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Author: Home, Gordon, 1878-1969
Title: Yorkshire
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): norman; yorkshire; abbey; castle; church; tower
Contributor(s): Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890 [Translator]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 62,722 words (short) Grade range: 14-16 (college) Readability score: 48 (average)
Identifier: etext9973
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Project Gutenberg's Yorkshire Painted And Described, by Gordon Home

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Title: Yorkshire Painted And Described

Author: Gordon Home

Release Date: August 13, 2004 [EBook #9973]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK YORKSHIRE PAINTED AND DESCRIBED ***




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YORKSHIRE

PAINTED AND DESCRIBED BY

GORDON HOME



Contents

CHAPTER I
ACROSS THE MOORS FROM PICKERING TO WHITBY

CHAPTER II
ALONG THE ESK VALLEY

CHAPTER III
THE COAST FROM WHITBY TO REDCAR

CHAPTER IV
THE COAST FROM WHITBY TO SCARBOROUGH

CHAPTER V
SCARBOROUGH

CHAPTER VI
WHITBY

CHAPTER VII
THE CLEVELAND HILLS

CHAPTER VIII
GUISBOROUGH AND THE SKELTON VALLEY

CHAPTER IX
FROM PICKERING TO RIEVAULX ABBEY

CHAPTER X
DESCRIBES THE DALE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE

CHAPTER XI
RICHMOND

CHAPTER XII
SWALEDALE

CHAPTER XIII
WENSLEYDALE

CHAPTER XIV
RIPON AND FOUNTAINS ABBEY

CHAPTER XV
KNARESBOROUGH AND HARROGATE

CHAPTER XVI
WHARFEDALE

CHAPTER XVII
SKIPTON, MALHAM AND GORDALE

CHAPTER XVIII
SETTLE AND THE INGLETON FELLS

CHAPTER XIX
CONCERNING THE WOLDS

CHAPTER XX
FROM FILEY TO SPURN HEAD

CHAPTER XXI
BEVERLEY

CHAPTER XXII
ALONG THE HUMBER

CHAPTER XXIII
THE DERWENT AND THE HOWARDIAN HILLS

CHAPTER XXIV
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY OF YORK

CHAPTER XXV
THE MANUFACTURING DISTRICT

INDEX




List of Illustrations

1. York from the Central Tower of the Minster

2. Sleights Moor from Swart Houe Cross

3. An Autumn Scene on the Esk

4. Runswick Bay

5. Sunrise from Staithes Beck

6. Robin Hood's Bay

7. Whitby Abbey from the Cliffs

8. The Red Roofs of Whitby

9. An Autumn Day at Guisborough

10. The Skelton Valley

11. In Pickering Church

12. The Market-Place, Helmsley

13. Richmond Castle from the River

14. A Rugged View above Wensleydale

15. A Jacobean House at Askrigg

16. Aysgarth Force

17. View up Wensleydale from Leyburn Shawl

18. Ripon Minster from the South

19. Fountains Abbey

20. Knaresborough

21. Bolton Abbey, Wharfedale

22. Settle

23. Wind and Sunshine on the Wolds

24. Filey Brig

25. The Outermost Point of Flamborough Head

26. Hornsea Mere

27. The Market-Place, Beverley

28. Patrington Church

29. Coxwold Village

30. The West Front of the Church of Byland Abbey

31. Bootham Bar, York

32. Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

_Sketch Map_





YORKSHIRE




CHAPTER I

ACROSS THE MOORS FROM PICKERING TO WHITBY


The ancient stone-built town of Pickering is to a great extent the
gateway to the moors of North-eastern Yorkshire, for it stands at the
foot of that formerly inaccessible gorge known as Newton Dale, and is
the meeting-place of the four great roads running north, south, east,
and west, as well as of railways going in the same directions. And this
view of the little town is by no means original, for the strategic
importance of the position was recognised at least as long ago as the
days of the early Edwards, when the castle was built to command the
approach to Newton Dale and to be a menace to the whole of the Vale of
Pickering.

The old-time traveller from York to Whitby saw practically nothing of
Newton Dale, for the great coach-road bore him towards the east, and
then, on climbing the steep hill up to Lockton Low Moor, he went almost
due north as far as Sleights. But to-day everyone passes right through
the gloomy canon, for the railway now follows the windings of Pickering
Beck, and nursemaids and children on their way to the seaside may gaze
at the frowning cliffs which seventy years ago were only known to
travellers and a few shepherds. But although this great change has been
brought about by railway enterprise, the gorge is still uninhabited,
and has lost little of its grandeur; for when the puny train, with its
accompanying white cloud, has disappeared round one of the great
bluffs, there is nothing left but the two pairs of shining rails, laid
for long distances almost on the floor of the ravine. But though there
are steep gradients to be climbed, and the engine labours heavily,
there is scarcely sufficient time to get any idea of the astonishing
scenery from the windows of the train, and you can see nothing of the
huge expanses of moorland stretching away from the precipices on either
side. So that we, who would learn something of this region, must make
the journey on foot; for a bicycle would be an encumbrance when
crossing the heather, and there are many places where a horse would be
a source of danger. The sides of the valley are closely wooded for the
first seven or eight miles north of Pickering, but the surrounding
country gradually loses its cultivation, at first gorse and bracken,
and then heather, taking the place of the green pastures.

At the village of Newton, perched on high ground far above the dale, we
come to the limit of civilization. The sun is nearly setting. The
cottages are scattered along the wide roadway and the strip of grass,
broken by two large ponds, which just now reflect the pale evening sky.
Straight in front, across the green, some ancient barns are thrown up
against the golden sunset, and the long perspective of white road, the
geese, and some whitewashed gables, stand out from the deepening tones
of the grass and trees. A footpath by the inn leads through some dewy
meadows to the woods, above Levisham Station in the valley below. At
first there are glimpses of the lofty moors on the opposite side of the
dale where the sides of the bluffs are still glowing in the sunset
light; but soon the pathway plunges steeply into a close wood, where
the foxes are barking, and where the intense darkness is only
emphasized by the momentary illumination given by lightning, which now
and then flickers in the direction of Lockton Moor. At last the
friendly little oil-lamps on the platform at Levisham Station appear
just below, and soon the railway is crossed and we are mounting the
steep road on the opposite side of the valley. What is left of the
waning light shows the rough track over the heather to High Horcum. The
huge shoulders of the moors are now majestically indistinct, and
towards the west the browns, purples, and greens are all merged in one
unfathomable blackness. The tremendous silence and the desolation
become almost oppressive, but overhead the familiar arrangement of the
constellations gives a sense of companionship not to be slighted. In
something less than an hour a light glows in the distance, and,
although the darkness is now complete, there is no further need to
trouble ourselves with the thought of spending the night on the
heather. The point of light develops into a lighted window, and we are
soon stamping our feet on the hard, smooth road in front of the
Saltersgate Inn. The door opens straight into a large stone-flagged
room. Everything is redolent of coaching days, for the cheery glow of
the fire shows a spotlessly clean floor, old high-backed settles, a gun
hooked to one of the beams overhead, quaint chairs, and oak stools, and
a fox's mask and brush. A gamekeeper is warming himself at the fire,
for the evening is chilly, and the firelight falls on his box-cloth
gaiters and heavy boots as we begin to talk of the loneliness and the
dangers of the moors, and of the snow-storms in winter, that almost
bury the low cottages and blot out all but the boldest landmarks. Soon
we are discussing the superstitions which still survive among the
simple country-folk, and the dark and lonely wilds we have just left
make this a subject of great fascination.

Although we have heard it before, we hear over again with intense
interest the story of the witch who brought constant ill-luck to a
family in these parts. Their pigs were never free from some form of
illness, their cows died, their horses lamed themselves, and even the
milk was so far under the spell that on churning-days the butter
refused to come unless helped by a crooked sixpence. One day, when as
usual they had been churning in vain, instead of resorting to the
sixpence, the farmer secreted himself in an outbuilding, and, gun in
hand, watched the garden from a small opening. As it was growing dusk
he saw a hare coming cautiously through the hedge. He fired instantly,
the hare rolled over, dead, and almost as quickly the butter came. That
same night they heard that the old woman, whom they had long suspected
of bewitching them, had suddenly died at the same time as the hare, and
henceforward the farmer and his family prospered.

In the light of morning the isolation of the inn is more apparent than
at night. A compact group of stable buildings and barns stands on the
opposite side of the road, and there are two or three lonely-looking
cottages, but everywhere else the world is purple and brown with ling
and heather. The morning sun has just climbed high enough to send a
flood of light down the steep hill at the back of the barns, and we can
hear the hum of the bees in the heather. In the direction of Levisham
is Gallows Dyke, the great purple bluff we passed in the darkness, and
a few yards off the road makes a sharp double bend to get up
Saltersgate Brow, the hill that overlooks the enormous circular bowl of
Horcum Hole, where Levisham Beck rises. The farmer whose buildings can
be seen down below contrives to paint the bottom of the bowl a bright
green, but the ling comes hungrily down on all sides, with evident
longings to absorb the scanty cultivation. The Dwarf Cornel a little
mountain-plant which flowers in July, is found in this 'hole.' A few
patches have been discovered in the locality, but elsewhere it is not
known south of the Cheviots.

Away to the north the road crosses the desolate country like a
pale-green ribbon. It passes over Lockton High Moor, climbs to 700 feet
at Tom Cross Rigg and then disappears into the valley of Eller Beck, on
Goathland Moor, coming into view again as it climbs steadily up to
Sleights Moor, nearly 1,000 feet above the sea. An enormous stretch of
moorland spreads itself out towards the west. Near at hand is the
precipitous gorge of Upper Newton Dale, backed by Pickering Moor, and
beyond are the heights of Northdale Rigg and Rosedale Common, with the
blue outlines of Ralph Cross and Danby Head right on the horizon.

The smooth, well-built road, with short grass filling the crevices
between the stones, urges us to follow its straight course northwards;
but the sternest and most remarkable portion of Upper Newton Dale lies
to the left, across the deep heather, and we are tempted aside to reach
the lip of the sinuous gorge nearly a mile away to the west, where the
railway runs along the marshy and boulder-strewn bottom of a natural
cutting 500 feet deep. The cliffs drop down quite perpendicularly for
200 feet, and the remaining distance to the bed of the stream is a
rough slope, quite bare in places, and in others densely grown over
with trees; but on every side the fortress-like scarps are as stern and
bare as any that face the ocean. Looking north or south the gorge seems
completely shut in. There is much the same effect when steaming through
the Kyles of Bute, for there the ship seems to be going full speed for
the shore of an entirely enclosed sea, and here, saving for the
tell-tale railway, there seems no way out of the abyss without scaling
the perpendicular walls. The rocks are at their finest at Killingnoble
Scar, where they take the form of a semicircle on the west side of the
railway. The scar was for a very long period famous for the breed of
hawks, which were specially watched by the Goathland men for the use of
James I., and the hawks were not displaced from their eyrie even by the
incursion of the railway into the glen, and only recently became
extinct.

We can cross the line near Eller Beck, and, going over Goathland Moor,
explore the wooded sides of Wheeldale Beck and its water-falls.
Mallyan's Spout is the most imposing, having a drop of about 76 feet.
The village of Goathland has thrown out skirmishers towards the heather
in the form of an ancient-looking but quite modern church, with a low
central tower, and a little hotel, stone-built and fitting well into
its surroundings. The rest of the village is scattered round a large
triangular green, and extends down to the railway, where there is a
station named after the village.




CHAPTER II

ALONG THE ESK VALLEY


To see the valley of the Esk in its richest garb, one must wait for a
spell of fine autumn weather, when a prolonged ramble can be made along
the riverside and up on the moorland heights above. For the dense
woodlands, which are often merely pretty in midsummer, become
astonishingly lovely as the foliage draping the steep hill-sides takes
on its gorgeous colours, and the gills and becks on the moors send down
a plentiful supply of water to fill the dales with the music of rushing
streams.

Climbing up the road towards Larpool, we take a last look at quaint old
Whitby, spread out before us almost like those wonderful old prints of
English towns they loved to publish in the eighteenth century. But
although every feature is plainly visible--the church, the abbey, the
two piers, the harbour, the old town and the new--the detail is all
lost in that soft mellowness of a sunny autumn day. We find an
enthusiastic photographer expending plates on this familiar view, which
is sold all over the town; but we do not dare to suggest that the
prints, however successful, will be painfully hackneyed, and we go on
rejoicing that the questions of stops and exposures need not trouble
us, for the world is ablaze with colour.

Beyond the great red viaduct, whose central piers are washed by the
river far below, the road plunges into the golden shade of the woods
near Cock Mill, and then comes out by the river's bank down below, with
the little village of Ruswarp on the opposite shore. The railway goes
over the Esk just below the dam, and does is very best to spoil every
view of the great mill built in 1752 by Mr. Nathaniel Cholmley.

The road follows close beside the winding river and all the way to
Sleights there are lovely glimpses of the shimmering waters, reflecting
the overhanging masses of foliage. The golden yellow of a bush growing
at the water's edge will be backed by masses of brown woods that here
and there have retained suggestions of green, contrasted with the deep
purple tones of their shadowy recesses. These lovely phases of Eskdale
scenery are denied to the summer visitor, but there are few who would
wish to have the riverside solitudes rudely broken into by the passing
of boatloads of holiday-makers. Just before reaching Sleights Bridge we
leave the tree-embowered road, and, going through a gate, find a
stone-flagged pathway that climbs up the side of the valley with great
deliberation, so that we are soon at a great height, with a magnificent
sweep of landscape towards the south-west, and the keen air blowing
freshly from the great table-land of Egton High Moor.

A little higher, and we are on the road in Aislaby village. The steep
climb from the river and railway has kept off those modern influences
which have made Sleights and Grosmont architecturally depressing, and
thus we find a simple village on the edge of the heather, with
picturesque stone cottages and pretty gardens, free from companionship
with the painfully ugly modern stone house, with its thin slate roof.
The big house of the village stands on the very edge of the descent,
surrounded by high trees now swept bare of leaves.

The first time I visited Aislaby I reached the little hamlet when it
was nearly dark. Sufficient light, however, remained in the west to
show up the large house standing in the midst of the swaying branches.
One dim light appeared in the blue-grey mass, and the dead leaves were
blown fiercely by the strong gusts of wind. On the other side of the
road stood an old grey house, whose appearance that gloomy evening well
supported the statement that it was haunted.

I left the village in the gathering gloom and was soon out on the
heather. Away on the left, but scarcely discernible, was Swart Houe
Cross, on Egton Low Moor, and straight in front lay the Skelder Inn. A
light gleamed from one of the lower windows, and by it I guided my
steps, being determined to partake of tea before turning my steps
homeward. I stepped into the little parlour, with its sanded floor, and
demanded 'fat rascals' and tea. The girl was not surprised at my
request, for the hot turf cakes supplied at the inn are known to all
the neighbourhood by this unusual name.

The course of the river itself is hidden by the shoulders of Egton Low
Moor beneath us, but faint sounds of the shunting of trucks are carried
up to the heights. Even when the deep valleys are warmest, and when
their atmosphere is most suggestive of a hot-house, these moorland
heights rejoice in a keen, dry air, which seems to drive away the
slightest sense of fatigue, so easily felt on the lower levels, and to
give in its place a vigour that laughs at distance. Up here, too, the
whole world seems left to Nature, the levels of cultivation being
almost out of sight, and anything under 800 feet seems low. Towards the
end of August the heights are capped with purple, although the distant
moors, however brilliant they may appear when close at hand, generally
assume more delicate shades, fading into greys and blues on the
horizon.

Grosmont was the birthplace of the Cleveland Ironworks, and was at one
time more famous than Middlesbrough. The first cargo of ironstone was
sent from here in 1836, when the Pickering and Whitby Railway was
opened.

We will go up the steep road to the top of Sleights Moor. It is a long
stiff climb of nearly 900 feet, but the view is one of the very finest
in this country, where wide expanses soon become commonplace. We are
sufficiently high to look right across Fylingdales Moor to the sea
beyond, a soft haze of pearly blue over the hard, rugged outline of the
ling. Away towards the north, too, the landscape for many miles is
limited only by the same horizon of sea, so that we seem to be looking
at a section of a very large-scale contour map of England. Below us on
the western side runs the Mirk Esk, draining the heights upon which we
stand as well as Egton High Moor and Wheeldale Moor. The confluence
with the Esk at Grosmont is lost in a haze of smoke and a confusion of
roofs and railway lines; and the course of the larger river in the
direction of Glaisdale is also hidden behind the steep slopes of Egton
High Moor. Towards the south we gaze over a vast desolation, crossed by
the coach-road to York as it rises and falls over the swells of the
heather. The queer isolated cone of Blakey Topping and the summit of
Gallows Dyke, close to Saltersgate, appear above the distant ridges.

The route of the great Roman road from the south to Whitby can also be
seen from these heights. It passes straight through Cawthorn Camp, on
the ridge to the west of the village of Newton, and then runs along
within a few yards of the by-road from Pickering to Egton. It crosses
Wheeldale Beck, and skirts the ancient dyke round July or Julian Park,
at one time a hunting-seat of the great De Mauley family. The road is
about 12 feet wide, and is now deep in heather; but it is slightly
raised above the general level of the ground, and can therefore be
followed fairly easily where it has not been taken up to build walls
for enclosures.

If we go down into the valley beneath us by a road bearing south-west,
we shall find ourselves at Beck Hole, where there is a pretty group of
stone cottages, backed by some tall firs. The Eller Beck is crossed by
a stone bridge close to its confluence with the Mirk Esk. Above the
bridge, a footpath among the huge boulders winds its way by the side of
the rushing beck to Thomasin Foss, where the little river falls in two
or three broad silver bands into a considerable pool. Great masses of
overhanging rock, shaded by a leafy roof, shut in the brimming waters.

It is not difficult to find the way from Beck Hole to the Roman camp on
the hill-side towards Egton Bridge. The Roman road from Cawthorn goes
right through it, but beyond this it is not easy to trace, although
fragments have been discovered as far as Aislaby, all pointing to
Whitby or Sandsend Bay. Round the shoulder of the hill we come down
again to the deeply-wooded valley of the Esk. And in time we reach
Glaisdale End, where a graceful stone bridge of a single arch stands
over the rushing stream. The initials of the builder and the date
appear on the eastern side of what is now known as the Beggar's Bridge.
It was formerly called Firris Bridge, after the builder, but the
popular interest in the story of its origin seems to have killed the
old name. If you ask anyone in Whitby to mention some of the sights of
the neighbourhood, he will probably head his list with the Beggar's
Bridge, but why this is so I cannot imagine. The woods are very
beautiful, but this is a country full of the loveliest dales, and the
presence of this single-arched bridge does not seem sufficient to have
attracted so much popularity. I can only attribute it to the love
interest associated with the beggar. He was, we may imagine, the
Alderman Thomas Firris who, as a penniless youth, came to bid farewell
to his betrothed, who lived somewhere on the opposite side of the
river. Finding the stream impassable, he is said to have determined
that if he came back from his travels as a rich man he would put up a
bridge on the spot he had been prevented from crossing.




CHAPTER III

THE COAST FROM WHITBY TO REDCAR


Along the three miles of sand running northwards from Whitby at the
foot of low alluvial cliffs, I have seen some of the finest
sea-pictures on this part of the coast. But although I have seen
beautiful effects at all times of the day, those that I remember more
than any others are the early mornings, when the sun was still low in
the heavens, when, standing on that fine stretch of yellow sand, one
seemed to breathe an atmosphere so pure, and to gaze at a sky so
transparent, that some of those undefined longings for surroundings
that have never been realized were instinctively uppermost in the mind.
It is, I imagine, that vague recognition of perfection which has its
effect on even superficial minds when impressed with beautiful scenery,
for to what other cause can be attributed the remark one hears, that
such scenes 'make one feel good'?

Heavy waves, overlapping one another in their fruitless bombardment of
the smooth shelving sand, are filling the air with a ceaseless thunder.
The sun, shining from a sky of burnished gold, throws into silhouette
the twin lighthouses at the entrance to Whitby Harbour, and turns the
foaming wave-tops into a dazzling white, accentuated by the long
shadows of early day. Away to the north-west is Sandsend Ness, a bold
headland full of purple and blue shadows, and straight out to sea,
across the white-capped waves, are two tramp steamers, making, no
doubt, for South Shields or some port where a cargo of coal can be
picked up. They are plunging heavily, and every moment their bows seem
to go down too far to recover.

The two little becks finding their outlet at East Row and Sandsend are
lovely to-day; but their beauty must have been much more apparent
before the North-Eastern Railway put their black lattice girder bridges
across the mouth of each valley. But now that familiarity with these
bridges, which are of the same pattern across every wooded ravine up
the coast-line to Redcar, has blunted my impressions, I can think of
the picturesqueness of East Row without remembering the railway. It was
in this glen, where Lord Normanby's lovely woods make a background for
the pretty tiled cottages, the mill, and the old stone bridge, which
make up East Row,[1] that the Saxons chose a home for their god Thor.
Here they built some rude form of temple, afterwards, it seems,
converted into a hermitage. This was how the spot obtained the name
Thordisa, a name it retained down to 1620, when the requirements of
workmen from the newly-started alum-works at Sandsend led to building
operations by the side of the stream. The cottages which arose became
known afterwards as East Row.

[Footnote 1: Since this was written one or two new houses have been
allowed to mar the simplicity of the valley.--G.H.]

Go where you will in Yorkshire, you will find no more fascinating
woodland scenery than that of the gorges of Mulgrave. From the broken
walls and towers of the old Norman castle the views over the ravines on
either hand--for the castle stands on a lofty promontory in a sea of
foliage--are entrancing; and after seeing the astoundingly brilliant
colours with which autumn paints these trees, there is a tendency to
find the ordinary woodland commonplace. The narrowest and deepest gorge
is hundreds of feet deep in the shale. East Row Beck drops into this
canon in the form of a water-fall at the upper end, and then almost
disappears among the enormous rocks strewn along its circumscribed
course. The humid, hot-house atmosphere down here encourages the growth
of many of the rarer mosses, which entirely cover all but the
newly-fallen rocks.

We can leave the woods by a path leading near Lord Normanby's modern
castle, and come out on to the road close to Lythe Church, where a
great view of sea and land is spread out towards the south. The long
curving line of white marks the limits of the tide as far as the
entrance to Whitby Harbour. The abbey stands out in its loneliness as
of yore, and beyond it are the black-looking, precipitous cliffs ending
at Saltwick Nab. Lythe Church, standing in its wind-swept graveyard
full of blackened tombstones, need not keep us, for, although its
much-modernized exterior is simple and ancient-looking, the interior is
devoid of any interest.

The walk along the rocky shore to Kettleness is dangerous unless the
tide is carefully watched, and the road inland through Lythe village is
not particularly interesting, so that one is tempted to use the
railway, which cuts right through the intervening high ground by means
of two tunnels. The first one is a mile long, and somewhere near the
centre has a passage out to the cliffs, so that even if both ends of
the tunnel collapsed there would be a way of escape. But this is small
comfort when travelling from Kettleness, for the down gradient towards
Sandsend is very steep, and in the darkness of the tunnel the train
gets up a tremendous speed, bursting into the open just where a
precipitous drop into the sea could be most easily accomplished.

The station at Kettleness is on the top of the huge cliffs, and to
reach the shore one must climb down a zigzag path. It is a broad and
solid pathway until half-way down, where it assumes the character of a
goat-track, being a mere treading down of the loose shale of which the
enormous cliff is formed. The sliding down of the crumbling rock
constantly carries away the path, but a little spade-work soon makes
the track firm again. This portion of the cliff has something of a
history, for one night in 1829 the inhabitants of many of the cottages
originally forming the village of Kettleness were warned of impending
danger by subterranean noises. Fearing a subsidence of the cliff, they
betook themselves to a small schooner lying in the bay. This wise move
had not long been accomplished, when a huge section of the ground
occupied by the cottages slid down the great cliff and the next morning
there was little to be seen but a sloping mound of lias shale at the
foot of the precipice. The villagers recovered some of their property
by digging, and some pieces of broken crockery from one of the cottages
are still to be seen on the shore near the ferryman's hut, where the
path joins the shore.

This sandy beach, lapped by the blue waves of Runswick Bay, is one of
the finest and most spectacular spots to be found on the rocky
coast-line of Yorkshire. You look northwards across the sunlit sea to
the rocky heights hiding Port Mulgrave and Staithes, and on the further
side of the bay you see tiny Runswick's red roofs, one above the other,
on the face of the cliff. Here it is always cool and pleasant in the
hottest weather, and from the broad shadows cast by the precipices
above one can revel in the sunny land- and sea-scapes without that fishy
odour so unavoidable in the villages. When the sun is beginning to
climb down the sky in the direction of Hinderwell, and everything is
bathed in a glorious golden light, the ferryman will row you across the
bay to Runswick, but a scramble over the rocks on the beach will be
repaid by a closer view of the now half-filled-up Hob Hole. The
fisherfolk believed this cave to be the home of a kindly-disposed fairy
or hob, who seems to have been one of the slow-dying inhabitants of the
world of mythology implicitly believed in by the Saxons. And these
beliefs died so hard in these lonely Yorkshire villages that until
recent times a mother would carry her child suffering from
whooping-cough along the beach to the mouth of the cave. There she would
call in a loud voice, 'Hob-hole Hob! my bairn's getten t'kink cough.
Tak't off, tak't off.'

The same form of disaster which destroyed Kettleness village caused the
complete ruin of Runswick in 1666, for one night, when some of the
fisherfolk were holding a wake over a corpse, they had unmistakable
warnings of an approaching landslip. The alarm was given, and the
villagers, hurriedly leaving their cottages, saw the whole place slide
downwards, and become a mass of ruins. No lives were lost, but, as only
one house remained standing, the poor fishermen were only saved from
destitution by the sums of money collected for their relief.

Scarcely two miles from Hinderwell is the fishing-hamlet of Staithes,
wedged into the side of a deep and exceedingly picturesque beck.

The steep road leading past the station drops down into the village,
giving a glimpse of the beck crossed by its ramshackle wooden
foot-bridge--the view one has been prepared for by guide-books and
picture postcards. Lower down you enter the village street. Here the
smell of fish comes out to greet you, and one would forgive the place
this overflowing welcome if one were not so shocked at the dismal
aspect of the houses on either side of the way. Many are of
comparatively recent origin, others are quite new, and a few--a very
few--are old; but none have any architectural pretensions or any claims
to picturesqueness, and only a few have the neat and respectable look
one is accustomed to expect after seeing Robin Hood's Bay.

I hurried down on to the little fish-wharf--a wooden structure facing
the sea--hoping to find something more cheering in the view of the
little bay, with its bold cliffs, and the busy scene where the cobbles
were drawn up on the shingle. Here my spirits revived, and I began to
find excuses for the painters. The little wharf, in a bad state of
repair, like most things in the place, was occupied by groups of
stalwart fisherfolk, men and women.

The men were for the most part watching their womenfolk at work. They
were also to an astonishing extent mere spectators in the arduous work
of hauling the cobbles one by one on to the steep bank of shingle. A
tackle hooked to one of the baulks of timber forming the staith was
being hauled at by five women and two men! Two others were in a
listless fashion leaning their shoulders against the boat itself. With
the last 'Heave-ho!' at the shortened tackle the women laid hold of the
nets, and with casual male assistance laid them out on the shingle,
removed any fragments of fish, and generally prepared them for stowing
in the boat again.

A change has come over the inhabitants of Staithes since 1846, when Mr.
Ord describes the fishermen as 'exceedingly civil and courteous to
strangers, and altogether free from that low, grasping knavery peculiar
to the larger class of fishing-towns.' Without wishing to be
unreasonably hard on Staithes, I am inclined to believe that this
character is infinitely better than these folk deserve, and even when
Mr. Ord wrote of the place I have reason to doubt the civility shown by
them to strangers. It is, according to some who have known Staithes for
a long long while, less than fifty years ago that the fisherfolk were
hostile to a stranger on very small provocation, and only the entirely
inoffensive could expect to sojourn in the village without being a
target for stones.

No doubt many of the superstitions of Staithes people have languished
or died out in recent years, and among these may be included a
particularly primitive custom when the catches of fish had been
unusually small. Bad luck of this sort could only be the work of some
evil influence, and to break the spell a sheep's heart had to be
procured, into which many pins were stuck. The heart was then burnt in
a bonfire on the beach, in the presence of the fishermen, who danced
round the flames.

In happy contrast to these heathenish practices was the resolution
entered into and signed by the fishermen of Staithes, in August, 1835,
binding themselves 'on no account whatever' to follow their calling on
Sundays, 'nor to go out without boats or cobbles to sea, either on the
Saturday or Sunday evenings.' They also agreed to forfeit ten shillings
for every offence against the resolution, and the fund accumulated in
this way, and by other means, was administered for the benefit of aged
couples and widows and orphans.

The men of Staithes are known up and down the east coast of Great
Britain as some of the very finest types of fishermen. Their cobbles,
which vary in size and colour, are uniform in design and the brilliance
of their paint. Brick red, emerald green, pungent blue and white, are
the most favoured colours, but orange, pink, yellow, and many others,
are to be seen.

Looking northwards there is a grand piece of coast scenery. The masses
of Boulby Cliffs, rising 660 feet from the sea, are the highest on the
Yorkshire coast. The waves break all round the rocky scaur, and fill
the air with their thunder, while the strong wind blows the spray into
beards which stream backwards from the incoming crests.

The upper course of Staithes Beck consists of two streams, flowing
through deep, richly-wooded ravines. They follow parallel courses very
close to one another for three or four miles, but their sources extend
from Lealholm Moor to Wapley Moor. Kilton Beck runs through another
lovely valley densely clothed in trees, and full of the richest
woodland scenery. It becomes more open in the neighbourhood of Loftus,
and from thence to the sea at Skinningrove the valley is green and open
to the heavens. Loftus is on the borders of the Cleveland mining
district, and it is for this reason that the town has grown to a
considerable size. But although the miners' new cottages are
unpicturesque, and the church only dates from 1811, the situation is
pretty, owing to the profusion of trees among the houses, has
railway-sidings and branch-lines running down to it, and on the hill
above the cottages stands a cluster of blast-furnaces. In daylight they
are merely ugly, but at night, with tongues of flame, they speak of the
potency of labour. I can still see that strange silhouette of steel
cylinders and connecting girders against a blue-black sky, with silent
masses of flame leaping into the heavens.

It was long before iron-ore was smelted here, before even the old
alum-works had been started, that Skinningrove attained to some sort of
fame through a wonderful visit, as strange as any of those recounted by
Mr. Wells. It was in the year 1535--for the event is most carefully
recorded in a manuscript of the period--that some fishermen of
Skinningrove caught a Sea Man. This was such an astounding fact to
record that the writer of the old manuscript explains that 'old men
that would be loath to have their credyt crackt by a tale of a stale
date, report confidently that ... a _sea-man_ was taken by the
fishers.' They took him up to an old disused house, and kept him there
for many weeks, feeding him on raw fish, because he persistently
refused the other sorts of food offered him. To the people who flocked
from far and near to visit him he was very courteous, and he seems to
have been particularly pleased with any 'fayre maydes' who visited him,
for he would gaze at them with a very earnest countenance, 'as if his
phlegmaticke breaste had been touched with a sparke of love.'

The lofty coast-line we have followed all the way from Sandsend
terminates abruptly at Huntcliff Nab, the great promontory which is
familiar to visitors to Saltburn. Low alluvial cliffs take the place of
the rocky precipices, and the coast becomes flatter and flatter as you
approach Redcar and the marshy country at the mouth of the Tees. The
original Saltburn, consisting of a row of quaint fishermen's cottages,
still stands entirely alone, facing the sea on the Huntcliff side of
the beck, and from the wide, smooth sands there is little of modern
Saltburn to be seen besides the pier. For the rectangular streets and
blocks of houses have been wisely placed some distance from the edge of
the grassy cliffs, leaving the sea-front quite unspoiled.

The elaborately-laid-out gardens on the steep banks of Skelton Beck are
the pride and joy of Saltburn, for they offer a pleasant contrast to
the bare slopes on the Huntcliff side and the flat country towards
Kirkleatham. But in this seemingly harmless retreat there used to be
heard horrible groanings, and I have no evidence to satisfy me that
they have altogether ceased. For in this matter-of-fact age such a
story would not be listened to, and thus those who hear the sounds may
be afraid to speak of them. The groanings were heard, they say, 'when
all wyndes are whiste and the rea restes unmoved as a standing poole.'
At times they were so loud as to be heard at least six miles inland,
and the fishermen feared to put out to sea, believing that the ocean
was 'as a greedy Beaste raginge for Hunger, desyers to be satisfyed
with men's carcases.'

In 1842 Redcar was a mere village, though more apparent on the map than
Saltburn; but, like its neighbour, it has grown into a great
watering-place, having developed two piers, a long esplanade, and other
features, which I am glad to leave to those for whom they were made,
and betake myself to the more romantic spots so plentiful in this broad
county.




CHAPTER IV

THE COAST FROM WHITBY TO SCARBOROUGH


Although it is only six miles as the crow flies from Whitby to Robin
Hood's Bay, the exertion required to walk there along the top of the
cliffs is equal to quite double that distance, for there are so many
gullies to be climbed into and crawled out of that the measured
distance is considerably increased. It is well to remember this, for
otherwise the scenery of the last mile or two may not seem as fine as
the first stages.

As soon as the abbey and the jet-sellers are left behind, you pass a
farm, and come out on a great expanse of close-growing smooth turf,
where the whole world seems to be made up of grass and sky. The
footpath goes close to the edge of the cliff; in some places it has
gone too close, and has disappeared altogether. But these diversions
can be avoided without spoiling the magnificent glimpses of the
rock-strewn beach nearly 200 feet below. From above Saltwick Bay there
is a grand view across the level grass to Whitby Abbey, standing out
alone on the green horizon. Down below, Nab runs out a bare black arm
into the sea, which even in the calmest weather angrily foams along the
windward side. Beyond the sturdy lighthouse that shows itself a
dazzling white against the hot blue of the heavens commence the
innumerable gullies. Each one has its trickling stream, and bushes and
low trees grow to the limits of the shelter afforded by the ravines;
but in the open there is nothing higher than the waving corn or the
stone walls dividing the pastures--a silent testimony to the power of
the north-east wind.

After rounding the North Cheek, the whole of Robin Hood's Bay is
suddenly laid before you. I well remember my first view of the wide
sweep of sea, which lay like a blue carpet edged with white, and the
high escarpments of rock that were in deep purple shade, except where
the afternoon sun turned them into the brightest greens and umbers.
Three miles away, but seemingly very much closer, was the bold headland
of the Peak, and more inland was Stoupe Brow, with Robin Hood's Butts
on the hill-top. The fable connected with the outlaw is scarcely worth
repeating, but on the site of these butts urns have been dug up, and
are now to be found in Scarborough Museum. The Bay Town is hidden away
in a most astonishing fashion, for, until you have almost reached the
two bastions which guard the way up from the beach, there is nothing to
be seen of the charming old place. If you approach by the road past the
railway station it is the same, for only garishly new hotels and villas
are to be seen on the high ground, and not a vestige of the
fishing-town can be discovered. But the road to the bay at last begins
to drop down very steeply, and the first old roofs appear. The oath at
the side of the road develops into a very lone series of steps, and in
a few minutes the narrow street flanked by very tall houses, has
swallowed you up.

