzling; it was founded in 1165. It is 
doubtful whether any of the original building remains, except perhaps 
the chancel and remains of nave ; it is doubtful also whether the church 
ever had the form of a cross. In this remote situation, and from the 
rigorous character of the order of St. Norbert, a severely simple structure 
might have been expected, and in accordance, we find that the original 
plan does not appear to have included more than a chancel and nave 
of severe and simple early English style, with narrow lancet windows, 
of which some remain ; a chancel and iiav.e. without any aisles, to which 
were subsequently added a north transept with chantry, and the massive 
north tower of defensive character with porch at its east door. 

The archaaologist finds the plan of the cloister quadrangle with 
chapter-house on east side, and beyond, on the same side, that of the 



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246 



THE DBRWBNT. 



dormitory^ its foundations under the earth ; the supposed shell of th^ 
refectory is seen on south side.^ ^ 

Derwent Head is not a spring, the river being formed by the con- 
fluence of two bums^ which where they meet, wash the base of the preci- 
pitous rock known as Gibraltar. The scene is very picturesque. A walk 
through the woods on the banks of the more southerly of the two 
burns leads up towards Hunstanworth, a model village built for the 
accommodation of lead-miners engaged among the fells further west. 
It is noticeable how the children here, who have in common with the 




S(;OTSWOOD vSUSPENSION BBIDGE. 



dwellings a well-cared-for look, have nevertheless pallid complexions, 
plainly telling of lead-poisoned air. 

The churchyard contains curious remains of the byre of an old peel. 

The return journey from Blanchland was partly by a different route, 
and afforded a sight of Allansford, and of a very pretty bit of the Derwent, 
there crossed by a picturesque stone bridge. 

The mouth of the Derwent marks the three miles point on the Tyne 
Begatta course. The Scotswood suspension bridge is the " finish " of the 
championship^s course, the start being from the High- Level Bridge. It 
is said that races used to be rowed from the High-Level Bridge to 



1860. 



* See Proceedings of Durham and Northumberland Archaeological Society, 



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THE DBRWBNT. 



247 



Lemington Point, one mile beyond the railway viaduct, four-and-a-half 
miles being the entire length of the course, and that the last match 
rowed over this course was between Robert Chambers and Harry Kelly.* 

The interest of the celebrated Tyne Begatta certainly owes nothing 
to the scenery of the course ; this first bit of the navigable Tyne has no 
attraction when there is no race. 

If we take boat for the High- Level Bridge, the most prominent object 
we shall pass is the long line of Sir William Armstrong's workshops 
at Low Elswick, on the north shore of the river. 

> *' Newcastle Weekly Chronicle/' June 14, 1879. 




NORTHUMBBIAN PIPES. 



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CHAPTER XXIIL 



NEWCASTLE. 




E can well imagine some hitherto in- 
dulgent reader, who is for '^ drawing 
the line '^ at Newcastle, having no wish 
; to follow the Tyne further. True, the 
free fresh moors, the fairy nooks and 
angler'shannts,thewaterfallsand spark- 
ling streams, are left behind, away in 
the west and the north, whilst seaward 
PINK TOWER. y^Q have only the vision of a black 

country, and, when with memory's image still clear of the " bosky-burns '' 
of Upper Tyne, we look for the Pandon-burn, Lort-bum, and Ouse-bum 
of the old maps of Newcastle, our feeling for nature suffers an outrage. 

The ancient glory and beauty of the first of these streams and its sur- 
roundings has long since faded away, the ravine through which the Lort- 
bum once sparkled has been filled up or hidden under street ways, and 
when we say that the Ouse-bum is a tidal burn in a purely industrial 
district, we need say no more ; henceforth we look on a different* Tyne. 
The broad features of canny Newcastle^' are familiar to most travellers. 
The curved central railway station, with its platforms ever thronged with 
the busiest of jostling crowds, and its Babel of British dialects. The new 
town, too, of broad streets and stone buildings, has had its share of public 
admiration^ whilst the names of its principal streets are many of them 



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NEWCASTLE. 249 

memorials of northern Worthies, natives of — or closely associated with — the 
town. One bears the name of the noble family whose slogan^ " A Percy ! 
a Percy ! '' through many centuries led generations of valiant knights and 
vassals, now to victory, and now to death ; whilst of the earls Percy 
themselves, from the first to the eighth, all but one died either in battle 
or on the scaffold. Neville Street recalls a family of similar greatness 
and similar fortones ; by another we are reminded of Lord Eldon, and 
of his brother Lord Stowell. 

Again, of Lord CoUingwood, the successor of Nelson at Trafalgar, 
whom the seamen of the north with rough endearment were wont to style 
'' the old sea-gull ; '^ and walking in Akenside Street, we recall the poet's 
praises of his native river Tyne : — 

** ye dales 
Of Tyne, and ye most ancient woodlands ; where 
Oft as the giant flood obliquely strides, 
And his banks open, and his lawns extend, 
Stops short the pleased traveller to view 
Presiding o*er the scene some mstic tower, 
Founded by Norman or by Saxon hands/' * 

Elsewhere we are reminded of Lord Grey and the Reform Bill ; of the 
Blacketts, the Ridley s, and the Claytons, doughty champions in election, 
corporation, or antiquarian battles, and lastly of Grainger, the Baron 
Haussman of Newcastle, to whose planning genius the new town itself is 
due. Prior to the year 1854, the river reflected a quaint quarter of old 
Newcastle, which was swept away by the fire of that year. Many of the 
strikingly characteristic chares of the old town disappeared in the con- 
flagration ; a few, however, remain to assist in giving an idea of its former 
appearance, when from the quay-side upwards rose a sombre mass of 
buildings in blocks, divided only by those exceeding steep and narrow 
streets called " chares.'* This great fire, doubtless, did a good work, but 
such unqualified praise cannot always be awarded to '^ the improving 
spirit of the age/' to the charge of which impersonal individual so much 
of the demolition of ancient buildings is laid. 

In 1649, Grey wrote : '^ In four things Newccustle excels : walls, gates, 

1 " Pleasures of the Imagination,'* book iv. 
K K 



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250 NEWCASTLE. 

towers, and turrets/' But at the very time he was writing, these four 
excellent things had become obsolete as to their primary uses, as three 
years before, the Civil Wars had come to an end, and the Scots had retired 
for the last time to their own country. But though the necessity for these 
structures had ceased, they were not suflfered to fell into decay until 
recent times, the preservation of most of them was secured in precisely the 
same manner as that of the religious houses after the suppression ; con- 
cerning one of which we read, — the Blackfriars monastery, with its 
orchards, gardens, Ac, which surrendered to Henry VIII. in 1539, was in 
1552 demised to nine of the most ancient trades of Newcastle. So, again, 
when the enemy was no longer wont to appear before the walls, the 
wall-towers and gateways of the town came to be chiefly occupied and 
kept in repair by others of the trade guilds to whom they had been ap- 
propriated at different times. It is difficult to discover the '^ fitness of 
things'' in this appropriation. Perhaps the various guilds based a claim 
to them on account of service done to the Border community; they were 
bound by the rules of their order to be good foes to the Scot, taking no 
Scot as apprentice, and allowing no Scot to trade in the town, and, as was 
required of them, they had faithfully served as warders of the wall by 
night, protecting it from surprise, and otherwise serving in the defence of 
the town ; and, as regards the monastic buildings which came into their 
keeping, had they not been ever good auxiliaries of the '^ religious 
brethren " in their faithful attendance in procession on Corpus Christi 
feast day, and played their parts in pageants and religious plays? 
Probably, however, it was simply the following up of the precedent of 
1552 referred to above, which placed these relics in the keeping of 
weavers, tailors, cordwainers, &c., &c. ; be this as it may, we know that 
by these means a considerable number of these ancient monuments were 
preserved until about the year 1835, when the unfortunate, if we may 
not say questionable, necessity arose for removing many of them. Since 
that, the work of demolition has steadily gone on, until now there is but 
little to show that Newcastle was once a walled town. It has been said 
to owe its rise to war, its maintenance to piety, and its increase to trade. 
The latter bids fair soon to erase all the landmarks of the origin and 
early progress of this remarkable town. Less hopeful still would be the 



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NEWCASTLE. 



251 



search for any memorials of Saxon Monkchester or Roman Pons iElii, 
towns which occupied the spot before it acquired the name of New- 
castle. 

It is however^ a matter for congratulation that the familiar keep of 
Henry II/s reign, the last of three fortresses successively erected on the 
site of the Soman station, is in the appreciative keeping of the Society of 




THE KEEP. 



Antiquaries, and that there is easy access to the interior of this — the most 
perfect example of a Norman fortress in this country. Nothing remains of 
the first castle built by Robert of Normandy, which gave the town its 
modem name, or of that built by William Rufus. 

