a brief






with all respect



Lord of




Printed at the “Express” Office, by John Irving Lonsdale,

58 Scotch Street


Transcriber's note: Although no date of publication or author are given above, the author is known to be George Gill Mounsey (1797-1874), solicitor, three times mayor of Carlisle and builder of the present Gilsland Spa Hotel and St Mary Magdalene Church, Gilsland. The book was published around 1865. Some of the author's notes for the book can be seen among the Mounsey family papers at Carlisle Records Office.

I have adhered to the original text and layout as far as possible, including archaic spellings and usages such as "shew" and "clomb", which I suspect were old-fashioned even in 1865. It is my intention to gradually annotate this html document, and an unaltered MS Word document can be found at

This transcription: copyright W Higgs, 2007



Is a place remarkable for its medicinal water, its tonic and invigorating atmosphere, and the picturesque variety of heathery hill and grassy dale, wooded crag and mountain stream, by which it is environed. Neither are these the whole of its attractions. It possesses sources of a deeper interest. The most perfect composition of landscape that the painter's art can depict becomes an object of secondary interest when placed beside the picture of some locality where memorable things have been done or suffered by man. Amidst the finest scenery of nature the heart yearns for traditions of the past, and seeks traces of byegone generations of the human family. Hence those places which most abound in relics and traditions of the olden time are ever the most interesting. And thus it is with Gillesland. Its features of natural beauty bear also an impress of the occupancy of departed races, which few can look upon without emotion: vestiges, some of them indistinct as the mystical shadows of a remote antiquity; others less impaired by time and directly associated with the recorded deeds of our ancestry. In a limited sense Gillesland is historic ground. The majestic Roman, the indomitable Caledonian, the Saxon, the Dane, and the chivalrous Norman, are there traceable. It is, indeed, a humble page of history which treats of a remote and circumscribed district like this. It makes no


pretension beyond the directing of observation, facilitating enquiry, and aiding research, - as means of enlarging the sphere of enjoyment of those who visit the Spa.

The barony of Gillesland comprises an area of nearly 100,000 acres of land, in the north-east of Cumberland, and boundering on Northumberland. It is upon that narrowest part of the island whereabouts the rivers Tyne and Irthing take their rise; and whence they flow, the one eastwards to the German Ocean, and the other westwards into the Eden and Solway Frith. The high mountainous range of country which stretches from Yorkshire northwards into Scotland, termed by the Romans the Pennine mountains, is here intersected by those streams; and a pass is thereby formed from the eastern to the western coast, which from the earliest time of record has been used as a channel of communication. The Romans adopted it for their celebrated wall and military way. In 1745 the importance of it as such was practically enforced upon the attention of the English government by the irruption of Prince Charles Edward Stuart with the highland clans into England by way of Carlisle, which might have been promptly checked had the communication with Newcastle been properly maintained. After that a military road was again formed through it, in many parts upon the old Roman wall; and now the civil engineer has availed himself of it for the formation of the Newcastle and Carlisle railway. At the boundary between Gillesland and Northumberland the summit level of the pass is attained. From thence Gillesland slopes away westwards towards the Solway,1 the white waters of which may be

1 Solway is said to be derived from Selgovae, the Roman denomination of a tribe who inhabited its shores. The Roman names in Britain are generally found to embody the pre-existing British names under Latin terminals. The name was written by Ptolemy, the geographer, Aelgovae, the letter S being a prefix. Aelgovae is probably reducable to the Celtic Alg-awe, the Whitewater, a name characteristic of the sandy estuary at the head of the Solway.


seen on a clear day glittering under the sunshine along the base of the Scottish mountain Criffell.