Everything is very clean and orderly, and, although most of the houses
are very old, they are generally in a good state of repair, exhibiting
in every case the seaman's love of fresh paint. Thus, the dark and worn
stone walls have bright eyes in their newly-painted doors and windows.
Over their door-steps the fishermen's wives are quite fastidious, and
you seldom see a mark on the ochre-coloured hearth-stone with which the
women love to brighten the worn stones. Even the scrapers are sleek
with blacklead, and it is not easy to find a window without spotless
curtains. At high tide the sea comes half-way up the steep opening
between the coastguards' quarters and the inn which is built on another
bastion, and in rough weather the waves break hungrily on to the strong
stone walls, for the bay is entirely open to the full force of gales
from the east or north-east. All the way from Scarborough to Whitby the
coast offers no shelter of any sort in heavy weather, and many vessels
have been lost on the rocks. On one occasion a small sailing-ship was
driven right into this bay at high tide, and the bowsprit smashed into
a window of the little hotel that occupied the place of the present
one.

The railway southwards takes a curve inland, and, after winding in and
out to make the best of the contour of the hills, the train finally
steams very heavily and slowly into Ravenscar Station, right over the
Peak and 630 feet above the sea. On the way you get glimpses of the
moors inland, and grand views over the curving bay. There is a station
named Fyling Hall, after Sir Hugh Cholmley's old house, half-way to
Ravenscar.

Raven Hall, the large house conspicuously perched on the heights above
the Peak, is now converted into an hotel. There is a wonderful view
from the castellated terraces, which in the distance suggest the
remains of some ruined fortress. At the present time there is nothing
to be seen older than the house whose foundations were dug in 1774.
While the building operations were in progress, however, a Roman
inscribed stone, now in Whitby Museum, was unearthed. It states that
the 'Castrum' was built by two prefects whose names are given. This was
one of the fortified signal stations built in the 4th century A.D. to
give warning of the approach of hostile ships.

Following this lofty coast southwards, you reach Hayburn Wyke, where a
stream drops perpendicularly over some square masses of rock.

There is a small stone circle not far from Hayburn Wyke Station, to be
found without much trouble, and those who are interested in Early Man
will scarcely find a neighbourhood in this country more thickly
honey-combed with tumuli and ancient earth-works. There is no
particularly plain pathway through the fields to the valley where this
stone circle can be seen, but it can easily be found after a careful
study of the large-scale Ordnance Map which they will show you at the
hotel.




CHAPTER V

SCARBOROUGH


Dazzling sunshine, a furious wind, flapping and screaming gulls, crowds
of fishing-boats, and innumerable people jostling one another on the
sea-front, made up the chief features of my first view of Scarborough.
By degrees I discovered that behind the gulls and the brown sails were
old houses, their roofs dimly red through the transparent haze, and
above them appeared a great green cliff, with its uneven outline
defined by the curtain walls and towers of the castle which had made
Scarborough a place of importance in the Civil War and in earlier
times.

The wide-curving bay was filled with huge breaking waves which looked
capable of destroying everything within their reach, but they seemed
harmless enough when I looked a little further out, where eight or ten
grey war-ships were riding at their anchors, apparently motionless.

From the outer arm of the harbour, where the seas were angrily
attempting to dislodge the top row of stones, I could make out the
great mass of grey buildings stretching right to the extremity of the
bay.

I tried to pick out individual buildings from this city-like
watering-place, but, beyond discovering the position of the Spa and one
or two of the mightier hotels, I could see very little, and instead
fell to wondering how many landladies and how many foreign waiters the
long lines of grey roofs represented. This raised so many unpleasant
recollections of the various types I had encountered that I determined
to go no nearer to modern Scarborough than the pier-head upon which I
stood. A specially big wave, however, soon drove me from this position
to a drier if more crowded spot, and, reconsidering my objections, I
determined to see something of the innumerable grey streets which make
up the fashionable watering-place. The terraced gardens on the steep
cliffs along the sea-front were most elaborately well kept, but a more
striking feature of Scarborough is the magnificence of so many of the
shops. They suggest a city rather than a seaside town, and give you an
idea of the magnitude of the permanent population of the place as well
as the flood of summer and winter visitors. The origin of Scarborough's
popularity was undoubtedly due to the chalybeate waters of the Spa,
discovered in 1620, almost at the same time as those of Tunbridge Wells
and Epsom.

The unmistakable signs of antiquity in the narrow streets adjoining the
harbour irresistibly remind one of the days when sea-bathing had still
to be popularized, when the efficacy of Scarborough's medicinal spring
had not been discovered, of the days when the place bore as little
resemblance to its present size or appearance as the fishing-town at
Robin Hood's Bay.

We do not know that Piers Gaveston, Sir Hugh Cholmley, and other
notabilities who have left their mark on the pages of Scarborough's
history, might not, were they with us to-day, welcome the pierrot, the
switchback, the restaurant, and other means by which pleasure-loving
visitors wile away their hardly-earned holidays; but for my part the
story of Scarborough's Mayor who was tossed in a blanket is far more
entertaining than the songs of nigger minstrels or any of the
commercial attempts to amuse.

This strangely improper procedure with one who held the highest office
in the municipality took place in the reign of James II., and the
King's leanings towards Popery were the cause of all the trouble.

On April 27, 1688, a declaration for liberty of conscience was
published, and by royal command the said declaration was to be read in
every Protestant church in the land. Mr. Thomas Aislabie, the Mayor of
Scarborough, duly received a copy of the document, and, having handed
it to the clergyman, Mr. Noel Boteler, ordered him to read it in church
on the following Sunday morning. There seems little doubt that the
worthy Mr. Boteler at once recognized a wily move on the part of the
King, who under the cover of general tolerance would foster the growth
of the Roman religion until such time as the Catholics had attained
sufficient power to suppress Protestantism. Mr. Mayor was therefore
informed that the declaration would not be read. On Sunday morning
(August 11) when the omission had been made, the Mayor left his pew,
and, stick in hand, walked up the aisle, seized the minister, and caned
him as he stood at his reading-desk. Scenes of such a nature did not
occur every day even in 1688, and the storm of indignation and
excitement among the members of the congregation did not subside so
quickly as it had risen.

The cause of the poor minister was championed in particular by a
certain Captain Ouseley, and the discussion of the matter on the
bowling-green on the following day led to the suggestion that the Mayor
should be sent for to explain his conduct. As he took no notice of a
courteous message requesting his attendance, the Captain repeated the
summons accompanied by a file of musketeers. In the meantime many
suggestions for dealing with Mr. Aislabie in a fitting manner were
doubtless made by the Captain's brother officers, and, further, some
settled course of action seems to have been agreed upon, for we do not
hear of any hesitation on the part of the Captain on the arrival of the
Mayor, whose rage must by this time have been bordering upon apoplexy.
A strong blanket was ready, and Captains Carvil, Fitzherbert, Hanmer,
and Rodney, led by Captain Ouseley and assisted by as many others as
could find room, seizing the sides, in a very few moments Mr. Mayor was
revolving and bumping, rising and falling, as though he were no weight
at all.

If the castle does not show many interesting buildings beyond the keep
and the long line of walls and drumtowers, there is so much concerning
it that is of great human interest that I should scarcely feel able to
grumble if there were still fewer remains. Behind the ancient houses in
Quay Street rises the steep, grassy cliff, up which one must climb by
various rough pathways to the fortified summit. On the side facing the
mainland, a hollow, known as the Dyke, is bridged by a tall and narrow
archway, in place of the drawbridge of the seventeenth century and
earlier times. On the same side is a massive barbican, looking across
an open space to St. Mary's Church, which suffered so severely during
the sieges of the castle. The maimed church--for the chancel has never
been rebuilt--is close to the Dyke and the shattered keep, and so
apparent are the results of the cannonading between them that no one
requires to be told that the Parliamentary forces mounted their
ordnance in the chancel and tower of the church, and it is equally
obvious that the Royalists returned the fire hotly.

The great siege lasted for nearly a year, and although his garrison was
small, and there was practically no hope of relief, Sir Hugh Cholmley
seems to have kept a stout heart up to the end. With him throughout
this long period of privation and suffering was his beautiful and
courageous wife, whose comparatively early death, at the age of
fifty-four, must to some extent be attributed to the strain and fatigue
borne during these months of warfare. Sir Hugh seems to have almost
worshipped his wife, for in his memoirs he is never weary of describing
her perfections.

'She was of the middle stature of women,' he writes, 'and well shaped,
yet in that not so singular as in the beauty of her face, which was but
of a little model, and yet proportionable to her body; her eyes black
and full of loveliness and sweetness, her eyebrows small and even, as
if drawn with a pencil, a very little, pretty, well-shaped mouth, which
sometimes (especially when in a muse or study) she would draw up into
an incredible little compass; her hair a sad chestnut; her complexion
brown, but clear, with a fresh colour in her cheeks, a loveliness in
her looks inexpressible; and by her whole composure was so beautiful a
sweet creature at her marriage as not many did parallel, few exceed
her, in the nation; yet the inward endowments and perfections of her
mind did exceed those outward of her body, being a most pious virtuous
person, of great integrity and discerning judgment in most things.'

On one occasion during the siege Sir John Meldrum, the Parliamentary
commander, sent proposals to Sir Hugh Cholmley, which he accompanied
with savage threats, that if his terms were not immediately accepted he
would make a general assault on the castle that night, and in the event
of one drop of his men's blood being shed he would give orders for a
general massacre of the garrison, sparing neither man nor woman.

To a man whose devotion to his beautiful wife was so great, a threat of
this nature must have been a severe shock to his determination to hold
out. But from his own writings we are able to picture for ourselves Sir
Hugh's anxious and troubled face lighting up on the approach of the
cause of his chief concern. Lady Cholmley, without any sign of the
inward misgivings or dejection which, with her gentle and shrinking
nature, must have been a great struggle, came to her husband, and
implored him to on no account let her peril influence his decision to
the detriment of his own honour or the King's affairs.

Sir John Meldrum's proposals having been rejected, the garrison
prepared itself for the furious attack commenced on May 11.

The assault was well planned, for while the Governor's attention was
turned towards the gateway leading to the castle entrance, another
attack was made at the southern end of the wall towards the sea, where
until the year 1730 Charles's Tower stood. The bloodshed at this point
was greater than at the gateway. At the head of a chosen division of
troops, Sir John Meldrum climbed the almost precipitous ascent with
wonderful courage, only to meet with such spirited resistance on the
part of the besieged that, when the attack was abandoned, it was
discovered that Meldrum had received a dangerous wound penetrating to
his thigh, and that several of his officers and men had been killed.
Meanwhile, at the gateway, the first success of the assailants had been
checked at the foot of the Grand Tower or Keep, for at that point the
rush of drab-coated and helmeted men was received by such a shower of
stones and missiles that many stumbled and were crushed on the steep
pathway. Not even Cromwell's men could continue to face such a
reception, and before very long the Governor could embrace his wife in
the knowledge that the great attack had failed.

At last, on July 22, 1645--his forty-fifth birthday--Sir Hugh was
forced to come to an agreement with the enemy, by which he honourably
surrendered the castle three days later. It was a sad procession that
wound its way down the steep pathway, littered with the debris of
broken masonry: for many of Sir Hugh's officers and soldiers were in
such a weak condition that they had to be carried out in sheets or
helped along between two men, and the Parliamentary officer adds rather
tersely, that 'the rest were not very fit to march.' The scurvy had
depleted the ranks of the defenders to such an extent that the women in
the castle, despite the presence of Lady Cholmley, threatened to stone
the Governor unless he capitulated.

Three years later the castle was again besieged by the Parliamentary
forces, for Colonel Matthew Boynton, the Governor, had declared for the
King. The garrison held out from August to December, when terms were
made with Colonel Hugh Bethell, by which the Governor, officers,
gentlemen, and soldiers, marched out with 'their colours flying, drums
beating, musquets loaden, bandeleers filled, matches lighted, and
bullet in mouth, to a close called Scarborough Common,' where they laid
down their arms.

Before I leave Scarborough I must go back to early times, in order that
the antiquity of the place may not be slighted owing to the omission of
any reference to the town in the Domesday Book. Tosti, Count of
Northumberland, who, as everyone knows, was brother of the Harold who
fought at Senlac Hill, had brought about an insurrection of the
Northumbrians, and having been dispossessed by his brother, he revenged
himself by inviting the help of Haralld Hadrada, King of Norway. The
Norseman promptly accepted the offer, and, taking with him his family
and an army of warriors, sailed for the Shetlands, where Tosti joined
him. The united forces then came down the east coast of Britain until
they reached Scardaburgum, where they landed and prepared to fight the
inhabitants. The town was then built entirely of timber, and there was,
apparently, no castle of any description on the great hill, for the
Norsemen, finding their opponents inclined to offer a stout resistance,
tried other tactics. They gained possession of the hill, constructed a
huge fire, and when the wood was burning fiercely, flung the blazing
brands down on to the wooden houses below. The fire spread from one hut
to another with sufficient speed to drive out the defenders, who in the
confusion which followed were slaughtered by the enemy.

This occurred in the momentous year 1066, when Harold, having defeated
the Norsemen and slain Haralld Hadrada at Stamford Bridge, had to hurry
southwards to meet William the Norman at Hastings. It is not
surprising, therefore, that the compilers of the Conqueror's survey
should have failed to record the existence of the blackened embers of
what had once been a town. But such a site as the castle hill could not
long remain idle in the stormy days of the Norman Kings, and William le
Gros, Earl of Albemarle and Lord of Holderness, recognising the natural
defensibility of the rock, built the massive walls which have withstood
so many assaults, and even now form the most prominent feature of
Scarborough.

Until 1923 there was no knowledge of there having been any Roman
occupation of the promontory upon which the castle stands. Excavations
made in that year have shown that a massively-built watch tower was
maintained there during the last phase of Roman control in Britain.
This was one of a chain of signal or lookout stations placed along the
Yorkshire coast when the threat of raiders from the mouths of the
German rivers had become serious.




CHAPTER VI

WHITBY


  Behold the glorious summer sea
    As night's dark wings unfold,
  And o'er the waters, 'neath the stars,
    The harbour lights behold.

_E. Teschemacher_.

Despite a huge influx of summer visitors, and despite the modern town
which has grown up to receive them, Whitby is still one of the most
strikingly picturesque towns in England. But at the same time, if one
excepts the abbey, the church, and the market-house, there are scarcely
any architectural attractions in the town. The charm of the place does
not lie so much in detail as in broad effects. The narrow streets have
no surprises in the way of carved-oak brackets or curious panelled
doorways, although narrow passages and steep flights of stone steps
abound. On the other hand, the old parts of the town, when seen from a
distance, are always presenting themselves in new apparel.

In the early morning the East Cliff generally appears as a pale grey
silhouette with a square projection representing the church, and a
fretted one the abbey.

But as the sun climbs upwards, colour and definition grow out of the
haze of smoke and shadows, and the roofs assume their ruddy tones. At
midday, when the sunlight pours down upon the medley of houses
clustered along the face of the cliff, the scene is brilliantly
coloured. The predominant note is the red of the chimneys and roofs and
stray patches of brickwork, but the walls that go down to the water's
edge are green below and full of rich browns above, and in many places
the sides of the cottages are coloured with an ochre wash, while above
them all the top of the cliff appears covered with grass. There is
scarcely a chimney in this old part of Whitby that does not contribute
to the mist of blue-grey smoke that slowly drifts up the face of the
cliff, and thus, when there is no bright sunshine, colour and details
are subdued in the haze.

In many towns whose antiquity and picturesqueness are more popular than
the attractions of Whitby, the railway deposits one in some
distressingly ugly modern excrescence, from which it may even be
necessary for a stranger to ask his way to the old-world features he
has come to see. But at Whitby the railway, without doing any harm to
the appearance of the town, at once gives a visitor as typical a scene
of fishing-life as he will ever find. When the tide is up and the
wharves are crowded with boats, this upper portion of Whitby Harbour is
at its best, and to step from the railway compartment entered at King's
Cross into this picturesque scene is an experience to be remembered.

In the deepening twilight of a clear evening the harbour gathers to
itself the additional charm of mysterious indefiniteness, and among the
long-drawn-out reflections appear sinuous lines of yellow light beneath
the lamps by the bridge. Looking towards the ocean from the outer
harbour, one sees the massive arms which Whitby has thrust into the
waves, holding aloft the steady lights that

  'Safely guide the mighty ships
     Into the harbour bay.'

If we keep to the waterside, modern Whitby has no terrors for us. It is
out of sight, and might therefore have never existed. But when we have
crossed the bridge, and passed along the narrow thoroughfare known as
Church Street to the steps leading up the face of the cliff, we must
prepare ourselves for a new aspect of the town. There, upon the top of
the West Cliff, stand rows of sad-looking and dun-coloured
lodging-houses, relieved by the aggressive bulk of a huge hotel, with
corner turrets, that frowns savagely at the unfinished crescent, where
there are many apartments with 'rooms facing the sea.'

Turning landwards we look over the chimney stacks of the topmost
houses, and see the silver Esk winding placidly in the deep channel it
has carved for itself; and further away we see the far off moorland
heights, brown and blue, where the sources of the broad river down
below are fed by the united efforts of innumerable tiny streams deep in
the heather. Behind us stands the massive-looking parish church, with
its Norman tower, so sturdily built that its height seems scarcely
greater than its breadth. There is surely no other church with such a
ponderous exterior that is so completely deceptive as to its internal
aspect, for St. Mary's contains the most remarkable series of
beehive-like galleries that were ever crammed into a parish church.
They are not merely very wide and ill-arranged, but they are superposed
one abode the other. The free use of white paint all over the sloping
tiers of pews has prevented the interior from being as dark as it would
have otherwise been, but the result of all this painted deal has been
to give the building the most eccentric and indecorous appearance.

The early history of Whitby from the time of the landing of Roman
soldiers in the inlet seems to be very closely associated with the
abbey founded by Hilda about two years after the battle of Winwidfield,
fought on November 15, A.D. 654; but I will not venture to state an
opinion here as to whether there was any town at Streoneshalh before
the building of the abbey, or whether the place that has since become
known as Whitby grew on account of the presence of the abbey. Such
matters as these have been fought out by an expert in the archaeology
of Cleveland--the late Canon Atkinson, who seemed to take infinite
pleasure in demolishing the elaborately constructed theories of those
painstaking historians of the eighteenth century, Dr. Young and Mr.
Lionel Charlton.

Many facts, however, which throw light on the early days of the abbey
are now unassailable. We see that Hilda must have been a most
remarkable woman for her times, instilling into those around her a
passion for learning as well as right-living, for despite the fact that
they worked and prayed in rude wooden buildings, with walls formed,
most probably, of split tree-trunks, after the fashion of the church at
Greenstead in Essex, we find the institution producing, among others,
such men as Bosa and John, both Archbishops of York, and such a poet as
Caedmon. The legend of his inspiration, however, may be placed beside
the story of how the saintly Abbess turned the snakes into the fossil
ammonites with which the liassic shores of Whitby are strewn. Hilda,
who probably died in the year 680, was succeeded by Aelfleda, the
daughter of King Oswiu of Northumbria, whom she had trained in the
abbey, and there seems little doubt that her pupil carried on
successfully the beneficent work of the foundress.

Aelfleda had the support of her mother's presence as well as the wise
counsels of Bishop Trumwine, who had taken refuge at Streoneshalh,
after having been driven from his own sphere of work by the
depredations of the Picts and Scots. We then learn that Aelfleda died
at the age of fifty-nine, but from that year--probably 713--a complete
silence falls upon the work of the abbey; for if any records were made
during the next century and a half, they have been totally lost. About
the year 867 the Danes reached this part of Yorkshire, and we know that
they laid waste the abbey, and most probably the town also; but the
invaders gradually started new settlements, or 'bys,' and Whitby must
certainly have grown into a place of some size by the time of Edward
the Confessor, for just previous to the Norman invasion it was assessed
for Danegeld to the extent of a sum equivalent to L3,500 at the present
time.

After the Conquest a monk named Reinfrid succeeded in reviving a
monastery on the site of the old one, having probably gained the
permission of William de Percy, the lord of the district. The new
establishment, however, was for monks only, and was for some time
merely a priory.

The form of the successive buildings from the time of Hilda until the
building of the stately abbey church, whose ruins are now to be seen,
is a subject of great interest, but, unfortunately, there are few facts
to go upon. The very first church was, as I have already suggested, a
building of rude construction, scarcely better than the humble
dwellings of the monks and nuns. The timber walls were most probably
thatched, and the windows would be of small lattice or boards pierced
with small holes. Gradually the improvements brought about would have
led to the use of stone for the walls, and the buildings destroyed by
the Danes may have resembled such examples of Anglo-Saxon work as may
still be seen in the churches of Bradford-on-Avon and Monkwearmouth.

The buildings erected by Reinfrid under the Norman influence then
prevailing in England must have been a slight advance upon the
destroyed fabric, and we know that during the time of his successor,
Serlo de Percy, there was a certain Godfrey in charge of the building
operations, and there is every reason to believe that he completed the
church during the fifty years of prosperity the monastery passed
through at that time. But this was not the structure which survived,
for towards the end of Stephen's reign, or during that of Henry II.,
the unfortunate convent was devastated by the King of Norway, who
entered the harbour, and, in the words of the chronicle, 'laid waste
everything, both within doors and without.' The abbey slowly recovered
from this disaster, and the reconstruction commenced in 1220, still
makes a conspicuous landmark from the sea. It was after the Dissolution
that the abbey buildings came into the hands of Sir Richard Cholmley,
who paid over to Henry VIII. the sum of L333 8s. 4d. The manors of
Eskdaleside and Ugglebarnby, with all 'their rights, members and
appurtenances as they formerly had belonged to the abbey of Whiby,'
henceforward belonged to Sir Richard and his successors.

Sir Hugh Cholmley, whose defence of Scarborough Castle has made him a
name in history, was born on July 22, 1600, at Roxby, near Pickering.
He has been justly called 'the father of Whitby,' and it is to him we
owe a fascinating account of his life at Whitby in Stuart and Jacobean
times. He describes how he lived for some time in the gate-house of the
abbey buildings, 'till my house was repaired and habitable, which then
was very ruinous and all unhandsome, the wall being only of timber and
plaster, and ill-contrived within: and besides the repairs, or rather
re-edifying the house, I built the stable and barn, I heightened the
outwalls of the court double to what they were, and made all the wall
round about the paddock; so that the place hath been improved very
much, both for beauty and profit, by me more than all my ancestors, for
there was not a tree about the house but was set in my time, and almost
by my own hand.'

In the spring of 1636 the reconstruction of the abbey house was
finished, and Sir Hugh moved in with his family. 'My dear wife,' he
says '(who was excellent at dressing and making all handsome within
doors), had put it into a fine posture, and furnished with many good
things, so that, I believe, there were few gentlemen in the country, of
my rank, exceeded it.... I was at this time made Deputy-lieutenant and
Colonel over the Train-bands within the hundred of Whitby Strand,
Ruedale, Pickering, Lythe and Scarborough town; for that, my father
being dead, the country looked upon me as the chief of my family.'

'I had between thirty and forty in my ordinary family, a chaplain who
said prayers every morning at six, and again before dinner and supper,
a porter who merely attended the gates, which were ever shut up before
dinner, when the bell rung to prayers, and not opened till one o'clock,
except for some strangers who came to dinner, which was ever fit to
receive three or four besides my family, without any trouble; and
whatever their fare was, they were sure to have a hearty welcome. As a
definite result of his efforts, 'all that part of the pier to the west
end of the harbour' was erected, and yet he complains that, though it
was the means of preserving a large section of the town from the sea,
the townsfolk would not interest themselves in the repairs necessitated
by force of the waves. 'I wish, with all my heart,' he exclaims, 'the
next generation may have more public spirit.'




CHAPTER VII

THE CLEVELAND HILLS


On their northern and western flanks the Cleveland Hills have a most
imposing and mountainous aspect, although their greatest altitudes do
not aspire to more than about 1,500 feet. But they rise so suddenly to
their full height out of the flat sea of green country that they often
appear as a coast defended by a bold range of mountains. Roseberry
Topping stands out in grim isolation, on its masses of alum rock, like
a huge sea-worn crag, considerably over 1,000 feet high. But this
strangely menacing peak raises his defiant head over nothing but broad
meadows, arable land, and woodlands, and his only warfare is with the
lower strata of storm-clouds, which is a convenient thing for the
people who live in these parts; for long ago they used the peak as a
sign of approaching storms, having reduced the warning to the
easily-remembered couplet:

  'When Roseberry Topping wears a cap,
  Let Cleveland then beware of a clap.'

From the fact that you can see this remarkable peak from almost every
point of the compass except south-westwards, it must follow that from
the top of the hill there are views in all those directions. But to see
so much of the country at once comes as a surprise to everyone.
Stretching inland towards the backbone of England, there is spread out
a huge tract of smiling country, covered with a most complex network of
hedges, which gradually melt away into the indefinite blue edge of the
world where the hills of Wensleydale rise from the plain. Looking
across the little town of Guisborough, lying near the shelter of the
hills, to the broad sweep of the North Sea, this piece of Yorkshire
seems so small that one almost expects to see the Cheviots away in the
north. But, beyond the winding Tees and the drifting smoke of the great
manufacturing towns on its banks, one must be content with the county
of Durham, a huge section of which is plainly visible. Turning towards
the brown moorlands, the cultivation is exchanged for ridge beyond
ridge of total desolation--a huge tract of land in this crowded England
where the population for many square miles at a time consists of the
inmates of a lonely farm or two in the circumscribed cultivated areas
of the dales.

Eight or nine hundred years ago these valleys were choked up with
forests. The Early British inhabitants were more inclined to the
hill-tops than the hollows, if the innumerable indications of their
settlements be any guide, and there is every reason for believing that
many of the hollows in the folds of the heathery moorlands were rarely
visited by man. Thus, the suggestion has been made that a few of the
last representatives of now extinct monsters may have survived in these
wild retreats, for how otherwise do we find persistent stories in these
parts of Yorkshire, handed down we cannot tell how many centuries, of
strange creatures described as 'worms'? At Loftus they show you the
spot where a 'grisly worm' had its lair, and in many places there are
traditions of strange long-bodied dragons who were slain by various
valiant men.

On Easby Moor, a few miles to the south of Roseberry Topping, the tall
column to the memory of Captain Cook stands like a lighthouse on this
inland coastline. The lofty position it occupies among these brown and
purply-green heights makes the monument visible over a great tract of
the sailor's native Cleveland. The people who live in Marton, the
village of his birthplace, can see the memorial of their hero's fame,
and the country lads of to-day are constantly reminded of the success
which attended the industry and perseverance of a humble Marton boy.

The cottage where James Cook was born in 1728 has gone, but the field
in which it stood is called Cook's Garth. The shop at Staithes,
generally spoken of as a 'huckster's,' where Cook was apprenticed as a
boy, has also disappeared; but, unfortunately, that unpleasant story of
his having taken a shilling from his master's till, when the
attractions of the sea proved too much for him to resist, persistently
clings to all accounts of his early life. There seems no evidence to
convict him of this theft, but there are equally no facts by which to
clear him. But if we put into the balance his subsequent term of
employment at Whitby, the excellent character he gained when he went to
sea, and Professor J.K. Laughton's statement that he left Staithes
'after some disagreement with his master,' there seems every reason to
believe that the story is untrue.

I have seldom seen a more uninhabited and inhospitable-looking country
than the broad extent of purple hills that stretch away to the
south-west from Great Ayton and Kildale Moors. Walking from Guisborough
to Kildale on a wild and stormy afternoon in October, I was totally
alone for the whole distance when I had left behind me the baker's boy
who was on his way to Hutton with a heavy basket of bread and cakes.
Hutton, which is somewhat of a model village for the retainers attached
to Hutton Hall, stands in a lovely hollow at the edge of the moors. The
steep hills are richly clothed with sombre woods, and the peace and
seclusion reigning there is in marked contrast to the bleak wastes
above. When I climbed the steep road on that autumn afternoon, and,
passing the zone of tall, withered bracken, reached the open moorland,
I seemed to have come out merely to be the plaything of the elements;
for the south-westerly gale, when it chose to do so, blew so fiercely
that it was difficult to make any progress at all. Overhead was a dark
roof composed of heavy masses of cloud, forming long parallel lines of
grey right to the horizon. On each side of the rough, water-worn road
the heather made a low wall, two or three feet high, and stretched
right away to the horizon in every direction. In the lulls, between the
fierce blasts, I could hear the trickle of the water in the rivulets
deep down in the springy cushion of heather. A few nimble sheep would
stare at me from a distance, and then disappear, or some grouse might
hover over a piece of rising ground; but otherwise there were no signs
of living creatures. Nearing Kildale, the road suddenly plunged
downwards to a stream flowing through a green, cultivated valley, with
a lonely farm on the further slope. There was a fir-wood above this,
and as I passed over the hill, among the tall, bare stems, the clouds
parted a little in the west, and let a flood of golden light into the
wood. Instantly the gloom seemed to disappear, and beyond the dark
shoulder of moorland, where the Cook monument appeared against the
glory of the sunset, there seemed to reign an all-pervading peace, the
wood being quite silent, for the wind had dropped.

The rough track through the trees descended hurriedly, and soon gave a
wide view over Kildale. The valley was full of colour from the glowing
west, and the steep hillsides opposite appeared lighter than the indigo
clouds above, now slightly tinged with purple. The little village of
Kildale nestled down below, its church half buried in yellow foliage.

The ruined Danby Castle can still be seen on the slope above the Esk,
but the ancient Bow Bridge at Castleton, which was built at the end of
the twelfth century, was barbarously and needlessly destroyed in 1873.
A picture of the bridge has, fortunately, been preserved in Canon
Atkinson's 'Forty Years in a Moorland Parish.' That book has been so
widely read that it seems scarcely necessary to refer to it here, but
without the help of the Vicar, who knew every inch of his wild parish,
the Danby district must seem much less interesting.




CHAPTER VIII

GUISBOROUGH AND THE SKELTON VALLEY


Although a mere fragment of the Augustinian Priory of Guisborough is
standing to-day, it is sufficiently imposing to convey a powerful
impression of the former size and magnificence of the monastic church.
This fragment is the gracefully buttressed east-end of the choir, which
rises from the level meadow-land to the east of the town. The stonework
is now of a greenish-grey tone, but in the shadows there is generally a
look of blue. Beyond the ruin and through the opening of the great east
window, now bare of tracery, you see the purple moors, with the
ever-formidable Roseberry Topping holding its head above the green
woods and pastures.

The destruction of the priory took place most probably during the reign
of Henry VIII., but there are no recorded facts to give the date of the
spoiling of the stately buildings. The materials were probably sold to
the highest bidder, for in the town of Guisborough there are scattered
many fragments of richly-carved stone, and Ord, one of the historians
of Cleveland, says: 'I have beheld with sorrow, and shame, and
indignation, the richly ornamented columns and carved architraves of
God's temple supporting the thatch of a pig-house.'

The Norman priory church, founded in 1119, by the wealthy Robert de
Brus of Skelton, was, unfortunately, burnt down on May 16, 1289. Walter
of Hemingburgh, a canon of Guisborough, has written a quaintly detailed
account of the origin of the fire. Translated from the monkish Latin,
he says 'On the first day of rogation-week, a devouring flame consumed
our church of Gysburn, with many theological books and nine costly
chalices, as well as vestments and sumptuous images; and because past
events are serviceable as a guide to future inquiries, I have thought
it desirable, in the present little treatise, to give an account of the
catastrophe, that accidents of a similar nature may be avoided through
this calamity allotted to us. On the day above mentioned, which was
very destructive to us, a vile plumber, with his two workmen, burnt our
church whilst soldering up two holes in the old lead with fresh pewter.
For some days he had already, with a wicked disposition, commenced, and
placed his iron crucibles, along with charcoal and fire, on rubbish, or
steps of a great height, upon dry wood with some turf and other
combustibles. About noon (in the cross, in the body of the church,
where he remained at his work until after Mass) he descended before the
procession of the convent, thinking that the fire had been put out by
his workmen. They, however, came down quickly after him, without having
completely extinguished the fire; and the fire among the charcoal
revived, and partly from the heat of the iron, and partly from the
sparks of the charcoal, the fire spread itself to the wood and other
combustibles beneath. After the fire was thus commenced, the lead
melted, and the joists upon the beams ignited; and then the fire
increased prodigiously, and consumed everything.' Hemingburgh concludes
by saying that all that they could get from the culprits was the
exclamation, 'Quid potui ego?' Shortly after this disaster the Prior
and convent wrote to Edward II., excusing themselves from granting a
corrody owing to their great losses through the burning of the
monastery, as well as the destruction of their property by the Scots.
But Guisborough, next to Fountains, was almost the richest
establishment in Yorkshire, and thus in a few years' time there arose
from the Norman foundations a stately church and convent built in the
Early Decorated style.

One of the most interesting relics of the great priory is the
altar-tomb, believed to be that of Robert de Brus of Annandale. The
stone slabs are now built into the walls on each side of the porch of
Guisborough Church. They may have been removed there from the abbey for
safety at the time of the dissolution. Hemingburgh, in his chronicle
for the year 1294, says: 'Robert de Brus the fourth died on the eve of
Good Friday; who disputed with John de Balliol, before the King of
England, about the succession to the kingdom of Scotland. And, as he
ordered when alive, he was buried in the priory of Gysburn with great
honour, beside his own father.' A great number of other famous people
were buried here in accordance with their wills. Guisborough has even
been claimed as the resting place of Robert Bruce, the champion of
Scottish freedom, but there is ample evidence for believing that his
heart was buried at Melrose Abbey and his body in Dunfermline Abbey.

The central portion of the town of Guisborough, by the market-cross and
the two chief inns, is quaint and fairly picturesque, but the long
street as it goes westward deteriorates into rows of new cottages,
inevitable in a mining country.

Mining operations have been carried on around Guisborough since the
time of Queen Elizabeth, for the discovery of alum dates from that
period, and when that industry gradually declined, it was replaced by
the iron mines of today. Mr. Thomas Chaloner of Guisborough, in his
travels on the Continent about the end of the sixteenth century, saw
the Pope's alum works near Rome, and was determined to start the
industry in his native parish of Guisborough, feeling certain that alum
could be worked with profit in his own country. As it was essential to
have one or two men who were thoroughly versed in the processes of the
manufacture, Mr. Chaloner induced some of the Pope's workmen by heavy
bribes to come to England. The risks attending this overt act were
terrible, for the alum works brought in a large revenue to His
Holiness, and the discovery of such a design would have meant capital
punishment to the offender. The workmen were therefore induced to get
into large casks, which were secretly conveyed on board a ship which
was shortly sailing for England.

When the Pope received the intelligence some time afterwards, he
thundered forth against Mr. Chaloner and the workmen the most awful and
comprehensive curse. They were to be cursed most wholly and thoroughly
in every part of their bodies, every saint was to curse them, and from
the thresholds of the holy church of God Almighty they were to be
sequestered, that they might 'be tormented, disposed of, and delivered
over with Dathan and Abiram, and with those who say unto the Lord God,
"Depart from us; we desire not to know thy ways."'

The broad valley stretching from Guisborough to the sea contains the
beautifully wooded park of Skelton Castle. The trees in great masses
cover the gentle slopes on either side of the Skelton Beck, and almost
hide the modern mansion. The buildings include part of the ancient
castle of the Bruces, who were Lords of Skelton for many years.