The Romans saw in their day the wisdom of occupying this strong 
position, and not slower was William the Conqueror in discerning the 
advantages of the site, after his first expedition into Scotland, for upon 



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252 NEWCASTLE. 

the ashes of Monkohester burnt by the Danes in 895, and again desolated 
by WilKam himself after the battle of Grateshead Fell in 1068, there was 
founded another military station, designed to be of like strength with 
that of the Roman Pons ^lii ; and such national importance had it in 
the mind of Rufus, that in order to find ways and means for building 
the new castle, Harding tells us he appropriated the revenues of nine 
abbeys, as well as the rents of the bishoprics of Salisbury and Winchester. 
About the same time Rufus built a castle at Carlisle, and thus were set up 
the eastern and western gates of the border; an old saying has it : '^ North- 
umberland the fore door into Scotland, Cumberland the back door/^ To 
both Carlisle and Newcastle the visitation of kings, Scotch and English, 
was a common event, recurring through all the alternations in the fortunes 
of war, from the Conquest to the Union, but via Newcastle mostly the 
English hosts went and came ; this was the route of the Plantagenet kings, 
though occasionally they went by Carlisle. Here was the principal rendez- 
vous of the English vassal armies, sometimes gathering in such numbers that 
there was not room for them within the walls of the town. Hither came 
the Baliols paying homage for the Scottish throne, and here captive kings 
were detained until their ransoms were settled or arranged for. Great 
conferences were held here, and treaties signed ; but of the important part 
Newcastle played during so long and stirring a period of our national his- 
tory, the venerable Norman keep is the solitary architectural relic, some- 
what tampered with in its restored battlements, but still a genuine relic^ 
and, as we have already said, now in safe keeping. 

On entering the castle, amongst things to interest us are the stairs 
from base to roof, and loop-holed galleries, all in the thickness of the walls, 
which are in some places seventeen feet thick ; a small Norman chapel 
resembling St. John's Chapel in the Tower of London ; and the royal 
chambers, which suggest something of the antique state which the kings 
kept in their temporary sojoumings here. 

As prominent as the grim castle keep in our river views, there is the 
justly famous Tower of Saint Nicholas, the church of the oldest foundation, 
but not the oldest building in Newcastle (St. Andrew's has the credit of 
being that) , the present church of Saint Nicholas having been raised upon 
the ashes of one said to have been burat down in 1^16. A snatch frpn^ 



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NEWCASTLE. 



255 



an old Bong characteristically expresses the estimation in which Tynesiders 
have ever held the famous fifteenth century tower of this church, the 
work of Robert de Rhodes. 

** And if on St. Nicholas ye ouce cast au e*e, 
Ye*l crack on*t as long as ye*re leevia.'* 

In the same laudatory spirit another 
sings : — 

** Your bonny steeple looks sae grand, 

The whole world speaks o' ye, 
Been a* the crack, for centuries back, 

And will be till I dee." 

The writers of the old Newcastle songs 
did not live to see the noble bridges now 
spanning the Tyne, or they would cer- 
tainly have found in them inspiration for 
other laudatory lines, for if Newcastle 
were remarkable for nothing else, its 
bridges would make it so. In the past 
as well as in the present, the Tyne here 
has been strong in bridges. It was the 
Pons -<Elii which gave its name to 

Roman Newcastle, and it is now generally believed that the figure of a 
bridge with seven arches on an existing medal struck in Rome in 
Hadrian^s time, represents the Pons ^lii of the Tyne. The piers of the 
old Roman bridge remained to modem times and supported the super- 
structure of that Tyne bridge which was carried away in the great flood 
of 1771, and there is no telling how many bridges older than the latter 
had rested on the same ancient foundations of the Pons ^lii, for we read 
of the destruction of Tyne bridge by fire or flood more than once 
during the earlier centuries after the Conquest. One of them witnessed 
that fierce scene in the life of William the Lion, when, after signing the 
treaty of Falaise, by which he obtained personal freedom at the expense 
of his country^s independence, he was returning to Scotland with doubt- 
ful triumph, and on Tyne bridge met with such a rough reception at the 




ST. NICHOLAS' TOWER. 



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256 NEWCASTLE. 

hands of the inhabitants of Newcastle^ that it was only by cutting his way 
with the sword through the crowd of assailants that he escaped. 

The bridge destroyed by the great flood was succeeded by the one 
quite lately removed, which offered great obstruction to navigation, and 
the vast improvements effected by dredging, &c., would have lost half 
their value, if it had not been part of the scheme to replace old Tyne bridge 
by the present Swing or opening bridge, worked by hydraulic power, its 
openings corresponding with those of the High Level Bridge, thus allowing 
tall masted ships to pass up the deepened river Tyne, four miles above 
Newcastle. 

The High Level Bridge which we owe to the push of the railway king — 
Hudson, and to the engineering skill of Robert Stevenson, has been 
standing since 1849, and is now familiar to the traveller; and Redheugh 
bridge, another high level bridge a little further up the river, is four feet 
higher than that which connects Newcastle and Gateshead, and was 
opened for traffic in 1871. 

On the Quay side, if the visitor will, he may meet with scenes of 
rough original character, and obtain racy water-side specimens of the 
old Newcastle tongue, concerning which it is well to remember that "its 
pronunciation/' as Dr. Johnson says, '' was probably that of our fore- 
fathers, and not barbarous, but obsolete,^' or, as Mr. Harry Haldane puts 
it-— and we may pass a pleasant half-hour with his little book, " Newcastle- 
Folk- Speech,^' to be had at the railway station for sixpence : — 

*' Let not the Tynesider be accused of corrupting his native language ; 
on the contrary, he is the transmitter of the good old English, and he 
gets out of the depths of his throat, and well round his mouth, the most 
carefully preserved gutturals and vowel sounds of the old Danish and 
Saxon fore-elders.^' In favour of which statement the author cites 
instances from early English writers, of words phonetically spelt as pro- 
nounced in this northern dialect. 

Wycliffe might have been a North countryman by the way in which 
he translates a certain passage: — ''The first said, I have boucht a toon, 
* and I have need to go out and see it.'' ^ 

But we must make here a stopping-place, and to adopt a phrase from 
the refrain in the following rhyme from Mr. Haldane's little book, " Loup 



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NEWCASTLE. 



259 



oot/' or rather may we say, '' Loup in/^ as we take our passage on board 
a Tyne steamboat, to see something of the river-side view of the Tyne 
industries : — 

*' Howdon for Jarrow. Loup oot ! 

0, ye taak aboot travels an' voyages far, 

But thor*B few beat the trip fre* the toon te the bar ; 

As ye gan doon te Tynemouth ye*ll hear the chep shoot, 

Here's Howdon for Jarrow, maa hinnies, loup oot ! 

Ghortu, — Howdon for Jarrow, Howdon for Jarrow, 
Howdon for Jarrow, maa hinnies, loup oot ! 

" When yen has been doon bi* the side o' the Tyne, 
An seen a* the smoke an* the chimlies see fine ; 
Thor's mony a voice that is welcome, nee doot, 
But the bonniest soon that aa knaa is '* loup oot ! ** 
Howdon for Jarrow, Ac. 

•* Sin' aa knew the banks o' wor aan bonny river, 
Thor's been changes gan' on, an* thor*s noo mair than iver, 
But the finest ov aa ; barrin change o' the wind, 
Is when the soft voice caals, an* then ye aal find, 

Ye mun change here for Jarrow, Howdon for, &c. 

" Thors chemicals, copper, coals, clarts, coke, an* stone, 

Iron ships, wooden tugs, salt an saadust an* bone, 

Manure, an* steam-ingins, bar iron, an* vitrei, 

Grunstans an* puddlers (aa like to be litt*ral), 

At Howdon for Jarrow, Howdon for Jarrow, 
Howdon for Jarrow, maa hinnies, loup oot ! ** 




OLD HOUSES NE4B NEWCASTLE. 



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CHAPTER XXIV. 



TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



^HE Tyne is now a deep river to four miles 
above Newcastle^ and since the opening of the 
Swing Bridge, large ships are no longer obliged 
to remain " below bridge ; ^^ but, great as the 
improvement has been in the navigable quali- 
ties of the river, it sometimes surprises the 
stranger to find no locks on the Tyne, and no 
boats on the higher reaches except those of 
the ferries and salmon-fisheries, with here and 
there a pleasure-boat in a back-water. Had 
necessity demanded it in times past, the diffi- 
culties of making the river navigable to Hex- 
ham would not have been insuperable, and when at last increased traffic 
of the district had to be arranged for, the merits of rival schemes were 
contrasted in favour of railways, the alternative project of canals being 
abandoned.^ 

With railways running, roughly speaking, parallel with the river from 
source to mouth, it is not likely that any means will be used to make the 




K£EL. 



' A plan engraved by Bewick of a proposed canal on the north side of the 
river to pass through the beautiful grounds of Beaufront, is to be seen in the Print 
Boom of the British Museum. 



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TTNB INDU8TBIB8. 261 

Tyne navigable farther up tlian Hedwin Streams^ where the tide ends^ 
and beyond which dredging operations do not extend. 

We have followed the coarse of the water of Tyne thus far on land, 
and have arrived off Newcastle^ before embarking on the river itself on 
our way to the sea. 