The Spa and Hotel, generally termed Gillesland, from the barony within which they are situate, are locally known by the name of “The Shaws” which is the ancient name of the particular estate, a word denoting woody ground upon the slope of a hill, which anciently was the characteristic of the place. The position is at the eastern extremity of the barony, on the summit level. The Hotel stands on a lofty bank of the river Irthing, which here rushing in a deep and rocky bed out of the upper moorlands almost encircles the site. In front, towards the south, the ground, cleared of wood, slopes away to the river with an easy and prolonged inclination, forming a beautiful plot of meadow. Behind, from the north, the ear catches the sound of the river brawling against the cliffs which rise abrupt and nearly perpendicular from its bed to the height of 100 feet; it is only at a few points where the projecting trees and brushwood have been removed that the eye can detect the stream. At the foot of the cliff, deep in the shady glen, the sulphureous water issues from it. A pathway from the hotel winds round the steep and wooded crag which intervenes, down to the river side, where a causeway, gained from its bed, affords access to the vent of the spring. The scenery is strikingly picturesque and romantic. The Chalybeate spring is in a small collateral glen, formed by a rivulet which falls into the river a little higher up the stream.

The earliest historical notices of Britain are those of the Romans. The people whom they found when they invaded the island are generally understood to have been Celtae. The high tract of county, ranging from Lincolnshire northwards, was the territory of a powerful tribe


whom they called Brigantes - in which we recognise the same root as in the Celtic Brigheac, a mountaineer.

The Britons of the North remained much longer undisturbed by the Roman invaders than those of the South. During a century following the invasion of Julius Caesar not a Roman legionary set foot in Cumberland. In the year 78 Julius Agricola reduced North Wales and Anglesey. In the next year, 79, he overran the country northwards to the Solway and the Tyne. He then paused to construct works which the narrowness of the island and the nature of the country between those points suggested to him, for the purpose of securing his conquests and establishing a base for further operations. From the estuary of the Eden on the west coast, to the mouth of the Tyne on the east, he established a chain of forts; at the same time clearing the country and opening communication between them. This done, he resumed his operations in advance northwards.

Agricola's chain of forts intersected Gillesland. Amboglanna , now Burdoswald , certainly was one, and a chief one of them. Thus did it form part of the barrier line of the Roman empire in Britain. It is true the imperial sway prevailed farther northwards, yet the untameable Caledonians in their fastnesses beyond scorned submission, baffled invasion, and often retaliated with savage energy. Ere long became requisite the more elaborate and perfect works constructed by the Emperor Hadrian about the year 124. It may be supposed that the establishment of numerous stations garrisoned with Roman legionaries had in the mean time attracted industrial population. Under such safeguards, and for the necessary supplies, agriculture and the arts of peace must have progressed : hence stronger temptation would be afforded to the wild northern tribes for predatory incursions, and a more


perfect system of protective works would be required. It was for a long time assumed that Hadrian raised merely the Vallum, or parallel earthen lines on the southern side of the Murus, or stone wall; and that the latter was the subsequent and distinct work of the Emperor Severus, about the year 204. But the opinion now prevails that both were of Hadrian's construction, and that Severus only repaired them. The question is ably treated in Hodgson's History of Northumberland, and in Bruce's History of the Wall. Those who hold that Hadrian raised only the Vallum, have to admit that his work was defective both in design and execution - so inadequate, indeed, for the purpose intended that within a century after its formation Severus found it necessary to construct an entirely new and more efficient work to cover it. Mr. Hodgson's conclusion, on the other hand, “that the whole barrier between the Tyne at Segedunum and the Solway at Bowness, of the Vallum and the Murus, with all the castella and towers of the latter, and many of the stations on the line, were planned and executed by Hadrian,” is strongly based in the unity of design and skilful adaptation of the several parts which they display, forming one grand and comprehensive scheme of defence and communication, worthy of the highest admiration. The Murus, with its castella and towers manned by the legionaries, bore the brunt of the storm of northern assault; the military way behind, along the whole line from station to station, facilitated the transit of troops and material from point to point, wherever pressure required support; and the Vallum, ranging farther southward, afforded both a subsidiary line of defence, and a cover to the military way from all danger of interior interruption. It is a circumstance strongly indicative of the merely subsidiary character of the Vallum, and negative of the supposition of its having