CHAPTER IX

FROM PICKERING TO RIEVAULX ABBEY


The broad Vale of Pickering, watered by the Derwent, the Rye and their
many tributaries, is a wonderful contrast to the country we have been
exploring. The level pastures, where cattle graze and cornfields
abound, seem to suggest that we are separated from the heather by many
leagues; but we have only to look beyond the hedgerows to see that the
horizon to the north is formed by lofty moors only a few miles distant.

Just where the low meadows are beginning to rise steadily from the vale
stands the town of Pickering, dominated by the lofty stone spire of its
parish church and by the broken towers of the castle. There is a wide
street, bordered by dark stone buildings, that leads steeply from the
river to the church. The houses are as a rule quite featureless, but we
have learnt to expect this in a county where stone is abundant, for
only the extremely old and the palpably new buildings stand out from
the grey austerity of the average Yorkshire town. In rare cases some of
the houses are brightened with white and cream paint on windows and
doors, and if these commendable efforts became less rare, Pickering
would have as cheerful an aspect to the stranger as Helmsley, which we
shall pass on our way to Rievaulx.

Approached by narrow passages between the grey houses and shops, the
church is most imposing, for it is not only a large building, but the
cramped position magnifies its bulk and emphasizes the height of the
Norman tower, surmounted by the tall stone spire added during the
fourteenth century. Going up a wide flight of steps, necessitated by
the slope of the ground, we enter the church through the beautiful
porch, and are at once confronted with the astonishingly perfect
paintings which cover the walls of the nave. The pictures occupy nearly
all the available wall-space between the arches and the top of the
clerestory, and their crude quaintnesses bring the ideas of the first
half of the fifteenth century vividly before us. There is a spirited
representation of St. George in conflict with a terrible dragon, and
close by we see a bearded St. Christopher holding a palm-tree with both
hands, and bearing on his shoulder the infant Christ. Then comes
Herod's feast, with the King labelled _Herodi_. The guests are
shown with their arms on the table in the most curious positions, and
all the royal folk are wearing ermine. The coronation of the Virgin,
the martyrdom of St. Thomas a Becket, and the martyrdom of St. Edmund,
who is perforated with arrows, complete the series on the north side.
Along the south wall the paintings show the story of St. Catherine of
Alexandria and the seven Corporal Acts of Mercy. Further on come scenes
from the life of our Lord.

The simple Norman arcade on the north side of the nave has plain round
columns and semicircular arches, but the south side belongs to later
Norman times, and has ornate columns and capitals. At least one member
of the great Bruce family, who had a house at Pickering called Bruce's
Hall, and whose ascendency at Guisborough has already been mentioned,
was buried here, for the figure of a knight in chain-mail by the
lectern probably represents Sir William Bruce. In the chapel there is a
sumptuous monument bearing the effigies of Sir David and Dame Margery
Roucliffe. The knight wears the collar of SS, and his arms are on his
surcoat.

When John Leland, the 'Royal Antiquary' employed by Henry VIII., came
to Pickering, he described the castle, which was in a more perfect
state than it is to-day. He says: 'In the first Court of it be a 4
Toures, of the which one is caullid Rosamunde's Toure.' Also of the
inner court he writes of '4 Toures, wherof the Kepe is one.' This keep
and Rosamund's Tower, as well as the ruins of some of the others, are
still to be seen on the outer walls, so that from some points of view
the ruins are dignified and picturesque. The area enclosed was large,
and in early times the castle must have been almost impregnable. But
during the Civil War it was much damaged by the soldiers quartered
there, and Sir Hugh Cholmley took lead, wood, and iron from it for the
defence of Scarborough. The wide view from the castle walls shows
better than any description the importance of the position it occupied,
and we feel, as we gaze over the vale or northwards to the moors, that
this was the dominant power over the whole countryside.

Although Lastingham is not on the road to Helmsley, the few additional
miles will scarcely be counted when we are on our way to a church
which, besides being architecturally one of the most interesting in the
county, is perhaps unique in having at one time had a curate whose wife
kept a public-house adjoining the church. Although this will scarcely
be believed, we have a detailed account of the matter in a little book
published in 1806.

The clergyman, whose name was Carter, had to subsist on the slender
salary of L20 a year and a few surplice fees. This would not have
allowed any margin for luxuries in the case of a bachelor; but this
poor man was married, and he had thirteen children. He was a keen
fisherman, and his angling in the moorland streams produced a plentiful
supply of fish--in fact, more than his family could consume. But this,
even though he often exchanged part of his catches with neighbours, was
not sufficient to keep the wolf from the door, and drastic measures had
to be taken. The parish was large, and, as many of the people were
obliged to come 'from ten to fifteen miles' to church, it seemed
possible that some profit might be made by serving refreshments to the
parishioners. Mrs. Carter superintended this department, and it seems
that the meals between the services soon became popular. But the story
of 'a parson-publican' was soon conveyed to the Archdeacon of the
diocese, who at the next visitation endeavoured to find out the truth
of the matter. Mr. Carter explained the circumstances, and showed that,
far from being a source of disorder, his wife's public-house was an
influence for good. 'I take down my violin,' he continued, 'and play
them a few tunes, which gives me an opportunity of seeing that they get
no more liquor than necessary for refreshment; and if the young people
propose a dance, I seldom answer in the negative; nevertheless, when I
announce time for return, they are ever ready to obey my commands.' The
Archdeacon appears to have been a broad-minded man, for he did not
reprimand Mr. Carter at all; and as there seems to have been no mention
of an increased stipend, the parson publican must have continued this
strange anomaly.

The writings of Bede give a special interest to Lastingham, for he
tells us how King Oidilward requested Bishop Cedd to build a monastery
there. The Saxon buildings that appeared at that time have gone, so
that the present church cannot be associated with the seventh century.
No doubt the destruction was the work of the Danes, who plundered the
whole of this part of Yorkshire. The church that exists today is of
Transitional Norman date, and the beautiful little crypt, which has an
apse, nave and aisles, is coeval with the superstructure.

The situation of Lastingham in a deep and picturesque valley surrounded
by moors and overhung by woods is extremely rich.

Further to the west there are a series of beautiful dales watered by
becks whose sources are among the Cleveland Hills. On our way to
Ryedale, the loveliest of these, we pass through Kirby Moorside, a
little town which has gained a place in history as the scene of the
death of the notorious George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, on
April 17, 1687. The house in which he died is on the south side of the
King's Head, and in one of the parish registers there is the entry
under the date of April 19th, 'Gorges viluas, Lord dooke of Bookingam,
etc.' Further down the street stands an inn with a curious porch,
supported by turned wooden pillars, bearing the inscription:

  'Anno: Dom 1632 October xi
      William Wood'

Kirkdale, with its world-renowned cave, to which we have already
referred, lies about two miles to the west. The quaint little Saxon
church there is one of the few bearing evidences of its own date,
ascertained by the discovery in 1771 of a Saxon sun-dial, which had
survived under a layer of plaster, and was also protected by the porch.
A translation of the inscription reads: 'Orm, the son of Gamal, bought
St. Gregory's Minster when it was all broken and fallen, and he caused
it to be made anew from the ground, for Christ and St. Gregory, in the
days of King Edward and in the days of Earl Tosti, and Hawarth wrought
me and Brand the prior (priest or priests).' By this we are plainly
told that a church was built there in the reign of Edward the
Confessor.

A pleasant road leads through Nawton to the beautiful little town of
Helmsley. A bend of the broad, swift-flowing Rye forms one boundary of
the place, and is fed by a gushing brook that finds its way from
Rievaulx Moor, and forms a pretty feature of the main street.

A narrow turning by the market-house shows the torn and dishevelled
fragment of the keep of Helmsley Castle towering above the thatched
roofs in the foreground. The ruin is surrounded by tall elms, and from
this point of view, when backed by a cloudy sunset makes a wonderful
picture. Like Scarborough, this stronghold was held for the King during
the Civil War. After the Battle of Marston Moor and the fall of York,
Fairfax came to Helmsley and invested the castle. He received a wound
in the shoulder during the siege; but the garrison having surrendered
on honourable terms, the Parliament ordered that the castle should be
dismantled, and the thoroughness with which the instructions were
carried out remind one of Knaresborough, for one side of the keep was
blown to pieces by a terrific explosion and nearly everything else was
destroyed.

All the beauty and charm of this lovely district is accentuated in
Ryedale, and when we have accomplished the three long uphill miles to
Rievaulx, and come out upon the broad grassy terrace above the abbey,
we seem to have entered a Land of Beulah. We see a peaceful valley
overlooked on all sides by lofty hills, whose steep sides are clothed
with luxuriant woods; we see the Rye flowing past broad green meadows;
and beneath the tree-covered precipice below our feet appear the
solemn, roofless remains of one of the first Cistercian monasteries
established in this country. There is nothing to disturb the peace that
broods here, for the village consists of a mere handful of old and
picturesque cottages, and we might stay on the terrace for hours, and,
beyond the distant shouts of a few children at play and the crowing of
some cocks, hear nothing but the hum of insects and the singing of
birds. We take a steep path through the wood which leads us down to the
abbey ruins.

The magnificent Early English choir and the Norman transepts stand
astonishingly complete in their splendid decay, and the lower portions
of the nave, which, until 1922, lay buried beneath masses of
grass-grown debris, are now exposed to view. The richly-draped
hill-sides appear as a succession of beautiful pictures framed by the
columns and arches on each side of the choir. As they stand exposed to
the weather, the perfectly proportioned mouldings, the clustered
pillars in a wonderfully good state of preservation, and the almost
uninjured clerestory are more impressive than in an elaborately-restored
cathedral.




CHAPTER X

DESCRIBES THE DALE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE


When in the early years of life one learns for the first time the name
of that range of mountains forming the backbone of England, the
youthful scholar looks forward to seeing in later years the prolonged
series of lofty hills known as the 'Pennine Range.' His imagination
pictures Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough as great peaks, seldom free from
a mantle of clouds, for are they not called 'mountains of the Pennine
Range,' and do they not appear in almost as large type in the school
geography as Snowdon and Ben Nevis? But as the scholar grows older and
more able to travel, so does the Pennine Range recede from his vision,
until it becomes almost as remote as those crater-strewn mountains in
the Moon which have a name so similar.

This elusiveness on the part of a natural feature so essentially static
as a mountain range is attributable to the total disregard of the name
of this particular chain of hills. In the same way as the term 'Cumbrian
Hills' is exchanged for the popular 'Lake District,' so is a large
section of the Pennine Range paradoxically known as the 'Yorkshire
Dales.'

It is because the hills are so big that the valleys are deep and it is
owing to the great watersheds that these long and narrow dales are
beautified by some of the most copious and picturesque rivers in
England. In spite of this, however, when one climbs any of the fells
over 2,000 feet, and looks over the mountainous ridges on every side,
one sees, as a rule, no peak or isolated height of any description to
attract one's attention. Instead of the rounded or angular projections
from the horizon that are usually associated with a mountainous
district, there are great expanses of brown table-land that form
themselves into long parallel lines in the distance, and give a sense
of wild desolation in some ways more striking than the peaks of
Scotland or Wales. The thick formations of millstone grit and limestone
that rest upon the shale have generally avoided crumpling or
distortion, and thus give the mountain views the appearance of having
had all the upper surfaces rolled flat when they were in a plastic
condition. Denudation and the action of ice in the glacial epochs have
worn through the hard upper stratum, and formed the long and narrow
dales; and in Littondale, Wharfedale, Wensleydale, and many other
parts, one may plainly see the perpendicular wall of rock sharply
defining the upper edges of the valleys. The softer rocks below
generally take a gentle slope from the base of the hard gritstone to
the riverside pastures below. At the edges of the dales, where
water-falls pour over the wall of limestone--as at Hardraw Scar, near
Hawes--the action of water is plainly demonstrated, for one can see the
rapidity with which the shale crumbles, leaving the harder rocks
overhanging above.

Unlike the moors of the north-eastern parts of Yorkshire, the fells are
not prolific in heather. It is possible to pass through
Wensleydale--or, indeed, most of the dales--without seeing any heather
at all. On the broad plateaux between the dales there are stretches of
moor partially covered with ling; but in most instances the fells and
moors are grown over at their higher levels with bent and coarse grass,
generally of a browny-ochrish colour, broken here and there by an
outcrop of limestone that shows grey against the swarthy vegetation.

In the upper portions of the dales--even in the narrow riverside
pastures--the fences are of stone, turned a very dark colour by
exposure, and everywhere on the slopes of the hills a wide network of
these enclosures can be seen traversing even the most precipitous
ascents. Where the dales widen out towards the fat plains of the Vale
of York, quickset hedges intermingle with the gaunt stone, and as one
gets further eastwards the green hedge becomes triumphant. The stiles
that are the fashion in the stone-fence districts make quite an
interesting study to strangers, for, wood being an expensive luxury,
and stone being extremely cheap, everything is formed of the more
enduring material. Instead of a trap-gate, one generally finds an
excessively narrow opening in the fences, only just giving space for
the thickness of the average knee, and thus preventing the passage of
the smallest lamb. Some stiles are constructed with a large flat stone
projecting from each side, one slightly in front and overlapping the
other, so that one can only pass through by making a very careful
S-shaped movement. More common are the projecting stones, making a
flight of precarious steps on each side of the wall.

Except in their lowest and least mountainous parts, where they are
subject to the influences of the plains, the dales are entirely
innocent of red tiles and haystacks. The roofs of churches, cottages,
barns and mansions, are always of the local stone, that weathers to
beautiful shades of green and grey, and prevents the works of man from
jarring with the great sweeping hill-sides. Then, instead of the
familiar grey-brown haystack, one sees in almost every meadow a
neatly-built stone house with an upper storey. The lower part is
generally used as a shelter for cattle, while above is stored hay or
straw. By this system a huge amount of unnecessary carting is avoided,
and where roads are few and generally of exceeding steepness a saving
of this nature is a benefit easily understood.

The villages of the dales, although having none of the bright colours
of a level country, are often exceedingly quaint, and rich in soft
shades of green and grey. In the autumn the mellowed tints of the stone
houses are contrasted with the fierce yellows and browny-reds of the
foliage, and the villages become full of bright colours. At all times,
except when the country is shrivelled by an icy northern wind, the
scenery of the dales has a thousand charms.




CHAPTER XI

RICHMOND


For the purposes of this book we may consider Richmond as the gateway
of the dale country. There are other gates and approaches, some of
which may have advocates who claim their superiority over Richmond as
starting-places for an exploration of this description, but for my
part, I can find no spot on any side of the mountainous region so
entirely satisfactory. If we were to commence at Bedale or Leyburn,
there is no exact point where the open country ceases and the dale
begins; but here at Richmond there is not the very smallest doubt, for
on reaching the foot of the mass of rock dominated by the castle and
the town, Swaledale commences in the form of a narrow ravine, and from
that point westwards the valley never ceases to be shut in by steep
sides, which become narrower and grander with every mile.

The railway that keeps Richmond in touch with the world does its work
in a most inoffensive manner, and by running to the bottom of the hill
on which the town stands, and by there stopping short, we seem to have
a strong hint that we have been brought to the edge of a new element in
which railways have no rights whatever. This is as it should be, and we
can congratulate the North-Eastern Company for its discretion and its
sense of fitness. Even the station is built of solid stonework, with a
strong flavour of medievalism in its design, and its attractiveness is
enhanced by the complete absence of other modern buildings. We are thus
welcomed to the charms of Richmond at once. The rich sloping meadows by
the river, crowned with dense woodlands, surround us and form a
beautiful setting of green for the town, which has come down from the
fantastic days of the Norman Conquest without any drastic or unseemly
changes, and thus has still the compactness and the romantic outline of
feudal times.

From whatever side you approach it, Richmond has always some fine
combination of towers overlooking a confusion of old red roofs and of
rocky heights crowned with ivy-mantled walls, all set in the most
sumptuous surroundings of silvery river and wooded hills, such as the
artists of the age of steel-engraving loved to depict. Every one of
these views has in it one dominating feature in the magnificent Norman
keep of the castle. It overlooks church towers and everything else with
precisely the same aloofness of manner it must have assumed as soon as
the builders of nearly eight hundred years ago had put the last stone
in place. Externally, at least, it is as complete to-day as it was
then, and as there is no ivy upon it, I cannot help thinking that the
Bretons who built it in that long distant time would swell with pride
were they able to see how their ambitious work has come down the
centuries unharmed.

We can go across the modern bridge, with its castellated parapets, and
climb up the steep ascent on the further side, passing on the way the
parish church, standing on the steep ground outside the circumscribed
limits of the wall which used to enclose the town in early times.
Turning towards the castle, we go breathlessly up the cobbled street
that climbs resolutely to the market-place in a foolishly direct
fashion, which might be understood if it were a Roman road. There is a
sleepy quietness about this way up from the station, which is quite a
short distance, and we look for much movement and human activity in the
wide space we have reached; but here, too, on this warm and sunny
afternoon, the few folks who are about seem to find ample time for
conversation and loitering.

On one side of us is the King's Head, whose steep tiled roof and square
front has just that air of respectable importance that one expects to
find in an old established English hotel. It looks across the cobbled
space to the curious block of buildings that seems to have been
intended for a church but has relapsed into shops. The shouldering of
secular buildings against the walls of churches is a sight so familiar
in parts of France that this market place has an almost Continental
flavour, in keeping with the fact that Richmond grew up under the
protection of the formidable castle built by that Alan Rufus of
Brittany who was the Conqueror's second cousin. The town ceased to be a
possession of the Dukes of Brittany in the reign of Richard II., but
there had evidently been sufficient time to allow French ideals to
percolate into the minds of the men of Richmond, for how otherwise can
we account for this strange familiarity of shops with a sacred building
which is unheard of in any other English town? Where else can one find
a pork-butcher's shop inserted between the tower and the nave, or a
tobacconist doing business in the aisle of a church? Even the lower
parts of the tower have been given up to secular uses, so that one only
realizes the existence of the church by keeping far enough away to see
the sturdy pinnacled tower that rises above the desecrated lower
portions of the building. In this tower hangs the curfew-bell, which is
rung at 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., a custom, according to one writer, 'that has
continued ever since the time of William the Conqueror.'

All the while we have been lingering in the market-place the great
keep has been looking at us over some old red roofs, and urging us to
go on at once to the finest sight that Richmond can offer, and,
resisting the appeal no longer, we make our way down a narrow little
street leading out to a walk that goes right round the castle cliffs at
the base of the ivy-draped walls.

From down below comes the sound of the river, ceaselessly chafing its
rocky bottom and the big boulders that lie in the way. You can
distinguish the hollow sound of the waters as they fall over ledges
into deep pools, and you can watch the silvery gleams of broken water
between the old stone bridge and the dark shade of the woods. The
masses of trees clothing the side of the gorge add a note of mystery to
the picture by swallowing up the river in their heavy shade, for, owing
to its sinuous course among the cliffs, one can see only a short piece
of water beyond the bridge.

The old corner of the town at the foot of Bargate appears over the edge
of the rocky slope, but on the opposite side of the Swale there is
little to be seen beside the green meadows and shady coppices that
cover the heights above the river.

There is a fascination in this view in its capacity for change. It
responds to every mood of the weather, and every sunset that glows
across the sombre woods has some freshness, some feature that is quite
unlike any other. Autumn, too, is a memorable time for those who can
watch the face of Nature from this spot, for when one of those opulent
evenings of the fall of the year turns the sky into a golden sea of
glory, studded with strange purple islands, there is unutterable beauty
in the flaming woods and the pale river.

On the way back to the market-place we pass a decayed arch that was
probably a postern in the walls of the town. There can be no doubt
whatever of the existence of these walls, for Leland begins his
description of the town with the words '_Richemont_ Towne is
waullid,' and in another place he says: 'Waullid it was, but the waul
is now decayid. The Names and Partes of 4 or 5 Gates yet remaine.' We
cannot help wondering why Richmond could not have preserved her gates
as York has done, or why she did not even make the effort sufficient to
retain a single one, as Bridlington and Beverley did. The two
posterns--one we have just mentioned, and the other in Friar's Wynd, on
the north side of the market-place, with a piece of wall 6 feet thick
adjoining--are interesting, but we would have preferred something much
finer than these mere arches; and while we are grumbling over what
Richmond has lost, we may also measure the disaster which befell the
market-place in 1771, when the old cross was destroyed. Before that
year there stood on the site of the present obelisk a very fine cross
which Clarkson, who wrote about a century ago, mentions as being the
greatest beauty of the town to an antiquary. A high flight of steps led
up to a square platform, which was enclosed by a richly ornamented wall
about 6 feet high, having buttresses at the corners, each surmounted
with a dog seated on its hind-legs. Within the wall rose the cross,
with its shaft made from one piece of stone. There were 'many curious
compartments' in the wall, says Clarkson, and 'a door that opened into
the middle of the square,' but this may have been merely an arched
opening. The enrichments, either of the cross itself or the wall,
included four shields bearing the arms of the great families of
Fitz-Hugh, Scrope (quartering Tibetot), Conyers, and Neville. From the
description there is little doubt that this cross was a very beautiful
example of Perpendicular or perhaps Decorated Gothic, in place of which
we have a crude and bulging obelisk bearing the inscription: 'Rebuilt
(!) A.D. 1771, Christopher Wayne, Esq., Mayor'; it should surely have
read: 'Perpetrated during the Mayoralty of Christopher Wayne Goth.'

Although, as we have seen, Leland, who wrote in 1538, mentions
Frenchgate and Finkel Street Gate as 'down,' yet they must have been
only partially destroyed, or were rebuilt afterwards, for Whitaker,
writing in 1823, mentions that they were pulled down 'not many years
ago' to allow the passage of broad and high-laden waggons. There can be
little doubt, therefore, that, swollen with success after the
demolition of the cross, the Mayor and Corporation proceeded to attack
the remaining gateways, so that now not the smallest suggestion of
either remains. But even here we have not completed the list of
barbarisms that took place about this time. The Barley Cross, which
stood near the larger one, must have been quite an interesting feature.
It consisted of a lofty pillar with a cross at the top, and rings were
fastened either on the shaft or to the steps upon which it stood, so
that the cross might answer the purpose of a whipping-post. The pillory
stood not far away, and the May-pole is also mentioned.

But despite all this squandering of the treasures that it should have
been the business of the town authorities to preserve, the tower of the
Grey Friars has survived, and, next to the castle, it is one of the
chief ornaments of the town. Some other portions of the monastery are
incorporated in the buildings which now form the Grammar School. The
Grey Friars is on the north side of the town, outside the narrow limits
of the walls, and was probably only finished in time to witness the
dispersal of the friars who had built it. It is even possible that it
was part of a new church that was still incomplete when the Dissolution
of the Monasteries made the work of no account except as building
materials for the townsfolk. The actual day of the surrender was
January 19, 1538, and we wonder if Robert Sanderson, the Prior, and the
fourteen brethren under him, suffered much from the privations that
must have attended them at that coldest period of the year. At one time
the friars, being of a mendicant order, and inured to hard living and
scanty fare, might have made light of such a disaster, but in these
later times they had expanded somewhat from their austere ways of
living, and the dispersal must have cost them much suffering.

Going back to the reign of Henry VII. or there-abouts, we come across
the curious ballad of 'The Felon Sow of Rokeby and the Freres of
Richmond' quoted from an old manuscript by Sir Walter Scott in
'Rokeby.' It may have been as a practical joke, or merely as a good way
of getting rid of such a terrible beast, that

  'Ralph of Rokeby, with goodwill,
  The fryers of Richmond gave her till.'

Friar Middleton, who with two lusty men was sent to fetch the sow from
Rokeby, could scarcely have known that she was

  'The grisliest beast that ere might be,
  Her head was great and gray:
  She was bred in Rokeby Wood;
  There were few that thither goed,
  That came on live [= alive] away.

  'She was so grisley for to meete,
  She rave the earth up with her feete,
  And bark came fro the tree;
  When fryer Middleton her saugh,
  Weet ye well he might not laugh,
  Full earnestly look'd hee.'

To calm the terrible beast when they found it almost impossible to hold
her, the friar began to read 'in St. John his Gospell,' but

  'The sow she would not Latin heare,
  But rudely rushed at the frear,'

who, turning very white, dodged to the shelter of a tree, whence he saw
with horror that the sow had got clear of the other two men. At this
their courage evaporated, and all three fled for their lives along the
Watling Street. When they came to Richmond and told their tale of the
'feind of hell' in the garb of a sow, the warden decided to hire on the
next day two of the 'boldest men that ever were borne.' These two,
Gilbert Griffin and a 'bastard son of Spaine,' went to Rokeby clad in
armour and carrying their shields and swords of war, and even then they
only just overcame the grisly sow.

If we go across the river by the modern bridge, we can see the humble
remains of St. Martin's Priory standing in a meadow by the railway. The
ruins consist of part of a Perpendicular tower and a Norman doorway.
Perhaps the tower was built in order that the Grey Friars might not
eclipse the older foundation, for St. Martin's was a cell belonging to
St. Mary's Abbey at York and was founded by Wyman, steward or dapifer
to the Earl of Richmond, about the year 1100, whereas the Franciscans
in the town owed their establishment to Radulph Fitz-Ranulph, a lord of
Middleham in 1258. The doorway of St. Martin's, with its zigzag
mouldings must be part of Wyman's building, but no other traces of it
remain. Having come back so rapidly to the Norman age, we may well stay
there for a time while we make our way over the bridge again and up the
steep ascent of Frenchgate to the castle.

On entering the small outer barbican, which is reached by a lane from
the market-place, we come to the base of the Norman keep. Its great
height of nearly 100 feet is quite unbroken from foundations to summit,
and the flat buttresses are featureless. The recent pointing of the
masonry has also taken away any pronounced weathering, and has left the
tower with almost the same gaunt appearance that it had when Duke Conan
saw it completed. Passing through the arch in the wall abutting the
keep, we come into the grassy space of over two acres, that is enclosed
by the ramparts. It is not known by what stages the keep reached its
present form, though there is every reason to believe that Conan, the
fifth Earl of Richmond, left the tower externally as we see it to-day.
This puts the date of the completion of the keep between 1146 and 1171.
The floors are now a store for the uniforms and accoutrements of the
soldiers quartered at Richmond, so that there is little to be seen as
we climb a staircase in the walls 11 feet thick, and reach the
battlemented turrets. Looking downwards, we gaze right into the
chimneys of the nearest houses, and we see the old roofs of the town
packed closely together in the shelter of the mighty tower. A few tiny
people are moving about in the market-place, and there is a thin web of
drifting smoke between us and them. Everything is peaceful and remote;
even the sound of the river is lost in the wind that blows freely upon
us from the great moorland wastes stretching away to the western
horizon. It is a romantic country that lies around us, and though the
cultivated area must be infinitely greater than in the fighting days
when these battlements were finished, yet I suppose the Vale of Mowbray
which we gaze upon to the east must have been green, and to some extent
fertile, when that Conan who was Duke of Brittany and also Earl of
Richmond looked out over the innumerable manors that were his Yorkshire
possessions. I can imagine his eye glancing down on a far more
thrilling scene than the green three-sided courtyard enclosed by a
crumbling grey wall, though to him the buildings, the men, and every
detail that filled the great space, were no doubt quite prosaic. It did
not thrill him to see a man-at-arms cleaning weapons, when the man and
his clothes, and even the sword, were as modern and everyday as the
soldier's wife and child that we can see ourselves, but how much would
we not give for a half-an-hour of his vision, or even a part of a
second, with a good camera in our hands?

In the lower part of what is called Robin Hood's Tower is the Chapel of
St. Nicholas, with arcaded walls of early Norman date, and a long and
narrow slit forming the east window. More interesting than this is the
Norman hall at the south-east angle of the walls. It was possibly used
as the banqueting-room of the castle, and is remarkable as being one of
the best preserved of the Norman halls forming separate buildings that
are to be found in this country. The hall is roofless, but the corbels
remain in a perfect state, and the windows on each side are well
preserved. The builder was probably Earl Conan, for the keep has
details of much the same character. It is generally called Scolland's
Hall, after the Lord of Bedale of that name, who was a sewer or dapifer
to the first Earl Alan of Richmond. Scolland was one of the tenants of
the Earl, and under the feudal system of tenure he took part in the
regular guarding of the castle.

There is probably much Norman work in various parts of the crumbling
curtain walls, and at the south-west corner a Norman turret is still to
be seen.

Alan, who received from the Conqueror the vast possessions of Earl
Edwin, was no doubt the founder of Richmond. He probably received this
splendid reward for his services soon after the suppression of the
Saxon efforts for liberty under the northern Earls. William, having
crushed out the rebellion in the remorseless fashion which finally gave
him peace in his new possessions, distributed the devastated Saxon
lands among his supporters; thus a great part of the earldom of Mercia
fell to this Breton.

The site of Richmond was fixed as the new centre of power, and the
name, with its apparently obvious meaning, may date from that time,
unless the suggested Anglo-Saxon derivation which gives it as
Rice-munt--the hill of rule--is correct. After this Gilling must soon
have ceased to be of any account. There can be little doubt that the
castle was at once planned to occupy the whole area enclosed by the
walls as they exist to-day, although the full strength of the place was
not realized until the time of the fifth Earl, who, as we have seen,
was most probably the builder of the keep in its final form, as well as
other parts of the castle. Richmond must then have been considered
almost impregnable, and this may account for the fact that it appears
to have never been besieged. In 1174, when William the Lion of Scotland
was invading England, we are told in Jordan Fantosme's Chronicle that
Henry II., anxious for the safety of the honour of Richmond, and
perhaps of its custodian as well, asked: 'Randulf de Glanvile est-il en
Richemunt?' The King was in France, his possessions were threatened
from several quarters, and it would doubtless be a relief to him to
know that a stronghold of such importance was under the personal
command of so able a man as Glanville. In July of that year the danger
from the Scots was averted by a victory at Alnwick, in which fight
Glanville was one of the chief commanders of the English, and he
probably led the men of Richmondshire.

It is a strange thing that Richmond Castle, despite its great
pre-eminence, should have been allowed to become a ruin in the reign of
Edward III.--a time when castles had obviously lost none of the
advantages to the barons which they had possessed in Norman times. The
only explanation must have been the divided interests of the owners,
for, as Dukes of Brittany, as well as Earls of Richmond, their English
possessions were frequently endangered when France and England were at
war. And so it came about that when a Duke of Brittany gave his support
to the King of France in a quarrel with the English, his possessions
north of the Channel became Crown property. How such a condition of
affairs could have continued for so long is difficult to understand,
but the final severing came at last, when the unhappy Richard II. was
on the throne of England. The honour of Richmond then passed to Ralph
Neville, the first Earl of Westmoreland, but the title was given to
Edmund Tudor, whose mother was Queen Catherine, the widow of Henry V.
Edmund Tudor, as all know, married Margaret Beaufort, the heiress of
John of Gaunt, and died about two months before his wife--then scarcely
fourteen years old--gave birth to his only son, who succeeded to the
throne of England as Henry VII. He was Earl of Richmond from his birth,
and it was he who carried the name to the Thames by giving it to his
splendid palace which he built at Shene. Even the ballad of 'The Lass
of Richmond Hill' is said to come from Yorkshire, although it is
commonly considered a possession of Surrey.

Protected by the great castle, there came into existence the town of
Richmond, which grew and flourished. The houses must have been packed
closely together to provide the numerous people with quarters inside
the wall which was built to protect the place from the raiding Scots.
The area of the town was scarcely larger than the castle, and although
in this way the inhabitants gained security from one danger, they ran a
greater risk from a far more insidious foe, which took the form of
pestilences of a most virulent character. After one of these
visitations the town of Richmond would be left in a pitiable plight.
Many houses would be deserted, and fields became 'over-run with briars,
nettles, and other noxious weeds.'

Easby Abbey is so much a possession of Richmond that we cannot go
towards the mountains until we have seen something of its charms. The
ruins slumber in such unutterable peace by the riverside that the place
is well suited to our mood to go a-dreaming of the centuries which have
been so long dead that our imaginations are not cumbered with any of
the dull times that may have often set the canons of St. Agatha's
yawning. The walk along the steep shady bank above the river is
beautiful all the way, and the surroundings of the broken walls and
traceried windows are singularly rich. There is nothing, however, at
Easby that makes a striking picture, although there are many
architectural fragments that are full of beauty. Fountains, Rievaulx
and Tintern, all leave Easby far behind, but there are charms enough
here with which to be content, and it is, perhaps, a pleasant thought
to know that, although on this sunny afternoon these meadows by the
Swale seem to reach perfection, yet in the neighbourhood of Ripon there
is something still finer waiting for us. Of the abbey church scarcely
more than enough has survived for the preparation of a ground-plan, and
many of the evidences are now concealed by the grass. The range of
domestic buildings that surrounded the cloister garth are, therefore,
the chief interest, although these also are broken and roofless. We can
wander among the ivy-grown walls which, in the refectory, retain some
semblance of their original form, and we can see the picturesque
remains of the common-room, the guest-hall, the chapter-house, and the
sacristy. Beyond the ruins of the north transept, a corridor leads into
the infirmary, which, besides having an unusual position, is remarkable
as being one of the most complete groups of buildings set apart for
this object. A noticeable feature of the cloister garth is a Norman
arch belonging to a doorway that appears to be of later date. This is
probably the only survival of the first monastery founded, it is said,
by Roald, Constable of Richmond Castle, in 1152. Building of an
extensive character was, therefore, in progress at the same time in
these sloping meadows, as on the castle heights, and St. Martin's
Priory, close to the town, had not long been completed. Whoever may
have been the founder of the abbey, it is definitely known that the
great family of Scrope obtained the privileges that had been possessed
by the Constable, and they added so much to the property of the
monastery that in the reign of Henry VIII. the Scropes were considered
the original founders. Easby thus became the stately burying-place of
the family and the splendid tombs that appeared in the choir of their
church were a constant reminder to the canons of the greatness of the
lords of Bolton. Sir Henry le Scrope was buried beneath a great stone
effigy, bearing the arms--azure, a bend or--of his house. Near by lay
Sir William le Scrope's armed figure, and round about were many others
of the family buried beneath flat stones. We know this from the
statement of an Abbot of Easby in the fourteenth century; and but for
the record of his words there would be nothing to tell us anything of
these ponderous memorials, which have disappeared as completely as
though they had had no more permanence than the yellow leaves that are
just beginning to flutter from the trees. The splendid church, the
tombs, and even the very family of Scrope, have disappeared; but across
the hills, in the valley of the Ure, their castle still stands, and in
the little church of Wensley there can still be seen the parclose
screen of Perpendicular date that one of the Scropes must have rescued
when the monastery was being stripped and plundered.

The fine gate-house of Easby Abbey, which is in a good state of
preservation, stands a little to the east of the parish church, and the
granary is even now in use.

On the sides of the parvise over the porch of the parish church are the
arms of Scrope, Conyers, and Aske; and in the chancel of this extremely
interesting old building there can be seen a series of wall-paintings,
some of which probably date from the reign of Henry III. This would
make them earlier than those at Pickering.