The local passenger steamers are what we should expect to find on 
the purely industrial part of the Tyne ; they are more used by the 
employes of the various local works than by people bent on pleasure^ or 
by those in search of the picturesque, for, amongst cultivated persons, 
there are many who do not see how this part of the river, with its indus- 
tries, can in any way lend itself to pictorial treatment. For our part, we 
think it worth all the incompatibilities of the passage, if only to witness 
the wild sky pictures which may be seen any day along the shores 
of the Lower Tyne ; — now vast volumes of smoke with mingled steam 
are borne rapidly across the heavens, before a gale from off the sea, and 
when a lull comes, the murky vapour is saved up in sullen black masses, 
giving high relief to numerous sea-gulls, whose whiteness is repeated by 
that of scudding steam spray ; — again the cloud is broken up, and drawn 
out into a broad filmy screen, penetrated by the sunlit sky behind, and 
through the ever-changing spaces are — half seen — chimneys and furnaces, 
made weird in their indistinctness, whilst, through rifts high up, we get 
glimpses of the fair sky itself, fleecy clouds, and depths of azure. 

The verse which concludes the last chapter, catalogues amongst 
other things, familiar substances, which for want of a better term we call 
raw material. It is not one of the happiest terms, as it takes no account 
of the great forces of nature which have been at work in preparing these 
substances for human industries, — no account of the firing, fusing, 
boiling, melting and moulding, hardening, shaping, and polishing that 
has been going on in the remote past, and is ever going on in the work- 
shop of nature. 

We are told that a cheap mixture for the manufacture of common 
bottle glass, for which this district is noted, may be made of river-sand 
and lime with a little blue clay and sea-salt, all substances which are 
found at hand for the Tyneside bottle-blower, who we would fain believe 
to be not oblivious to the varied and prolonged natural processes through 



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262 TYWB INDUSTBIES. 

which these substances have passed before they come to his hahds^ pro- 
cesses with which his ancient servant and native River Tyne has had not 
a little to dO; but traly^ 

** More servants wait on man 
Than heUl take notice of." 

The neighbourhood of Newcastle has long been celebrated for the 
manufacture of glass; glass of various kinds^ — plate^ crown, sheet, 
flint, and bottle glass. Jarrow-on-Tyne, now a centre of industries, was 
one of the first places in Great Britain where tho ordinary window glass 
was used for architectural purposes. The change which it eflfected gave 
rise to a belief among the unlettered people, that '^ it was never dark in 
old Jarrow Church.^* 

The first manufactory of window or crown glass in Great Britain was 
established at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a few miles from the place where it 
was first used. 

Like many other arts brought to great perfection in this country, 
that of glass-making was originally introduced by foreigners. Refugees 
from Lorraine are credited with having brought over the art during the 
reign of James I. ; they are said to have been colonized at the place 
known as the Glass-houses at Newcastle. 

Six large crown-glass manufactories in operation upon the Tyne, 
producing annually upwards of 7,000,000 feet of window glass at the 
beginning of the present century, have ceased to exist, owing to the intro- 
duction of sheet glass into this country, and the low price at which plate 
glass can be had. In 1845 there was more plate glass made at South 
Shields than at any other manufactory in the kingdom. 

The neighbourhood was also specially adapted to the manufacture of 
bottles, as there was an extensive fluvial deposit at Jarrow Slake, which 
was used as material until it was discovered that bottles can be made 
wherever lime and sand are found. 

The manufacture of earthenware was introduced on the Tyne at 
Carrs Hill Pottery, 1740, and carried on with success for seventy years, 
but in 1817 these works were closed. At present there is the New 
Stepney Pottery, Newcastle, completed in 1877 ; the old works having 



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TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



26'3 



been recently removed to make space for a bridge. At this pottery the 
first brown kiln was drawn November, 1877 ; the first white, in December 
of the same year. The new Ford Pottery, built in 1879, is worked in 
conjunction with the old Ford Pottery under the same proprietorship. 
The two factories when fully at work are capable of manufacturing three- 
quarters of a million confectioners' jelly jars per week (the principal 
article made). They employ from twelve to thirteen hundred hands. 
The proprietor of the Ford Pottery, mentioned before the British 
Association as having the beat machinery, has since introduced new 




THE PORD POTTERY. 

machinery, designed and constructed for the speciality by which his 
works are so well known. 

Whilst we have been discussing glass, the "Harry Clasper,^' on 
which we embarked at Newcastle, has been proceeding from pier to 
pier, until now we have arrived opposite that of Wallsend, a village 
near the eastern end of the Roman Wall. The station, Segedunum, 
the first on the line of the wall, occupied the angle of land formed by 
two of the longest reaches on the river, now called Long-reach and 



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264 



TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



Bill-reach. Many Roman relics have been discovered on the site. In 
accounts of the last century, we find Wallsend referred to as '^A sweetly 
rural village," and a local poet of this period singing, 

•• How ailent onoe was Wallsend shore." 

This was before coal was won here and changed all. The village gave 
its name to the superior coal got in the vicinity, and afterwards Wallsend 
coal became far more widely known than the great Roman Wall itself, 
after which it was originally named. " Wallsend coal^' is still quoted in 




THE OLD WALI^SEND COLLIERY. 



the market, and apparently believed in by some, although it should be 
generally known by this time that the Wallsend Pit was exhausted and 
abandoned nearly thirty years ago. The true '^ Wallsend '^ was worked 
from the "High Main'^ or "Main'* seam, which was formerly the most 
valuable seam in the coal-field, but it is now almost entirely worked or 
burnt out : this seam was found at Jarrow under 160 fathoms of various 
beds of stone, but rises to the clifis beyond Tynemouth two miles to the 
northwards. When visiting the Wallsend Pit, the engines were at 
work, curiously enough as it seemed, pumping water out of a pit on the 
other side of the river. 



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TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



265 



Although the writer descended a North Durham pit seventy-five 
fathoms in depths he offers no description of the sensations experienced 
in descending a coal-mine^ they have so often been given before as to 
make a record of them superfluous here. 

There is of course much to interest in such a visit, and the explorer, 
himself innocent of science, is fortunate when he makes the tour of the 
mine in company with one who possesses that vein of fancy which is 
not uncommon in scientific men — reading a fairy tale between the 




COAL-STAITH. 



lines of the strata, and turning a dry section into a poem. He may 
not talk of a wicked fairy, who, with a wave of her wand, turns beautiful 
forests into black stone, but he mentally transports you from the coal- 
fields into the forests of old, and pictures the sylvan scenery of a past 
age; a vegetation not altogether strange, for there are trees like our firs, 
and ferns too, along with plants which are strange, and which must have 
been of gigantic stature, for in these forest swamps the ferns are trees, 
and amongst the rank undergrowth, most strange of all, are plants re- 
sembling our club-mosses, but a hundred feet in height, whose spores 

M M 



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266 



TYNB INDUSTRIES. 



largely compose the bituminous part of coal. Whilst we are dreaming of 

the forests of a bygone age, our guide draws attention to where the coal is 

being hewn out, and the transformation scene is complete- We wander 

on through the dusky streets of the mine, and we are reminded of George 

Stephenson's words, " that the heat which drove his engine was derived 

from the sun a million years ago.'' That the treasure might be held the 

more securely, the forests were submerged as Kilmeney was, by the 

fairies : — 

" When deep in the stream her body they laid, 
That her youth and beauty might never fade." 




SHIP-YARD. 



Only, in the case of coal, for '^ youth,'' read warmth, for '^ beauty," light. 
But the story of coal may be read in many a scattered leaf from the book 
of nature, in strolling along the banks of the Tyne. In cuttings like that 
on South Tyne near Lambley Viaduct, for instance, or that at the mouth 
of Garragill-bum, where the black strip of coal may be seen, and beneath 
it the underclay or soil of the forest, sometimes even the roots of trees 
still in the soil. At the Newcastle Natural History Museum are two giant 
stems of fir-like trees which were taken out of the coal-measures, and tree- 
remains similar to these have been discovered with cones still pendent from 
the boughs. Then, above the coal-strip, are other strips of shale or mud, 
and layers of sand, and occasionally of limestone and other rock, under 



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TYNE INDUSTRIES. 267 

which the forest-remains lay flattened at the bottom of sea or lake. The 
testimony of the rocks is clear as to the order of events, but not so clear 
as to the length of time occupied in the formation of the coal-fields. 

But to the practical question — How long will our coal last ? Mr. Hull 
of the Geological Survey answers 1,000 years ; whilst Professor Jevons 
says less than 100 years at the present rate of increase in the consumption. 
If the latter estimate prove the correct one, it would seem the time is 
not far distant when Milton^s expression, " coaly Tyne,** will have become 
a dead letter, and nature will have re-asserted herself over the forsaken 
labour-fields of certain British industries made obsolete by the exhaus- 
tion of our coal-fields. 

The existence of coal in Great Britain must have been known to its 
primitive inhabitants by the outcropping of seams on the banks of the 
Tyne and its tributaries, and in other parts where it came to the surface ; 
that later on, the Romans knew of it also there seems proof in the 
cinders of coal fires preserved to our day amongst the ruins of their stations 
in Britain, but the land being then almost covered with forests, there 
would be fuel enough without resorting to the coal-fields. 