been originally a substantive line of defence; that in some places it traverses the southern slope of the hill, leaving higher and positively commanding ground immediately over against its northern face, so that in enemy on the northern side would there have the vantage ground. There is a striking instance of this near Banks, where it is obvious that but for the Murus crowning the higher ground to the north the Vallum could not be defensible. In fine, though the Vallum and the Murus are both great works, yet the one without the other would have been incomplete and insufficient. Together they evidence the highest degree of military skill in providing for defence of an extended line of country by means of a comparatively small force, moveable under cover, in safety and with celerity, upon any threatened point. It is, thus contemplated, a masterpiece. An examination of its remains now, after fourteen centuries of delapidation, shews also that it was not less remarkable for the durability of its structure than for the grandeur of its design.

The Roman wall is distinctly traceable through Gillesland for the length of eleven miles; in many parts exhibiting portions of its facings when cleared of the heaps of rubbish which have accumulated upon it. The stations on the line are clearly distinguishable. Of these, Amboglanna and Petriana are within the limits of Gillesland, and conspicuous on its lofty site to the eastward is seen Magna (now called Carvoran) in Northumberland. The Roman road, called “Maiden Way,” from Kirkbythore in Westmoreland to Magna , was supposed to have extended thence directly northwards towards Scotland. But the supposition is now found to be erroneous. From the southern gate of Magna there was a road, south of the wall, the remains of which are traceable, and which are known by the name of the Carelgate , or Stanegate , in the


direction of Burdoswald; and from the northern gate of Burdoswald the Maiden Way has lately been very clearly traced and illustrated by Mr. Maughan. Therefore it is clear that the line of communication was not from Magna directly northwards, but by way of Burdoswald. On the line of road between the two there exist the remains of no less than five detached camps, viz., at Glenwhelt leezes , Chapelrigg , Crooks, Throp , and Willoford , - designed, no doubt, to protect the communication, and to support the line of the wall, at this part exposed to attack through the defiles of the Tippalt and Irthing rivers, which here debouch into the valley from the mountainous country to the north. That this was no unnecessary provision there is sufficient traditional evidence. Thirlwall , on the Tippal records a breach through the famous barrier wall. The Gap , not far distant, tells as certainly of another. It was, therefore, not without reason good that the five camps above named were so placed.

Amboglanna occupied a plateau upon a lofty eminence on the northern bank of the river Irthing. That stream, rising in the higher moorlands, runs along the Northumberland border in a deep and rugged course down to the Shaws at Gillesland, where it emerges into a more open and spacious valley, from the head of which the eye may trace it into the vale of the Eden, and may range without obstruction to the Solway Frith and the coast of Dumfries and Galloway beyond. Near to the farm-house of Willoford, about two miles down the valley, the river receives a small tributary stream called Harraburn, issuing from a deep ravine on its northern bank. At this point the wall was carried across the Irthing and up the steep ridge of the intersected northern bank, on which stood Amboglanna . No traces of a bridge remain; but from the brink of the precipice which the inroads of the river have made may be


distinguished the line of the wall across the low ground of Willoford1 farm, and the point where it must have crossed and ascended the northern bank may be marked.

Amboglanna appears to have been garrisoned by the sixth Aelian Cohort of Dacians. The sixth legion also appears, from inscriptions found, to have been there, probably at an early period. The walls of the station are still prominent on every side of the parallelogram, inclosing an area of five or six acres. In many parts, where cleared from accumulations of rubbish, they exhibit the original facing stones to a considerable height. The northern rampart ranges exactly in line with the Murus; yet clearances there made by the late Mr. Crawhall shew it to have been an earlier erection, the Murus being merely joined upon and not tied into it, nor of the like structure, but built with larger courses of stones and of much ruder masonry. The position is commanding. From the northern front the ground falls away rapidly to a morass (recently drained) which extended far to the north-west. On the east and north-east the deep ravine of the Harrasburn includes and protects a considerable plot of ground without the camp, on which are traces of a suburb. On the south is the precipitous bank of the Irthing river. Looking at the place in its present condition, some have been led to remark that it is defective as a military position, inasmuch as by a successful assault from the north the garrison, having no means of retreat, must have been driven over the precipice into the river. But this was not so. The position was not isolated; it was connected with the Murus and the Vallum on its eastern and western sides: in either direction there was a secure way for approach of succour, or for retreat to the nearest station. With more plausibility it has been