CHAPTER XII

SWALEDALE


There is a certain elevated and wind-swept spot, scarcely more than a
long mile from Richmond, that commands a view over a wide extent of
romantic country. Vantage-points of this type, within easy reach of a
fair-sized town, are inclined to be overrated, and, what is far worse,
to be spoiled by the litter of picnic parties; but Whitcliffe Scar is
free from both objections. In magnificent September weather one may
spend many hours in the midst of this great panorama without being
disturbed by a single human being, besides a possible farm labourer or
shepherd; and if scraps of paper and orange-peel are ever dropped here,
the keen winds that come from across the moors dispose of them as
efficaciously as the keepers of any public parks.

The view is removed from a comparison with many others from the fact
that one is situated at the dividing-line between the richest
cultivation and the wildest moorlands. Whitcliffe Scar is the Mount
Pisgah from whence the jaded dweller in towns can gaze into a promised
land of solitude,

  'Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
  And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been.'

The eastward view of green and smiling country is undeniably beautiful,
but to those who can appreciate Byron's enthusiasm for the trackless
mountain there is something more indefinable and inspiring in the
mysterious loneliness of the west. The long, level lines of the
moorland horizon, when the sun is beginning to climb downwards, are cut
out in the softest blue and mauve tints against the shimmering
transparency of the western sky, and the plantations that clothe the
sides of the dale beneath one are filled with wonderful shadows, which
are thrown out with golden outlines. The view along the steep valley
extends for a few miles, and then is suddenly cut off by a sharp bend
where the Swale, a silver ribbon along the bottom of the dale,
disappears among the sombre woods and the shoulders of the hills.

In this aspect of Swaledale one sees its mildest and most civilized
mood; for beyond the purple hill-side that may be seen in the
illustration, cultivation becomes more palpably a struggle, and the
gaunt moors, broken by lines of precipitous scars, assume control of
the scenery.

From 200 feet below, where the river is flowing along its stony bed,
comes the sound of the waters ceaselessly grinding the pebbles, and
from the green pastures there floats upwards a distant ba-baaing. No
railway has penetrated the solitudes of Swaledale, and, as far as one
may look into the future in such matters, there seems every possibility
of this loneliest and grandest of the Yorkshire dales retaining its
isolation in this respect. None but the simplest of sounds, therefore,
are borne on the keen winds that come from the moorland heights, and
the purity of the air whispers in the ear the pleasing message of a
land where chimneys have never been.

Besides the original name of Whitcliffe Scar, this remarkable
view-point has, since 1606, been popularly known as 'Willance's Leap.'
In that year a certain Robert Willance, whose father appears to have
been a successful draper in Richmond, was hunting in the neighbourhood,
when he found himself enveloped in a fog. It must have been
sufficiently dense to shut out even the nearest objects; for, without
any warning, Willance found himself on the verge of the scar, and
before he could check his horse both were precipitated over the cliff.
We have no detailed account of whether the fall was broken in any way;
but, although his horse was killed instantly, Willance, by some almost
miraculous good fortune, found himself alive at the bottom with nothing
worse than a broken leg.

It is a difficult matter to decide which is the more attractive means
of exploring Swaledale; for if one keeps to the road at the bottom of
the valley many beautiful and remarkable aspects of the country are
missed, and yet if one goes over the moors it is impossible really to
explore the recesses of the dale. The old road from Richmond to Reeth
avoids the dale altogether, except for the last mile, and its ups and
its downs make the traveller pay handsomely for the scenery by the way.

But this ought not to deter anyone from using the road; for the view of
the village of Marske, cosily situated among the wooded heights that
rise above the beck, is missed by those who keep to the new road along
the banks of the Swale. The romantic seclusion of this village is
accentuated towards evening, when a shadowy stillness fills the
hollows. The higher woods may be still glowing with the light of the
golden west, while down below a softness of outline adds beauty to
every object. The old bridge that takes the road to Reeth across Marske
Beck needs no such fault-forgiving light, for it was standing in the
reign of Elizabeth, and, from its appearance, it is probably centuries
older.

The new road to Reeth from Richmond goes down at an easy gradient from
the town to the banks of the river, which it crosses when abreast of
Whitcliffe Scar, the view in front being at first much the same as the
nearer portions of the dale seen from that height. Down on the left,
however, there are some chimney-shafts, so recklessly black that they
seem to be no part whatever of their sumptuous natural surroundings,
and might almost suggest a nightmare in which one discovered that some
of the vilest chimneys of the Black Country had taken to touring in the
beauty spots of the country.

As one goes westward, the road penetrates right into the bold scenery
that invites exploration when viewed from 'Willance's Leap.' There is a
Scottish feeling--perhaps Alpine would be more correct--in the
steeply-falling sides of the dale, all clothed in firs and other dense
plantations; and just where the Swale takes a decided turn towards the
south there is a view up Marske Beck that adds much to the romance of
the scene. Behind one's back the side of the dale rises like a dark
green wall entirely in shadow, and down below half buried in foliage,
the river swirls and laps its gravelly beaches, also in shadow. Beyond
a strip of pasture begin the tumbled masses of trees which, as they
climb out of the depths of the valley, reach the warm, level rays of
sunlight that turns the first leaves that have passed their prime into
the fierce yellows and burnt siennas which, when faithfully represented
at Burlington House, are often considered overdone. Even the gaunt
obelisk near Marske Hall responds to a fine sunset of this sort, and
shows a gilded side that gives it almost a touch of grandeur.

Evening is by no means necessary to the attractions of Swaledale, for a
blazing noon gives lights and shades and contrasts of colour that are a
large portion of Swaledale's charms. If instead of taking either the
old road by way of Marske, or the new one by the riverside, one had
crossed the old bridge below the castle, and left Richmond by a very
steep road that goes to Leyburn, one would have reached a moorland that
is at its best in the full light of a clear morning.

The clouds are big, but they carry no threat of rain, for right down to
the far horizon from whence this wind is coming there are patches of
blue proportionate to the vast spaces overhead. As each white mass
passes across the sun, we are immersed in a shadow many acres in
extent: but the sunlight has scarcely fled when a rim of light comes
over the edge of the plain, just above the hollow where Downholme
village lies hidden from sight, and in a few minutes that belt of
sunshine has reached some sheep not far off, and rimmed their coats
with a brilliant edge of white. Shafts of whiteness, like searchlights,
stream from behind a distant cloud, and everywhere there is brilliant
contrast and a purity to the eye and lungs that only a Yorkshire moor
possesses.

A short two miles up the road to Leyburn, just above Gill Beck, there
is an ancient house known as Walburn Hall, and also the remains of the
chapel belonging to it, which dates from the Perpendicular period. The
buildings are now used as a farm, but there are still enough
suggestions of a dignified past to revivify the times when this was a
centre of feudal power.

Turning back to Swaledale by a lane on the south side of Gill Beck,
Downholme village is passed a mile away on the right, and the bold
scenery of the dale once more becomes impressive.

Two great headlands, formed by the wall-like terminations of Cogden and
Harkerside Moors, rising one above the other, stand out magnificently.
Their huge sides tower up nearly a thousand feet from the river, until
they are within reach of the lowering clouds that every moment threaten
to envelop them in their indigo embrace. There is a curious rift in the
dark cumulus revealing a thin line of dull carmine that frequently
changes its shape and becomes nearly obliterated, but its presence in
no way weakens the awesomeness of the picture. The dale appears to
become huger and steeper as the clouds thicken, and what have been
merely woods and plantations in this heavy gloom become mysterious
forests. The river, too, seems to change its character, and become a
pale serpent, uncoiling itself from some mountain fastness where no
living creatures besides great auks and carrion birds, dwell.

In such surroundings as these there were established in the Middle
Ages, two religious houses, within a mile of one another, on opposite
sides of the swirling river. On the north bank, not far from Marrick
village, you may still see the ruins of Marrick Priory in its beautiful
situation much as Turner painted it a century ago. Leland describes
Marrick as 'a Priory of Blake Nunnes of the Foundation of the Askes.'
It was, we know, an establishment for Benedictine Nuns, founded or
endowed by Roger de Aske in the twelfth century. At Ellerton, on the
other side of the river a little lower down, the nunnery was of the
Cistercian Order; for, although very little of its history has been
discovered, Leland writes of the house as 'a Priori of White clothid
Nunnes.' After the Battle of Bannockburn, when the Scots raided all
over the North Riding of Yorkshire, they came along Swaledale in search
of plunder, and we are told that Ellerton suffered from their violence.

Where the dale becomes wider, owing to the branch valley of
Arkengarthdale, there are two villages close together. Grinton is
reached first, and is older than Reeth, which is a short distance north
of the river. The parish of Grinton is one of the largest in Yorkshire.
It is more than twenty miles long, containing something near 50,000
acres, and according to Mr. Speight, who has written a very detailed
history of Richmondshire, more than 30,000 acres of this consist of
mountain, grouse-moor and scar. For so huge a parish the church is
suitable in size, but in the upper portions of the dales one must not
expect any very remarkable exteriors; and Grinton, with its low roofs
and plain battlemented tower, is much like other churches in the
neighbourhood. Inside there are suggestions of a Norman building that
has passed away, and the bowl of the font seems also to belong to that
period. The two chapels opening from the chancel contain some
interesting features, which include a hagioscope, and both are enclosed
by old screens.

Leaving the village behind, and crossing the Swale, you soon come to
Reeth, which may, perhaps, be described as a little town. It must have
thrived with the lead-mines in Arkengarthdale and along the Swale, for
it has gone back since the period of its former prosperity, and is glad
of the fact that its situation, and the cheerful green which the houses
look upon, have made it something of a holiday resort.

When Reeth is left behind, there is no more of the fine 'new' road
which makes travelling so easy for the eleven miles from Richmond. The
surface is, however, by no means rough along the nine miles to Muker,
although the scenery becomes far wilder and more mountainous with every
mile. The dale narrows most perceptibly; the woods become widely
separated, and almost entirely disappear on the southern side; and the
gaunt moors, creeping down the sides of the valley seem to threaten the
narrow belt of cultivation, that becomes increasingly restricted to the
river margins. Precipitous limestone scars fringe the browny-green
heights in many places, and almost girdle the summit of Calver Hill,
the great bare height that rises a thousand feet above Reeth. The farms
and hamlets of these upper parts of Swaledale are of the same greys,
greens, and browns as the moors and scars that surround them. The stone
walls, that are often high and forbidding, seem to suggest the
fortifications required for man's fight with Nature, in which there is
no encouragement for the weak. In the splendid weather that so often
welcomes the mere summer rambler in the upper dales the austerity of
the widely scattered farms and villages may seem a little
unaccountable; but a visit in January would quite remove this
impression, though even in these lofty parts of England the worst
winter snowstorm has, in quite recent years, been of trifling
inconvenience. Bad winters will, no doubt, be experienced again on the
fells; but leaving out of the account the snow that used to bury farms,
flocks, roads, and even the smaller gills, in a vast smother of
whiteness, there are still the winds that go shrieking over the
desolate heights, there is still the high rainfall, and there are still
destructive thunderstorms that bring with them hail of a size that we
seldom encounter in the lower levels.

The great rapidity with which the Swale, or such streams as the Arkle,
can produce a devastating flood can scarcely be comprehended by those
who have not seen the results of even moderate rainstorms on the fells.
When, however, some really wet days have been experienced in the upper
parts of the dales, it seems a wonder that the bridges are not more
often in jeopardy.

Of course, even the highest hills of Yorkshire are surpassed in wetness
by their Lakeland neighbours; for whereas Hawes Junction, which is only
about seven miles south of Muker, has an average yearly rainfall of
about 62 inches, Mickleden, in Westmorland, can show 137, and certain
spots in Cumberland aspire towards 200 inches in a year.

The weather conditions being so severe, it is not surprising to find
that no corn at all is grown in Swaledale at the present day. Some
notes, found in an old family Bible in Teesdale, are quoted by Mr.
Joseph Morris. They show the painful difficulties experienced in the
eighteenth century from such entries as: '1782. I reaped oats for John
Hutchinson, when the field was covered with snow,' and: '1799, Nov. 10.
Much corn to cut and carry. A hard frost.'

Muker, notwithstanding all these climatic difficulties, has some claim
to picturesqueness, despite the fact that its church is better seen at
a distance, for a close inspection reveals its rather poverty-stricken
state. The square tower, so typical of the dales, stands well above the
weathered roofs of the village, and there are sufficient trees to tone
down the severities of the stone walls, that are inclined to make one
house much like its neighbour, and but for natural surroundings would
reduce the hamlets to the same uniformity. At Muker, however, there is
a steep bridge and a rushing mountain stream that joins the Swale just
below. The road keeps close to this beck, and the houses are thus
restricted to one side of the way.

Away to the south, in the direction of the Buttertubs Pass, is Stags
Fell, 2,213 feet above the sea, and something like 1,300 feet above
Muker. Northwards, and towering over the village, is the isolated mass
of Kisdon Hill, on two sides of which the Swale, now a mountain stream,
rushes and boils among boulders and ledges of rock. This is one of the
finest portions of the dale, and, although the road leaves the river
and passes round the western side of Kisdon, there is a path that goes
through the glen, and brings one to the road again at Keld.

Just before you reach Keld, the Swale drops 30 feet at Kisdon Force,
and after a night of rain there are many other waterfalls to be seen in
this district. These are not to me, however, the chief attractions of
the head of Swaledale, although without the angry waters the gills and
narrow ravines that open from the dale would lose much interest. It is
the stern grandeur of the scarred hillsides and the wide mountainous
views from the heights that give this part of Yorkshire such a
fascination. If you climb to the top of Rogan's Seat, you have a huge
panorama of desolate country spread out before you. The confused jumble
of blue-grey mountains to the north-west is beyond the limits of
Yorkshire at last, and in their strong embrace those stern Westmorland
hills hold the charms of Lakeland.

If one stays in this mountainous region, there are new and exciting
walks available for every day. There are gloomy recesses in the
hillsides that encourage exploration from the knowledge that they are
not tripper-worn, and there are endless heights to be climbed that are
equally free from the smallest traces of desecrating mankind. Rare
flowers, ferns, and mosses flourish in these inaccessible solitudes,
and will continue to do so, on account of the dangers that lurk in
their fastnesses, and also from the fact that their value is nothing to
any but those who are glad to leave them growing where they are.




CHAPTER XIII

WENSLEYDALE


The approach from Muker to the upper part of Wensleydale is by a
mountain road that can claim a grandeur which, to those who have never
explored the dales, might almost seem impossible. I have called it a
road, but it is, perhaps, questionable whether this is not too
high-sounding a term for a track so invariably covered with large loose
stones and furrowed with water-courses. At its highest point the road
goes through the Buttertubs Pass, taking the traveller to the edge of
the pot-holes that have given their name to this thrilling way through
the mountain ridge dividing the Swale from the Ure.

Such a lonely and dangerous road should no doubt be avoided at night,
but yet I am always grateful for the delays which made me so late that
darkness came on when I was at the highest portion of the pass. It was
late in September, and it was the day of the feast at Hawes, which had
drawn to that small town farmers and their wives, and most, if not all,
the young men and maidens within a considerable radius. I made my way
slowly up the long ascent from Muker, stumbling frequently on the loose
stones and in the water-worn runnels that were scarcely visible in the
dim twilight. The huge, bare shoulders of the fells began to close in
more and more as I climbed. Towards the west lay Great Shunnor Fell,
its vast brown-green mass being sharply defined against the clear
evening sky; while further away to the north-west there were blue
mountains going to sleep in the soft mistiness of the distance. Then
the road made a sudden zig-zag, but went on climbing more steeply than
ever, until at last I found that the stony track had brought me to the
verge of a precipice. There was not sufficient light to see what
dangers lay beneath me, but I could hear the angry sound of a beck
falling upon quantities of bare rocks. If one does not keep to the
road, there is on the other side the still greater menace of the
Buttertubs, the dangers of which are too well known to require any
emphasis of mine. Those pot-holes which have been explored with much
labour, and the use of winches and tackle and a great deal of stout
rope, have revealed in their cavernous depths the bones of sheep that
disappeared from flocks which have long since become mutton. This road
is surely one that would have afforded wonderful illustrations to the
'Pilgrim's Progress,' for the track is steep and narrow and painfully
rough; dangers lie on either side, and safety can only be found by
keeping in the middle of the road.

What must have been the thoughts, I wonder, of the dalesmen who on
different occasions had to go over the pass at night in those still
recent times when wraithes and hobs were terrible realities? In the
parts of Yorkshire where any records of the apparitions that used to
enliven the dark nights have been kept, I find that these awesome
creatures were to be found on every moor, and perhaps some day in my
reading I shall discover an account of those that haunted this pass.

Although there are probably few who care for rough moorland roads at
night, the Buttertubs Pass in daylight is still a memorable place. The
pot-holes can then be safely approached, and one can peer into the
blackness below until the eyes become adapted to the gloom. Then one
sees the wet walls of limestone and the curiously-formed isolated
pieces of rock that almost suggest columnar basalt. In crevices far
down delicate ferns are growing in the darkness. They shiver as the
cool water drips upon them from above, and the drops they throw off
fall down lower still into a stream of underground water that has its
beginnings no man knows where. On a hot day it is cooling simply to
gaze into the Buttertubs, and the sound of the falling waters down in
these shadowy places is pleasant after gazing on the dry fell-sides.

Just beyond the head of the pass, where the descent to Hawes begins,
the shoulders of Great Shunnor Fell drop down, so that not only
straight ahead, but also westwards, one can see a splendid mountain
view. Ingleborough's flat top is conspicuous in the south, and in every
direction there are indications of the geology of the fells. The hard
stratum of millstone grit that rests upon the limestone gives many of
the summits of the hills their level character, and forms the
sharply-defined scars that encircle them. The sudden and violent
changes of weather that take place among these watersheds would almost
seem to be cause enough to explain the wearing down of the angularities
of the heights. Even while we stand on the bridge at Hawes we can see
three or four ragged cloud edges letting down on as many places
torrential rains, while in between there are intervals of blazing
sunshine, under which the green fells turn bright yellow and orange in
powerful contrast to the indigo shadows on every side. Such rapid
changes from complete saturation to sudden heat are trying to the
hardest rocks, and at Hardraw, close at hand, there is a still more
palpable process of denudation in active operation.

Such a morning as this is quite ideal for seeing the remarkable
waterfall known as Hardraw Scar or Force. The footpath that leads up
the glen leaves the road at the side of the 'Green Dragon' at Hardraw,
where the innkeeper hands us a key to open the gate we must pass
through. Being September, and an uncertain day for weather, we have the
whole glen to ourselves, until behind some rocks we discover a solitary
angler. There is nothing but the roughest of tracks to follow, for the
carefully-made pathway that used to go right up to the fall was swept
away half a dozen years ago, when the stream in a fierce mood cleared
its course of any traces of artificiality. We are deeply grateful, and
make our among the big rocks and across the slippery surfaces of shale,
with the roar of the waters becoming more and more insistent. The sun
has turned into the ravine a great searchlight that has lit up the rock
walls and strewn the wet grass beneath with sparkling jewels. On the
opposite side there is a dense blue shadow over everything except the
foliage on the brow of the cliffs, where the strong autumn colours leap
into a flaming glory that transforms the ravine into an astonishing
splendour. A little more careful scrambling by the side of the stream,
and we see a white band of water falling from the overhanging limestone
into the pool about ninety feet below. Off the surface of the water
drifts a mist of spray, in which a soft patch of rainbow hovers until
the sun withdraws itself for a time and leaves a sudden gloom in the
horseshoe of overhanging cliffs. The place is, perhaps, more in
sympathy with a cloudy sky, but, under sunshine or cloud, the spout of
water is a memorable sight, and its imposing height places Hardraw
among the small group of England's finest waterfalls. The mass of shale
that lies beneath this stratum is soft enough to be worked away by the
water until the limestone overhangs the pool to the extent of ten or
twelve feet, so that the water falls sheer into the circular basin,
leaving a space between the cliff and the fall where it is safe to walk
on a rather moist and slippery path that is constantly being sprayed
from the surface of the pool.

John Leland wrote, nearly four hundred years ago, '_Uredale_ veri
litle Corne except Bygg or Otes, but plentiful of Gresse in Communes,'
and although this dale is so much more genial in aspect, and so much
wider than the valley of the Swale, yet crops are under the same
disabilities. Leaving Gayle behind, we climb up a steep and stony road
above the beck until we are soon above the level of green pasturage.
The stone walls still cover the hillsides with a net of very large
mesh, but the sheep find more bent than grass, and the ground is often
exceedingly steep. Higher still climbs this venturesome road, until all
around us is a vast tumble of gaunt brown fells, divided by ravines
whose sides are scarred with runnels of water, which have exposed the
rocks and left miniature screes down below. At a height of nearly 1,600
feet there is a gate, where we will turn away from the road that goes
on past Dodd Fell into Langstrothdale, and instead climb a smooth grass
track sprinkled with half-buried rocks until we have reached the summit
of Wether Fell, 400 feet higher. There is a scanty growth of ling upon
the top of this height, but the hills that lie about on every side are
browny-green or of an ochre colour, and there is little of the purple
one sees in the Cleveland Hills.

The cultivated level of Wensleydale is quite hidden from view, so that
we look over a vast panorama of mountains extending in the west as far
as the blue fells of Lakeland. I have painted the westward view from
this very summit, so that any written description is hardly needed; but
behind us, as we face the scene illustrated here, there is a wonderful
expanse that includes the heights of Addlebrough, Stake Fell, and
Penhill Beacon, which stand out boldly on the southern side of
Wensleydale. I have seen these hills lightly covered with snow, but
that can give scarcely the smallest suggestion of the scene that was
witnessed after the remarkable snowstorm of January, 1895, which
blocked the roads between Wensleydale and Swaledale until nearly the
middle of March. Roads were dug out, with walls of snow on either side
from 10 to 15 feet in height, but the wind and fresh falls almost
obliterated the passages soon after they had been cut. In
Landstrothdale Mr. Speight tells of the extraordinary difficulties of
the dalesfolk in the farms and cottages, who were faced with starvation
owing to the difficulty of getting in provisions. They cut ways through
the drifts as high as themselves in the direction of the likeliest
places to obtain food, while in Swaledale they built sledges.

When we have left the highest part of Wether Fell, we find the track
taking a perfectly straight line between stone walls. The straightness
is so unusual that there can be little doubt that it is a survival of
one of the Roman ways connecting their station on Brough Hill, just
above the village of Bainbridge, with some place to the south-west. The
track goes right over Cam Fell, and is known as the Old Cam Road, but I
cannot recommend it for any but pedestrians. When we have descended
only a short distance, there is a sudden view of Semmerwater, the only
piece of water in Yorkshire that really deserves to be called a lake.
It is a pleasant surprise to discover this placid patch of blue lying
among the hills, and partially hidden by a fellside in such a way that
its area might be far greater than 105 acres.

Those who know Turner's painting of this lake would be disappointed, no
doubt, if they saw it first from this height. The picture was made at
the edge of the water with the Carlow Stone in the foreground, and over
the mountains on the southern shore appears a sky that would make the
dullest potato-field thrilling.

A short distance lower down, by straying a little from the road, we get
a really imposing view of Bardale, into which the ground falls suddenly
from our very feet. Sheep scamper nimbly down their convenient little
tracks, but there are places where water that overflows from the pools
among the bent and ling has made blue-grey seams and wrinkles in the
steep places that give no foothold even to the toughest sheep.

We lose sight of Semmerwater behind the ridge that forms one side of
the branch dale in which it lies, but in exchange we get beautiful
views of the sweeping contours of Wensleydale. High upon the further
side of the valley Askrigg's gray roofs and pretty church stand out
against a steep fellside; further down we can see Nappa Hall,
surrounded by trees, just above the winding river, and Bainbridge lies
close at hand. We soon come to the broad and cheerful green, surrounded
by a picturesque scattering of old but well preserved cottages; for
Bainbridge has sufficient charms to make it a pleasant inland resort
for holiday times that is quite ideal for those who are content to
abandon the sea. The overflow from Semmerwater, which is called the
Bam, fills the village with its music as it falls over ledges or rock
in many cascades along one side of the green.

There is a steep bridge, which is conveniently placed for watching the
waterfalls; there are white geese always drilling on the grass, and
there are still to be seen the upright stones of the stocks. The pretty
inn called the 'Rose and Crown,' overlooking a corner of the green
states upon a board that it was established in 1445.

A horn-blowing custom has been preserved at Bainbridge. It takes place
at ten o'clock every night between Holy Rood (September 27) and
Shrovetide, but somehow the reason for the observance has been
forgotten. The medieval regulations as to the carrying of horns by
foresters and those who passed through forests would undoubtedly
associate the custom with early times, and this happy old village
certainly gains our respect for having preserved anything from such a
remote period. When we reach Bolton Castle we shall find in the museum
there an old horn from Bainbridge.

Besides having the length and breadth of Wensleydale to explore with or
without the assistance of the railway, Bainbridge has as its particular
possession the valley containing Semmerwater, with the three romantic
dales at its head. Counterside, a hamlet perched a little above the
lake, has an old hall, where George Fox stayed in 1677 as a guest of
Richard Robinson. The inn bears the date 1667 and the initials
'B.H.J.,' which may be those of one of the Jacksons, who were Quakers
at that time.

On the other side of the river, and scarcely more than a mile from
Bainbridge, is the little town of Askrigg, which supplies its neighbour
with a church and a railway-station. There is a charm in its breezy
situation that is ever present, for even when we are in the narrow
little street that curves steeply up the hill there are quite
exhilarating peeps of the dale. We can see Wether Fell, with the road
we traversed yesterday plainly marked on the slopes, and down below,
where the Ure takes its way through bright pastures, there is a mist of
smoke ascending from Hawes. Blocking up the head of the dale are the
spurs of Dodd and Widdale Fells, while beyond them appears the blue
summit of Bow Fell. We find it hard to keep our eyes away from the
distant mountains, which fascinate one by appearing to have an
importance that is perhaps diminished when they are close at hand.

We find ourselves halting on a patch of grass by the restored
market-cross to look more closely at a fine old house overlooking the
three-sided space. There is no doubt as to the date of the building,
for a plain inscription begins 'Gulielmus Thornton posuit hanc domum
MDCLXXVIII.' The bay windows have heavy mullions and there is a dignity
about the house which must have been still more apparent when the
surrounding houses were lower than at present. The wooden gallery that
is constructed between the bays was, it is said, built as a convenient
place for watching the bull-fights that took place just below. In the
grass there can still be seen the stone to which the bull-ring was
secured. The churchyard runs along the west side of the little
market-place, so that there is an open view on that side, made
interesting by the Perpendicular church.

The simple square tower and the unbroken roof-lines are battlemented,
like so many of the churches of the dales; inside we find Norman
pillars that are quite in strange company, if it is true that they were
brought from the site of Fors Abbey, a little to the west of the town.

Wensleydale generally used to be famed for its hand-knitting, but I
think Askrigg must have turned out more work than any place in the
valley, for the men as well as the womenfolk were equally skilled in
this employment, and Mr. Whaley says they did their work in the open
air 'while gossiping with their neighbours.' This statement is,
nevertheless, exceeded by what appears in a volume entitled 'The
Costume of Yorkshire.' In that work of 1814, which contains a number of
George Walker's quaint drawings, reproduced by lithography, we find a
picture having a strong suggestion of Askrigg in which there is a
group of old and young of both sexes seated on the steps of the
market-cross, all knitting, and a little way off a shepherd is seen
driving some sheep through a gate, and he also is knitting.

From Askrigg there is a road that climbs up from the end of the little
street at a gradient that looks like 1 in 4, but it is really less
formidable. Considering its steepness the surface is quite good, but
that is due to the industry of a certain road-mender with whom I once
had the privilege to talk when, hot and breathless, I paused to enjoy
the great expanse that lay to the south. He was a fine Saxon type, with
a sunburnt face and equally brown arms. Road-making had been his ideal
when he was a mere boy, and since he had obtained his desire he told me
that he couldn't be happier if he were the King of England. The
picturesque road where we leave him, breaking every large stone he can
find, goes on across a belt of brown moor, and then drops down between
gaunt scars that only just leave space for the winding track to pass
through. It afterwards descends rapidly by the side of a gill, and thus
enters Swaledale.

There is a beautiful walk from Askrigg to Mill Gill Force. The distance
is scarcely more than half a mile across sloping pastures and through
the curious stiles that appear in the stone walls. So dense is the
growth of trees in the little ravine that one hears the sound of the
waters close at hand without seeing anything but the profusion of
foliage overhanging and growing among the rocks. After climbing down
among the moist ferns and moss-grown stones, the gushing cascades
appear suddenly set in a frame of such lavish beauty that they hold a
high place among their rivals in the dale.

Keeping to the north side of the river, we come to Nappa Hall at a
distance of a little over a mile to the east of Askrigg. It is now a
farmhouse, but its two battlemented towers proclaim its former
importance as the chief seat of the family of Metcalfe. The date of the
house is about 1459, and the walls of the western tower are 4 feet in
thickness. The Nappa lands came to James Metcalfe from Sir Richard
Scrope of Bolton Castle shortly after his return to England from the
field of Agincourt, and it was probably this James Metcalfe who built
the existing house.

The road down the dale passes Woodhall Park, and then, after going down
close to the Ure, it bears away again to the little village of
Carperby. It has a triangular green surrounded by white posts. At the
east end stands an old cross, dated 1674, and the ends of the arms are
ornamented with grotesque carved heads. The cottages have a neat and
pleasant appearance, and there is much less austerity about the place
than one sees higher up the dale. A branch road leads down to Aysgarth
Station, and just where the lane takes a sharp bend to the right a
footpath goes across a smooth meadow to the banks of the Ure. The
rainfall of the last few days, which showed itself at Mill Gill Force,
at Hardraw Scar, and a dozen other falls, has been sufficient to swell
the main stream at Wensleydale into a considerable flood, and behind
the bushes that grow thickly along the riverside we can hear the steady
roar of the cascades of Aysgarth. The waters have worn down the rocky
bottom to such an extent that in order to stand in full view of the
splendid fall we must make for a gap in the foliage, and scramble down
some natural steps in the wall of rock forming low cliffs along each
side of the flood. The water comes over three terraces of solid stone,
and then sweeps across wide ledges in a tempestuous sea of waves and
froth, until there come other descents which alter the course of parts
of the stream, so that as we look across the riotous flood we can see
the waters flowing in many opposite directions. Lines of cream-coloured
foam spread out into chains of bubbles which join together, and then,
becoming detached, again float across the smooth portions of each low
terrace.

Some footpaths bring us to Aysgarth village, which seems altogether to
disregard the church, for it is separated from it by a distance of
nearly half a mile. There is one pleasant little street of old stone
houses irregularly disposed, many of them being quite picturesque, with
mossy roofs and ancient chimneys. This village, like Askrigg and
Bainbridge, is ideally situated as a centre for exploring a very
considerable district. There is quite a network of roads to the south,
connecting the villages of Thoralby and West Burton with Bishop Dale,
and the main road through Wensleydale. Thoralby is very old, and is
beautifully situated under a steep hillside. It has a green overlooked
by little grey cottages, and lower down there is a tall mill with
curious windows built upon Bishop Dale Beck. Close to this mill there
nestles a long, low house of that dignified type to be seen frequently
in the North Riding, as well as in the villages of Westmorland. The
huge chimney, occupying a large proportion of one gable-end, is
suggestive of much cosiness within, and its many shoulders, by which it
tapers towards the top, make it an interesting feature of the house.

The dale narrows up at its highest point, but the road is enclosed
between grey walls the whole of the way over the head of the valley. A
wide view of Langstrothdale and upper Wharfedale is visible when the
road begins to drop downwards, and to the east Buckden Pike towers up
to his imposing height of 2,302 feet. We shall see him again when we
make our way through Wharfedale but we could go back to Wensleydale by
a mountain-path that climbs up the side of Cam Gill Beck from
Starbottom, and then, crossing the ridge between Buckden Pike and Tor
Mere Top, it goes down into the wild recesses of Waldendale. So remote
is this valley that wild animals, long extinct in other parts of the
dales, survived there until almost recent times.

When we have crossed the Ure again, and taken a last look at the Upper
Fall from Aysgarth Bridge, we betake ourselves by a footpath to the
main highway through Wensleydale, turning aside before reaching Redmire
in order to see the great castle of the Scropes at Bolton. It is a vast
quadrangular mass, with each side nearly as gaunt and as lofty as the
others. At each corner rises a great square tower, pierced, with a few
exceptions, by the smallest of windows. Only the base of the tower at
the north-east corner remains to-day, the upper part having fallen one
stormy night in November, 1761, possibly having been weakened during
the siege of the castle in the Civil War. We go into the court-yard
through a vaulted archway on the eastern side. Many of the rooms on the
side facing us are in good preservation, and an apartment in the
south-west tower, which has a fireplace, is pointed out as having been
used by Mary Queen of Scots when she was imprisoned here after the
Battle of Langside in 1568. It was the ninth Lord Scrope who had the
custody of the Queen, and he was assisted by Sir Francis Knollys. Mary,
no doubt, found the time of her imprisonment irksome enough, despite
the magnificent views over the dale which her windows appear to have
commanded; but the monotony was relieved to some extent by the lessons
in English which she received from Sir Francis, whom she describes as
her 'good schoolmaster.' While still a prisoner, Mary addressed to him
her first English letter, which begins: 'Master Knollys, I heve sum neus
from Scotland'; and half-way through she begs that he will excuse her
writing, seeing that she had 'neuur vsed it afor,' and was 'hestet.'
The letter concludes with 'thus, affter my commendations, I prey God
heuu you in his kipin. Your assured gud frind, MARIE R.'

On the opposite side of the steep-sided dale Penhill stands out
prominently, with its flat summit reflecting just enough of the setting
sun to recall a momentous occasion when from that commanding spot a
real beacon-fire sent up a great mass of flame and sparks. It was
during the time of Napoleon's threatened invasion of England, and the
lighting of this beacon was to be the signal to the volunteers of
Wensleydale to muster and march to their rendezvous. The watchman on
Penhill, as he sat by the piled-up brushwood, wondering, no doubt, what
would happen to him if the dreaded invasion were really to come about,
saw, far away across the Vale of Mowbray, a light which he at once took
to be the beacon upon Roseberry Topping. A moment later tongues of
flame and smoke were pouring from his own hilltop, and the news spread
up the dale like wildfire. The volunteers armed themselves rapidly, and
with drums beating they marched away, with only such delay as was
caused by the hurried leave-takings with wives and mothers, and all the
rest who crowded round. The contingent took the road to Thirsk, and on
the way were joined by the Mashamshire men. Whether it was with relief
or disappointment I do not know; but when the volunteers reached Thirsk
they heard that they had been called out by a false alarm, for the
light seen in the direction of Roseberry Topping had been caused by
accident, and the beacon on that height had not been lit.

Wensley stands just at the point where the dale, to which it has given
its name, becomes so wide that it begins to lose its distinctive
character. The village is most picturesque and secluded, and it is
small enough to cause some wonder as to its distinction in naming the
valley. It is suggested that the name is derived from _Wodenslag_,
and that in the time of the Northmen's occupation of these parts the
place named after their chief god would be the most important.

In the little church standing on the south side of the green there is
so much to interest us that we are almost unable to decide what to
examine first, until, realizing that we are brought face to face with a
beautiful relic of Easby Abbey, we turn our attention to the parclose
screen. It surrounds the family pew of Bolton Hall, and on three sides
we see the Perpendicular woodwork fitted into the east end of the north
aisle. The side that fronts the nave has an entirely different
appearance, being painted and of a classic order, very lacking in any
ecclesiastical flavour, an impression not lost on those who, with every
excuse, called it 'the opera box.' In the panels of the early part of
the screen are carved inscriptions and arms of the Scropes covering a
long period, and, though many words and letters are missing, it is
possible to make them more complete with the help of the record made by
the heralds in 1665.