The first charter permitting coal to be dug at Newcastle-on-Tyne was 
granted by Henry III. in 1296. 

In 1602 there were belonging to the coal-trade in the same town about 
29 fitters or hostmen who were to vend by the year 9080 tons of coal, and 
find 85 keels for that purpose.^ 

Passing over a few centuries, in 1862 we find that the output in that 
year from the Durham and Northumberland fields exceeded 16,000,000 of 
tons, but a few years since the English coal-trade had advanced with giant 
strides, as shown by the following statement in the " Times'^ of January 25, 
1877: — ''The total output of coal in the United Kingdom had increased 
from 27,000,000 tons in 1816, to 107,000,000 tons in 1869, and, in the 
years 1874-5 advanced to 132,000,000/' '' This inflation of demand,'* 
says the writer in the same article, '' was continued until everyone who 
had any available capital made eager haste to transfer it to ventures in 
coal and iron. A frenzy took hold of people who were wont to be satisfied 
with ' the sweet simplicity of three per cents,' and, although the delirium 
^ Quoted by Brand from the books of the Hostmen's Company. 



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268 



TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



was only of short duration, it lasted long enough to prove to many that it is 
not easy to recover money sunk in a hole/* It may not be uninteresting 
to compare these latter-day facts with such records of a former state of 
things as the following from the time of Edward III.^ when coals were 
prohibited in London, and when, for the king^s works at Windsor, a cargo 
of 720 chaldrons of coal was bought at Winlaton near Newcastle at the 
rate of seventeen pence per chaldron, which coals however, by the time 
they reached Windsor, cost £165 5«. 2(i/ 

Connected with the coal industry and the river are the staiths, keels, 




BLAST FUBNACE8 AT NIGHT. 



and ballast heaps ; not unpicturesque in themselves, they have a curious 
interest also in connection with the history of the Tyne as it was before 
the carrpng out of improvements which have given it its true place 
amongst the important rivers of the country. Formerly the Tyne was 
both too narrow and too shallow to afford proper anchorage for its 
increased shipping; navigation was obstructed, and a check kept on 
the development of commerce in the district, when everything seemed 

^ Quoted from Henry de Strother, in Sydney Gibson's " Memoir of Northumber- 
land/* page 109. 



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TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



269 



ready for advance but the water-way. Many years were wasted in 
disputes between the public bodies, whilst practical schemes — such as 
that of Rennie — were neglected, and nothing was done for the improve- 
ment of the rivor. Amongst the fruitless lawsuits were many in which 
coal-staiths and ballast-quays were regarded as nuisances, they have 
nevertheless multiplied, and are so numerous as to give marked character 
to the industrial shores of the Tyne. The staiths suggest comparison 
with the earliest method of conveying coals from the pit to the ships, 
" when pack-horses carrying a burden of three cwts. each, brought them 
down to the shore, whence they were carried forward to the ships in 
keels/* Such was the mode of transport until waggons and waggon- 
ways were brought into use about the middle of the seventeenth century. 




BALLAST- II ILL. 

When staiths were first erected, the coal was shot through a " spouf 
into the hold of the vessel, but afterwards, by a simple arrangement, the 
Waggons were let down bodily on to the deck of the collier. After it had 
become the business for ships to come up the river and receive their cargoes 
direct from the staiths, the business of the keelmen was largely super- 
seded. In former days, when the latter were a numerous class, they 
held a conspicuous place in the industrial population of Tyneside ; they 
formed a strong corporation, obtained a character for great pugnacity, 
indulged not unfrequently in strikes, and were violent partisans when the 
public took sides on questions political or otherwise. 

The Keelmen's Hospital, in Newcastle, is remarkable as built chiefly 



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270 



TTNB INDUSTBIBS. 



at the coat of the keelmen themselves^ and testifies to their possession 
of virtues which make it easy to forget the roughness of their manners. 

Noticeable features also, in the scenery of the lower Tyne, are the 
ballast hills, raised in former years by the gradual accumulation of ballast 
taken out of the sailing oolUers on their return to the Tyne. When steam 
colliers came into use it was found that for them water answered better 
as ballast than the gravel, soil, &c., used in sailing vessels. Several of 
the hills have remained for many years without being added to except 
by the covering of grass which nature has provided, smd habitations. 




CHEMICAL WORKS. 



which are occasionally to be seen upon them ; they loom large as 
mountains in misty weather, and may be regarded amongsb the curiosities 
of commerce, built up as they have been from materials taken from the 
beds of distant rivers. 

Until legislation interfered and licensed quays to receive it, it vras the 
practice to drop the solid ballast into the Tyn6, the shallow channel of 
which was in no condition to receive such additions, for what it wanted 
above all was dredging, — a need which has in later times received earnest 
and practical attention. As the late Mr. Guthrie tells us, no less than 
sixty millions of tons have been dredged out of the Tyne since the 



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.TYNE INDUSTBIES. 



271 



commencement of operations in 1838. Powerful dredgers are still at 
work on the river; familiar also are the ballast hoppers, as they are locally 
called ; when loaded, they steam out to sea, where, at a specified distance 
from the mouth of the Tyne, they discharge the ballast which had been 
raised by the dredgers. 

Apart from the visitation of its industries, few would care to linger 
by the banks of the Lower Tyne, or select as the route of a walking 
excursion the riverside country between Newcastle and the sea, yet even 
that might be worth the doing, if only to quicken the enjoyment of 
unspoilt natural scenery elsewhere ; certainly in walking over the patches 
of ground not bnilt npon, which make the nearest approach to fields here- 
abouts, it requires imagination to find the faintest suggestion of a meadow 
Bnch as may once have rejoiced here by the stream; field-paths which we are 
accustomed to see elsewhere of a lighter tone than the grass and herbage 
through which they are traced, are here black and shiny. Green hedges 
are extremely rare, but in their place dividing the fields, old railway- 
sleepers, being past duty as such, are set up on end, to serve here 
in another sphere, whilst to keep them^ somewhat upright, as well as to 
fence the spaces between, a tangle of used-up wire from the pit reels or 
telegraphy ties them together. There seems but little chance in the most 




TJ£K *' LEAFY MONTU OP JUNE," A bUMHEIi SKETCH ON LOWER TYNESLDE, 



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272 



TYNB INDUSTRIES. 




TYNE DOCKS. 



rural spots of being able to forget that one is moving in an iron age^ and 
in a coal and iron district ; yet after all the pleasing fact remains^ that 
here and there, as if by miracle, there are preserved for us bright little 
gems of landscape, — miniature grassy denes with small streams running 
through, and speaking of which respectively, one might without fear of 
challenge, use terms such as bright and verdant, clear and sparkling ; but 
concerning trees, even in such favoured spots, they are but the ghosts of 
their former selves, like winter trees until the blunt ending of the outer 
twigs is noticed. 

Ancient Jarrow and its remains is the subject of our next chapter, 
whilst modem Jarrow belongs to this, being a very centre of Tyne 
industries — of iron ship-building, marine engineering works, blast 
furnaces, notting mills, paper mills, lead and chemical works, &c. 

Jarrow Slake, a remarkable inlet of the Tyne, three miles from the 
sea, was formerly 350 acres in area, and one sees readily how great a 
relief — during floods and high tides — this large space must have afforded 
to the river, especially before the bed of the river was widened and 
deepened, the whole of Jarrow Slake being submerged at high water. 

In times earlier than Bedels, King Egfrid is said to have harboured 
his fleet where now is this muddy flat, and where, beneath the shadow 
of Bedels church are the Jarrow timber ponds ; on the opposite side the 
area of the Slake has been reduced by the Tyne Docks, a recent work 
which covers fifty acres of it. 



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The Don — ^a tributary of Tyne, and blacker if possible than its name- 
sake at Sheffield, runs through the Slake by the side of the docks. 

The Northumberland Docks, on the opposite side of the Tyne, are 
on a much larger scale than Tyne Docks. The latter have, partly over- 
hanging the water, numerous sheds for loading vessels, which are as 
picturesque as they are convenient, each having connection with a rail- 
way siding, and by means of which thirty vessels are able to load at one 
time. 




TIMBER SHEDS, TYNE DOCKS. 

The above-named docks are amongst the vast improvements made in 
the river during the last few years, and *' the Tyne ports now,^' says 
Mr. Guthrie, '' stand fourth in the kingdom as to the tonnage of the 
vessels belonging to them.'* 

Timber is more conspicuous than anything in the waggons and sheds 
of the docks, but we are tempted to notice two products, side by side, as 
we saw them warehoused here, — jute and esparto ; they have much in 
common; both are vegetables, the former being produced from the 
inner part of the bark of a tree common in Bengal, and both have been 
cultivated from very remote periods, although but little known or used 
here until recent times. The gunny bags in which the various East 



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276 



TYNE INDUSTRIES. 



Indian products arc exported are made of juto, and both products have 
been from time immemorial used in the manufacture of matting and ropes: 
but we find, with a resemblance, noticeably a difference between jute 
and esparto, in illustration of which we quote from Pliny's interesting- 
account of esparto grass, written 1,500 years ago; and his description is 
as perfectly accurate now as it must have been then. 