1. Willoford seems to be a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon weall-ford , the wall ford.


observed that by carrying their lines across the river Irthing here and occupying the right bank northwards, instead of holding to the strong ground on the left bank of the rivers, the Roman engineers quitted a more easily defensible line than that which they adopted. But this is a narrow view of the matter. The general design of this great work embraced wider objects. To include and secure the vale of Eden and Carlisle, which there is reason to believe was a British town before the advent of the Romans, it was absolutely necessary for them to cross the Irthing before its junction with the Eden, and no fitter place for that purpose could be found. Had they kept the southern bank they would have left the strong ground on the northern bank open for hostile occupation. Moreover, here is little doubt that a town already existed at Amboglana; certainly the station was there before the construction of the wall. To connect that with the line of fortification was an additional reason. It has been already been stated that the Carelgate, or Stanegate, formed a junction between the Maiden way at Magna and the station at Amboglana, whence it proceeded again northwards. Mr. Maughan has distinctly traced and illustrated its course from the Praetorian gate of Amboglana across the wastes to Bewcastle, and thence into Scotland. The north- eastern gate has been well developed, and is descried by Mr. Potter in the Archaeologia Aeliana. His observations in regard to the later occupation of the place are worthy of quotation, as bearing upon the somewhat obscure derivation of the modern name Burdoswald . He says – “Many circumstances have lead me to believe that this camp was occupied as a town long after the departure of the Romans. We find, for instance, that the floors of some of the houses are about four feet above the flagged Roman footpath inside the wall of the camp; and I have followed to this


height a drain which rested on the ruins of a former edifice. Now, to suit this altered and higher level it was found necessary to raise the floor of the gateway, and we accordingly find the level of the gateway is raised a foot above the Roman floor, and that stones with large pivot holes are placed upon those used by the Romans. The higher level increases as we enter the gate, and continues to do so until it reaches the new level of this part of the camp.”

No doubt there was an Anglo-Saxon town, and the name Burdoswald must be of Anglo-Saxon origin. Some fanciful antiquarian has associated a personage named Bird, said to have been once owner of the property, with Oswald, an Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria, for its derivation, although it is impossible that those personages could have had anything to do with each other, and there is not the slightest evidence that either of them had anything to do with the place. Even Mr. Potter clings to the notion of a Saxon chief of the name of Oswald having repaired the walls and gates and built a town within, thence called the “Burgh of Oswald,” or Burgh Oswald. There is no necessity to name the founder in order to get the name of the town. In its position is the origin of its name. It is the Saxon Burg–ordes–weall - the Burgh at the wall or in the line of the wall. lt is anciently written Burdosal . Burdoswald is a modern corruption.1

Petriana , locally named Cambeck Fort or Castlesteads , six miles and a quarter westwards of Amboglana, is a little to

1 Antiquarians are too often misled by names sounded in seeming harmony with their favourite theory. The writer above quoted affords an amusing instance. After stating that the Saxon chief Oswald founded and named Burdoswald, he adds that, moreover, some Dane in later times took up his abode in the vicinity. “For we find,” says he, “near a tumulus a little to the north-east of Burdoswald some masonry, which Mr. Nicholson informs me is the remains of a structure which formerly stood here, and was called Harrows or Harold's Castle .” This structure, however, was nothing more than a border peel-house, called the Harras , probably the “haracium,” or stud farm of the Lord of Triermain, the land around here being excellent for the rearing of the “nags'' or little horses, with which all the border riders were by tenure bound to provide themselves for their military service.


the south of the Murus and Vallum. It was smaller than Amboglana, containing an area of about three acres and a half. A fine altar found here identifies with it the second cohort of Tungrians, commanded by Albus Severus, and other inscriptions mention the second and sixth legions. Nothing remains on the site, which now forms the flower garden of Walton House, a modern erection upon the old Castlesteads.