A charming lane, overhung by big trees, runs above the river-banks for
nearly two miles of the way to Middleham; then it joins the road from
Leyburn, and crosses the Ure by a suspension bridge, defended by two
very formidable though modern archways. Climbing up past the church, we
enter the cobbled market-place, which wears a rather decayed appearance
in sympathy with the departed magnificence of the great castle of the
Nevilles. It commands a vast view of Wensleydale from the southern
side, in much the same manner as Bolton does from the north; but the
castle buildings are entirely different, for Middleham consists of a
square Norman keep, very massive and lofty, surrounded at a short
distance by a strong wall and other buildings, also of considerable
height, built in the Decorated period, when the Nevilles were in
possession of the stronghold. The Norman keep dates from the year 1190,
when Robert Fitz Randolph, grandson of Ribald, a brother of the Earl of
Richmond, began to build the Castle.

It was, however, in later times, when Middleham had come to the
Nevilles by marriage, that really notable events took place in this
fortress. It was here that Warwick, the 'King-maker,' held Edward IV.
prisoner in 1467, and in Part III. of the play of 'King Henry VI.,'
Scene V. of the fourth act is laid in a park near Middleham Castle.
Richard III.'s only son, Edward Prince of Wales, was born here in 1467,
the property having come into Richard's possession by his marriage with
Anne Neville.

We have already seen Leyburn Shawl from near Wensley, but its charm can
only be appreciated by seeing the view up the dale from its
larch-crowned termination. Perhaps if we had seen nothing of
Wensleydale, and the wonderful views it offers, we should be more
inclined to regard this somewhat popular spot with greater veneration;
but after having explored both sides of the dale, and seen many views
of a very similar character, we cannot help thinking that the vista is
somewhat overrated. Leyburn itself is a cheerful little town, with a
modern church and a very wide main street which forms a most extensive
market-place. There is a bull-ring still visible in the great open
space, but beyond this and the view from the Shawl Leyburn has few
attractions, except its position as a centre or a starting-place from
which to explore the romantic neighbourhood.

As we leave Leyburn we get a most beautiful view up Coverdale, with the
two Whernsides standing out most conspicuously at the head of the
valley, and it is this last view of Coverdale, and the great valley
from which it branches, that remains in the mind as one of the finest
pictures of this most remarkable portion of Yorkshire.




CHAPTER XIV

RIPON AND FOUNTAINS ABBEY


We have come out of Wensleydale past the ruins of the great Cistercian
abbey of Jervaulx, which Conan, Earl of Richmond, moved from Askrigg to
a kindlier climate, and we have passed through the quiet little town of
Masham, famous for its fair in September, when sometimes as many as
70,000 sheep, including great numbers of the fine Wensleydale breed,
are sold, and now we are at Ripon. It is the largest town we have seen
since we lost sight of Richmond in the wooded recesses of Swaledale,
and though we are still close to the Ure, we are on the very edge of
the dale country, and miss the fells that lie a little to the west. The
evening has settled down to steady rain, and the market-place is
running with water that reflects the lights in the shop-windows and
the dark outline of the obelisk in the centre. This erection is
suspiciously called 'the Cross,' and it made its appearance nearly
seventy years before the one at Richmond. Gent says it cost L564 11s.
9d., and that it is 'one of the finest in England.' I could, no doubt,
with the smallest trouble discover a description of the real cross it
supplanted, but if it were anything half as fine as the one at
Richmond, I should merely be moved to say harsh things of John
Aislabie, who was Mayor in 1702, when the obelisk was erected, and
therefore I will leave the matter to others. It is, perhaps, an
un-Christian occupation to go about the country quarrelling with the
deeds of recent generations, though I am always grateful for any traces
of the centuries that have gone which have been allowed to survive.
With this thought still before me, I am startled by a long-drawn-out
blast on a horn, and, looking out of my window, which commands the
whole of the market-place, I can see beneath the light of a lamp an
old-fashioned figure wearing a three-cornered hat. When the last
quavering note has come from the great circular horn, the man walks
slowly across the wet cobble-stones to the obelisk, where I watch him
wind another blast just like the first, and then another, and then a
third, immediately after which he walks briskly away and disappears
down a turning. In the light of morning I discover that the horn was
blown in front of the Town Hall, whose stucco front bears the
inscription: 'Except ye Lord keep ye cittie, ye Wakeman waketh in
vain.' The antique spelling is, of course, unable to give a wrong
impression as to the age of the building, for it shows its period so
plainly that one scarcely needs to be told that it was built in 1801,
although it could not so easily be attributed to the notorious Wyatt.
Notwithstanding much reconstruction there are still a few quaint houses
to be seen in Ripon, and there clings to the streets a certain flavour
of antiquity. It is the minster, nevertheless, that raises the 'city'
above the average Yorkshire town. The west front, with its twin towers,
is to some extent the most memorable portion of the great church. It is
the work of Archbishop Walter Gray, and is a most beautiful example of
the pure Early English style. Inside there is a good deal of
transitional Norman work to be seen. The central tower was built in
this period, but now presents a most remarkable appearance, owing to
its partial reconstruction in Perpendicular times, the arch that faces
the nave having the southern pier higher than the Norman one, and in
the later style, so that the arch is lop-sided. As a building in which
to study the growth of English Gothic architecture, I can scarcely
think it possible to find anything better, all the periods being very
clearly represented. The choir has much sumptuous carved woodwork, and
the misereres are full of quaint detail. In the library there is a
collection of very early printed books and other relics of the minster
that add very greatly to the interest of the place.

The monument to Hugh Ripley, who was the last Wakeman of Ripon and
first Mayor in 1604, is on the north side of the nave facing the
entrance to the crypt, popularly called 'St. Wilfrid's Needle.' A
rather difficult flight of steps goes down to a narrow passage leading
into a cylindrically vaulted cell with niches in the walls. At the
north-east corner is the curious slit or 'Needle' that has been thought
to have been used for purposes of trial by ordeal, the innocent person
being able to squeeze through the narrow opening.

In reality it is probably nothing more than an arrangement for lighting
two cells with one lamp. The crypt is of such a plainly Roman type, and
is so similar to the one at Hexham, that it is generally accepted as
dating from the early days of Christianity in Yorkshire, and there can
be little doubt that it is a relic of Wilfrid's church in those early
times.

At a very convenient distance from Ripon, and approached by a pleasant
lane, are the lovely glades of Studley Royal, the noble park containing
the ruins of Fountains Abbey. Below the well-kept pathway runs the
Skell, but so transformed from its early character that you would
imagine the pathways wind round the densely-wooded slopes, and give a
dozen different views of each mass of trees, each temple, and each bend
of the river. At last, from a considerable height, you have the lovely
view of the abbey ruins illustrated here. At every season its charm is
unmistakable, and even if no stately tower and no roofless arches
filled the centre of the prospect, the scene would be almost as
memorable. It is only one of the many pictures in the park that a
retentive memory will hold as some of the most remarkable in England.

Among the ruins the turf is kept in perfect order, and it is pleasant
merely to look upon the contrast of the green carpet that is so evenly
laid between the dark stonework. The late-Norman nave, with its solemn
double line of round columns, the extremely graceful arches of the
Chapel of the Nine Altars, and the magnificent vaulted perspective of
the dark cellarium of the lay-brothers, are perhaps the most
fascinating portions of the buildings. I might be well compared with
the last abbot but one, William Thirsk, who resigned his post,
forseeing the coming Dissolution, and was therefore called 'a varra
fole and a misereble ideote,' if I attempted in the short space
available to give any detailed account of the abbey or its wonderful
past. I have perhaps said enough to insist on its charms, and I know
that all who endorse my statements will, after seeing Fountains, read
with delight the books that are devoted to its story.




CHAPTER XV

KNARESBOROUGH AND HARROGATE


It is sometimes said that Knaresborough is an overrated town from the
point of view of its attractiveness to visitors, but this depends very
much upon what we hope to find there. If we expect to find lasting
pleasure in contemplating the Dropping Well, or the pathetic little
exhibition of petrified objects in the Mother Shipton Inn, we may be
prepared for disappointment. It seems strange that the real and lasting
charms of the town should be overshadowed by such popular and
much-advertised 'sights.' The first view of the town from the 'high'
bridge is so full of romance that if there were nothing else to
interest us in the place we would scarcely be disappointed. The Nidd,
flowing smoothly at the foot of the precipitous heights upon which the
church and the old roofs appear, is spanned by a great stone viaduct.
This might have been so great a blot upon the scene that Knaresborough
would have lost half its charm. Strangely enough, we find just the
reverse is the case, for this railway bridge, with its battlemented
parapets and massive piers, is now so weathered that it has melted into
its surroundings as though it had come into existence as long ago as
the oldest building visible. The old Knaresborough kept well to the
heights adjoining the castle, and even to-day there are only a handful
of later buildings down by the river margin.

When we have crossed the bridge, and have passed along a narrow roadway
perched well above the river, we come to one of the many interesting
houses that help to keep alive the old-world flavour of the town. Only
a few years ago the old manor-house had a most picturesque and rather
remarkable exterior, for its plaster walls were covered with a large
black and white chequer-work and its overhanging eaves and tailing
creepers gave it a charm that has since then been quite lost. The
restoration which recently took place has entirely altered the
character of the exterior, but inside everything has been preserved
with just the care that should have been expended outside as well.
There are oak-wainscoted parlours, oak dressers, and richly-carved
fireplaces in the low-ceiled rooms, each one containing furniture of
the period of the house. Upstairs there is a beautiful old bedroom
lined with oak, like those on the floor below, and its interest is
greatly enhanced by the story of Oliver Cromwell's residence in the
house, for he is believed to have used this particular bedroom.

Higher up the hill stands the church with a square central tower
surmounted by a small spike. It still bears the marks of the fire made
by the Scots during their disastrous descent upon Yorkshire after
Edward II.'s defeat at Bannockburn. The chapel north of the chancel
contains interesting monuments of the old Yorkshire family of Slingsby.
The altar-tomb in the centre bears the recumbent effigies of Francis
Slingsby, who died in 1600, and Mary his wife. Another monument shows
Sir William Slingsby, who accidentally discovered the first spring at
Harrogate. The Slingsbys, who were cavaliers, produced a martyr in the
cause of Charles I. This was the distinguished Sir Henry, who, in 1658,
'being beheaded by order of the tyrant Cromwell, ... was translated to
a better place.' So says the inscription on a large slab of black
marble in the floor of the chapel. The last of the male line of the
family was Sir Charles Slingsby, who was most unfortunately drowned by
the upsetting of a ferry-boat in the Ure in February, 1869.

When we have progressed beyond the market-place, we come out upon an
elevated grassy space upon the top of a great mass of rock whose
perpendicular sides drop down to a bend of the Nidd. Around us are
scattered the ruins of Knaresborough Castle--poor and of small account
if we compare them with Richmond, although the site is very similar;
where before the siege in 1644 there must have been a most imposing
mass of towers and curtain walls. Of the great keep, only the lowest
story is at all complete, for above the first-floor there are only two
sides to the tower, and these are battered and dishevelled. The walls
enclosed about the same area as Richmond, but they are now so greatly
destroyed that it is not easy to gain a clear idea of their position.
There were no less than eleven towers, of which there now remain
fragments of six, part of a gateway, and behind the old courthouse
there are evidences of a secret cell. An underground sally-port opening
into the moat, which was a dry one, is reached by steps leading from
the castle yard.

The keep is in the Decorated style, and appears to have been built in
the reign of Edward II. Below the ground is a vaulted dungeon, dark and
horrible in its hopeless strength, which is only emphasized by the tiny
air-hole that lets in scarcely a glimmering of light, but reveals a
thickness of 15 feet of masonry that must have made a prisoner's heart
sick. It is generally understood that Bolingbroke spared Richard II.
such confinement as this, and that when he was a prisoner in the keep
he occupied the large room on the floor above the kitchen. It is now a
mere platform, with the walls running up on two sides only. The kitchen
(sometimes called the guard-room) has a perfectly preserved roof of
heavy groining, supported by two pillars, and it contains a collection
of interesting objects, rather difficult to see, owing to the poor
light that the windows allow. There is a great deal to interest us
among the wind-swept ruins and the views into the wooded depths of the
Nidd, and we would rather stay here and trace back the history of the
castle and town to the days of that Norman Serlo de Burgh, who is the
first mentioned in its annals, than go down to the tripper-worn
Dropping Well and the Mother Shipton Inn.

The distance between Knaresborough and Harrogate is short, and after
passing Starbeck we come to an extensive common known as the Stray. We
follow the grassy space, when it takes a sharp turn to the north, and
are soon in the centre of the great watering-place.

There is one spot in Harrogate that has a suggestion of the early days
of the town. It is down in the corner where the valley gardens almost
join the extremity of the Stray. There we find the Royal Pump Room that
made its appearance in early Victorian times, and its circular counter
is still crowded every morning by a throng of water-drinkers. We wander
through the hilly streets and gaze at the pretentious hotels, the
baths, the huge Kursaal, the hydropathic establishments, the smart
shops, and the many churches, and then, having seen enough of the
buildings, we find a seat supported by green serpents, from which to
watch the passers-by. A white-haired and withered man, having the stamp
of a military life in his still erect bearing, paces slowly by; then
come two elaborately dressed men of perhaps twenty-five. They wear
brown suits and patent boots, and their bowler hats are pressed down on
the backs of their heads. Then nursemaids with perambulators pass,
followed by a lady in expensive garments, who talks volubly to her two
pretty daughters. When we have tired of the pavements and the people,
we bid farewell to them without much regret, being in a mood for
simplicity and solitude, and go away towards Wharfedale with the
pleasant tune that a band was playing still to remind us for a time of
the scenes we have left behind.




CHAPTER XVI

WHARFEDALE


Otley is the first place we come to in the long and beautiful valley of
the Wharfe. It is a busy little town where printing machinery is
manufactured and worsted mills appear to thrive. Immediately to the
south rises the steep ridge known as the Chevin. It answers the same
purpose as Leyburn Shawl in giving a great view over the dale; the
elevation of over 900 feet, being much greater than the Shawl, of
course commands a far more extensive panorama, and thus, in clear
weather, York Minster appears on the eastern horizon and the Ingleton
Fells on the west.

Farnley Hall, on the north side of the Wharfe, is an Elizabethan house
dating from 1581, and it is still further of interest on account of
Turner's frequent visits, covering a great number of years, and for the
very fine collection of his paintings preserved there. The
oak-panelling and coeval furniture are particularly good, and among the
historical relics there is a remarkable memento of Marston Moor in the
sword that Cromwell carried during the battle.

Ilkley has contrived to keep an old well-house, where the water's
purity is its chief attraction. The church contains a thirteenth-
century effigy of Sir Andrew de Middleton, and also three
pre-Norman crosses without arms. On the heights to the south of Ilkley
is Rumbles Moor, and from the Cow and Calf rocks there is a very fine
view.

About six miles still further up Wharfedale, Bolton Abbey stands by a
bend of the beautiful river. The ruins are most picturesquely placed on
ground slightly raised above the banks of the Wharfe. Of the domestic
buildings practically nothing remains, while the choir of the church,
the central tower, and north transepts are roofless and extremely
beautiful ruins. The nave is roofed in, and is used as a church at the
present time, and it is probable that services have been held in the
building practically without any interruption for 700 years. Hiding the
Early English west end is the lower half of a fine Perpendicular tower,
commenced by Richard Moone, the last Prior.

The great east window of the choir has lost its tracery, and the
Decorated windows at the sides are in the same vacant state, with the
exception of one. It is blocked up to half its height, like those on
the north side, but the flamboyant tracery of the head is perfect and
very graceful. Lower down there is some late-Norman interlaced arcading
resting on carved corbels.

From the abbey we can take our way by various beautiful paths to the
exceedingly rich scenery of Bolton woods. Some of the reaches of the
Wharfe through this deep and heavily-timbered part of its course are
really enchanting, and not even the knowledge that excursion parties
frequently traverse the paths can rob the views of their charm. It is
always possible, by taking a little trouble, to choose occasions for
seeing these beautiful but very popular places when they are unspoiled
by the sights and sounds of holiday-makers, and in the autumn, when the
woods have an almost undreamed-of brilliance, the walks and drives are
generally left to the birds and the rabbits. At the Strid the river,
except in flood-times, is confined to a deep channel through the rocks,
in places scarcely more than a yard in width. It is one of those spots
that accumulate stories and legends of the individuals who have lost
their lives, or saved them, by endeavouring to leap the narrow channel.
That several people have been drowned here is painfully true, for the
temptation to try the seemingly easy but very risky jump is more than
many can resist.

Higher up, the river is crossed by the three arches of Barden Bridge, a
fine old structure bearing the inscription: 'This bridge was repayred
at the charge of the whole West R ... 1676.' To the south of the bridge
stands the picturesque Tudor house called Barden Tower, which was at
one time a keeper's lodge in the manorial forest of Wharfedale. It was
enlarged by the tenth Lord Clifford--the 'Shepherd Lord' whose strange
life-story is mentioned in the next chapter in connection with
Skipton--but having become ruinous, it was repaired in 1658 by that
indefatigable restorer of the family castles, the Lady Anne Clifford.

At this point there is a road across the moors to Pateley Bridge, in
Nidderdale, and if we wish to explore that valley, which is now
partially filled with a lake formed by the damming of the Nidd for
Bradford's water-supply, we must leave the Wharfe at Barden. If we keep
to the more beautiful dale we go on through the pretty village of
Burnsall to Grassington, where a branch railway has recently made its
appearance from Skipton.

The dale from this point appears more and more wild, and the fells
become gaunt and bare, with scars often fringing the heights on either
side. We keep to the east side of the river, and soon after having a
good view up Littondale, a beautiful branch valley, we come to
Kettlewell. This tidy and cheerful village stands at the foot of Great
Whernside, one of the twin fells that we saw overlooking the head of
Coverdale when we were at Middleham. Its comfortable little inns make
Kettlewell a very fine centre for rambles in the wild dales that run up
towards the head of Wharfedale.

Buckden is a small village situated at the junction of the road from
Aysgarth, and it has the beautiful scenery of Langstrothdale Chase
stretching away to the west. About a mile higher up the dale we come to
the curious old church of Hubberholme standing close to the river, and
forming a most attractive picture in conjunction with the bridge and
the masses of trees just beyond. At Raisgill we leave the road, which,
if continued, would take us over the moors by Dodd Fell, and then down
to Hawes. The track goes across Horse Head Moor, and it is so very
slightly marked on the bent that we only follow it with difficulty. It
is steep in places, for in a short distance it climbs up to nearly
2,000 feet. The tawny hollows in the fell-sides, and the utter wildness
spread all around, are more impressive when we are right away from
anything that can even be called a path.

When we reach the highest point before the rapid descent into
Littondale we have another great view, with Pen-y-ghent close at hand
and Fountains Fell more to the south.




CHAPTER XVII

SKIPTON, MALHAM AND GORDALE


When I think of Skipton I am never quite sure whether to look upon it
as a manufacturing centre or as one of the picturesque market towns of
the dale country. If you arrive by train, you come out of the station
upon such vast cotton-mills, and such a strong flavour of the bustling
activity of the southern parts of Yorkshire, that you might easily
imagine that the capital of Craven has no part in any holiday-making
portion of the county. But if you come by road from Bolton Abbey, you
enter the place at a considerable height, and, passing round the margin
of the wooded Haw Beck, you have a fine view of the castle, as well as
the church and the broad and not unpleasing market-place.

The fine gateway of the castle is flanked by two squat towers. They are
circular and battlemented, and between them upon a parapet, which is
higher than the towers themselves, appears the motto of the Cliffords,
'Desormais' (hereafter), in open stone letters. Beyond the gateway
stands a great mass of buildings with two large round towers just in
front; to the right, across a sloping lawn, appears the more modern and
inhabited portion of the castle. The squat round towers gain all our
attention, but as we pass through the doorways into the courtyard
beyond, we are scarcely prepared for the astonishingly beautiful
quadrangle that awaits us. It is small, and the centre is occupied by a
great yew-tree, whose tall, purply-red trunk goes up to the level of
the roofs without any branches or even twigs, but at that height it
spreads out freely into a feathery canopy of dark green, covering
almost the whole of the square of sky visible from the courtyard. The
base of the trunk is surrounded by a massive stone seat, with plain
shields on each side. The aspect of the courtyard suggests more that of
a manor-house than a castle, the windows and doorways being purely
Tudor. The circular towers and other portions of the walls belong to
the time of Edward II., and there is also a round-headed door that
cannot be later than the time of Robert de Romille, one of the
Conqueror's followers. The rooms that overlook the shady quadrangle are
very much decayed and entirely unoccupied. They include an old
dining-hall of much picturesqueness, kitchens, pantries, and butteries,
some of them only lighted by very narrow windows. The destruction
caused during the siege which took place during the Civil War might
have brought Skipton Castle to much the same condition as Knaresborough
but for the wealth and energy of that remarkable woman Lady Anne
Clifford, who was born here in 1589. She was the only surviving child
of George, the third Earl of Cumberland, and grew up under the care of
her mother, Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, of whom Lady Anne used to
speak as 'my blessed mother.' After her first marriage with Richard
Sackville, Earl of Dorset, Lady Anne married the profligate Philip,
Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery. She was widowed a second time in 1649,
and after that began the period of her munificence and usefulness. With
immense enthusiasm, she undertook the work of repairing the castles
that belonged to her family, Brougham, Appleby, Barden Tower, and
Pendragon being restored as well as Skipton.

Besides attending to the decayed castles, the Countess repaired no less
than seven churches, and to her we owe the careful restoration of the
parish church of Skipton. She began the repairs to the sacred building
even before she turned her attention to the wants of the castle. In her
private memorials we read how, 'In the summer of 1665 ... at her own
charge, she caus'd the steeple of Skipton Church to be built up againe,
which was pull'd down in the time of the late Warrs, and leaded it
over, and then repaired some part of the Church and new glaz'd the
Windows, in ever of which Window she put quaries, stained with a yellow
colour, these two letters--viz., A. P., and under them the year
1655... Besides, she raised up a noble Tomb of Black Marble in memory
of her Warlike Father.' This magnificent altar-tomb still stands within
the Communion rails on the south side of the chancel. It is adorned
with seventeen shields, and Whitaker doubted 'whether so great an
assemblage of noble bearings can be found on the tomb of any other
Englishman.' This third Earl was a notable figure in the reign of
Elizabeth, and having for a time been a great favourite with the Queen,
he received many of the posts of honour she loved to bestow. He was a
skilful and daring sailor, helping to defeat the Spanish Armada, and
building at his own expense one of the greatest fighting ships of his
time.

The memorials of Lady Anne give a description of her appearance in the
manner of that time: "The colour of her eyes was black like her
Father's," we are told, "with a peak of hair on her forehead, and a
dimple in her chin, like her father. The hair of her head was brown and
very thick, and so long that it reached to the calf of her legs when
she stood upright."

We cannot leave these old towers of Skipton Castle without going back
to the days of John, the ninth Lord Clifford, that "Bloody Clifford"
who was one of the leaders of the Lancastrians at Wakefield, where his
merciless slaughter earned him the title of "the Butcher." He died by a
chance arrow the night before the Battle of Towton, so fatal to the
cause of Lancaster, and Lady Clifford and the children took refuge in
her father's castle at Brough. For greater safety Henry, the heir, was
placed under the care of a shepherd whose wife had nursed the boy's
mother when a child. In this way the future baron grew up as an
entirely uneducated shepherd lad, spending his days on the fells in the
primitive fashion of the peasants of the fifteenth century. When he was
about twelve years old Lady Clifford, hearing rumours that the
whereabouts of her children had become known, sent the shepherd and his
wife with the boy into an extremely inaccessible part of Cumberland. He
remained there until his thirty-second year, when the Battle of
Bosworth placed Henry VII on the throne. Then the shepherd lord was
brought to Londesborough, and when the family estates had been
restored, he went back to Skipton Castle. The strangeness of his new
life being irksome to him, Lord Clifford spent most of his time in
Barden Forest at one of the keeper's lodges, which he adapted for his
own use. There he hunted and studied astronomy and astrology with the
canons of Bolton.

At Flodden Field he led the men-at-arms from Craven, and showed that by
his life of extreme simplicity he had in no way diminished the
traditional valour of the Cliffords. When he died they buried him at
Bolton Abbey, where many of his ancestors lay, and as his successor
died after the dissolution of the monasteries, the "Shepherd Lord" was
the last to be buried in that secluded spot by the Wharfe.

Skipton has always been a central spot for the exploration of this
southern portion of the dales. To the north is Kirby Malham, a pretty
little village with green limestone hills rising on all sides; a
rushing beck coming off Kirby Fell takes its way past the church, and
there is an old vicarage as well as some picturesque cottages.

We find our way to a decayed lych-gate, whose stones are very black and
moss-grown, and then get a close view of the Perpendicular church. The
interior is full of interest, not only on account of the Norman font
and the canopied niches in the pillars of the nave, but also for the
old pews. The Malham people seemingly found great delight in recording
their names on the woodwork of the pews, for carefully carved initials
and dates appear very frequently. All the pews have been cut down to
the accepted height of the present day with the exception of some on
the north side which were occupied by the more important families, and
these still retain their squareness and the high balustrades above the
panelled lower portions.

Just under the moorland heights surrounding Malham Tarn is the other
village of Malham. It is a charming spot, even in the gloom of a wintry
afternoon. The houses look on to a strip of uneven green, cut in two,
lengthways, by the Aire. We go across the clear and sparkling waters by
a rough stone footbridge, and, making our way past a farm, find
ourselves in a few minutes at Gordale Bridge. Here we abandon the
switchback lane, and, climbing a wall, begin to make our way along the
side of the beck. The fells drop down fairly sharply on each side, and
in the failing light there seems no object in following the stream any
further, when quite suddenly the green slope on the right stands out
from a scarred wall of rock beyond, and when we are abreast of the
opening we find ourselves before a vast fissure that leads right into
the heart of the fell. The great split is S-shaped in plan, so that
when we advance into its yawning mouth we are surrounded by limestone
cliffs more than 300 feet high. If one visits Gordale Scar for the
first time alone on a gloomy evening, as I have done, I can promise the
most thrilling sensations to those who have yet to see this astonishing
sight. It almost appeared to me as though I were dreaming, and that I
was Aladdin approaching the magician's palace. I had read some of the
eighteenth-century writer's descriptions of the place, and imagined
that their vivid accounts of the terror inspired by the overhanging
rocks were mere exaggerations, but now I sympathize with every word.
The scars overhang so much on the east side that there is not much
space to get out of reach of the water that drips from every portion.
Great masses of stone were lying upon the bright strip of turf, and
among them I noticed some that could not have been there long; this
made me keep close under the cliff in justifiable fear of another fall.
I stared with apprehension at one rock that would not only kill, but
completely bury, anyone upon whom it fell, and I thought those old
writers had underrated the horrors of the place.

Wordsworth writes of

  "Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair Where the young lions couch,"

and he also describes it as one of the grandest objects in nature.

A further result of the Craven fault that produced Gordale Scar can be
seen at Malham Cove, about a mile away. There the cliff forms a curved
front 285 feet high, facing the open meadows down below. The limestone
is formed in layers of great thickness, dividing the face of the cliff
into three fairly equal sections, the ledges formed at the commencement
of each stratum allowing of the growth of bushes and small trees. A
hard-pressed fox is said to have taken refuge on one of these
precarious ledges, and finding his way stopped in front, he tried to
turn, and in doing so fell and was killed.

At the base of the perpendicular face of the cliff the Aire flows from
a very slightly arched recess in the rock. It is a really remarkable
stream in making its debut without the slightest fuss, for it is large
enough at its very birth to be called a small river. Its modesty is a
great loss to Yorkshire, for if, instead of gathering strength in the
hidden places in the limestone fells, it were to keep to more rational
methods, it would flow to the edge of the Cover, and there precipitate
itself in majestic fashion into a great pool below.




CHAPTER XVIII

SETTLE AND THE INGLETON FELLS


The track across the moor from Malham Cove to Settle cannot be
recommended to anyone at night, owing to the extreme difficulty of
keeping to the path without a very great familiarity with every yard of
the way, so that when I merely suggested taking that route one wintry
night the villagers protested vigorously. I therefore took the road
that goes up from Kirby Malham, having borrowed a large hurricane lamp
from the "Buck" Inn at Malham. Long before I reached the open moor I
was enveloped in a mist that would have made the track quite invisible
even where it was most plainly marked, and I blessed the good folk at
Malham who had advised me to take the road rather than run the risks of
the pot-holes that are a feature of the limestone fells. The little
town of Settle has a most distinctive feature in the possession of
Castleberg, a steep limestone hill, densely wooded except at the very
top, that rises sharply just behind the market-place. Before the trees
were planted there seems to have been a sundial on the side of the
hill, the precipitous scar on the top forming the gnomon. No one
remembers this curious feature, although a print showing the numbers
fixed upon the slope was published in 1778. The market-place has lost
its curious old tolbooth, and in its place stands a town hall of good
Tudor design. Departed also is much of the charm of the old Shambles
that occupy a central position in the square. The lower story, with big
arches forming a sort of piazza in front of the butcher's and other
shops, still remains in its old state, but the upper portion has been
restored in the fullest sense of that comprehensive term.

In the steep street that we came down on entering the town there may
still be seen a curious old tower, which seems to have forgotten its
original purpose. Some of the houses have carved stone lintels to their
doorways and seventeenth-century dates, while the stone figure on 'The
Naked Man' Inn, although bearing the date 1663, must be very much
older, the year of rebuilding being probably indicated rather than the
date of the figure.

The Ribble divides Settle from its former parish church at Giggleswick,
and until 1838 the townsfolk had to go over the bridge and along a
short lane to the village which held its church. Settle having been
formed into a separate parish, the parish clerk of the ancient village
no longer has the fees for funerals and marriages. Although able to
share the church, the two places had stocks of their own for a great
many years. At Settle they have been taken from the market square and
placed in the court-house, and at Giggleswick one of the first things
we see on entering the village is one of the stone posts of the stocks
standing by the steps of the market cross. This cross has a very well
preserved head, and it makes the foreground of a very pretty picture as
we look at the battlemented tower of the church through the
stone-roofed lichgate grown over with ivy. The history of this fine old
church, dedicated, like that of Middleham, to St Alkelda, has been
written by Mr. Thomas Brayshaw, who knows every detail of the old
building from the chalice inscribed "[Illustration] THE. COMMVNION.
CVPP. BELONGINGE. TO. THE. PARISHE. OF. IYGGELSWICKE. MADE. IN. ANO.
1585." to the inverted Norman capitals now forming the bases of the
pillars. The tower and the arcades date from about 1400, and the rest
of the structure is about 100 years older.

"The Black Horse" Inn has still two niches for small figures of saints,
that proclaim its ecclesiastical connections in early times. It is said
that in the days when it was one of the duties of the churchwardens to
see that no one was drinking there during the hours of service the
inspection used to last up to the end of the sermon, and that when the
custom was abolished the church officials regretted it exceedingly.
Giggleswick is also the proud possessor of a school founded in 1512. It
has grown from a very small beginning to a considerable establishment,
and it possesses one of the most remarkable school chapels that can be
seen anywhere in the country.

The greater part of this district of Yorkshire is composed of
limestone, forming bare hillsides honeycombed with underground waters
and pot-holes, which often lead down into the most astonishing caverns.
In Ingleborough itself there is Gaping Gill Hole, a vast fissure nearly
350 feet deep. It was only partially explored by M. Martel in 1895.
Ingleborough Cave penetrates into the mountain to a distance of nearly
1,000 yards, and is one of the best of these limestone caverns for its
stalactite formations. Guides take visitors from the village of Clapham
to the inmost recesses and chambers that branch out of the small
portion discovered in 1837.

In almost every direction there are opportunities for splendid mountain
walks, and if the tracks are followed the danger of hidden pot-holes is
comparatively small. From the summit of Ingleborough, and, indeed, from
most of the fells that reach 2,000 feet, there are magnificent views
across the brown fells, broken up with horizontal lines formed by the
bare rocky scars.




CHAPTER XIX

CONCERNING THE WOLDS


On wide uplands of chalk the air has a raciness, the sunlight a purity
and a sparkle, not to be found in lowlands. There may be no streams,
perhaps not even a pond; you may find few large trees, and scarcely any
parks; ruined abbeys and even castles may be conspicuously absent, and
yet the landscapes have a power of attracting and fascinating. This is
exactly the case with the Wolds of Yorkshire, and their characteristics
are not unlike the chalk hills of Sussex, or those great expanses of
windswept downs, where the weathered monoliths of Stonehenge have
resisted sun and storm for ages.

When we endeavour to analyse the power of attraction exerted by the
Wolds, we find it to exist in the sweeping outlines of the land with
scarcely a house to be seen for many miles, in the purity of the air
owing to the absence of smoke, in the brilliance of the sunlight due to
the whiteness of the roads and fields, and in the wonderful breezes
that for ever blow across pasture, stubble, and roots.

Above the eastern side of the valley, where the Derwent takes its deep
and sinuous course towards the alluvial lands, the chalk first makes
its appearance in the neighbourhood of Acklam, and farther north at
Wharram-le-Street, where picturesque hollows with precipitous sides
break up the edge of the cretaceous deposits. Eastwards the high
country, scarred here and there with gleaming chalk-pits, and netted
with roads of almost equal whiteness, continues to the great headland
of Flamborough, where the sea frets and fumes all the summer, and
lacerates the cliffs during the stormy months. The masses of flinty
chalk have shown themselves so capable of resisting the erosion of the
sea that the seaward termination of the Wolds has for many centuries
been becoming more and more a pronounced feature of the east coast of
England, and if the present rate of encroachment along the low shores
of Holderness is continued, this accentuation will become still more
conspicuous.

The open roads of the Wolds, bordered by bright green grass and hedges
that lean away from the direction of the prevailing wind, give wide
views to bare horizons, or glimpses beyond vast stretches of waving
corn, of distant country, blue and indistinct, and so different in
character from the immediate surroundings as to suggest the ocean.

At Flamborough the white cliffs, topped with the clay deposit of the
glacial ages, approach a height of 200 feet; but although the thickness
of the chalk is estimated to be from I,000 to I,500 feet, the greatest
height above sea-level is near Wilton Beacon, where the hills rise
sharply from the Vale of York to 808 feet, and the beacon itself is 23
feet lower. On this western side of the plateau the views are extremely
good, extending for miles across the flat green vale, where the Derwent
and the Ouse, having lost much of the light-heartedness and gaiety
characterizing their youth in the dales, take their wandering and
converging courses towards the Humber. In the distance you can
distinguish a group of towers, a stately blue-grey outline cutting into
the soft horizon. It is York Minster. To the north-west lie the
beautifully wooded hills that rise above the Derwent, and hold in their
embrace Castle Howard, Newburgh Priory, and many a stately park.

Towards the north the descents are equally sudden, and the panorama of
the Vale of Pickering, extending from the hills behind Scarborough to
Helmsley far away in the west, is most remarkable. Down below lies the
circumscribed plain, dead-level except for one or two isolated
hillocks. The soil is dark and rich, and there is a marshy appearance
everywhere, showing plainly the water-logged condition of the land even
at the present day.