" For drie worke, I confess, and out of the water, the cables and 
ropes wrought of hemp are better, but spart made into cordage will live 
and receive nourishment in the water, drinking now the full as it were 
to make amends for the thirst which it had in the native place where it 
first grew;^'' on the other hand, jute is injured by exposure to water. 
In modern use the two products meet in the manufacture of paper ; 
esparto for a better class of paper, old jute bags being converted into 
coarse brown paper. 

* Dr. Holland's translation, qnotod in a pajKjr on tho niannfacture of paper, hy 
Richardson, delivered before the Hritisb Association in NewcnsMc. 




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CHAPTER XXV. 



J ARROW. 




fOMAN antiquities unearthed during the 
latter part of the last century in and 
about the village of Jarrowproveit to have 
been once of Roman occupation. Perhaps 
the most interesting of these memorials 
was a military trophy bearing an inscrip- 
tion which has been read thus, "The armv 
erecting this on the extension of the 
Roman dominion from the Eastern to the 
Western Sea/' This stone may liave had 
a place in the front of a temple occupying 
the future site of the first Jarrow church, 
which was built about 230 years after the Romans left Britain. But 
whatever the value of this conjecture, the interest to us in the Roman 
memorial stone is eclipsed by that which surrounds the undoubted 
dedication stone of the Christian church on the spot ever since asso- 
ciated with the venerable Bede. Both stones were discovered during 
the rebuilding of the church in 1782 ; the Roman stone in the founda- 
tion, the dedication-stone built up in the former north wall of the church. 
The monastery of Jarrow was founded by Benedict Biscop, Abbot of 
Wearmouth, in 681; the adjoining church, — as the curious inscription on 
the stone informs us — was dedicated to St. Paul by the Abbot Ceolfrid in 



HEI»ES CHAJR 



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278 JARROW. 

the ninth of the calends of May, 685. Bede, who was born in the district, 
himself tells us that when seven years of age he entered the monastery in 
684, the year before the dedication of the church ; here he was educated, 
here he wrote his great work, and here he died. '' His quiet life was 
long, and from boyhood till his very last hour his toil was unceasing. 
Forty-five works prove his industry, and their faine over the whole 
of learned Europe during his time proves their value. His learning 
was as various as it was great. All that the world then knew of science, 
music, rhetoric, medicine, arithmetic, astronomy, and physics, was brought 
together by him ; and his life was as gentle and himself as loved as his 
work was great. '^ ^ 

Bede was buried on the north side of the church, but subsequently his 
relics were removed to Durham, where they are in near companionship 
with those of the great contemporary of his childhood, St. Cuthbert. 

First among the antiquities shown in Jarrow church is the dedication 
stone already referred to, which is to be seen above the chancel arch. 
Probably no other church in England possesses such a record. Bede's 
pulpit wns removed at the time of the re-building ; an old oak chair, black 
and polished with age, and still kept in the church, is said to bo that 
commonly used by Bede. Some parts of it are ancient, but, apart from 
the consideration of the repeated risks which pulpit and chair were in from 
the fire-brand of Danes and Normans, there is the practice common to 
pilgrims, both ancient and modem, of abstracting fragments of relics which 
suggests the probability that after repeated repairings there may not now 
be a particle of the real thing left. One Nicholas Taylor, in a letter dated 
1745, and quoted by Richardson from the " Gentleman^s Magazine,^' con- 
fessed to having cut off a piece of wood from an old chair in Jarrow 
church, which was the chair that St. Cuthbert sat in to hear confessions. 

The date of the foundation of Jarrow church and monastery marked 
the period when the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, having reached the 
climax of her power and importance, was about to enter on the wane. 
King Egfrid, one of the most powerful of her kings, who had given the 
land and endowments of Jarrow in 685, was killed fighting against the 
heathen Pi cts in the year of the dedication of the church. After this event 
^ " English Litcrafeuro," Rev. Stopford A. Brooke, p. 15. 



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JARROW. 



279 



the greatness of the kingdom declined. Subsequent to Bede's time, 
Jarrow appears from time to time on the page of history, chiefly in being 
subject to visitations of fire and sword, first from the Danes, who readily 
found it out, situated as it was so near the mouth of the Tyne and the 
east coast. One of their inroads at the end of the eighth century was 
successfully repulsed before Jarrow, the Danes flying to their ships, 
leaving a large number of their slain, amongst whom was their leader. 
So completely was the monastery plundered and burned during the 
inroad of 867, and that of Halfdene a few years later, that it is said to have 




JAltJaOW CUUltCH AND BUINS 0¥ MONASTERY. 

been then abandoned, and to have lain waste until after the Conquest. 
But when the Conqueror in 1070 was harrpng the country north of the 
Humber, before his devastating fire had reached Jarrow, there had been 
enough of the fabric left to afford shelter to the fugitive Bthelwine and 
his monks on the first night of their flight from Durham with the body of 
St. Cuthbert. When William reached Jarrow, he is said to have 
destroyed it by fire, " but,'* says Mr. Freeman,* " we see reason to 
believe that the destruction could not have gone beyond the burning of 
the roof and other woodwork/' Bearing on this point is the following 

* " History of the Norman Conquest.'* 



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280 JARROW. 

incident, of 1074, described by the same histonau : "Now it came 
into the hearts of certain monks in a distant shire, who had read in 
Bssda how full Northumberland once was of holy places, to set forth 
on a missionary enterprise to the benighted land. The leader was 
Ealdwine, who with two brethren set forth on foot, with an ass to carry 
their books and vestments. In this guise they reach York, and prayed 
the sheriflF of the shire to guide them to Monkchester — the future New- 
castle; but as Monkchester in no way answered to its name, they were glad 
to accept the invitation of Bishop Walcher, who offered them the ruined 
monastery of Jarrow. There they patched up the dismantled church, 
and built a poor dwelling-place for themselves beneath its walls. The 
bishop marking their zeal and energy, gave them the lordship of Jarrow 
and other possessions, the revenues of which enabled them to build the 
tower and monastic buildings which still remain. It is to the for- 
tunate poverty of the house of Jarrow that we owe that Basda's choir is 
still left to us.*^ Against the latter remark may be placed that of Sydney 
Gibson's '' that the peculiar features of the chancel, upon which some 
zealous Saxonists rely, do not differ materially from other buildings of 
early but post- Conquest dato.^^ 

Malmesbury wrote of Jarrow that it ''was formerly sot with the fair 
perfumed flowers of monasteries.^' That was in a time long gone by, 
which knew not the fragrance of modern Jarrow, as the writer found it in 
1877, when he made the sketch engraved here. His standpoint was the 
grassless summit of a bank, which was black and greasy enough to take 
high lights. The oozy stream at its base flowed, or should have flowed, 
if it could, into the Don, a small stream black as itself, which makes its 
way through the Slake into the Tyne. Now the odours arising from this 
slimy ooze, uniting with the fumes from chemical works, were enough to 
make enthusiasm faint even before so venerable a subject as Jarrow 
antiquities. Alas ! before the sketch was nearly completed, and whilst 
putting in the roof of the school-house, the door was thrown open, and 
girls and boys 

'* Game bounding out of school : 
There were some that ran, and some that leapt 
Like troutlets in a pool.'* 



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JARROW. 283 

Soon they espied " the man on the bank/' and carried the hill by 
storm, and '' the man on the bank '' suffered many things, until his work 
was done, especially through the organ which had already endured much ; 
and then, what ill-concealed contempt from the youngsters questioning 
what the " fond man '' was doing 1 and what disputes ever ripening 
into fights arising out of divergent views as to the intention of certain 
strokes they saw put on paper, whether the school-house chimney or the 
tower of the church was meant ! There shall be recorded hero, however, 
one hopeful gleam of better things which shone in the eyes of a little 
woman who, seeing lines put down on the sketch at the juncture of the 
tower and roof said, *' See, he's making the shadow of the tower/' But 
oh 1 that half-hour ! Since then, however, Jarrow has been made into 
a brand-new borough, and let us hope that, among other improvements, 
ample baths and washhouses have been erected. 

As the tide runs out at Jarrow Slake, the uncovered muddy flat 
becomes alive with sea-gulls, picking up what they can, until the tide 
returns. 

The Slake was the scene of the last instance of a criminal hanging in 
chains in this country ; if Thomas Bewick had been designing the tail- 
piece to this chapter, he would probably have given us a figure of the 
gibbeted man swinging in the high wind — ^which according to local 
records, prevailed at the time. Our tail-piece, however, illustrates a 
milder method of punishment, and like the other, it is now obsolete. 




STOCKS IN JARROW CHURCHYARD. 



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CHAPTER XXVI. 



SHIELDS. 



.Temmy Joneson's Whurry. 




A SCOTCH HERRIKG BOAT 



A thought aa'd myek a voyage to Shicls 
Iv Jemmy Joneson's whurry. 

" Ye niver sce'd the church sae scrndg'd. 