Upon the social condition of these parts under the Roman dominion we can but speculate. We know, indeed, generally, that the British population, in a great measure, lost their distinctive nationality of character, that they affected the Roman manners, and even prided themselves on their correct usage of the Latin tongue. They could not fail to acquire a taste for the arts of civilisation, and a considerable admixture of the races would result. The Roman legions in Briton were more like colonists than garrisons: Britain became their home. Hence, no doubt, as the Britons acquired civilisation from their masters, native habits, feelings, and even language, would also assimilate to those of the dominant race. The powerful influence of Christianity at an early period reached Britain, if not by the direct instrumentality of Joseph of Arimathea, as the good fathers of Glastonbury asserted, nor by St. Paul himself, as others have surmised, yet, in all probability, by refugees from Spain seeking at once a safe and secluded home and a people willing to receive improvement. In the year 43 Aulus Plautius was sent as governor into Britain and remained some years. There is a curious of notice of him in the annals of Tacitus, on his return in the year 50, to the effect that his wife Pomponia Graecina, a distinguished woman, was accused of being guilty “superstitionis externae.” This has been looked on as an accusation of her having become a Christian. We learn


that in the second century Lucius, a British king, was converted to Christianity. It is no sufficient objection to urge against this that the Romans were then in full possession, and that, consequently, there could be no British king. Tacitus informs us that there were many petty princes in Britain. It was the policy of the Romans to maintain such nominally in conquered countries as instruments of their paramount sway. Lucius might be one of these. We are not necessitated to believe in the authenticity of the epistle said to have been written to him by Pope Eleutherius. That document bears on the face of it marks of subsequent manufacture, and is, most likely, a monkish forgery, founded on the traditionary fact of Lucius' conversion. In the reigns of Constantius and of Constantine his son, British bishops attended general councils of the Church. At the Council of Arles, in the year 325, Restitutus, a British bishop, is named. And in the year 430 Germanus and Lupus, being sent by the Prelates of Gaul into Britain to confute the Pelagian heresy, are said to have consecrated and placed several bishops there.

But whilst the Roman policy accorded to the Britons the softer arts and influences, it also repressed their war-like spirit. When the fatal period arrived for departure of the legions, recalled at length to Italy by the impending peril of the empire at home, the Romanised Britons were left in the condition of decorated victims to the inveterate and cherished hatred of the northern tribes. The Romans, it is true, thoroughly repaired the wall and forts, supplied arms, and endeavoured to impart discipline, but it was beyond their power to revive nationality, which during centuries it had been their aim to erase. No sooner had they departed than the mass, hitherto controlled by one supreme power, fell asunder into as many section as


there were petty princes, each more virulent against the others than against the common enemy, now eager to take advantage of the change. The wall, no longer manned by the legionaries, was speedily forced. Thirlwall, near Gillesland, traditionally marks the locality of one memorable breach. “The Gap” tells us emphatically of another. Devastation commenced its reign. It has been well remarked that “any degree of union among the Britons might have enabled them to repel their enemies. The walls of the cities fortified by the Romans were yet strong and firm, the tactics of the legions were not forgotten, bright armour was piled in the storehouses, and the serried lines of spears might have been presented to the half-naked Scots and Picts, who could never have prevailed against their opponents. But the Britons had no inclination to lift the sword except against each other. Humbly and. pitifully imploring the Romans for help, they lost all courage, except for faction, when the Romans could not comply, but left them to their own resources. The most ancient historian of this disturbed and lamentable period is Gildas, himself the son of a British king, and he bears a most forcible testimony against his countrymen. The British kings were stained with every vice, ruling not for the protection but for the spoil of their subjects, and their misconduct involved both kings and people in one common ruin.”