There is scarcely a district in England to compare with the Yorkshire
Wolds for its remarkable richness in the remains of Early Man. As long
ago as the middle of last century, when archaeology was more of a
pastime than a science, this corner of the country had become famous
for the rich discoveries in tumuli made by a few local enthusiasts.

It has been suggested that the flint-bearing character of the Wolds
made this part of Yorkshire a district for the manufacture of
implements and weapons for the inhabitants of a much larger area, and
no doubt the possession of this ample supply of offensive material
would give the tribe in possession a power, wealth, and permanence
sufficient to account for the wonderful evidences of a great and
continuous population. In these districts it is only necessary to go
slowly over a ploughed field after a period of heavy rain to be fairly
certain to pick up a flint knife, a beautifully chipped arrow-head, or
an implement of less obvious purpose.

To those who have never taken any interest in the traces of Early Man
in this country, this may appear a musty subject, but to me it is quite
the reverse. The long lines of entrenchments, the round tumuli, and the
prehistoric sites generally--omitting lake dwellings--are most
invariably to be found upon high and windswept tablelands, wild or only
recently cultivated places, where the echoes have scarcely been
disturbed since the long-forgotten ages, when a primitive tribe mourned
the loss of a chieftain, or yelled defiance at their enemies from their
double or triple lines of defence.

In journeying in any direction through the Wolds it is impossible to
forget the existence of Early Man, for on the sky-line just above the
road will appear a row of two or three rounded projections from the
regular line of turf or stubble. They are burial-mounds that the plough
has never levelled--heaps of earth that have resisted the
disintegrating action of weather and man for thousands of years. If
such relics of the primitive inhabitants of this island fail to stir
the imagination, then the mustiness must exist in the unresponsive mind
rather than in the subject under discussion.

In making an exploration of the Wolds a good starting-place is the
old-fashioned town of Malton, whence railways radiate in five
directions, including the line to Great Driffield, which takes
advantage of the valley leading up to Wharram Percy, and there tunnels
its way through the high ground.

Choosing a day when the weather is in a congenial mood for rambling,
lingering, or picnicking, or, in other words, when the sun is not too
hot, nor the wind too cold, nor the sky too grey, we make our start
towards the hills. We go on wheels--it is unimportant how many, or to
what they are attached--in order that the long stretches of white road
may not become tedious. The stone bridge over the Derwent is crossed,
and, glancing back, we see the piled-up red roofs crowded along the
steep ground above the further bank, with the church raising its spire
high above its newly-restored nave. Then the wide street of Norton,
which is scarcely to be distinguished from Malton, being separated from
it only by the river, shuts in the view with its houses of whity-red
brick, until their place is taken by hedgerows. To the left stretches
the Vale of Pickering, still a little hazy with the remnants of the
night's mist. Straight ahead and to the right the ground rises up,
showing a wall chequered with cornfields and root-crops, with long
lines of plantations appearing like dark green caterpillars crawling
along the horizon.

The first village encountered is Rillington, with a church whose stone
spire and the tower it rests upon have the appearance of being copied
from Pickering. Inside there is an Early English font, and one of the
arcades of the nave belongs to the same period.

Turning southwards a mile or two further on, we pass through the pretty
village of Wintringham, and, when the cottages are passed, find the
church standing among trees where the road bends, its tower and spire
looking much like the one just left behind. The interior is
interesting. The pews are all of old panelled oak, unstained, and with
acorn knobs at the ends; the floor is entirely covered with glazed red
tiles. The late Norman chancel, the plain circular font of the same
period, and the massive altar-slab in the chapel, enclosed by wooden
screens on the north side, are the most notable features. Going to the
east we reach Helperthorpe, one of the Wold villages adorned with a new
church in the Decorated style. The village gained this ornament through
the generosity of the present Sir Tatton Sykes, of Sledmere, whose
enthusiasm for church building is not confined to one place. In his
own park at Sledmere four miles to the south, at West Lutton, East
Heslerton, and Wansford you may see other examples of modern church
building, in which the architect has not been hampered by having to
produce a certain accommodation at a minimum cost. And thus in these
villages the fact of possessing a modern church does not detract from
their charm; instead of doing so, the pilgrim in search of
ecclesiastical interest finds much to draw him to them.

As a contrast to Helperthorpe, the adjoining hamlet of Weaverthorpe has
a church of very early Norman or possibly Saxon date, and an inscribed
Saxon stone a century earlier than the one at Kirkdale, near Kirby
Moorside. The inscription is on a sundial over the south porch in both
churches; but while that of Kirkdale is quite complete and perfect,
this one has words missing at the beginning and end. Haigh suggests
that the half-destroyed words should read: "LIT OSCETVLI
ARCHIEPISCOPI." Then, without any doubt comes: "[ILLUSTRATION] IN:
HONORE: SCE: ANDREAE APOSTOLI: HEREBERTUS WINTONIE: HOC MONASTERIVM
FECIT: I IN TEMPORE REGN." Here the inscription suddenly stops and
leaves us in ignorance as to in whose time the monastery was built.
There seems little doubt at all that Father Haigh's suggested
completion of the sentence is correct, making it read: "IN TEMPORE
REGN[ALDI REGIS SECUNDI]," which would have just filled a complete
line.

The coins of Regnald II. of Northumbria bear Christian devices, and it
is known that he was confirmed in 942, while his predecessor of that
name appears to have been a pagan. If the restoration of the first
words of the inscription are correct, the stone cannot be placed
earlier than the year 952 (Dr. Stubbs says 958), when Oscetul succeeded
Wulstan to the See of York. However, even in a neighbourhood so replete
with antiquities this is sufficiently far back in the age of the
Vikings to be of thrilling interest, for you must travel far to find
another village church with an inscription carved nearly a thousand
years ago, at a time when the English nation was still receiving its
infusion of Scandinavian strength.

The arch of the tower and the door below the sundial have the
narrowness and rudeness suggesting the pre-Norman age, but more than
this it is unwise to say.

And so we go on through the wide sunny valley, watching the shadows
sweep across the fields, where often the soil is so thin that the
ground is more white than brown, scanning the horizon for tumuli, and
taking note of the different characteristics of each village. Not long
ago the houses, even in the small towns, were thatched, and even now
there are hamlets still cosy and picturesque under their mouse-coloured
roofs; but in most instances you see a transition state of tiles
gradually ousting the inflammable but beautiful thatch. The tiles all
through the Wolds are of the curved pattern, and though cheerful in the
brilliance of their colour, and unspeakably preferable to thin blue
slates, they do not seem to weather or gather moss and rich colouring
in the same manner as the usual flat tile of the southern counties.

We turn aside to look at the rudely carved Norman tympanum over the
church door at Wold Newton, and then go up to Thwing, on the rising
ground to the south, where we may see what Mr. Joseph Morris claims to
be the only other Norman tympanum in the East Riding. A cottage is
pointed out as the birthplace of Archbishop Lamplugh, who held the See
of York from 1688 to 1691. He was of humble parentage and it is said
that he would often pause in conversation to slap his legs and say,
"Just fancy me being Archbishop of York!" The name of the village is
derived from the Norse word _Thing_, meaning an assembly.

Keeping on towards the sea, we climb up out of the valley, and passing
Argam Dike and Grindale, come out upon a vast gently undulating plateau
with scarcely a tree to be seen in any direction. A few farms are
dotted here and there over the landscape, and towards Filey we can see
a windmill; but beyond these it seems as though the fierce winds that
assail the promontory of Flamborough had blown away everything that was
raised more than a few feet above the furrows.

The village of Bempton has, however, contrived to maintain itself in
its bleak situation, although it is less than two miles from the huge
perpendicular cliffs where the Wolds drop into the sea. The cottages
have a snug and eminently cheerful look, with their much-weathered
tiles and white and ochre coloured walls. From their midst rises the
low square tower of the church, and if it ever had a spire or pinnacles
in the past, it has none now; for either the north-easterly gales blew
them into the sea long ago, or else the people were wise enough never
to put such obstructions in the way of the winter blasts.

Turning southwards, we get a great view over the low shore of
Holderness, curving away into the haze hanging over the ocean, with
Bridlington down below, raising to the sky the pair of towers at the
west end of its priory--one short and plain, and the other tall and
richly ornamented with pinnacles. Going through the streets of sober
red houses of the old town, we come at length into a shallow green
valley, where the curious Gypsy Race flows intermittently along the
fertile bottom. The afternoon sunshine floods the pleasant landscape
with a genial glow, and throws long blue shadows under the trees of the
park surrounding Boynton Hall, the seat of the Stricklands. The family
has been connected with the village for several centuries, and some of
their richly-painted and gilded monuments can be seen in the church.
One of these is to Sir William Strickland, Bart., and another to Lady
Strickland, his wife, who was a sister of Sir Hugh Cholmley, the
gallant but unfortunate defender of Scarborough Castle during the Civil
War. In his memoirs Sir Hugh often refers to visits paid him by "my
sister Strickland."

After passing Thorpe Hall the road goes up to the breezy spot,
commanding wide views, where the little church of Rudstone stands
conspicuously by the side of an enormous monolith. Although the church
tower is Norman, it would appear to be a recent arrival on the scene in
comparison with the stone. Antiquaries are in fairly general agreement
that huge standing stones of this type belong to some very remote
period, and also that they are "associated with sepulchral purposes";
and the fact that they are usually found in churchyards would suggest
that they were regarded with a traditional veneration.

The road past the church drops steeply down into the pretty village,
and, turning northwards, takes us to the bend of the valley, where
North Burton lies, which we passed earlier in the day; so we go to the
left, and find ourselves at Kilham, a fair-sized village on the edge of
the chalk hills. Like Rudstone and a dozen places in its neighbourhood,
Kilham is situated in a district of extraordinary interest to the
archaeologist, the prehistoric discoveries being exceedingly numerous.
Chariot burials of the Early Iron Age have been discovered here, as
well as large numbers of Neolithic implements. There is a beautiful
Norman doorway in the nave of the church, ornamented with chevron
mouldings in a lavish fashion. Far more interesting than this, however,
are the fonts in the two villages of Cottam and Cowlam, lying close
together, although separated by a thinly-wooded hollow, about five
miles to the west. Cottam Church and the farm adjoining it are all that
now exists of what must once have been an extensive village. In the
church is a Norman font of cylindrical form, covered with the
wonderfully crude carvings of that period. There are six subjects, the
most remarkable being the huge dragon with a long curly tail in the act
of swallowing St. Margaret, whose skirts and feet are shown inside the
capacious jaws, while the head is beginning to appear somewhere behind
the dragon's neck. To the right is shown a gruesome representation of
the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, and then follow Adam and Eve by the Tree
of Life (a twisted piece of foliage), the martyrdom of St. Andrew, and
what seems to be another dragon.

On each side of the bridle-road by the church you can trace without the
least difficulty the ground-plan of many houses under the short turf.
The early writers do not mention Cottam, and so far I have come upon no
explanation for the wiping out of this village. Possibly its extinction
was due to the Black Death in 1349.

It is about four miles by road to Cowlam, although the two churches are
only about a mile and a half apart; and when Cowlam is reached there is
not much more in the way of a village than at Cottam. The only way to
the church from the road is through an enormous stackyard, speaking
eloquently of the large crops produced on the farm. As in the other
instance, a search has to be made for the key, entailing much
perambulation of the farm.

At length the door is opened, and the splendid font at once arrests the
eye. More noticeable than anything else in the series of carvings are
the figures of two men wrestling, similar to those on the font from the
village of Hutton Cranswick, now preserved in York Museum. The two
figures are shown bending forwards, each with his hands clasped round
the waist of the other, and each with a foot thrown forward to trip the
other, after the manner of the Westmorland wrestlers to be seen at the
Grasmere sports. It seems to me scarcely possible to doubt that the
subject represented is Jacob wrestling with the _man_ at Penuel.

At Sledmere, the adjoining village, everything has a well-cared-for and
reposeful aspect. Its position in a shallow depression has made it
possible for trees to grow, so that we find the road overhung by a
green canopy in remarkable contrast to the usual bleakness of the
Wolds. The park surrounding Sir Tatton Sykes' house is well wooded,
owing to much planting on what were bare slopes not very many years
ago.

The village well is dignified with a domed roof raised on tall columns,
put up about seventy years ago by the previous Sir Tatton to the memory
of his father, Sir Christopher Sykes; the inscription telling how much
the Wolds were transformed through his energy 'in building, planting,
and enclosing,' from a bleak and barren track of country into what is
now considered one of the most productive and best-cultivated districts
of Yorkshire. The late Sir Tatton Sykes was the sort of man that
Yorkshire folk come near to worshipping. He was of that hearty, genial,
conservative type that filled the hearts of the farmers with pride. On
market days all over the Riding one of the always fresh subjects of
conversation was how Sir Tatton was looking. A great pillar put up to
his memory by the road leading to Garton can be seen over half
Holderness. So great was the conservatism of this remarkable squire
that years after the advent of railways he continued to make his
journey to Epsom, for the Derby, on horseback.

A stone's-throw from the house stands the church, rebuilt, with the
exception of the tower, in 1898 by Sir Tatton. There is no wall
surrounding the churchyard, neither is there ditch, nor bank, nor the
slightest alteration in the smooth turf.

The church, designed by Mr. Temple Moore, is carried out in the style
of the Decorated period in a stone that is neither red nor pink, but
something in between the two colours. The exterior is not remarkable,
but the beauty of the internal ornament is most striking. Everywhere
you look, whether at the detail of carved wood or stone, the
workmanship is perfect, and without a trace of that crudity to be found
in the carvings of so many modern churches. The clustered columns, the
timber roof, and the tracery of the windows are all dignified, in spite
of the richness of form they display. Only in the upper portion of the
screen does the ornament seem a trifle worried and out of keeping with
the rest of the work.

Sledmere also boasts a tall and very beautiful 'Eleanor' cross, erected
about ten years ago, and a memorial to those who fell in the European
war.

As we continue towards the setting sun, the deeply-indented edges of
the Wolds begin to appear, and the roads generally make great plunges
into the valley of the Derwent. The weather, which has been fine all
day, changes at sunset, and great indigo clouds, lined with gold, pile
themselves up fantastically in front of the setting sun. Lashing rain,
driven by the wind with sudden fury, pours down upon the hamlet lying
just below, but leaves Wharram-le-Street without a drop of moisture.
The widespread views all over the Howardian Hills and the sombre valley
of the Derwent become impressive, and an awesomeness of Turneresque
gloom, relieved by sudden floods of misty gold, gives the landscape an
element of unreality.

Against this background the outline of the church of Wharram-le-Street
stands out in its rude simplicity. On the western side of the tower,
where the light falls upon it, we can see the extremely early masonry
that suggests pre-Norman times. It cannot be definitely called a Saxon
church, but although 'long and short work' does not appear, there is
every reason to associate this lonely little building with the middle
of the eleventh century. There are mason marks consisting of crosses
and barbed lines on the south wall of the nave. The opening between the
tower and the nave is an almost unique feature, having a
Moorish-looking arch of horseshoe shape resting on plain and clumsy
capitals.

The name Wharram-le-Street reminds us forcibly of the existence in
remote times of some great way over this tableland. Unfortunately,
there is very little sure ground to go upon, despite the additional
fact of there being another place, Thorpe-le-Street, some miles to the
south.

With the light fast failing we go down steeply into the hollow where
North Grimston nestles, and, crossing the streams which flow over the
road, come to the pretty old church. The tower is heavily mantled with
ivy, and has a statue of a Bishop on its west face. A Norman chancel
arch with zigzag moulding shows in the dim interior, and there is just
enough light to see the splendid font, of similar age and shape to
those at Cowlam and Cottam. A large proportion of the surface is taken
up with a wonderful 'Last Supper,' and on the remaining space the
carvings show the 'Descent from the Cross,' and a figure, possibly
representing St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the church.

When the lights of Malton glimmer in the valley this day of exploration
is at an end, and much of the Wold country has been seen.




CHAPTER XX

FROM FILEY TO SPURN HEAD


'As the shore winds itself back from hence,' says Camden, after
describing Flamborough Head, 'a thin slip of land (like a small tongue
thrust out) shoots into the sea.' This is the long natural breakwater
known as Filey Brig, the distinctive feature of a pleasant
watering-place. In its wide, open, and gently curving bay, Filey is
singularly lucky; for it avoids the monotony of a featureless shore,
and yet is not sufficiently embraced between headlands to lose the
broad horizon and sense of airiness and space so essential for a
healthy seaside haunt.

The Brig has plainly been formed by the erosion of Carr Naze, the
headland of dark, reddish-brown boulder clay, leaving its hard bed of
sandstone (of the Middle Calcareous Grit formation) exposed to the
particular and ceaseless attention of the waves. It is one of the joys
of Filey to go along the northward curve of the bay at low tide, and
then walk along the uneven tabular masses of rock with hungry waves
heaving and foaming within a few yards on either hand. No wonder that
there has been sufficient sense among those who spend their lives in
promoting schemes for ugly piers and senseless promenades, to realize
that Nature has supplied Filey with a more permanent and infinitely
more attractive pier than their fatuous ingenuity could produce. There
is a spice of danger associated with the Brig, adding much to its
interest; for no one should venture along the spit of rocks unless the
tide is in a proper state to allow him a safe return. A melancholy
warning of the dangers of the Brig is fixed to the rocky wall of the
headland, describing how an unfortunate visitor was swept into the sea
by the sudden arrival of an abnormally large wave, but this need not
frighten away from the fascinating ridge of rock those who use ordinary
care in watching the sea. At high tide the waves come over the seaweedy
rocks at the foot of the headland, making it necessary to climb to the
grassy top in order to get back to Filey.

The real fascination of the Brig comes when it can only be viewed from
the top of the Naze above, when a gale is blowing from the north or
north-east, and driving enormous waves upon the line of projecting
rocks. You watch far out until the dark green line of a higher wave
than any of the others that are creating a continuous thunder down
below comes steadily onward, and reaching the foam-streaked area,
becomes still more sinister. As it approaches within striking distance,
a spent wave, sweeping backwards, seems as though it may weaken the
onrush of the towering wall of water; but its power is swallowed up and
dissipated in the general advance, and with only a smooth hollow of
creamy-white water in front, the giant raises itself to its fullest
height, its thin crest being at once caught by the wind, and blown off
in long white beards.

The moment has come; the mass of water feels the resistance of the
rocks, and, curling over into a long green cylinder, brings its head
down with terrific force on the immovable side of the Brig. Columns of
water shoot up perpendicularly into the air as though a dozen 12-inch
shells had exploded in the water simultaneously. With a roar the
imprisoned air escapes, and for a moment the whole Brig is invisible in
a vast cloud of spray; then dark ledges of rock can be seen running
with creamy water, and the scene of the impact is a cauldron of
seething foam, backed by a smooth surface of pale green marble, veined
with white. Then the waters gather themselves together again, and the
pounding of lesser waves keeps up a thrilling spectacle until the
moment for another great _coup_ arrives.

Years ago Filey obtained a reputation for being 'quiet,' and the sense
conveyed by those who disliked the place was that of dullness and
primness. This fortunate chance has protected the little town from the
vulgarizing influences of the unlettered hordes let loose upon the
coast in summer-time, and we find a sea-front without the flimsy
meretricious buildings of the popular resorts. Instead of imitating
Blackpool and Margate, this sensible place has retained a quiet and
semi-rural front to the sea, and, as already stated, has not marred its
appearance with a jetty.

From the smooth sweep of golden sand rises a steep slope grown over
with trees and bushes which shade the paths in many places. Without
claiming any architectural charm, the town is small and quietly
unobtrusive, and has not the untidy, half-built character of so many
watering-places.

Above a steep and narrow hollow, running straight down to the sea, and
densely wooded on both sides, stands the church. It has a very sturdy
tower rising from its centre, and, with its simple battlemented outline
and slit windows, has a semi-fortified appearance. The high
pitched-roofs of Early English times have been flattened without
cutting away the projecting drip-stones on the tower, which remain a
conspicuous feature. The interior is quite impressive. Round columns
alternated with octagonal ones support pointed arches, and a clerestory
above pierced with roundheaded slits, indicating very decisively that
the nave was built in the Transitional Norman period. It appears that a
western tower was projected, but never carried out, and an unusual
feature is the descent by two steps into the chancel.

A beautiful view from the churchyard includes the whole sweep of the
bay, cut off sharply by the Brig on the left hand, and ending about
eight miles away in the lofty range of white cliffs extending from
Speeton to Flamborough Head.

The headland itself is lower by more than a 100 feet than the cliffs in
the neighbourhood of Bempton and Speeton, which for a distance of over
two miles exceed 300 feet. A road from Bempton village stops short a
few fields from the margin of the cliffs, and a path keeps close to the
precipitous wall of gleaming white chalk.

We come over the dry, sweet-smelling grass to the cliff edge on a fresh
morning, with a deep blue sky overhead and a sea below of ultramarine
broken up with an infinitude of surfaces reflecting scraps of the
cliffs and the few white clouds. Falling on our knees, we look straight
downwards into a cove full of blue shade; but so bright is the
surrounding light that every detail is microscopically clear. The
crumpling and distortion of the successive layers of chalk can be seen
with such ease that we might be looking at a geological textbook. On
the ledges, too, can be seen rows of little whitebreasted puffins;
razor-bills are perched here and there, as well as countless
guillemots. The ringed or bridled guillemot also breeds on the cliffs,
and a number of other types of northern sea-birds are periodically
noticed along these inaccessible Bempton Cliffs. The guillemot makes no
nest, merely laying a single egg on a ledge. If it is taken away by
those who plunder the cliffs at the risk of their lives, the bird lays
another egg, and if that disappears, perhaps even a third.

Coming to Flamborough Head along the road from the station, the first
noticeable feature is at the point where the road makes a sharp turn
into a deep wooded hollow. It is here that we cross the line of the
remarkable entrenchment known as the Danes' Dyke. At this point it
appears to follow the bed of a stream, but northwards, right across the
promontory--that is, for two-thirds of its length--the huge trench is
purely artificial. No doubt the _vallum_ on the seaward side has
been worn down very considerably, and the _fosse_ would have been
deeper, making in its youth, a barrier which must have given the
dwellers on the headland a very complete security.

Like most popular names, the association of the Danes with the digging
of this enormous trench has been proved to be inaccurate, and it would
have been less misleading and far more popular if the work had been
attributed to the devil. In the autumn of 1879 General Pitt Rivers dug
several trenches in the rampart just north of the point where the road
from Bempton passes through the Dyke. The position was chosen in order
that the excavations might be close to the small stream which runs
inside the Dyke at this point, the likelihood of utensils or weapons
being dropped close to the water-supply of the defenders being
considered important. The results of the excavations proved
conclusively that the people who dug the ditch and threw up the rampart
were users of flint. The most remarkable discovery was that the ground
on the inner slope of the rampart, at a short distance below the
surface, contained innumerable artificial flint flakes, all lying in a
horizontal position, but none were found on the outer slope. From this
fact General Pitt Rivers concluded that within the stockade running
along the top of the _vallum_ the defenders were in the habit of
chipping their weapons, the flakes falling on the inside. The great
entrenchment of Flamborough is consequently the work of flint-using
people, and 'is not later than the Bronze Period.'

And the strangest fact concerning the promontory is the isolation of
its inhabitants from the rest of the county, a traditional hatred for
strangers having kept the fisherfolk of the peninsula aloof from
outside influences. They have married among themselves for so long,
that it is quite possible that their ancestral characteristics have
been reproduced, with only a very slight intermixture of other stocks,
for an exceptionally long period. On taking minute particulars of
ninety Flamborough men and women, General Pitt Rivers discovered that
they were above the average stature of the neighbourhood, and were,
with only one or two exceptions, dark-haired. They showed little or no
trace of the fair-haired element usually found in the people of this
part of Yorkshire. It is also stated that almost within living memory,
when the headland was still further isolated by a belt of uncultivated
wolds, the village could not be approached by a stranger without some
danger.

We find no one to object to our intrusion, and go on towards the
village. It is a straggling collection of low, red houses, lacking,
unfortunately, anything which can honestly be termed picturesque; for
the church stands alone, a little to the south, and the small ruin of
what is called 'The Danish Tower' is too insignificant to add to the
attractiveness of the place.

All the males of Flamborough are fishermen, or dependent on fishing for
their livelihood; and in spite of the summer visitors, there is a total
indifference to their incursions in the way of catering for their
entertainment, the aim of the trippers being the lighthouse and the
cliffs nearly two miles away.

Formerly, the church had only a belfry of timber, the existing stone
tower being only ten years old. Under the Norman chancel arch there is
a delicately-carved Perpendicular screen, having thirteen canopied
niches richly carved above and below, and still showing in places the
red, blue, and gold of its old paint-work. Another screen south of the
chancel is patched and roughly finished. The altar-tomb of Sir
Marmaduke Constable, of Flamborough, on the north side of the chancel,
is remarkable for its long inscription, detailing the chief events in
the life of this great man, who was considered one of the most eminent
and potent persons in the county in the reign of Henry VIII. The
greatness of the man is borne out first in a recital of his doughty
deeds: of his passing over to France 'with Kyng Edwarde the fourith,
y[t] noble knyght.'

  'And also with noble king Herre, the sevinth of that name
  He was also at Barwick at the winnyng of the same [1482]
  And by ky[n]g Edward chosy[n] Captey[n] there first of anyone
  And rewllid and governid ther his tyme without blame
  But for all that, as ye se, he lieth under this stone.'

The inscription goes on in this way to tell how he fought at Flodden
Field when he was seventy, 'nothyng hedyng his age.'

Sir Marmaduke's daughter Catherine was married to Sir Roger Cholmley,
called 'the Great Black Knight of the North,' who was the first of his
family to settle in Yorkshire, and also fought at Flodden, receiving
his knighthood after that signal victory over the Scots.

Yorkshire being a county in which superstitions are uncommonly
long-lived it is not surprising to find that a fisherman will turn back
from going to his boat, if he happen on his way to meet a parson, a
woman, or a hare, as any one of these brings bad luck. It is also
extremely unwise to mention to a man who is baiting lines a hare, a
rabbit, a fox, a pig, or an egg. This sounds foolish, but a fisherman
will abandon his work till the next day if these animals are mentioned
in his presence[1].

[Footnote 1: 'Flamborough Village and Headland,' Colonel A.H.
Armytage.]

On the north and south sides of the headland there are precarious
beaches for the fisherman to bring in their boats. They have no
protection at all from the weather, no attempt at forming even such
miniature harbours as may be seen on the Berwickshire coast having been
made. When the wind blows hard from the north, the landing on that side
is useless, and the boats, having no shelter, are hauled up the steep
slope with the help of a steam windlass. Under these circumstances the
South Landing is used. It is similar in most respects to the northern
one, but, owing to the cliffs being lower, the cove is less
picturesque. At low tide a beach of very rough shingle is exposed
between the ragged chalk cliffs, curiously eaten away by the sea.
Seaweed paints much of the shore and the base of the cliffs a blackish
green, and above the perpendicular whiteness the ruddy brown clay
slopes back to the grass above.

When the boats have just come in and added their gaudy vermilions,
blues, and emerald greens to the picture, the North Landing is worth
seeing. The men in their blue jerseys and sea-boots coming almost to
their hips, land their hauls of silvery cod and load the baskets
pannier-wise on the backs of sturdy donkeys, whose work is to trudge up
the steep slope to the road, nearly 200 feet above the boats, where
carts take the fish to the station four miles away.

In following the margin of the cliffs to the outermost point of the
peninsula, we get a series of splendid stretches of cliff scenery. The
chalk is deeply indented in many places, and is honey-combed with
caves. Great white pillars and stacks of chalk stand in picturesque
groups in some of the small bays, and everywhere there is the interest
of watching the heaving water far below, with white gulls floating
unconcernedly on the surface, or flapping their great stretch of wing
as they circle just above the waves.

Near the modern lighthouse stands a tall, hexagonal tower, built of
chalk in four stories, with a string course between each. The signs of
age it bears and the remarkable obscurity surrounding its origin and
purpose would suggest great antiquity, and yet there seems little doubt
that the tower is at the very earliest Elizabethan. The chalk, being
extremely soft, has weathered away to such an extent that the harder
stone of the windows and doors now projects several inches.

In a record dated June 21, 1588, the month before the Spanish Armada
was sighted in the English Channel, a list is given of the beacons in
the East Riding, and instructions as to when they should be lighted,
and what action should be taken when the warning was seen. It says
briefly:

  'Flambrough, three beacons uppon the sea cost,
  takinge lighte from Bridlington,
  and geving lighte to Rudstone.'

There is no reference to any tower, and the beacons everywhere seem
merely to have been bonfires ready for lighting, watched every day by
two, and every night by three 'honest householders ... above the age of
thirty years.' The old tower would appear, therefore, to have been put
up as a lighthouse. If this is a correct supposition, however, the
dangers of the headland to shipping must have been recognized as
exceedingly great several centuries ago. A light could not have failed
to have been a boon to mariners, and its maintenance would have been a
matter of importance to all who owned ships; and yet, if this old tower
ever held a lantern, the hiatus between the last night when it glowed
on the headland, and the erection of the present lighthouse is so great
that no one seems to be able to state definitely for what purpose the
early structure came into existence.

Year after year when night fell the cliffs were shrouded in blackness,
with the direful result that between 1770 and 1806 one hundred and
seventy-four ships were wrecked or lost on or near the promontory. It
remained for a benevolent-minded customs officer of Bridlington--a Mr.
Milne--to suggest the building of a lighthouse to the Elder Brethren of
Trinity House, with the result that since December 6, 1806, a powerful
light has every night flashed on Flamborough Head. The immediate result
was that in the first seven years of its beneficent work no vessel was
'lost on that station when the lights could be seen.'

The derivation of the name Flamborough has been conclusively shown to
have nothing at all to do with the English word 'flame,' being possibly
a corruption of _Fleinn_, a Norse surname, and _borg_ or
_burgh_, meaning a castle. In Domesday it is spelt 'Flaneburg,'
and _flane_ is the Norse for an arrow or sword.

At the point where the chalk cliffs disappear and the low coast of
Holderness begins, we come to the exceedingly popular watering-place of
Bridlington. At one time the town was quite separate from the quay, and
even now there are two towns--the solemn and serious, almost Quakerish,
place inland, and the eminently pleasure-loving and frivolous holiday
resort on the sea; but they are now joined up by modern houses and the
railway-station, and in time they will be as united as the 'Three
Towns' of Plymouth. Along the sea-front are spread out by the wide
parades, all those 'attractions' which exercise their potential
energies on certain types of mankind as each summer comes round. There
are seats, concert-rooms, hotels, lodging-houses, bands, kiosks,
refreshment-bars, boats, bathing-machines, a switchback-railway, and
even a spa, by which means the migratory folk are housed, fed, amused,
and given every excuse for loitering within a few yards of the long
curving line of waves that advances and retreats over the much-trodden
sand.

The two stone piers enclosing the harbour make an interesting feature
in the centre of the sea-front, where the few houses of old Bridlington
Quay that have survived, are not entirely unpicturesque.

In 1642 Queen Henrietta Maria landed on whatever quay then existed. She
had just returned from Holland with ships laden with arms and
ammunition for the Royalist army. Adverse winds had brought the Dutch
ships to Bridlington instead of Newcastle, where the Queen had intended
to land, and a delay was caused while messengers were sent to the Earl
of Newcastle in order that her landing might be effected in proper
security. News of the Dutch ships lying off Bridlington was, however,
conveyed to four Parliamentary vessels stationed by the bar at
Tynemouth, and no time was lost in sailing southwards. What happened is
told in a letter published in the same year, and dated February 25,
1642. It describes how, after two days' riding at anchor, the cavalry
arrived, upon which the Queen disembarked, and the next morning the
rest of the loyal army came to wait on her.

'God that was carefull to preserve Her by Sea, did likewise continue
his favour to Her on the Land: For that night foure of the Parliament
Ships arrived at Burlington, without being perceived by us; and at
foure a clocke in the morning gave us an Alarme, which caused us to
send speedily to the Port to secure our Boats of Ammunition, which were
but newly landed. But about an houre after the foure Ships began to ply
us so fast with their Ordinance, that it made us all to rise out of our
beds with diligence, and leave the Village, at least the women; for the
Souldiers staid very resolutely to defend the Ammunition, in case their
forces should land. One of the Ships did Her the favour to flanck upon
the house where the Queene lay, which was just before the Peere; and
before She was out of Her bed, the Cannon bullets whistled so loud
about her, (which Musicke you may easily believe was not very pleasing
to Her) that all the company pressed Her earnestly to goe out of the
house, their Cannon having totally beaten downe all the neighbouring
houses, and two Cannon bullets falling from the top to the bottome of
the house where She was; so that (clothed as She could) She went on
foot some little distance out of the Towne, under the shelter of a
Ditch (like that of Newmarket;) whither before She could get, the
Cannon bullets fell thicke about us, and a Sergeant was killed within
twenty paces of Her.'

In old Bridlington there stands the fine church of the Augustinian
Priory we have already seen from a distance, and an ancient structure
known as the Bayle Gate, a remnant of the defences of the monastery.
They stand at no great distance apart, but do not arrange themselves to
form a picture, which is unfortunate, and so also is the lack of any
real charm in the domestic architecture of the adjoining streets. The
Bayle Gate has a large pointed arch and a postern, and the date of its
erection appears to be the end of the fourteenth century, when
permission was given to the prior to fortify the monastery. Unhappily
for Bridlington, an order to destroy the buildings was given soon after
the Dissolution, and the nave of the church seems to have been spared
only because it was used as the parish church. Quite probably, too, the
gatehouse was saved from destruction on account of the room it contains
having been utilized for holding courts. The upper portions of the
church towers are modern restorations, and their different heights and
styles give the building a remarkable, but not a beautiful outline. At
the west end, between the towers is a large Perpendicular window,
occupying the whole width of the nave, and on the north side the
vaulted porch is a very beautiful feature.

The interior reveals an inspiring perspective of clustered columns
built in the Early English Period with a fine Decorated triforium on
the north side. Both transepts and the chancel appear to have been
destroyed with the conventual buildings, and the present chancel is
merely a portion of the nave separated with screens.

Southwards in one huge curve of nearly forty miles stretches the low
coast of Holderness, seemingly continued into infinitude. There is
nothing comparable to it on the coasts of the British Isles for its
featureless monotony and for the unbroken front it presents to the sea.
The low brown cliffs of hard clay seem to have no more resisting power
to the capacious appetite of the waves than if they were of
gingerbread. The progress of the sea has been continued for centuries,
and stories of lost villages and of overwhelmed churches are met with
all the way to Spurn Head. Four or five miles south of Bridlington we
come to a point on the shore where, looking out among the lines of
breaking waves, we are including the sides of the two demolished
villages of Auburn and Hartburn.