As VtG were there thegither ; 
An' gentle, simple, throughways rndg'd 

Like birdies of a feather : 
Blind Willie, a* wor joys to croon 

Struck up a hey down derry. 
An' Cleanse we left wor canny town 

Iv Jemmy Joneson*s whurr3\ 



" Quick went wor heels, quick went the oars, 
An* where me eyes wur cassin, 
It seemed as if the bizzy shores 

Cheered canny Tyne i' passing. 
What ! hez Newcasscl now nae end ? 

Thinks aa, its wondrous vurry ; 
Aa thought I'd like me life to spend 
Iv Jemmy Joneson*s whurry. 



" Tyneside seemed clad with bonny ha's, 

An' furnaces sae dunny ; 
Woy this mun be what Bible ca's 

* The land of milk an' honey ! ' 



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SHIELDS. 285 

If a' thor things bclang^d tiv me 

Aa*d myek the poor roet murry, 
An' gar each heart to sing wiv glee, 

Iv Jemmy Joneson's whurry/* 

Life on the lower Tyne in these days of comniorcial progress and 
widened intercourse, has perhaps, with its more leisurely gait, lost some- 
thing also of the breadth of blithe light-heartedness which characterized 
the days when the old local songs were written for — and sung by the 
people; but still, no one can say of the Tyne-sider that he takes his 




JEMMY JON£SON*S WHERRY. 

pleasure sadly. Bands, band -contests, galas, flower-shows, and trips, are 
among the frequently recurring pleasurable events for the people all over 
the northern counties, and native racy humour is by no means absent at 
such gatherings. Nevertheless it would seem that life does not flow so 
lightly and gaily on the river as it did in the old " keel-row " days, before 
steam-packets and railways ; it moves no longer to the cheery strains 
of the piper, of " Blind Willie's '^ fiddle, or to the wild but melodious 
music that Jack Forster — the Howden Pans fifer, was wont to discourse 
before " Barge Day " was shorn of its holiday fun, ana doubtless one who 



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286 SHIELDS. 

had known the joys of Jemmy Joneson's wherry would find but a poor 
substitute in the fussy steamboat on which we now voyage to Shields ; 
yet does the river retain many of its old characteristics. Dr. Dibdin's 
description of Shields, and the confused bustle on the river there, seems 
as apt now as when it was written in 1838, and this notwithstanding 
the relief since then brought to the carrying trade of such ports as 
North and South Shields by the twofold use of steam in locomotion — 
"A very Wapping at the embouchure of the Tyne. . • . How am I even 
to attempt the description of these parallel towns intersected by a river 
upon the breast of which all day long colliers and steamers and wherries 
and cockboats are in a constant state of movement.'^ 

Whilst sketching on North Shields shore on more than one occasion 
during the autumn of 1876, the writer witnessed scenes on the river quite 
in harmony with those which made such an impression on Dibdin, espe- 
cially in the " happy-go-lucky *' way in which men and boys on their way 
to and from work seemed to tumble into any sort of craft that was going, 
in their haste to get to the other side, bumping and " fouling '* among 
ships at anchor, in and out among moving steamers, steam-tugs and 
ships, reminding one of the former state of the " Pool '* in the port of 
London. 

As a means of communication between these two populous and busy 
towns, there is only the water way, the nearest bridge being nine miles 
distant. At one time proposals for a high-level chain bridge to connect 
the towns received some attention. The steam-ferry service between 
North and South Shields was established in 1830. 

Small fishing villages on either shore at the mouth of the Tyne were 
the simple nuclei out of which these remarkable towns were respectively 
developed, and from the shielings — as the fishermen's huts were called — 
the name of Shields was derived. Even towards the end of last century. 
North Shields was little more than a collection of such huts, and South 
Shields had not outgrown the condition of a village in 1750. A Tynesider, 
himself in declining years, told the writer that he could just remember 
hearing old people speak of the Durham Shielings and Northumberland 
Shielings, meaning North and South Shields. From curious records of 
the time we get a glimpse of the condition of the villages in the seventh. 



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SHIELDS. 289 

year of the reign of Edward I. — when "a presentment was made^ charging 
that the prior of Tynemouth had erected a town on one side of the Tyne 
at Sheles, and that the prior of Durham had built another town upon 
the opposite side where none ought to exist except logges for fishermen, 
that the said fishermen sold there the fish which they ought to convey 
to Newcastle, that the prior baked at Sheles, and had there large 
fishing-smacks, whereas he ought to have boats only, whereby the 
king and the borough lost the presage to which they were entitled, that 
the prior of Durham did the same ; that the prior of Tynemouth baked 
other people^s bread in his ovens, whereby the burgesses were de- 
frauded of furnage to the amount of fourpence per quarter. . . . The 
then prior of Tynemouth was prohibited from erecting buildings in the 
place called Sheles, to the injury of the town of Newcastle, and from 
allowing his tenants to abide at Sheles to bake bread, or brew ale for 
sale, to the injury of the burgesses of the same town/' 

The plague of 1635, which devastated North Shields, does not appear 
to have proved such a scourge to the sister town ; a tradition long pre- 
vailed that those persons who were engaged about the salt works in 
South Shields, entirely escaped infection. 

The oldest parts of either town, are as might be expected, about the 
shore. North Shields is perhaps the more nautical; though genuine 
water-side characteristics belong to the buildings and people of both 
towns; subsidiary trades connected with shipping largely occupy the 
inhabitants; makers of cables, anchors, cordage, masts, blocks, and sail- 
cloth abound. 

The mouth of the Tyne afibrds anchorage for an immense fleet of 
traders, and they come from all parts of the world. The harbour serves 
for both ports, but North Shields registers more than double the tonnage 
of that of South Shields. The High and Low Lights are on the north 
shore; these structures — completed in 1810, were first lighted on May 
1st of that year. The High Light, nearly twice the height of the other, 
leads over the bar ; a pilot explained to the writer that when steering 
inwards it was necessary to keep the head of the vessel and the 
High and Low Lights in a vertical line to each other ; but as the old 
song says : — 

p p 



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290 



SHIELDS. 

*• Well all away to the Law Lights, 
And there we'll see the sailors come in 

We'll all away to the Law Lights 

And there well see the sailors come in. 

" There clap your hands and give a shout, 
And youll see the sailors go out ; 

Clap your hands and dance and sing, 
And youll see your laddie come in.'* 




TUG BBINGING IN HERRING BOATS. 

A pretty and familiar sight at the mouth of the river is that of the 
departure of the Scotch herring boats for theii* fishing station^as they follow 
each other out of the harbour^ making but little way at firsts under play 
of the oars only ; presently a sail is here and there unfurled^ and soon a 
flutter of life takes possession of the whole^ and in a few moments the little 
fleet, the individual vessels of which we just now saw in every stage of un- 
readiness between "bare poles'' and " all sails set/' is ready, and bears 
ofi*in form. 

In a parting reference to South Shields, its eastern end should be 
mentioned, which opens out to the Herd Sands and the sea ; here are beau- 
tiful walks from which Tynemouth Rock and Priory are well seen. Writers 
tell us that in ancient times the Tyne had more outlets than one, for the 
Lawe was even in recent times insulated by the tide, and vras probably 
earlier, entirely an island ; it is considered to be the Ostia Vedra of the 



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SHIELDS. 



293 



Romans^ and formed a strong position daring their occupation. The 
well-known Marsden Rock is on the Durham coast about two miles from 
the mouth of the Tyne. 




MABSDEN BOCK. 



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CHAPTER XXVIL 



TYNEMOUTH. 



HE Tyne has all but reached its goal — the 
ocean ; but in spite of breezy invitations 
from the sea^ in idle mood we linger still 
by the river shore. It is now the river 
running out^ and now the sea flowing in 
which engages us^ for^ common as is the 
phenomenon, the spectacle of the tides has 
ever a fascination for us. In the dreamy 
period between ebb and flow, the atten- 
tion is lulled to listlessness, from which 
it is aroused with something like sur- 
prise when that first faint commotion 
comes with the tidal wave, a conflict, brief, bewildering, its movements 
involved and indeterminate as the first passes of fencers, but in these 
vague motions there is prophecy like that of which we are sensible in the 
first flutter of the rising gale, and in the sparse big drops which come 
before the deluge. Now wave follows wave of the pulsating tide, as it 
makes up the mid channel of the river ; but close under the banks are 
boats not yet moved by it, and our idle pleasure is to wait until all are 
afloat. 

The jurisdiction of the Tyne Conservancy extends from " Sparrow 
Hawk ^^ in the sea, to Hedwin Streams, near Newbum ; the tidal waters 




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TYNEMOUTH. 297 

cover the same course, and in important ways co-operato in the conser- 
vancy of the river, visiting nook and corner, waking up many a lazy pool, 
and floating many an offence found loafing behind stone or clinging to 
posts in the stream, infusing new life and purity into the river itself, and 
giving additional impulse to its flow, where it would otherwise begin to 
lag ; for the stream which the sea waters meet at Newburn, though still 
swift, falling at the rate of three and a half feet in the mile, has but one- 
fourth of the fall of the mountain-streams which above unite to form the 
Tyne proper, and below Newburn the rate of fall diminishes rapidly. At 
Newburn, then, is anticipated the union of river with sea, and thence the 
mingled waters run out with the accustomed articles of flotsam and 
jetsam, most noticeable among them being those abandoned wrecks of 
baskets familiar on tidal rivers, which, with a Wandering Jew sort of 
existence, seemed doomed to float up and down with the tide for ever ! 