The advent of the Saxons invited, it is said, by one of those British princes, dimly and indistinctly as that event can now be discerned through succeeding ages of disorder and contention, is the starting point of the history of the existing English race. Before the overwhelming flood of Paganism Christianity and civilization appeared to be swept from the face of the land: the Anglo-Saxon race commenced in barbaric idolatry the career which now seems


destined to extend over the globe the light of Christian liberty and civilization. A remnant, nevertheless, of the British retired into Wales and the western parts of the island as far northwards as the Clyde, where Dumbarton (Dun-Breton, the fortress of the Briton) is their indubitable landmark to this day. For a long period the kingdom of the Strathclyde Britons, eventually the kingdom of Cumbria, extended thence southwards to the river Duddon. The political divisions of the country then stood somewhat as follows:- On the eastern side of the island, from the Forth to the Tyne, or, as some say, to the Tees, was the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bernicia; southwards again of that to the Humber was the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira, which two states eventually became united in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. On the western side of the island was the territory of the Strathclyde and Cumbrian Britons, comprising the south-western parts of Scotland and greatest part of the present counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. There has been a good deal of misconception and controversy concerning the Cumbrian kingdom, but it is cleared up by the publication of authentic records. That it was such as above stated is shewn by the answers of the Prior and Convent of Carlisle to the writs which Edward the First addressed to the several monasteries and cathedrals of the kingdom, at that period the depositaries of the only reliable historical information. They there say “Cumbria dicebatur quantum modo est Episcopatus Karleolensis et Episcopatus Glasguensis, et ab ipso Episcopatu Karli usque ad flumen Dudden.”

In the western British states Christianity was never lost. As early as the year 394 Nynian, a British priest, founded the Bishopric of Candida Casa (Whitherne) in Galloway. We have few details of its history, but it subsisted after the Norman conquest, and there is reason to think that its


bishops originally exercised jurisdiction over Cumberland now so called. In the seventh century Bernicia and Deira becoming consolidated into the powerful kingdom of Northumbria, under Egfrid, he extended his sway westwards over Cumberland, and made its king his tributary. He then restored the ancient city Caer-luel1, which had been destroyed by the Caledonians, erected there a college of secular priests, withdrew it from the jurisdiction of Whitherne, and gave it, with the land fifteen miles around, to Saint Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne. This establishment was probably never afterwards totally subverted. Saint Cuthbert's Church still subsists at Carlisle. Egfrid, indeed, was, no long time afterwards, defeated and slain by the Picts, and his dominions north of' the Tweed rent from the Northumbrian kingdom. The Picts, in turn, fell and disappeared as a nation before the victorious Kenneth McAlpin, King of the Scots. But we do not find that either Pict or Scot then got Cumbria. It is most probable that, under its native princes, it once more enjoyed a precarious independence.

Towards the end of the ninth century the Danes ravaged the country and destroyed Carlisle. There is every reason to believe that the destruction of the city was total and complete, since we read of the place laying waste and great oaks growing upon it two centuries afterwards. The strong admixture of Danish, as well in the names of places as in the provincial dialects of Cumberland and Westmorland, leaves no room for doubt that the Danes, to a considerable extent, settled and became domesticated in those counties. In the year 945 Edmund, having united under his sole

1 Caer-luel , from which the modern name Carlisle is derived, is simply the city Luel. Luel is, no doubt, an abbreviation of the Roman name Luguballia , concerning which there has been controversy. On the principle that the Roman names were generally the Celtic names which they found, rounded off, as it were, with Latin terminals, and looking at the remarkable position of Carlisle, at the point of junction of the rivers which nearly surrounded it, the suggestion that the root of the name is to be found in the words Dluth Bala , i.e. , the town at the junction , seems as plausible as any.