From a casual glance at Skipsea no one would attribute any importance
to it in the past. It was, nevertheless, the chief place in the
lordship of Holderness in Norman times, and from that we may also infer
that it was the most well-defended stronghold. On a level plain having
practically no defensible sites, great earthworks would be necessary,
and these we find at Skipsea Brough. There is a high mound surrounded
by a ditch, and a segment of the great outer circle of defences exists
on the south-west side. No masonry of any description can be seen on
the grass-covered embankment, but on the artificial hillock, once
crowned, it is surmised, by a Norman keep, there is one small piece
of stonework. These earthworks have been considered Saxon, but later
opinion labels them post-Conquest.[1] In the time of the Domesday
Survey the Seigniory of Holderness was held by Drogo de Bevere, a
Flemish adventurer who joined in the Norman invasion of England and
received his extensive fief from the Conqueror. He also was given the
King's niece in marriage as a mark of special favour; but having for
some reason seen fit to poison her, he fled from England, it is said,
during the last few months of William's reign. The Barony of Holderness
was forfeited, but Drogo was never captured.

[Footnote 1: A worked flint was found in the moat not long ago by Dr.
J. L. Kirk, of Pickering.]

Poulson, the historian of Holderness, states that Henry III. gave
orders for the destruction of Skipsea Castle about 1220, the Earl of
Albemarle, its owner at that time, having been in rebellion. When
Edward II. ascended the throne, he recalled his profligate companion
Piers Gaveston, and besides creating him Baron of Wallingford and Earl
of Cornwall, he presented this ill-chosen favourite with the great
Seigniory of Holderness.

Going southwards from Skipsea, we pass through Atwick, with a cross on
a large base in the centre of the village, and two miles further on
come to Hornsea, an old-fashioned little town standing between the sea
and the Mere. This beautiful sheet of fresh water comes as a surprise
to the stranger, for no one but a geologist expects to discover a lake
in a perfectly level country where only tidal creeks are usually to be
found. Hornsea Mere may eventually be reached by the sea, and yet that
day is likely to be put further off year by year on account of the
growth of a new town on the shore.

The scenery of the Mere is quietly beautiful. Where the road to
Beverley skirts its margin there are glimpses of the shimmering surface
seen through gaps in the trees that grow almost in the water, many of
them having lost their balance and subsided into the lake, being
supported in a horizontal position by their branches. The islands and
the swampy margins form secure breeding-places for the countless
water-fowl, and the lake abounds with pike, perch, eel, and roach.

It was the excellent supply of fish yielded by Hornsea Mere that led to
a hot discussion between the neighbouring Abbey of Meaux and St.
Mary's Abbey at York. In the year 1260 William, eleventh Abbot of
Meaux, laid claim to fishing rights in the southern half of the lake,
only to find his brother Abbot of York determined to resist the claim.
The cloisters of the two abbeys must have buzzed with excitement over
the _impasse_ and relations became so strained that the only
method of determining the issue was by each side agreeing to submit to
the result of a judicial combat between champions selected by the two
monasteries. Where the fight took place I do not know, and the number
of champions is not mentioned in the record. It is stated that a horse
was first swum across the lake, and stakes fixed to mark the limits of
the claim. On the day appointed the combatants chosen by each abbot
appeared properly accoutred, and they fought from morning until
evening, when, at last, the men representing Meaux were beaten to the
ground, and the York abbot retained the whole fishing rights of the
Mere.

Hornsea has a pretty church with a picturesque tower built in between
the western ends of the aisles. An eighteenth-century parish clerk
utilized the crypt for storing smuggled goods, and was busily at work
there on a stormy night in 1732, when a terrific blast of wind tore the
roof off the church. The shock, we are told, brought on a paralytic
seizure of which he died.

By the churchyard gate stands the old market-cross, recently set up in
this new position and supplied with a modern head.

As we go towards Spurn Head we are more and more impressed with the
desolate character of the shore. The tide may be out, and only puny
waves tumbling on the wet sand, and yet it is impossible to refrain
from feeling that the very peacefulness of the scene is sinister, and
the waters are merely digesting their last meal of boulder-clay before
satisfying a fresh appetite.

The busy town of Hornsea Beck, the port of Hornsea, with its harbour
and pier, its houses, and all pertaining to it, has entirely
disappeared since the time of James I., and so also has the place
called Hornsea Burton, where in 1334 Meaux Abbey held twenty-seven
acres of arable land. At the end of that century not one of those acres
remained. The fate of Owthorne, a village once existing not far from
Withernsea, is pathetic. The churchyard was steadily destroyed, until
1816, when in a great storm the waves undermined the foundations of the
eastern end of the church, so that the walls collapsed with a roar and
a cloud of dust.

Twenty-two years later there was scarcely a fragment of even the
churchyard left, and in 1844, the Vicarage and the remaining houses
were absorbed, and Owthorne was wiped off the map.

The peninsula formed by the Humber is becoming more and more
attenuated, and the pretty village of Easington is being brought nearer
to the sea, winter by winter. Close to the church, Easington has been
fortunate in preserving its fourteenth-century tithe-barn covered with
a thatched roof. The interior has that wonderfully imposing effect
given by huge posts and beams suggesting a wooden cathedral.

At Kilnsea the weak bank of earth forming the only resistance to the
waves has been repeatedly swept away and hundreds of acres flooded with
salt water, and where there are any cliffs at all, they are often not
more than fifteen feet high.




CHAPTER XXI

BEVERLEY


When the great bell in the southern tower of the Minster booms forth
its deep and solemn notes over the city of Beverley, you experience an
uplifting of the mind--a sense of exaltation greater, perhaps, than
even that produced by an organ's vibrating notes in the high vaulted
spaces of a cathedral.

Beverley has no natural features to give it any attractiveness, for it
stands on the borders of the level plain of Holderness, and towards the
Wolds there is only a very gentle rise. It depends, therefore, solely
upon its architecture. The first view of the city from the west as we
come over the broad grassy common of Westwood is delightful. We are
just sufficiently elevated to see the opalescent form of the Minster,
with its graceful towers rising above the more distant roofs, and close
at hand the pinnacled tower of St. Mary's showing behind a mass of dark
trees. The entry to the city from this direction is in every way
prepossessing, for the sunny common is succeeded by a broad, tree
lined road, with old-fashioned houses standing sedately behind the
foliage, and the end of the avenue is closed by the North Bar--the last
of Beverley's gates. It dates from 1410, and is built of very dark red
brick, with one arch only, the footways being taken through the modern
houses, shouldering it on each side. Leland's account and the town
records long before his day tell us that there were three gates, but
nothing remains of 'Keldgate barr' and the 'barr de Newbygyng.'

We go through the archway and find ourselves in a wide street with the
beautiful west end of St. Mary's Church on the left, quaint Georgian
houses, and a dignified hotel of the same period on the opposite side,
while straight ahead is the broad Saturday Market with its very
picturesque 'cross.' The cross was put up in 1714 by Sir Charles
Hotham, Bart., and Sir Michael Warton, Members of Parliament for the
Corporation at that time.

Without the towers the exterior of the Minster gives me little
pleasure, for the Early English chancel and greater and lesser
transepts, although imposing and massive, are lacking in proper
proportion, and in that deficiency suffer a loss of dignity. The
eulogies so many architects and writers have poured out upon the Early
English work of this great church, and the strangely adverse comments
the same critics have levelled at the Perpendicular additions, do not
blind me to what I regard as a most strange misconception on the part
of these people. The homogeneity of the central and eastern portions of
the Minster is undeniable, but because what appears to be the design of
one master-builder of the thirteenth century was apparently carried out
in the short period of twenty years, I do not feel obliged to consider
the result beautiful.

In the Perpendicular work of the western towers everything is in
graceful proportion, and nothing from the ground to the top of the
turrets, jars with the wonderful dignity of their perfect lines.

A few years before the Norman Conquest a central tower and a presbytery
were added to the existing building by Archbishop Cynesige. The
'Frenchman's' influence was probably sufficiently felt at that time to
give this work the stamp of Norman ideas, and would have shown a marked
advance on the Romanesque style of the Saxon age, in which the other
portions of the buildings were put up. After that time we are in the
dark as to what happened until the year 1188, when a disaster took
place of which there is a record:

'In the year from the incarnation of Our Lord 1188, this church was
burnt, in the month of September, the night after the Feast of St.
Matthew the Apostle, and in the year 1197, the sixth of the ides of
March, there was an inquisition made for the relics of the blessed John
in this place, and these bones were found in the east part of his
sepulchre, and reposited; and dust mixed with mortar was found
likewise, and re-interred.'

This is a translation of the Latin inscription on a leaden plate
discovered in 1664, when a square stone vault in the church was opened
and found to be the grave of the canonized John of Beverley. The
picture history gives us of this remarkable man, although to a great
extent hazy with superstitious legend, yet shows him to have been one
of the greatest and noblest of the ecclesiastics who controlled the
Early Church in England. He founded the monastery at Beverley about the
year 700, on what appears to have been an isolated spot surrounded by
forest and swamp, and after holding the See of York for some twelve
years, he retired here for the rest of his life. When he died, in 721,
his memory became more and more sacred, and his powers of intercession
were constantly invoked. The splendid shrine provided for his relics in
1037 was encrusted with jewels and shone with the precious metals
employed. Like the tomb of William the Conqueror at Caen, it
disappeared long ago. After the collapse of the central tower to its very
foundations came the vast Early English reconstruction of everything
except the nave, which was possibly of pre-Conquest date, and survived
until the present Decorated successor took its place. Much discussion
has centred round certain semicircular arches at the back of the
triforium, whose ornament is unmistakably Norman, suggesting that the
early nave was merely remodelled in the later period. The last great
addition to the structure was the beautiful Perpendicular north porch
and the west end--the glory of Beverley. The interior of the transepts
and chancel is extremely interesting, but entirely lacking in that
perfection of form characterizing York.

A magnificent range of stalls crowned with elaborate tabernacle work of
the sixteenth century adorns the choir, and under each of the
sixty-eight seats are carved misereres, making a larger collection than
any other in the country. The subjects range from a horrible
representation of the devil with a second face in the middle of his
body to humorous pictures of a cat playing a fiddle, and a scold on her
way to the ducking-stool in a wheel-barrow, gripping with one hand the
ear of the man who is wheeling her.

In the north-east corner of the choir, built across the opening to the
lesser transept on that side, is the tomb of Lady Eleanor FitzAllen,
wife of Henry, first Lord Percy of Alnwick. It is considered to be,
without a rival, the most beautiful tomb in this country. The canopy is
composed of sumptuously carved stone, and while it is literally
encrusted with ornament, it is designed in such a masterly fashion that
the general effect, whether seen at a distance or close at hand, is
always magnificent. The broad lines of the canopy consist of a steep
gable with an ogee arch within, cusped so as to form a base at its apex
for an elaborate piece of statuary. This is repeated on both sides of
the monument. On the side towards the altar, the large bearded figure
represents the Deity, with angels standing on each side of the throne,
holding across His knees a sheet. From this rises a small undraped
figure representing Lady Eleanor, whose uplifted hands are held in one
of those of her Maker, who is shown in the act of benediction with two
fingers on her head.

In the north aisle of the chancel there is a very unusual double
staircase. It is recessed in the wall, and the arcading that runs along
the aisle beneath the windows is inclined upwards and down again at a
slight angle, similar to the rise of the steps which are behind the
marble columns. This was the old way to the chapter-house, destroyed at
the Dissolution, and is an extremely fine example of an Early English
stairway. Near the Percy chapel stands the ancient stone chair of
sanctuary, or frith-stool. It has been broken and repaired with iron
clamps, and the inscription upon it, recorded by Spelman, has gone. The
privileges of sanctuary were limited by Henry VIII, and abolished in
the reign of James I; but before the Dissolution malefactors of all
sorts and conditions, from esquires and gentlewomen down to chapmen and
minstrels, frequently came in undignified haste to claim the security
of St. John of Beverley. Here is a case quoted from the register by Mr.
Charles Hiatt in his admirable account of the Minster:

'John Spret, Gentilman, memorandum that John Spret, of Barton upon
Umber, in the counte of Lyncoln, gentilman, com to Beverlay, the first
day of October the vii yer of the reen of Keing Herry vii and asked the
lybertes of Saint John of Beverlay, for the dethe of John Welton,
husbondman, of the same town, and knawleg [acknowledge] hymselff to be
at the kyllyng of the saym John with a dagarth, the xv day of August.'

On entering the city we passed St. Mary's, a beautiful Perpendicular
church which is not eclipsed even by the major attractions of the
Minster. At the west end there is a splendid Perpendicular window
flanked by octagonal buttresses of a slightly earlier date, which are
run up to a considerable height above the roof of the nave, the upper
portions being made light and graceful, with an opening on each face,
and a pierced parapet. The tower rises above the crossing, and is
crowned by sixteen pinnacles.

In its general appearance the large south porch is Perpendicular, like
the greater part of the church, but the inner portion of its arch is
Norman, and the outer is Early English. One of the pillars of the nave
is ornamented just below the capital with five quaint little minstrels
carved in stone. Each is supported by a bold bracket, and each is
painted. The musical instruments are all much battered, but it can be
seen that the centre figure, who is dressed as an alderman, had a harp,
and the others a pipe, a lute, a drum, and a violin. From Saxon times
there had existed in Beverley a guild of minstrels, a prosperous
fraternity bound by regulations, which Poulson gives at length in his
monumental work on Beverley. The minstrels played at aldermen's feasts,
at weddings, on market-days, and on all occasions when there was excuse
for music.




CHAPTER XXII

ALONG THE HUMBER


  'Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;
  But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
  Stay and be secret, and myself will go.'
       _Richard II_, Act II, Scene 1.

The atrophied corner of Yorkshire that embraces the lowest reaches of
the Humber is terminated by a mere raised causeway leading to the wider
patch of ground dominated by Spurn Head lighthouse. This long ridge of
sand and shingle is all that remains of a very considerable and
populous area possessing towns and villages as recently as the middle
of the fourteenth century.

Far back in the Middle Ages the Humber was a busy waterway for
shipping, where merchant vessels were constantly coming and going,
bearing away the wool of Holderness and bringing in foreign goods,
which the Humber towns were eager to buy. This traffic soon
demonstrated the need of some light on the point of land where the
estuary joined the sea, and in 1428 Henry VI granted a toll on all
vessels entering the Humber in aid of the first lighthouse put up about
that time by a benevolent hermit.

No doubt the site of this early structure has long ago been submerged.
The same fate came upon the two lights erected on Kilnsea Common by
Justinian Angell, a London merchant, who received a patent from Charles
II to 'continue, renew, and maintain' two lights at Spurn Point.

In 1766 the famous John Smeaton was called upon to put up two
lighthouses, one 90 feet and the other 50 feet high. There was no hurry
in completing the work, for the foundations of the high light were not
completed until six years later. The sea repeatedly destroyed the low
light, owing to the waves reaching it at high tide. Poulson mentions
the loss of three structures between 1776 and 1816. The fourth was
taken down after a brief life of fourteen years, the sea having laid
the foundations bare. As late as the beginning of last century the
illumination was produced by 'a naked coal fire, unprotected from the
wind,' and its power was consequently most uncertain.

Smeaton's high tower is now only represented by its foundations and the
circular wall surrounding them, which acts as a convenient shelter from
wind and sand for the low houses of the men who are stationed there for
the lifeboat and other purposes.

The present lighthouse is 30 feet higher than Smeaton's, and is fitted
with the modern system of dioptric refractors, giving a light of
519,000 candle-power, which is greater than any other on the east coast
of England. The need for a second structure has been obviated by
placing the low lights half-way down the existing tower. Every twenty
seconds the upper light flashes for one and a half seconds, being seen
in clear weather at a distance of seventeen nautical miles.

In the Middle Ages great fortunes were made on the shores on the
Humber. Sir William de la Pole was a merchant of remarkable enterprise,
and the most notable of those who traded at Ravenserodd. It was
probably owing to his great wealth that his son was made a
knight-banneret, and his grandson became Earl of Suffolk. Another of
the De la Poles was the first Mayor of Hull, and seems to have been no
less opulent than his brother, who lent large sums of money to Edward
III, and was in consequence appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer and
also presented with the Lordship of Holderness.

The story of Ravenser, and the later town of Ravenserodd, is told in a
number of early records, and from them we can see clearly what happened
in this corner of Yorkshire. Owing to a natural confusion from the many
different spellings of the two places, the fate of the prosperous port
of Ravenserodd has been lost in a haze of misconception. And this might
have continued if Mr. J. R. Boyle had not gone exhaustively into the
matter, bringing together all the references to the Ravensers which
have been discovered.

There seems little doubt that the first place called Ravenser was a
Danish settlement just within the Spurn Point, the name being a
compound of the raven of the Danish standard, and eyr or ore, meaning a
narrow strip of land between two waters. In an early Icelandic saga the
sailing of the defeated remnant of Harold Hardrada's army from
Ravenser, after the defeat of the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, is
mentioned in the lines:

  'The King the swift ships with the flood
  Set out, with the autumn approaching,
  And sailed from the port, called Hrafnseyrr (the raven tongue of land).'

From this event of 1066 Ravenser must have remained a hamlet of small
consequence, for it is not heard of again for nearly two centuries, and
then only in connexion with the new Ravenser which had grown on a spit
of land gradually thrown up by the tide within the spoon-shaped ridge
of Spurn Head. On this new ground a vessel was wrecked some time in the
early part of the thirteenth century, and a certain man--the earliest
recorded Peggotty--converted it into a house, and even made it a
tavern, where he sold food and drink to mariners. Then three or four
houses were built near the adapted hull, and following this a small
port was created, its development being fostered by William de
Fortibus, Earl of Albemarl, the lord of the manor, with such success
that, by the year 1274, the place had grown to be of some importance,
and a serious trade rival to Grimsby on the Lincolnshire coast. To
distinguish the two Ravensers the new place, which was almost on an
island, being only connected with the mainland by a bank composed of
large yellow boulders and sand, was called Ravenser Odd, and in the
Chronicles of Meaux Abbey and other records the name is generally
written Ravenserodd. The original place was about a mile away, and no
longer on the shore, and it is distinguished from the prosperous port
as Ald Ravenser. Owing, however, to its insignificance in comparison to
Ravenserodd, the busy port, it is often merely referred to as Ravenser,
spelt with many variations.

The extraordinarily rapid rise of Ravenserodd seems to have been due to
a remarkable keenness for business on the part of its citizens,
amounting, in the opinion of the Grimsby traders, to sharp practice.
For, being just within Spurn Head, the men of Ravenserodd would go out
to incoming vessels bound for Grimsby, and induce them to sell their
cargoes in Ravenserodd by all sorts of specious arguments, misquoting
the prices paid in the rival town. If their arguments failed, they
would force the ships to enter their harbour and trade with them,
whether they liked it or not. All this came out in the hearing of an
action brought by the town of Grimsby against Ravenserodd. Although the
plaintiffs seem to have made a very good case, the decision of the
Court was given in favour of the defendants, as it had not been shown
that any of their proceedings had broken the King's peace.

The story of the disaster, which appears to have happened between 1340
and 1350, is told by the monkish compiler of the Chronicles of Meaux.
Translated from the original Latin the account is headed:

'Concerning the consumption of the town of Ravensere Odd and concerning
the effort towards the diminution of the tax of the church of Esyngton.

'But in those days, the whole town of Ravensere Odd.. was totally
annihilated by the floods of the Humber and the inundations of the
great sea ... and when that town of Ravensere Odd, in which we had half
an acre of land built upon, and also the chapel of that town,
pertaining to the said church of Esyngton, were exposed to demolition
during the few preceding years, those floods and inundations of the
sea, within a year before the destruction of that town, increasing in
their accustomed way without limit fifteen fold, announcing the
swallowing up of the said town, and sometimes exceeding beyond measure
the height of the town, and surrounding it like a wall on every side,
threatened the final destruction of that town. And so, with this
terrible vision of waters seen on every side, the enclosed persons,
with the reliques, crosses, and other ecclesiastical ornaments, which
remained secretly in their possession and accompanied by the viaticum
of the body of Christ in the hands of the priest, flocking together,
mournfully imploring grace, warded off at that time their destruction.
And afterwards, daily removing thence with their possession, they left
that town totally without defence, to be shortly swallowed up, which,
with a short intervening period of time by those merciless tempestuous
floods, was irreparably destroyed.'

The traders and inhabitants generally moved to Kingston-upon-Hull and
other towns, as the sea forced them to seek safer quarters.

When Henry of Lancaster landed with his retinue in 1399 within Spurn
Head, the whole scene was one of complete desolation, and the only
incident recorded is his meeting with a hermit named Matthew Danthorp,
who was at the time building a chapel.

The very beautiful spire of Patrington church guides us easily along a
winding lane from Easington until the whole building shows over the
meadows.

We seem to have stumbled upon a cathedral standing all alone in this
diminishing land, scarcely more than two miles from the Humber and less
than four from the sea. No one quarrels with the title 'The Queen of
Holderness,' nor with the far greater claim that Patrington is the most
beautiful village church in England. With the exception of the east
window, which is Perpendicular, nearly the whole structure was built in
the Decorated period; and in its perfect proportion, its wealth of
detail and marvellous dignity, it is a joy to the eye within and
without. The plan is cruciform, and there are aisles to the transepts
as well as the nave, giving a wealth of pillars to the interior. Above
the tower rises a tall stone spire, enriched, at a third of its height,
with what might be compared to an earl's coronet, the spikes being
represented by crocketed pinnacles--the terminals of the supporting
pillars. The interior is seen at its loveliest on those afternoons when
that rich yellow light Mr. W. Dean Howells so aptly compares with the
colour of the daffodil is flooding the nave and aisles, and glowing on
the clustered columns.

In the eastern aisles of each arm of the transept there were three
chantry chapels, whose piscinae remain. The central chapel in the south
transept is a most interesting and beautiful object, having a recess
for the altar, with three richly ornamented niches above. In the
groined roof above, the central boss is formed into a hollow pendant of
considerable interest. On the three sides are carvings representing the
Annunciation, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. John the Baptist,
and on the under side is a Tudor rose. Sir Henry Dryden, in the
_Archaeological Journal_, states that this pendant was used for a
lamp to light the altar below, but he points out, at the same time,
that the sacrist would have required a ladder to reach it. An
alternative suggestion made by others is that this niche contained a
relic where it would have been safe even if visible.

Patrington village is of fair size, with a wide street; and although
lacking any individual houses calling for comment, it is a pleasant
place, with the prevailing warm reds of roofs and walls to be found in
all the Holderness towns.

On our way to Hedon, where the 'King of Holderness' awaits us, we pass
Winestead Church, where Andrew Marvell was baptized in 1621, and where
we may see the memorials of a fine old family--the Hildyards of
Winestead, who came there in the reign of Henry VI.

The stately tower of Hedon's church is conspicuous from far away; and
when we reach the village we are much impressed by its solemn beauty,
and by the atmosphere of vanished greatness clinging to the place that
was decayed even in Leland's days, when Henry VIII, still reigned. No
doubt the silting up of the harbour and creeks brought down Hedon from
her high place, so that the retreat of the sea in this place was
scarcely less disastrous to the town's prosperity than its advance had
been at Ravenserodd; and possibly the waters of the Humber, glutted
with their rapacity close to Spurn Head, deposited much of the
disintegrated town in the waterway of the other.

The nave of the church is Decorated, and has beautiful windows of that
period. The transept is Early English, and so also is the chancel, with
a fine Perpendicular east window filled with glass of the same subtle
colours we saw at Patrington.

In approaching nearer to Hull, we soon find ourselves in the outer zone
of its penumbra of smoke, with fields on each side of the road waiting
for works and tall shafts, which will spread the unpleasant gloom of
the city still further into the smiling country. The sun becomes
copper-coloured, and the pure, transparent light natural to Holderness
loses its vigour. Tall and slender chimneys emitting lazy coils of
blackness stand in pairs or in groups, with others beyond, indistinct
behind a veil of steam and smoke, and at their feet grovels a confusion
of buildings sending forth jets and mushrooms of steam at a thousand
points. Hemmed in by this industrial belt and compact masses of
cellular brickwork, where labour skilled and unskilled sleeps and rears
its offspring, is the nucleus of the Royal borough of Kingston-upon-Hull,
founded by Edward I at the close of the thirteenth century.

It would scarcely have been possible that any survivals of the
Edwardian port could have been retained in the astonishing commercial
development the city has witnessed, particularly in the last century;
and Hull has only one old street which can lay claim to even the
smallest suggestion of picturesqueness. The renaissance of English
architecture is beginning to make itself felt in the chief streets,
where some good buildings are taking the places of ugly fronts; and
there are one or two more ambitious schemes of improvement bringing
dignity into the city; but that, with the exception of two churches, is
practically all.

When we see the old prints of the city surrounded by its wall defended
with towers, and realize the numbers of curious buildings that filled
the winding streets--the windmills, the churches and monasteries--we
understand that the old Hull has gone almost as completely as
Ravenserodd. It was in Hull that Michael, a son of Sir William de la
Pole of Ravenserodd, its first Mayor, founded a monastery for thirteen
Carthusian monks, and also built himself, in 1379, a stately house in
Lowgate opposite St. Mary's Church. Nothing remains of this great brick
mansion, which was described as a palace, and lodged Henry VIII during
his visit in 1540. Even St. Mary's Church has been so largely rebuilt
and restored that its interest is much diminished.

The great Perpendicular Church of Holy Trinity in the market-place is,
therefore, the one real link between the modern city and the little
town founded in the thirteenth century. It is a cruciform building and
has a fine central tower, and is remarkable in having transepts and
chancel built externally of brick as long ago as the Decorated Period.
The De la Pole mansion, of similar date, was also constructed with
brick--no doubt from the brickyard outside the North Gate owned by the
founder of the family fortunes. The pillars and capitals of the arcades
of both the nave and chancel are thin and unsatisfying to the eye, and
the interior as a whole, although spacious, does not convey any
pleasing sensations. The slenderness of the columns was necessary, it
appears, owing to the soft and insecure ground, which necessitated a
pile foundation and as light a weight above as could be devised.

William Wilberforce, the liberator of slaves, was born in 1759 in a
large house still standing in High Street, and a tall Doric column
surmounted by a statue perpetuates his memory, in the busiest corner of
the city. The old red-brick Grammar School bears the date 1583, and is
a pleasant relief from the dun-coloured monotony of the greater part of
the city.

In going westward we come, at the village of North Cave, to the
southern horn of the crescent of the Wolds. All the way to Howden they
show as a level-topped ridge to the north, and the lofty tower of the
church stands out boldly for many miles before we reach the town. The
cobbled streets at the east end of the church possess a few antique
houses coloured with warm ochre, and it is over and between these that
we have the first close view of the ruined chancel. The east window has
lost most of its tracery, and has the appearance of a great archway;
its date, together with the whole of the chancel, is late Decorated,
but the exquisite little chapterhouse is later still, and may be better
described as early Perpendicular. It is octagonal in plan, and has in
each side a window with an ogee arch above. The stones employed are
remarkably large. The richly moulded arcading inside, consisting of
ogee arches, has been exposed to the weather for so long, owing to the
loss of the vaulting above, that the lovely detail is fast
disappearing.

About four miles from Howden, near the banks of the Derwent, stand the
ruins of Wressle Castle. In every direction the country is spread out
green and flat, and, except for the towers and spires of the churches,
it is practically featureless. To the north the horizon is brought
closer by the rounded outlines of the wolds; everywhere else you seem
to be looking into infinity, as in the Fen Country.

The castle that stands in the midst of this belt of level country is
the only one in the East Riding, and although now a mere fragment of
the former building, it still retains a melancholy dignity. Since a
fire in 1796 the place has been left an empty shell, the two great
towers and the walls that join them being left without floors or roofs.

Wressle was one of the two castles in Yorkshire belonging to the
Percys, and at the time of the Civil War still retained its feudal
grandeur unimpaired. Its strength was, however, considered by the
Parliament to be a danger to the peace, despite the fact that the Earl
of Northumberland, its owner, was not on the Royalist side, and an
order was issued in 1648 commanding that it should be destroyed.
Pontefract Castle had been suddenly seized for the King in June during
that year, and had held out so persistently that any fortified
building, even if owned by a supporter, was looked upon as a possible
source of danger to the Parliamentary Government. An order was
therefore sent to Lord Northumberland's officers at Wressle commanding
them to pull down all but the south side of the castle. That this was
done with great thoroughness, despite the most strenuous efforts made
by the Earl to save his ancient seat, may be seen to-day in the fact
that, of the four sides of the square, three have totally disappeared,
except for slight indications in the uneven grass.

The saddest part of the story concerns the portion of the buildings
spared by the Cromwellians. This, we are told, remained until a century
ago nearly in the same state as in the year 1512, when Henry Percy, the
fifth Earl, commenced the compilation of his wonderful Household Book.
The Great Chamber, or Dining Room, the Drawing Chamber, the Chapel, and
other apartments, still retained their richly-carved ceilings, and the
sides of the rooms were ornamented with a 'great profusion of ancient
sculpture, finely executed in wood, exhibiting the bearings, crests,
badges, and devises, of the Percy family, in a great variety of forms,
set off with all the advantages of painting, gilding and imagery.'

There was a moat on three sides, a square tower at each corner, and a
fifth containing the gateway presumably on the eastward face. In one
of the corner towers was the buttery, pantry, 'pastery,' larder, and
kitchen; in the south-easterly one was the chapel; and in the
two-storied building and the other tower of the south side were the
chief apartments, where my lord Percy dined, entertained, and ordered
his great household with a vast care and minuteness of detail. We would
probably have never known how elaborate were the arrangements for the
conduct and duties of every one, from my lord's eldest son down to his
lowest servant, had not the Household Book of the fifth Earl of
Northumberland been, by great good fortune, preserved intact. By
reading this extraordinary compilation it is possible to build up a
complete picture of the daily life at Wressle Castle in the year 1512
and later.

From this account we know that the bare stone walls of the apartments
were hung with tapestries, and that these, together with the beds and
bedding, all the kitchen pots and pans, cloths, and odds and ends, the
altar hangings, surplices, and apparatus of the chapel--in fact, every
one's bed, tools, and clothing--were removed in seventeen carts each
time my lord went from one of his castles to another. The following is
one of the items, the spelling being typical of the whole book:

'ITEM.--Yt is Ordynyd at every Remevall that the Deyn Subdean
Prestes Gentilmen and Children of my Lordes Chapell with the Yoman and
Grome of the Vestry shall have apontid theime ii Cariadges at every
Remevall Viz. One for ther Beddes Viz. For vi Prests iii beddes after
ii to a Bedde For x Gentillmen of the Chapell v Beddes after ii to a
Bedde And for vi Children ii Beddes after iii to a Bedde And a Bedde
for the Yoman and Grom o' th Vestry In al xi Beddes for the furst
Cariage. And the ii'de Cariage for ther Aparells and all outher ther
Stuff and to have no mo Cariage allowed them but onely the said ii
Cariages allowid theime.'

We have seen the astonishingly tall spire of Hemingbrough Church from
the battlements of Wressle Castle, and when we have given a last look
at the grey walls and the windows, filled with their enormously heavy
tracery, we betake ourselves along a pleasant lane that brings us at
length to the river. The soaring spire is 120 feet in height, or twice
that of the tower, and this hugeness is perhaps out of proportion with
the rest of the building; yet I do not think for a moment that this
great spire could have been different without robbing the church of its
striking and pleasing individuality. There are Transitional Norman
arches at the east end of the nave, but most of the work is Decorated
or Perpendicular. The windows of the latter period in the south
transept are singularly happy in the wonderful amount of light they
allow to flood through their pale yellow glass. The oak bench-ends in
the nave, which are carved with many devices, and the carefully
repaired stalls in the choir, are Perpendicular, and no doubt belong to
the period when the church was a collegiate foundation of Durham.




CHAPTER XXIII

THE DERWENT AND THE HOWARDIAN HILLS


Malton is the only town on the Derwent, and it is made up of three
separate places--Old Malton, a picturesque village; New Malton, a
pleasant and oldfashioned town; and Norton, a curiously extensive
suburb. The last has a Norman font in its modern church, and there its
attractions begin and end. New Malton has a fortunate position on a
slope well above the lush grass by the river, and in this way arranges
the backs of its houses with unconscious charm. The two churches,
although both containing Norman pillars and arches, have been so
extensively rebuilt that their antiquarian interest is slight.

On account of its undoubted signs of Roman occupation in the form of
two rectangular camps, and its situation at the meeting-place of some
three or four Roman roads, New Malton has been with great probability
identified with the _Delgovitia_ of the Antonine Itinerary.

Old Malton is a cheerful and well-kept village, with antique cottages
here and there, roofed with mossy thatch. It makes a pretty picture as
you come along the level road from Pickering, with a group of trees on
the left and the tower of the Priory Church appearing sedately above
the humble roofs. A Gilbertine monastery was founded here about the
middle of the twelfth century, during the lifetime of St. Gilbert of
Sempringham in Lincolnshire, who during the last year of his long life
sent a letter to the Canons of Malton, addressing them as 'My dear
sons.' Little remains of Malton Priory with the exception of the
church, built at the very beginning of the Early English period. Of the
two western towers, the southern one only survives, and both aisles,
two bays of the nave, and everything else to the east has gone. The
abbreviated nave now serves as a parish church.

Between Malton and the Vale of York there lies that stretch of hilly
country we saw from the edge of the Wolds, for some time past known as
the Howardian Hills, from Castle Howard which stands in their midst.
The many interests that this singularly remote neighbourhood contains
can be realized by making such a peregrination as we made through the
Wolds.

There is no need to avoid the main road south of Malton. It has a
park-like appearance, with its large trees and well-kept grass on each
side, and the glimpses of the wooded valley of the Derwent on the left
are most beautiful. On the right we look across the nearer grasslands
into the great park of Castle Howard, and catch glimpses between the
distant masses of trees of Lord Carlisle's stately home. The old castle
of the Howards having been burnt down, Vanbrugh, the greatest architect
of early Georgian times, designed the enormous building now standing.
In 1772 Horace Walpole compressed the glories of the place into a few
sentences. '... I can say with exact truth,' he writes to George
Selwyn,' that I never was so agreeably astonished in my days as with
the first vision of the whole place. I had heard of Vanburgh, and how
Sir Thomas Robinson and he stood spitting and swearing at one another;
nay, I had heard of glorious woods, and Lord Strafford alone had told me
that I should see one of the finest places in Yorkshire; but nobody ...
had informed me that should at one view see a palace, a town, a
fortified city; temples on high places, woods worthy of being each
metropolis of the Druids, vales connected to hills by other woods, the
noblest lawn in the world fenced by half the horizon, and a mausoleum
that would tempt one to be buried alive; in short, I have seen gigantic
places before, but never a sublime one.'

The style is that of the Corinthian renaissance, and Walpole's
description applies as much to-day as when he wrote. The pictures
include some of the masterpieces of Reynolds, Lely, Vandyck, Rubens,
Tintoretto, Canaletto, Giovanni Bellini Domenichino and Annibale
Caracci.

Two or three miles to the south, the road finds itself close to the
deep valley of the Derwent. A short turning embowered with tall trees
whose dense foliage only allows a soft green light to filter through,
goes steeply down to the river. We cross the deep and placid river by a
stone bridge, and come to the Priory gateway. It is a stately ruin
partially mantled with ivy, and it preserves in a most remarkable
fashion the detail of its outward face.

The mossy steps of the cross just outside the gateway are, according to
a tradition in one of the Cottonian manuscripts, associated with the
event which led to the founding of the Abbey by Walter Espec, lord of
Helmsley. He had, we are told, an only son, also named Walter, who was
fond of riding with exceeding swiftness.