Now, turning seawards, looking over the harbour, the eye takes in the 
yet unfinished piers or breakwaters, which extend from both banks of the 
river, making an artificial entrance outside the bar. This latter impedi- 
ment to navigation has been cut down recently. So that, whereas the 
lowest tides formerly left only six feet of water on the bar, they now leave 
twenty-three feet. Within those breakwaters are now partially enclosed 
the bar, great part of the Herd Sands, and the notorious Black Middens. 
The south pier runs out from the south edge of the Herd Sands, the north 
pier from the south side of Tynemouth Cliff. Starting from points 
nearly one mile apart, they approach each other as they extend outwards, 
and when finished, the distance between the seaward ends, as proposed, 
will be little more than a quarter of a mile. Already the north pier 
protects vessels entering from the force of the north and north-easterly 
gales. 

The ^' Herd Sands '^ and the " Black Middens *^ are notorious enough 
in the annals of shipwrecks, but the days are happily passed when such 
scenes of destruction were wont to be witnessed by crowds on the shore 
powerless to render any assistance. They have now the life-boat, with 
auxiliary contrivances, and the fact should be emphasized here that for 
the invention of the life-boat the world is indebted to Greathead, a 
native of South Shields. 

QQ 



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298 



TYNE MOUTH. 



The higher part of North Shields has stretched away eastwards until it 
has now joined the town of Tynemouth. The latter has little to detain 
us in its streets, through which we make our way to the sea. Beyond the 
mouth of the river to the north stands boldly jutting out into the sea 
that famous rocky promontory which from remote times, appears to have 
been conjointly occupied by buildings designed for worship and defence ; 
there seems room for more than conjecture that a Roman fort occupied this 
naturally strong position, and that a Roman temple stood where we now 
see the vestiges of the last of the Tynemouth priory churches. During 
the repairs of Tynemouth Castle in 1782, there were found inscribed 




PRIORY RUIN>. 



Roman stones and fragments of Cippi columns on pedestals said to be 
used as boundary marks, memorials of aflTection, or of events, just as stone 
crosses were used in early Christian times. There is little that is 
venerable about Tynemouth Castle externally in its modern plight of 



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tynemouth; SOI 

brick casings and minus the projecting towers and turrets which it is 
represented as possessing- before the repairs of 1782. It has now the 
appearance of a* barrack, which it is, and nothing more. In passing 
through the gateway, the massive old walls are suggestive of the former 
strength of the place ; it is said to have been at one time in the occupa- 
tioii of the Danes, and notices are found later of a castle maintained here 
by the Earls of Northumberland ; Earl Tosti was in possession of the 
castle just after the Conquest. William I. afterwards conferred it, with 
considerable lands, upon Robert de Mowbray, and in the following reign 
the castle was strong enough to enable the rebellious De Mowbray to 
resist for two months the siege of the king. In 1315 Tynemouth is men- 
tioned among the castles of Northumberland, and, says Mr. Sydney Gibson, 
"in this castle probably were lodged the eighty armed men whom Richard 
de Tewing, Prior of Tynemouth, maintained for the protection of the 
monastery.'^ It is said that considerable portions of ancient fortifications 
connected with the castle have been destroyed by encroachment of the 
sea and neglect, and that faint traces of a rampart exist on the ground 
now occupied by the Spanish Battery. 

The gateway leads into the priory grounds, or more properly, the 
barrack-yard ; for probably the first thing to meet the eye on passing in 
through the gateway, will be men of the garrison in undress, beating 
carpets or the like, and between pyramids of shot, and rows of guns, by 
grave-stones, and grass-covered powder magazines, the way lies to one of 
the most beautiful and interesting ecclesiastical ruins in the north of 
England. The magazines are ranged on two sides of the ruins, and near 
to the invaluable lighthouse. To say the least, this arrangement does not 
appear to be a convenient one. In Jspite of this strange assemblage of 
incongruities, Mr. Sydney Gibson describes " the roofless and ruined pile 
of Tynemouth Priory Church, yet full of the unearthly solemnities that 
characterize the structures of ancient, holier times.'^ Surely, only an 
enthusiastic ecclesiologist could on this spot be so impressed, and only 
by great force of mind could even he shut out from his thoughts the 
inharmonious surroundings. 

Of short duration would be the earliest ecclesiastical building erected 
here — the wooden house said by the Monk of St. Albania to have been 



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302 



TY¥EMOUTH. 



raised by the Bretwalda Edwin in the seventh century, intended for the 
religious of both sexes, and where his daughter Rosella afterwards took 
the veil. Stone buildings succeeding this fell into desolation in their 
turn, chiefly during incursions of the Danes. In this dark period were 



- a^t *_ ITZ 





TVNEMOUTII LIGHTHOUSE. 



lost those relics of kings and saints connected with the early history of 
Tynemouth Churchy the fame of which had shed so much lustre upon it ; 
but on the eve of the Conquest better days set in, and during the occupa- 
tion of Tynemouth Castle by Tosti, the remarkable story was floated which 
describes Oswin, saint and king^ as appearing in a vision to the sexton of 
the church, and pointing out his tomb. The lost relics of St. Oswin were 
thus brought to light 415 years after his death, which occurred in, 650. 



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TYNEMOUTH. 



303 



Miraculous powers were attributed to these relics, for details of which we 
must refer to the life and miracles of St. Oswin by the Monk of St. Albans. 
Around the shrine of the saint the Saxon Earl commenced building a new 
monastery y which was destined to be completed by a fraternity of monks 
from St. Albans, upon whom the Norman Earl, Robert de Mowbray, had 
bestowed the castle, &c., of Tynemouth. 

De Mowbray is credited with haying erected a new priory church at 
Tynemouth, of which mention is made in 1110, and of that church 




SSlUGGLEttS CAVE, CUU.ERCOATS. 

those portions of the existing edifice in the Norman style are the remain- 
ing monuments. '' In 1220, the prior and monks of Tynemouth began 
to erect a new and more magnificent conventual church, incorporating 
the original Norman building. The existence of armorial bearings of 
the Percy family sculptured above the door of the chapel have led to the 
inference that some of that family had assisted in the construction/^ 

Prom the time when Henry VIII. dissolved the monastery, and 
struck his pen through the '' for overs " of so many pious patrons and 
donors, the church fell into neglect, whilst the castle and fortifications 



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804 TTNEMOUTH. 

assamed a greater importance. The priory grounds were long used as a 
burial-place^ the present plight of which has already been alluded to. 

The houses of Tynemouth now extend in a northerly direction, 
joining the old fishing village of CuUercoats, which is supposed from its 
name to have supplied the pigeons for the priory kitchen ; it still retains 
much of its primitive and picturesque character, in the houses, the people, 
and their occupation, making it a noted one among fishing villages. 
CuUercoats fish-wives with their creels have found tjieir way intopictures 
many, as also the characteristic cobles of curious build, the preparations 
for the fishing— women baiting the hooks, and bringing the baited lines 
down to the boat-side on the eve of departure, and then the start. Such 
are some of the every-day doings here, which, mere routine to those en- 
gaged in them, have a desirable freshness for the townsman looking on. 

Then there are the sands : the '' Long Sands '* at Tynemouth, and the 
Whitley Sands, the grand sandstone rocks at CuUercoats and Whitley, 
with their sea-haunted caverns. All these are about the mouth of the 
Tyne, where we linger ere we say the last farewell. Day draws to its 
close, as we take a last stroll on the northerly breakwater. A glimmer 
in the western sky prevents the revolving lights from being seen as yet 
in full brilliancy, whilst seawards a '' ballast-hopper '* is disappearing 
into the darkening east ; we watch until her lights grow dim ; in the moan- 
time the lighthouse has become the dominant feature of the scene, and 
somehow it has come about that our adieu to the reader is. Good Night. 




TUG WITH BALLAST-HOPPER GOING OUT TO SEA. 



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INDEX. 