sway all the kingdoms of the Saxon heptarchy, and having also overrun Cumbria, conferred the latter territory upon Malcolm, King of Scots “on condition that he should be his ally as well by sea as by land.” This donation would seem to have been of the nature of a feudal investiture, with reservation of homage and fealty to the English monarch. Malcolm is said to have immediately, with the consent of Edmund, made a subinfeudation to Indulf, the Tanaist or heir apparent of his crown, to the intent that the Cumbrian province might thenceforth be held and governed as an appanage of the prince royal of Scotland till called to the throne, and so might descend from heir to heir by render of fealty to the Anglo-saxon monarchs. Thus Malcolm Canmore, during the life of his father, Duncan I., held it; and in the year 1054, with the assistance of Siward, the neighbouring Earl of Northumberland, he thence proceeded to avenge the slaughter of his father and to recover the Scottish crown from Macbeth. In the year 1066, when William the Norman conquered Saxon England, the province of Cumbria was in like manner held by the heir of the Scottish crown.

From the period of the Norman Conquest during nearly a century immediately following a cloud of doubt and discrepancy, more perplexing than positive darkness, envelopes the history of these parts. This afforded room for invention. The monks of Wetheral manufactured a chronicle which sets forth that “William, Duke of Normandy, the Conqueror of England, gave all the land of the County of Cumberland to Ranulf de Meschines - that Ranulf enfeoffed Hubert de Vaux the Barony of Gillesland; and Ranulf, his brother, of Sowerby, and Karlaton, and Hubbraby; and Robert, their brother, of the Barony of Dalston;” and so forth, as if William the Conqueror and Ranulf de Meschines had found the County of Cumberland ready at their hands


for parcelling amongst their Norman followers. This had been repeated until it had acquired credit for historical truth; yet it is manifestly erroneous. The principality of Cumbria was then, beyond all question, held by the Scottish prince, in virtue of the donation of Edmund, the Anglo-saxon monarch. William the Conqueror, admitting him to have been entitled to all that Edmund could have claimed, was only entitled to the fealty due from his vassal in respect of it. And possibly with that be might have remained satisfied, but for the complication of political circumstances which brought the two kingdoms into hostile collision. After the battle of Hastings, Edgar Atheling, the Anglo-Saxon heir of the English crown, with his sister Margaret a beautiful and accomplished maiden, and many noble Englishmen, fled to Scotland, and were there hospitably received by King Malcolm; who eventually espoused the young princess. Hence jealousies arose between the two kings. The refugees engaged in plots for the expulsion of the Norman. A league, formed with the Danish king by the discontented Northumbrian nobles for the purpose of attempting to restore the monarchy which had formerly subsisted under Canute, received the countenance and support of Malcolm and the Scottish party. In the year 1070 he invaded and ravaged the Bishopric of Durham. The efforts of the malcontents, however, were fruitless; and William in return visited with his direst vengeance the rebellious Northumbrians. He laid waste and depopulated the country between the Humber and the Tees. Many Northumbrian nobles fled to Scotland, where Malcolm cordially received them, and provided them with lands and honours. Amongst these was Patric Earl of Northumberland - on whom Malcolm conferred the Earldom of Dunbar - and others of his family, on whom, it would seem, he conferred


large possessions in his Cumbrian territory. We subsequently find the district about Carlisle in the tenure of Dolfin, who was either brother or son of Earl Patric; and it is probable that many Danes, as well as Northumbrians, at the same time found shelter in Cumbria from the Conqueror's vengeance. In 1072 William led a fleet and army against the Scottish king. It is recorded that he got no further than the Tweed, where “he found nothing to his advantage.” An accommodation was there effected; Malcolm made his submission, and William led his army back again. The substance of the matter probably was a renewal by the Scottish prince of his homage for the Cumbrian principality.