One day when galloping at a great pace his horse stumbled near a small
stone, and young Espec was brought violently to the ground, breaking
his neck and leaving his father childless. The grief-stricken parent is
said to have found consolation in the founding of three abbeys, one of
them being at Kirkham, where the fatal accident took place.

Of the church and conventual buildings only a few fragments remain to
tell us that this secluded spot by the Derwent must have possessed one
of the most stately monasteries in Yorkshire. One tall lancet is all
that has been left of the church; and of the other buildings a few
walls, a beautiful Decorated lavatory, and a Norman doorway alone
survive.

Stamford Bridge, which is reached by no direct road from Kirkham Abbey,
is so historically fascinating that we must leave the hills for a time
to see the site of that momentous battle between Harold, the English
King, and the Norwegian army, under Harold Hardrada and Harold's
brother Tostig. The English host made their sudden attack from the
right bank of the river, and the Northmen on that side, being partially
armed, were driven back across a narrow wooden bridge. One Northman, it
appears, played the part of Horatius in keeping the English at bay for
a time. When he fell, the Norwegians had formed up their shield-wall on
the left bank of the river, no doubt on the rising ground just above
the village. That the final and decisive phase of the battle took place
there Freeman has no doubt.

Stamford Bridge being, as already mentioned, the most probable site of
the Roman _Derventio_, it was natural that some village should
have grown up at such an important crossing of the river.

An unfrequented road through a belt of picturesque woodland goes from
Stamford Bridge past Sand Hutton to the highway from York to Malton. If
we take the branch-road to Flaxton, we soon see, over the distant
trees, the lofty towers of Sheriff Hutton Castle, and before long reach
a silent village standing near the imposing ruin. The great rectangular
space, enclosed by huge corner-towers and half-destroyed curtain walls,
is now utilized as the stackyard of a farm, and the effect as we
approach by a footpath is most remarkable. It seems scarcely possible
that this is the castle Leland described with so much enthusiasm. 'I
saw no House in the North so like a Princely Logginges,' he says, and
also describes 'the stately Staire up to the Haul' as being very
magnificent.

We come to the north-west tower, and look beyond its ragged outline to
the distant country lying to the west, grass and arable land with trees
appearing to grow so closely together at a short distance, that we have
no difficulty in realizing that this was the ancient Forest of Galtres,
which reached from Sheriff Hutton and Easingwold to the very gates of
York.

In the complete loneliness of the ruins, with the silence only
intensified by the sounds of fluttering wings in the tops of the
towers, we in imagination sweep away the haystacks and reinstate the
former grandeur of the fortress in the days of Ralph Neville, first
Earl of Westmorland. It was he who rebuilt the Norman castle of Bertram
de Bulmer, Sheriff of Yorkshire, on a grander scale. Upon the death of
Warwick, the Kingmaker, in 1471, Edward IV gave the castle and manor of
Sheriff Hutton to his brother Richard, afterwards Richard III, and it
was he who kept Edward IV's eldest child Elizabeth a prisoner within
these massive walls. The unfortunate Edward, Earl of Warwick, the
eldest son of George, Duke of Clarence, when only eight years old, was
also incarcerated here for about three years. Richard III, the usurper,
when he lost his only son, had thought of making this boy his heir, but
the unfortunate child was passed over in favour of John de la Pole,
Earl of Lincoln, and remained in close confinement at Sheriff Hutton
until August, 1485, when the Battle of Bosworth placed Henry VII on the
throne. Sir Robert Willoughby soon afterwards arrived at the castle,
and took the little Earl to London. Princess Elizabeth was also sent
for at the same time, but whether both the Royal prisoners travelled
together does not appear to be recorded. The terrible pathos of this
simultaneous removal from the castle lay in the fact that Edward was to
play the part of Pharaoh's chief baker, and Elizabeth that of the chief
butler; for, after fourteen years in the Tower of London, the Earl of
Warwick was beheaded, while the King, after five months, raised up
Elizabeth to be his Queen. Even in those callous times the fate of the
Prince was considered cruel, for it was pointed out after his
execution, that, as he had been kept in imprisonment since he was eight
years old, and had no knowledge or experience of the world, he could
hardly have been accused of any malicious purpose. So cut off from all
the common sights of everyday life was the miserable boy that it was
said 'that he could not discern a goose from a capon.'

Portions of the Augustinian Priory are built into the house called
Newburgh Priory, and these include the walls of the kitchen and some
curious carvings showing on the exterior. William of Newburgh, the
historian, whose writings end abruptly in 1198--probably the year of
his death--was a canon of the Priory, and spent practically his whole
life there. In his preface he denounced the inaccuracies and fictions
of the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth. At the Dissolution Newburgh
was given by Henry VIII to Anthony Belasyse, the punning motto of whose
family was _Bonne et belle assez_. One of his descendants was
created Lord Fauconberg by Charles I, and the peerage became extinct in
1815, on the death of the seventh to bear the title. The last
owner--Sir George Wombwell, Bart.--inherited the property from his
grandmother, who was a daughter of the last Lord Fauconberg. Sir George
was one of the three surviving officers who took part in the charge of
the Light Brigade at Balaclava on October 25, 1854.

The late Duke of Cambridge paid several visits to Newburgh, occupying
what is generally called 'the Duke's Room.' Rear-Admiral Lord Adolphus
Fitz-Clarence, whose father was George IV, died in 1856 in the bed
still kept in this room. In a glass case, at the end of a long gallery
crowded with interest, are kept the uniform and accoutrements Sir
George wore at Balaclava.

The second Lord Fauconberg, who was raised from Viscount to the rank of
Earl in 1689, was warmly attached to the Parliamentary side in the
Civil War, and took as his second wife Cromwell's third daughter, Mary.
This close connexion with the Protector explains the inscription upon a
vault immediately over one of the entrances to the Priory. On a small
metal plate is written:

'In this vault are Cromwell's bones, brought here, it is believed,
by his daughter Mary, Countess of Fauconberg, at the Restoration, when
his remains were disinterred from Westminster Abbey.'

The letters 'R.I.P.' below are only just visible, an attempt having
been made to erase them. No one seems to have succeeded in finally
clearing up the mystery of the last resting-place of Cromwell's
remains. The body was exhumed from its tomb in Henry VII.'s Chapel at
Westminster, and hung on the gallows at Tyburn on January 30, 1661--the
twelfth anniversary of the execution of Charles I--and the head was
placed upon a pole raised above St. Stephen's Hall, and had a separate
history, which is known. Lord Fauconberg is said to have become a
Royalist at the Restoration, and if this were true, he would perhaps
have been able to secure the decapitated remains of his father-in-law,
after their burial at the foot of the gallows at Tyburn. It has often
been stated that a sword, bridle, and other articles belonging to
Cromwell are preserved at Newburgh Priory, but this has been
conclusively shown to be a mistake, the objects having been traced to
one of the Belasyses.

Coxwold has that air of neatness and well-preserved antiquity which is
so often to be found in England where the ancient owners of the land
still spend a large proportion of their time in the great house of the
village. There is a very wide street, with picturesque old houses on
each side, which rises gently towards the church. A great tree with
twisted branches--whether oak or elm, I cannot remember--stands at the
top of the street opposite the churchyard, and adds much charm to the
village. The inn has recently lost its thatch, but is still a quaint
little house with the typical Yorkshire gable, finished with a stone
ball. On the great sign fixed to the wall are the arms and motto of the
Fauconbergs, and the interior is full of old-fashioned comfort and
cleanliness. Nearly opposite stand the almshouses, dated 1662.

The church is chiefly Perpendicular, with a rather unusual octagonal
tower. In the eighteenth century the chancel was rebuilt, but the
Fauconberg monuments in it were replaced. Sir William Belasyse, who
received the Newburgh property from his uncle, the first owner, died in
1603, and his fine Jacobean tomb, painted in red, black and gold, shows
him with a beard and ruff. His portrait hangs in one of the
drawing-rooms of the Priory. The later monuments, adorned with great
carved figures, are all interesting. They encroach so much on the space
in the narrow chancel that a most curious method for lengthening the
communion-rail has been resorted to--that of bringing forward from the
centre a long narrow space enclosed with the rails. From the pulpit
Laurence Sterne preached when he was incumbent here for the last eight
years of his life. He came to Coxwold in 1760, and took up his abode in
the charming old house he quaintly called 'Shandy Hall.' It is on the
opposite side of the road to the church, and has a stone roof and one
of those enormous chimneys so often to be found in the older farmsteads
of the north of England. Sterne's study was the very small room on the
right-hand side of the entrance doorway; it now contains nothing
associated with him, and there is more pleasure in viewing the outside
of the house than is gained by obtaining permission to enter.

During his last year at Coxwold, when his rollicking, boisterous
spirits were much subdued, Sterne completed his 'Sentimental Journey.'
He also relished more than before the country delights of the village,
describing it in one of his letters as 'a land of plenty.' Every day he
drove out in his chaise, drawn by two long-tailed horses, until one day
his postilion met with an accident from one his master's pistols, which
went off in his hand. 'He instantly fell on his knees,' wrote Sterne,
'and said "Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name"--at
which, like a good Christian, he stopped, not remembering any more of
it.'

The beautiful Hambleton Hills begin to rise up steeply about two miles
north of Coxwold, and there we come upon the ruins of Byland Abbey.
Their chief feature is the west end of the church, with its one turret
pointing a finger to the heavens, and the lower portion of a huge
circular window, without any sign of tracery. This fine example of
Early English work is illustrated here. The whole building appears to
be the original structure built soon after 1177, for it shows
everywhere the transition from Norman to Early English which was taking
place at the close of the twelfth century. The founders were twelve
monks and an abbot, named Gerald, who left Furness Abbey in 1134, and
after some vicissitudes came to the notice of Gundred, the mother of
Roger de Mowbray, either by recommendation or by accident. One account
pictures the holy men on their way to Archbishop Thurstan at York, with
all their belongings in one wagon drawn by eight oxen, and describes
how they chanced to meet Gundreda's steward as they journeyed near
Thirsk. Through Gundreda the monks went to Hode, and after four years
received land at Old Byland, where they wished to build an abbey. This
position was found to be too close to Rievaulx, whose bells could be
too plainly heard, so that five years later the restless community
obtained a fresh grant of land from De Mowbray, at a place called
Stocking, where they remained until they came to Byland.

Recent excavation and preservation operations carried out by H.M.
Office of Works have added many lost features to the ruins including
the exposure of the whole of the floor level of the church hitherto
buried under grassy mounds. Almost any of the roads to the east go
through surprisingly attractive scenery. There are heathery commons,
roads embowered with great spreading trees, or running along open
hill-sides, and frequently lovely views of the Hambletons and more
distant moors in the north.

In scenery of this character stands Gilling Castle, the seat of the
Fairfaxes for some three centuries. It possesses one of the most
beautiful Elizabethan dining-rooms to be found in this country. The
walls are panelled to a considerable height, the remaining space being
filled with paintings of decorative trees, one for each wapentake of
Yorkshire. Each tree is covered with the coats of arms of the great
families of that time in the wapentake. The brilliant colours against
the dark green of the trees form a most suitable relief to the uniform
brown of the panelling. In addition to the charm of the room itself,
the view from the windows into a deep hollow clothed with dense
foliage, with a distant glimpse of country beyond, is unlike anything I
have seen elsewhere.




CHAPTER XXIV

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY OF YORK


Thoroughly to master the story of the city of York is to know
practically the whole of English history. Its importance from the
earliest times has made York the centre of all the chief events that
have take place in the North of England; and right up to the time of
the Civil War the great happenings of the country always affected York,
and brought the northern capital into the vortex of affairs. And yet,
despite the prominent part the city has played in ecclesiastical,
military, and civil affairs through so many centuries of strife, it has
contrived to retain a medieval character in many ways unequalled by any
town in the kingdom. This is due, in a large measure, to the fortunate
fact that York is well outside the area of coal and iron, and has never
become a manufacturing centre, the few factories it now possesses being
unable to rob the city of its romance and charm.

There could scarcely be a better approach to such a city than that
furnished by the railway-station. Immediately outside the building, we
are confronted with a sloping grassy bank, crowned with a battlemented
wall, and we discover that only through its bars and posterns can we
enter the city, and feast our eyes on the relics of the Middle Ages
within. It is no dummy wall put up to please visitors, for right down
to the siege of 1644, when the Parliamentary army battered Walmgate Bar
with their artillery, it has withstood many assaults and investments.
Repairs and restorations have been carried out at various times during
the last century, and additional arches have been inserted by the bars
and where openings have been made necessary, luckily without robbing
the walls of their picturesqueness or interest. The bright, creamy
colour of the stonework is a pleasant reminder of the purity of York's
atmosphere, for should the smoke of the city ever increase to the
extent of even the smaller manufacturing towns, the beauty and glamour
of every view would gradually disappear.

Of the Roman legionary base called Eboracum there still remain parts of
the wall and the lower portion of a thirteen-sided angle bastion while
embedded in the medieval earthen ramparts there is a great deal of
Roman walling.

The four chief gateways and the one or two posterns and towers have
each a particular fascination, and when we begin to taste the joys of
York, we cannot decide whether the Minster, the gateways, the narrow
streets full of overhanging houses, or the churches, all of which we
know from prints and pictures, call us most. In our uncertainty we
reach a wide arch across the roadway, and on the inner side find a
flight of stone steps leading to the top of the wall. We climb them,
and find spread out before us our first notable view of the city. The
battlemented stone parapet of the wall stops at a tower standing on the
bank of the river, and on the further side rises another, while above
the old houses, closely packed together beyond Lendal Bridge, appear
the stately towers of the Minster.

On the plan of keeping the best wine until the last, we turn our backs
to the Minster and go along the wall, trying to imagine the scene when
open country came right up to encircling fortifications, and within
were to be found only the picturesque houses of the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, many of them new in those days, and yet so
admirably designed as to be beautiful without the additional charm of
age. Then, suddenly, we find no need to imagine any longer, having
reached the splendid twelfth-century structure of Micklegate Bar. Its
bold turrets are pierced with arrow-slits, and above the battlements
are three stone figures. The archway is a survival of the Norman city.
In gazing at this imposing gateway, which confronted all who approached
York from the south, we seem to hear the clanking sound of the
portcullis as it is raised and lowered to allow the entry of some
Plantagenet sovereign and his armed retinue, and, remembering that
above this gate were fixed the dripping heads of Richard, Duke of York,
after his defeat at Wakefield; the Earl of Devon, after Towton, and a
long list of others of noble birth, we realize that in those times of
pageantry, when the most perfect artistry appeared in costume, in
architecture, and in ornament of every description, there was a
blood-thirstiness that makes us shiver.

The wall stops short at Skeldergate Bridge, where we cross the river
and come to the castle. There is a frowning gateway that boasts no
antiquity, and the courtyard within is surrounded by the
eighteenth-century assize courts, a military prison, and the governor's
house. Hemmed in by these buildings and a massive wall is the
artificial mound surmounted by the tottering castle keep. It is called
Clifford's Tower because Francis Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, restored
the ruined wall in 1642. The Royal Arms and those of the Cliffords can
still be seen above the doorway, but the structure as a whole dates
from the twelfth century, and in 1190 was the scene of a horrible
tragedy, when the people of York determined to massacre the Jews. Those
merchants who escaped from their houses with their families and were
not killed in the streets fled to the castle, but finding that they
were unable to defend the place, they burnt the buildings and destroyed
themselves. A few exceptions consented to become Christians, but were
afterwards killed by the infuriated townspeople.

On the opposite side of the Foss, a stream that joins the Ouse just
outside the city, the walls recommence at the Fishergate Postern, a
picturesque tower with a tiled roof. After this the line of
fortifications turns to the north, and Walmgate Bar shows its
battlemented turrets and its barbican, the only one which has survived.
The gateway itself, on the outside, is very similar in design to
Micklegate and Monk Bars, and was built in the thirteenth century;
inside, however, the stonework is hidden behind a quaint Elizabethan
timber front supported on two pillars. This gate, as already mentioned,
was much battered during the siege of 1644, which lasted six weeks. It
was soon after the Royalists' defeat at Marston Moor that York
capitulated, and fortunately Sir Thomas Fairfax gave the city excellent
terms, and saved it from being plundered. Through him, too, the Minster
suffered very little damage from the Parliamentary artillery, and the
only disaster of the siege was the spoiling of the Marygate Tower, near
St. Mary's Abbey, many of the records it contained being destroyed.
Numbers were saved through the rewards Fairfax offered to any soldier
who rescued a document from the rubbish, and as the transcribing of all
the records had just been completed by one Dodsworth, to whom Fairfax
had paid a salary for some years, the loss was reduced to a minimum.

Walmgate leads straight to the bridge over the Foss, and just beyond we
come to fine old Merchants' Hall, established in 1373 by John de
Rowcliffe. The panelled rooms and the chapel, built early in the
fifteenth century, and many interesting details, are beautiful
survivals of the days when the trade guilds of the city flourished. On
the left, a few yards further on, at the corner of the Pavement, is the
interesting little church of All Saints, whose octagonal lantern was
illuminated at night as a guiding light to travellers on their way to
York. The north door has a sanctuary knocker.

The narrowest and most antique of the old streets of York are close to
All Saints' Church, and the first we enter is the Shambles, where
butchers' shops with slaughter-houses behind still line both sides of
the way. On the left, as we go towards the Minster, one of the shops
has a depressed ogee arch of oak, and great curved brackets across the
passage leading to the back. All the houses are timber-framed, and
either plastered and coloured with warm ochre wash, or have the spaces
between the oak filled with dark red brick. In the Little Shambles,
too, there are many curious details in the high gables, pargeting and
oriel windows. Petergate is a charming old street, though not quite so
rich in antique houses as Stonegate, illustrated here. A large number
of shops in Stonegate sell 'antiques,' and, as the pleasure of buying
an old pair of silver candlesticks is greatly enhanced by the knowledge
that the purchase will be associated with the old-world streets of
York, there is every reason for believing that these quaint houses are
in no danger. In walking through these streets we are very little
disturbed by traffic, and the atmosphere of centuries long dead seems
to surround us. We constantly get peeps of the great central tower of
the Minster or the Early English south transept, and there are so many
charming glimpses down passages and along narrow streets that it is
hard to realize that we are not in some town in Normandy such as
Lisieux or Falaise, and yet those towns have no walls, and Falaise, has
only one gateway, and Lisieux none. It is surely justifiable to ask, in
Kingsley's words, 'Why go gallivanting with the nations round' until
you have at least seen what England can show at York and Chester?
Skirting the west end of the Minster, and having a close view of its
two towers built in late Perpendicular times, which are not so
beautiful as those at Beverley, we come to what is in many ways the
most romantic of all the medieval survivals of York. There is an open
space faced by Bootham Bar, the chief gateway towards the north; behind
are the weathered red roofs of many antique houses, and beyond them
rises the stately mass of the Minster. The barbican was removed in
1831, and the interior has been much restored, without, however,
destroying its fascination. We can still see the portcullis and look
out of the narrow windows through which the watchmen have gazed in
early times at approaching travellers. It was at this gateway that
armed guides could be obtained to protect those who were journeying
northwards through the Forest of Galtres, where wolves were to be
feared in the Middle Ages.

Facing Bootham Bar is a modern public building judiciously screened by
trees, and adjoining it to the south stands the beautiful old house
where, before the Dissolution, the abbots of St. Mary's Abbey lived in
stately fashion.

When Henry VIII paid his one visit to York it was after the Pilgrimage
of Grace led by Robert Aske, who was hanged on one of the gates. The
citizens who had welcomed the rebels pleaded pardon, which was granted
three years afterwards; but Henry appointed a council, with the Duke of
Norfolk as its president, which was held in the Abbots' house, and
resulted in the Mayor and Corporation losing most of their powers. The
beautiful fragments of St. Mary's Abbey are close to the river, and the
site is now included in the museum grounds. In the museum building
itself there is a wonderfully fine collection of Roman coffins, dug up
when the new railway-station was being built. One inscription is
particularly interesting in showing that the Romans set up altars in
their palaces, thus explaining the reason for the Jews refusing to
enter the praetorium at Jerusalem when Christ was made prisoner,
because it was the Feast of the Passover.

We can see the restored front of the Guildhall overlooking the river
from Lendal Bridge, which adjoins the gates of the Abbey grounds, but
to reach the entrance we must go along the street called Lendal and
turn into a narrow passage. The hall was put up in 1446, and is
therefore in the Perpendicular style. A row of tall oak pillars on each
side support the roof and form two aisles. The windows are filled with
excellent modern stained glass representing several incidents in the
history of the city, from the election of Constantine to be Roman
Emperor, which took place at York in A.D. 306, down to the great dinner
to the Prince Consort, held in the hall in 1850.

The Church of St. Michael Spurriergate, built at the same period as the
Guildhall, is curiously similar in its interior, having only a nave and
aisles. The stone pillars are so slight that they are scarcely of much
greater diameter than the wooden ones in the civic structure, and some
of them are perilously out of plumb. There is much old glass in the
windows.

St. Margaret's Church has a splendid Norman doorway carved with the
signs of the zodiac; St. Mary's Castlegate is an Early English or
Transitional building transformed and patched in Perpendicular times;
St. Mary's Bishophill Junior has a most interesting tower, containing
Roman materials, and the list could be prolonged for many pages if
there were space.

We finally come back to the Minster, and entering by the south transept
door, realize at once in the dim immensity of the interior that we have
reached the crowning splendour of York. The great organ is filling the
lofty spaces with solemn music, carrying the mind far beyond petty
things.

Edwin's wooden chapel, put up in 627 for his baptism into the Christian
Church nearly thirteen centuries ago, and almost immediately replaced
by a stone structure, has gone, except for some possible fragments in
the crypt. Vanished, too, is the building that was standing when, in
1069, the Danes sacked and plundered York, leaving the Minster and city
in ruins, so that the great church as we see it belongs almost entirely
to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the towers being still
later.




CHAPTER XXV

THE MANUFACTURING DISTRICT


It is not easy to understand how a massive structure such as that of
Selby Abbey can catch fire and become a burnt-out shell, and yet this
actually happened not many years ago.

It was before midnight on October 19, 1906, that the flames were first
seen bursting from the Latham Chapel, where the organ was placed. The
Selby fire brigade with their small engine were confronted with a task
entirely beyond their powers, and though the men worked heroically,
they were quite unable to prevent the fire from spreading to the roofs
of the chancel and nave, and consuming all that was inflammable within
the tower. By about three in the morning fire-engines from Leeds and
York had arrived, and with a copious supply of water from the river, it
was hoped that the double roof of the nave might have been saved, but
the fire had obtained too fierce a hold, and by 4.30 a correspondent
telegraphed:

'The flames are through the west-end roof. The whole building will
now be destroyed from end to end. The flames are pouring out of
the roof, and the lead of the roof is running down in molten
streams. The scene is magnificent but pathetic, and the whole
of the noble building is now doomed. The whole of the inside is a
fiery furnace. The seating is in flames, and the firemen are in
considerable danger if they stay any longer, as the false roof is now
burned through.

'The false roof is falling in, and the flames are ascending 30 feet
above the building. Dense clouds of smoke are pouring out.'

When the fire was vanquished, it had practically completed its work of
destruction. Besides reducing to charred logs and ashes all the timber
in the great building, the heat had been so intense that glass windows
had been destroyed, tracery demolished, carved finials and capitals
reduced to powder, and even the massive piers by the north transept,
where the furnace of flame reached its maximum intensity, became so
calcined and cracked that they were left in a highly dangerous
condition.

Fortunately the splendid Norman nave was not badly damaged, and after a
new roof had been built, it was easily made ready for holding services.
The two bays nearest to the transept are early Norman, and on the south
side the massive circular column is covered with a plain grooved
diaper-work, almost exactly the same as may be seen at Durham
Cathedral. All the rest of the nave is Transitional Norman except the
Early English clerestory, and is a wonderful study in the progress from
early Norman to Early English.

On the floor on the south side of the nave by one of the piers is a
slab to the memory of a maker of gravestones, worded in this quaint
fashion:

  'Here Lyes ye Body of poor Frank Raw
  Parish Clark and Gravestone Cutter
  And ys is writt to let yw know:
  Wht Frank for Othrs us'd to do
  Is now for Frank done by Another.
  Buried March ye 31, 1706.'

A stone on the floor of the retro-choir to John Johnson, master and
mariner, dated 1737, is crowded with nautical metaphor.

  'Tho' Boreas with his Blustring blasts
  Has tos't me to and fro,
  Yet by the handy work of God I'm here
  Inclos'd below
  And in this Silent Bay
  I lie With many of our Fleet
  Untill the Day that I Set Sail
  My Admiral Christ to meet.'

The great Perpendicular east window was considered by Pugin to be one
of the most beautiful of its type in England, and the risk it ran of
being entirely destroyed during the fire was very great. The design of
the glass illustrates the ancestry of Christ from Jesse, and a
considerable portion of it is original.

Although Selby Abbey suffered severely in the conflagration, yet its
greatest association with history, the Norman nave, is still intact. At
the eastern end of the nave we can still look upon the ponderous arches
of the Benedictine Abbey Church, founded by William the Conqueror in
1069 as a mark of his gratitude for the success of his arms in the
north of England, even as Battle Abbey was founded in the south.

Going to the west as far as Pontefract, we come to the actual borders
of the coal-mine and factory-bestrewn country. Although the history of
Pontefract is so detailed and so rich, it has long ago been robbed of
nearly every building associated with the great events of its past, and
its present appearance is intensely disappointing. The town stands on a
hill, and has a wide and cheerful market-place possessing an
eighteenth-century 'cross' on big open arches. It is a plain, classic
structure, 'erected by Mrs. Elisabeth Dupier Relict of Solomon Dupier,
Gent, in a cheerful and generous Compliance with his benevolent
Intention Anno Dom' 1734.'

The castle stood at the northern end of the town on a rocky eminence
just suited for the purposes of an early fortress, but of the stately
towers and curtain walls which have successively been reared above the
scarps, practically nothing besides foundations remains. The base of
the great round tower, prominent in all the prints of the castle in the
time of its greatest glory, fragments of the lower parts of other towers
and some dungeons or magazines are practically the only features of the
historic site that the imagination finds to feed upon. A long flight of
steps leads into the underground chambers, on whose walls are carved
the names of various prisoners taken during the siege of 1648. Below
the castle, on the east side, is the old church of All Saints with its
ruined nave, eloquent of the destruction wrought by the Parliamentary
cannon in the successive sieges, and to the north stands New Hall, the
stately Tudor mansion of Lord George Talbot, now reduced to the
melancholy wreck depicted in these pages. The girdle of fortifications
constructed by the besiegers round the castle included New Hall, in
case it might have been reached by a sally of the Royalists, whose
cannon-balls, we know, carried as far, from the discovery of one
embedded in the masonry. Coats of arms of the Talbots can still be seen
on carved stones on the front walls over the entrance. The date, 1591,
is believed to be later than the time of the erection of the house,
which, in the form of its parapets and other details, suggests the
style of Henry VIII's reign.

Although we can describe in a very few words the historic survivals of
Pontefract, to deal even cursorily with the story of the vanished
castle and modernized town is a great undertaking, so numerous are the
great personages and famous events of English history connected with
its owners, its prisoners, and its sieges.

The name Pontefract has suggested such an obvious derivation that, from
the early topographers up to the present time, efforts have been made
to discover the broken bridge giving rise to the new name, which
replaced the Saxon Kyrkebi. No one has yet succeeded in this quest, and
the absence of any river at Pontefract makes the search peculiarly
hopeless. At Castleford, a few miles north-west of Pontefract, where
the Roman Ermine Street crossed the confluence of the Aire and the
Calder, it is definitely known that there was only a ford. The present
name does not make any appearance until several years after the Norman
Conquest, though Ilbert de Lacy received the great fief, afterwards to
become the Honour of Pontefract, in 1067, the year after the Battle of
Hastings. Ilbert built the first stone castle on the rock, and either
to him or his immediate successors may be attributed the Norman walls
and chapel, whose foundations still exist on the north and east sides
of the castle yard.

The De Lacys held Pontefract until 1193, when Robert died without
issue, the castle and lands passing by marriage to Richard
Fitz-Eustace; and the male line again became extinct in 1310, when
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, married Alice, the heiress of Henry de Lacy.
Henry's great-grandfather was the Roger de Lacy, Justiciar and
Constable of Chester, who is famous for his heroic defence of Chateau
Gaillard, in Normandy, for nearly a year, when John weakly allowed
Philip Augustus to continue the siege, making only one feeble attempt
at relief. Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who was a cousin of Edward II,
was more or less in continual opposition to the king, on account of his
determination to rid the Court of the royal favourites, and it was with
Lancaster's full consent that Piers Gaveston was beheaded at Blacklow
Hill, near Warwick, in 1312. For this Edward never forgave his cousin,
and when, during the fighting which followed the recall of the
Despensers, Lancaster was obliged to surrender after the Battle of
Boroughbridge, Edward had his revenge. The Earl was brought to his own
castle at Pontefract, where the King lay, and there accused of
rebellion, of coming to the Parliaments with armed men, and of being in
league with the Scots. Without even being allowed a hearing he was
condemned to death as a traitor, and the next day, June 19, 1322,
mounted on a sorry nag without a bridle, he was led to a hill outside
the town, and executed with his face towards Scotland.

In the last year of the same century Richard II died in imprisonment in
the castle, not long after the Parliament had decided that the deposed
King should be permanently immured in an out-of-the-way place.
Hardyng's Chronicle records the journeying from one castle to another
in the lines:

  'The Kyng the[n] sent Kyng Richard to Ledis,
  There to be kepte surely in previtee,
  Fro the[n]s after to Pykeryng we[n]t he nedes,
  And to Knauesburgh after led was he,
  But to Pountfrete last where he did die.'

Archbishop Scrope affirmed that Richard died of starvation, while
Shakespeare makes Sir Piers of Exton his murderer.

During the Pilgrimage of Grace the castle was besieged, and given up to
the rebels by Lord Darcy and the Archbishop of York. In the following
century came the three sieges of the Civil War. The first two followed
after the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, and Fairfax joined the
Parliamentary forces on Christmas Day of that year, remaining through
most of January. On March 1 Sir Marmaduke Langdale relieved the
Royalist garrison, and Colonel Lambert fell back, fighting stubbornly
and losing some 300 men. The garrison then had an interval of just
three weeks to reprovision the castle, then the second siege began, and
lasted until July 19, when the courageous defenders surrendered, the
besieging force having lost 469 men killed to 99 of those within the
castle. Of these two sieges, often looked upon as one, there exists a
unique diary kept by Nathan Drake, a 'gentleman volunteer' of the
garrison, and from its wonderfully graphic details it is possible to
realize the condition of the defence, their sufferings, their hopes,
and their losses, almost more completely than of any other siege before
recent times.

In the third and last investment of 1648-49 Cromwell himself summoned
the garrison, and remained a month with the Parliamentary forces,
without seeing any immediate prospect of the surrender of the castle.
When the Royalists had been reduced to a mere handful, Colonel Morris,
their commander, agreed to terms of capitulation on March 24, 1649. The
dismantling of the stately pile by order of Parliament followed as a
matter of course, and now we have practically nothing but
seventeenth-century prints to remind us of the embattled towers which
for so many months defied Cromwell and his generals.

Liquorice is still grown at Pontefract, although the industry has
languished on account of Spanish rivalry, and the town still produces
those curious little discs of soft liquorice, approximating to the size
of a shilling, known as 'Pontefract cakes.'

The ruins of the great Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstall, founded in the
twelfth century by Henry de Lacy, still stand in a remarkable state of
completeness, about three miles from Leeds. With the exception of
Fountains, the remains are more perfect than any in Yorkshire. Nearly
the whole of the church is Transitional Norman, and the roofless nave
is in a wonderfully fine state of preservation. The chapter-house and
refectory, as well as smaller rooms, are fairly complete, and the
situation by the Aire on a sunny day is still attractive; yet owing to
the smoke-laden atmosphere, and the inevitable indications of the
countless visitors from the city, the ruins have lost much of their
interest, unless viewed solely from a detached architectural
standpoint. We do not feel much inclination to linger in this
neighbourhood, and continue our way westwards towards the great rounded
hills, where, not far from Keighley, we come to the grey village of
Haworth.

More than half a century has gone since Charlotte Bronte passed away in
that melancholy house, the 'parsonage' of the village. In that period
the church she knew has been rebuilt, with the exception of the tower,
her home has been enlarged, a branch line from Keighley has given
Haworth a railway-station, and factories have multiplied in the valley,
destroying its charm. These changes sound far greater than they really
are, for in many ways Haworth and its surroundings are just what they
were in the days when the members of that ill-fated household were
still united under the grey roof of the 'parsonage,' as it is
invariably called by Mrs. Gaskell.

We climb up the steep road from the station at the bottom of the deep
valley, and come to the foot of the village street, which, even though
it turns sharply to the north in order to make as gradual an ascent as
possible, is astonishingly steep. At the top stands an inn, the 'Black
Bull,' where the downward path of the unhappy Branwell Bronte began,
owing to the frequent occasions when 'Patrick,' as he was familiarly
called, was sent for by the landlord to talk to his more important
patrons.

The churchyard is, to a large extent, closely paved with tombstones
dating back to the seventeenth century, laid flat, and on to this
dismal piece of ground the chief windows of the Brontes' house looked,
as they continue to do to-day. It is exceedingly strange that such an
unfortunate arrangement of the buildings on this breezy hill-top should
have given a gloomy outlook to the parsonage. If the house had only
been placed a little higher up the hill, and been built to face the
south, it is conceivable that the Brontes would have enjoyed better
health and a less melancholy and tragic outlook on life. An account of
a visit to Haworth Parsonage by a neighbour, when Charlotte and her
father were the only survivors of the family, gives a clear impression
of how the house appeared to those who lived brighter lives:

'Miss Bronte put me so in mind of her own "Jane Eyre." She looked smaller
than ever, and moved about so quietly and noiselessly, just like a
little bird, as Rochester called her, barring that all birds are
joyous, and that joy can never have entered that house since it was
first built, and yet, perhaps, when that old man married, and took home
his bride, and children's voices and feet were heard about the house,
even that desolate crowded graveyard and biting blast could not quench
cheerfulness and hope.'

Very soon after the family came to Haworth Mrs. Bronte died, when the
eldest girl, Maria, was only six years old; and far from there having
been any childish laughter about the house, we are told that the
children were unusually solemn from their infancy. In their earliest
walks, the five little girls with their one brother--all of them under
seven years--directed their steps towards the wild moors above their
home rather than into the village. Over a century has passed, and
practically no change has come to the moorland side of the house, so
that we can imagine the precocious toddling children going hand-in-hand
over the grass-lands towards the moors beyond, as though we had
travelled back over the intervening years.

The purple moors so beloved by the Brontes stretch away to the Calder
Valley, and beyond that depression in great sweeping outlines to the
Peak of Derbyshire, where they exceed 2,000 feet in height. Within easy
reach of this grand country is Sheffield, perhaps the blackest and
ugliest city in England. At night, however, the great iron and steel
works become wildly fantastic. The tops of the many chimneys emit
crimson flames, and glowing shafts of light with a nucleus of dazzling
brilliance show between the inky forms of buildings. Ceaseless activity
reigns in these industrial infernos, with three shifts of men working
during each twenty-four hours; and from the innumerable works come
every form of manufactured steel and iron goods, from a pair of
scissors or a plated teaspoon to steel rails and armour plate.





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