Page 
AXENSIDB 249 

Ale-bom 108, 109 

AUen, The 185, 149, 162 

„ The East 149 

„ The West 149 

Allensford 246 

Alston 97, 98 

„ Town Hall 98 

„ to Lambley 108 

Ashgill Force 98, 94 

Aydon Castle 192 

AxwellPark 285 

Ballast hills 269 

„ hoppers 269,804 

Beanfront 189 

Bede 277 

Bell-bnm 4 

Bellingham 41 

„ stone bridge at 42 

„ church at 42, 48 

Bellister 128 

„ Grey Man of (legend) . . . 124 

Beltingham Church 185 

Bewick, Thomas, 218, 219, 222, 228, 225 

Bewshaugh 21 

Black-bum, Tarset-dale .... 87 

„ Beedsdale 50 

„ Featherstone Park .... 123 

„ Cross Fell 97 

Black Hedley 242 

Blacketts 249 

Black Middens 297 

Blanchland 248 

„ Visit of Edward III. to . . . 244 

„ Abbey 245 



Page 

Boroovicus 144 

Border life before the Union ... 55 

„ terms 17, 18 

Broomlee-lough 144 

Bywell 199,204 

„ Castle *. . . 200 

„ churches 204 

Cabbabsbuboh 69 

Carvoran 129 

Castles of Northumberland ... 58 

Cat-rail, The 7 

Cawfields 140 

Caw-bum 148 

Cherty-bum 214 

Chesterhohn 148 

Chesters, The 70 

Cheviot Sheep 8, 9 

„ Shepherds 10, 11 

Chipchase . 58, 61 

Chinely-bum 148 

Chirdon-bum 86, 89 

Chollerford . 69 

„ Weir 75 

ChopweU 237 

Cilumum 70, 78 

„ Remains of Boman bridge at . 78 
Clargill-bum 86 

„ Force 91, 92 

Coals carried over the Border in 

pokes 28 

Coalstaiths 268 

Cocklaw Tower 68 

Condercum 282 

Consett .......... 240 

Cor, The 191, 192 

B 



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806 



INDBX. 



Pug© 

Oorbridge 191 

„ Peel 196 

„ Market-place 196 

Corstopituin 192 

Coventina 70 

Crag Lough 140, 148 

Crawley, Ambrose 286 

Crook-bum 66 

Cross FeU 88,84,88 

Dally Castle and Mill .... 86, 87 

Dawstane Bigg 8 

Deadwater 4 

Denton and Benwell 229 

Denton Hall 229 

Derwent, The 288 

Derwent Head 246 

Derwentwater, Earl of 182 

Deyilswater 181 

Dilston, John Grey of 186 

DUston Tower 186,186 

Doubleday, Thomas 226 

Dr. Johnson's Walk 230 

Ealb 114, 118 

East Land Ends 186 

Ebchester 286 

Edmondbyers 241 

Elsdon-bum 47,49 

„ Peel 49 

„ Church 48 

„ Village 49 

Emmethaugh 24 

Falstome 26, 26 

„ Peel near 28,29 

„ Walks round 80 

Featherstone Castle .... 119, 120 

Featherstones 120 

Fisher's Garland, The . . . 226—228 

Floods 196—198 

Fortified farm-houses 28 

Frithstol. , 177 

Garragill 88—86,106 

Garragill-bum, gorge of ... • 88 



Page 

Garragill poachers 106 

Gibb's Cross, Legend connected with 87 
Gilderdale, Chalybeate spring in . 110 

Gilderdale-bum 108,109 

Glass-making 262 

GlenDhu-bum 118 

Gowan-bum 21 

Grainger 249 

Greathead 297 

Greenhead 241—243 

Green Lee Lough 181, 140 

Greystead 36 

Halout, or Cowgarth-bum . . . 164 

Halton Castle 192 

Haltwhistle 129—181 

„ Castle 180 

„ -bum 131 

Haly-pikes 18, 140, 148 

Hamsterley 237, 238 

Hareshaw Lynn 39, 42 

Harsondale-bum 161 

Hartley-bum- 123 

Hartside 101 

Haughton Castle 66 

Hedwin Streams 261 

Hefen-field 76 

Helm-wind 101, 102 

Herd Sands 290, 297 

Hermitage, The 168 

Herring-boats 290 

Hesleyside 39 

Hexham .163 

„ Abbey Gate 173 

„ Abbey Church .... 174, 177 

„ „ Stone staircase in 178 

Hextol or Cockshaw-bum .... 164 

High-level bridge 264 

Housesteads 144 

" Howden for Jarrow.'* 269 

Hunstanworth 246 

Hunter, Dr 237 

Jarbow 277 

„ Church 277 

„ Slake 262, 271, 288 



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807 



P»g« 

" Jemmy Joneson's whurry "... 284 
"Jocko' the Side" 76,76 

ElBLDSR-BUBN 12 

„ Castle 11 

„ Gout of 18 

Eillhope Moor 244 

Kirkhaugh Church 110 

Enar, The 112 

Enaresdale 112 

„ Church 112 

„ HaU 97,113 

Lamblet Viaduct 118 

Langley Castle 185, 186 

Lead mines 102—104 

Lead miner's shop 104 

Lewis-bum 21 

Liddel, The 4 

Lights, High and Low 289 

Lintz-Green 286 

Linnels Bridge 182 

Lishope-bum 21 

Lonning Head 89 

Lough, John, Sculptor 242 

MABSDENBock 298 

Medomsley 287 

Meeting of the Waters 167 

Mine, The coal 266—267 

„ The lead 108 

Mines and miners 97 

Minster Acres 207, 248 

MilkweU-bum 286,287 

Moorland 80, 81 

Monkchester 261, 262, 280 

Mounces 24 

MoteHiU 60 

Mrs. Montague's letters .... 280 
Muggleswick 240 

Nent Head 84, 96 

„ The 94, 95 

„ Force 96 

Newbum .... 220,222,223,297 
„ fisheries 228 



Page 

Newbum, Battle of 222 

Newcastle 248 

Nomenclature 88 

North Tyne, Source of 4 

„ Scenery of 7 

„ Birds of 12, 18 

Northumberland lakes 140 

OsTiAVedra 290 

Otter, The 76,79 

Otterbum 47,48 

„ Site of Battle of ..... 48 
„ Ballads relating to Battle of 48, 49 

Ofcterstone Lee 24 

Ousebum 248 

Ovingham 212 

„ Church 212 

Peat-bogs 84 

Peel Fell 4,8 

Percy 249 

Plashetts-bum ........ 22 

„ Colliery 22, 28 

Potteries 262 

Pons^lii 261—268 

Procolitia, Discovery of Boman 

coins at 69, 70 

Prudham stone quarry 189 

Prudhoe 200 

„ Castle 211 

„ „ Oriel window in . . . 211 

Queen's Cave 180 

Kandalholme 108, 109 

Reed, The 47 

Beed, Percy, Tragedy of . . . 62, 64 
Beedswater Minstrel, Lay of the, 62, 68 
Beedswire, Baid of the .... 64, 61 
liidsdale ironstone beds .... 61 

Bismg of the North 201 

Bisinghom, Bob of 60 

Biver God of North Tyne, supposed 

Boman statue of 78 

Boman wall 8 

Bowland'sGiU 286 



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308 



INDEX. 



Page 

Roxby, Robert 226 

Bonio Gross 27 

Byton 220 

Salmon spearing from trows ... 45 

Scotch Tyne 3 

Sootswood Suspension Bridge • . 240 

Segedenum 263 

Sewing Shields Castle 145 

„ „ Legend of, connected 

with King Arthur .... 146, 147 
Shields, North and South .... 285 

Shield Water 97 

Shotley Bridge 237,240 

Sir David Graeme 13 — 16 

Slaggyford Ill 

Smuggler's Leap 35 

Smuggling 85 

Sneep, The 240 

Softley 114 

South Tyne Head .... 83, 86, 87 
Sparrow Hawk ....... 294 

Stanley-bum 234 

Stannersbum 25 

StawardPeel 150 

St. John Lee 168 

St. Wilfrid 169 

St. Oswald's Church 76 

St. Oswin 302 

SteUaHaugh 222 

Stevenson, George 223 

Stocks in Jarrow Churchyard . . 283 

Storms 9 

Sulphur well 4 

Surnames of N. Tynedale . . 27, 28, 44 

Surtees, Antony 237,238 

Swalwell 236 

Swinburne, John 237 

Swing bridge 254 

Tarras 131 

Tarset-bum 36, 39 

„ Castle 36, 39 



Page 

TarsetPeelB ..<...... 37 

Teckitt-bum 67 

„ Lynn 67 

Tees Head 87 

" The Water o' Tyne " 40 

Thirlwall Castie 127, 128 

„ Legend connected with . . . 129 

Thornton, Boger 286 

Traces of early inhabitants in North 
Tyne and Beed Valleys ... 51, 52 

Troughend Hall 47,64 

Tyne and Thames, Comparison be- 
tween 18 

Tyne Docks 276 

„ Green 163 

„ Industries 260,262 

„ Begatta 246 

„ Conservancy 294 

Tynemouth 284, 294 

„ Castle 298 

„ Lighthouse 298 

„ Priory 298 



Umfravillbs, Family of 
Unthank Hall .... 



VlNDOlCAaA 



211 
132 

237 



Wallsend 268 

Warden Hill, Bemains of circular 

camp on 80 

Warden mill dam 80 

„ Bocks 80 

Watling Street 196 

Waterfalls 91 

Wallis,John 110 

Whitley 804 

Whitfield Hall 153 

Whitley Castle 110 

Williamston 114 

Willimontswyke 182 

Winlaton 284 

Wylam 222 



QHUWICK PRHS8 : 



. WHITTniGHAM AND CO., TOOK8 COURT, CBAMCEST LANK. 



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THE TYNE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES. 



CAMPS 

CHURCHES 

ROADS 

TOWNS .... 
TOWCRS ... 



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SCALE or MILES. 



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