Matthew, the monk of Westminster, writes that Earl Randal de Meschines, who afforded, efficacious aid to King William in his conquest of England, at that time governed the county of Carlisle; that he began to build the city, and to endow it with numerous privileges; but that King William, returning from Scotland through Cumberland, and beholding such a royal corporation, took it away from Earl Randal, and gave him for it the county of Chester, privileged with many honours; and Carlisle he commanded to be fortified with the strongest towers and ramparts. This is a mere jumble of facts and dates totally inconsistent. In the first place, William did not return from Scotland by way of Carlisle, or the western coast. The chronicle of Durham states that the king, on his return from Scotland, founded the castle of Durham; and Fordun, after stating that in 1072 William the Bastard entered Scotland, adds that “in his return from thence, rashly attempting to explore the remains of St. Cuthbert, he was affrighted at Durham, and left it in haste.” Clearly, therefore, he returned by the eastern coast route. And, in the next place, even admitting that the personage


styled Randal de Meschines may have been one of his coadjutors in the conquest of England (though none such is named in the Battel Roll, or in any other list extant), yet it is beyond all doubt that Randal did not succeed to the Earldom of Chester till the year 1121, that is, nearly 50 years after the time of his alleged removal from the governorship of Carlisle. And, lastly, we know that so late as the year 1092 Carlisle was, as yet, laying desolate, and the district in the tenure of Dolfin.

Some stress has been laid on a document (given in Dugdale's Monasticon, as extracted from MSS. relating to Lindisfarne at Durham) purporting to be letters-missive from William the Conqueror addressed to W the son of Theodoric , and his faithful men of Caerleol , commanding them to receive christianity of the Bishop of Durham and his archdeacon and to obey him as their bishop. Yet it by no means shews William to have been at Carlisle; on the contrary, it affords a presumption of his having been at Durham : and it is easily explainable consistently with his possessing nothing in Cumberland beyond the feudal incidents of the Scottish prince's tenure of the principality.

Long before the grant by King Edmund to Malcolm of Scotland, Carlisle, with fifteen miles around, had been granted by Egfrid to St. Cuthbert; thus the spiritual jurisdiction was attached to the see of Durham. Subsequent events had interrupted, probably destroyed for the time, that ancient connection, but the grant to St Cuthbert had, no doubt, been religiously preserved in the episcopal archives at Durham. Then, what more likely, whilst the Conqueror was sojourning there on his way from Scotland than that the prelate should seize the opportunity of laying it before him, and urging his claim as successor of the saint, to have a recognition of it ? Neither can there be any question that William would


gladly avail himself of the opportunity of exercising his paramount title in a way which cost him nothing; whilst it tended to withdraw from the Scottish prince and church the whole spiritual jurisdiction, and to vest it in his own bishop. The document, therefore, if genuine, - and the object of it is so consistent with what we may suppose the views of its authors at the time to have been, that we cannot reasonably question its genuineness, - goes far to prove that William did not come to Carlisle, but that he went by way of Durham; and there, probably, had his views turned in the direction of Carlisle by the successor of St. Cuthbert.

Substantially, then, the peace of 1072 left Cumberland in much the same condition as before. Patric, the exiled Earl of Northumberland (generally called Cospatric , a contraction of the words Comes Patric ), had a brother, named Dolfin, and three sons, named Dolfin, Waldeof, and Cospatric. He himself had already received from King Malcolm the Earldom of Dunbar; his brother and sons appear to have been provided for in Cumberland; Waldeof, we know, had Allerdale; Dolfin, we know, had Carlisle and the country around it; and the modern names of Dovenby in West Cumberland and Dolphinby in East Cumberland attest beyond doubt his other possessions there, as Aspatria denotes the seat of Cospatric, his brother. The silence of the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086, is strongly corroborative. That survey makes no mention of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland so far as those counties are known to have been included in the Scottish Principality. It does notice under the heading of the shires of York and Lancaster certain parts adjacent to them which are understood not to have been so included.

After the death of William the Conqueror the Scottish


king again invaded England and was repelled. The next year, 1091, William Rufus retaliated by an invasion of Scotland, but his fleet was shattered by a storm. Malcolm came across the Forth to meet him in Lothian; and, whilst the two armies approached each other, Robert, the English king's brother, and Edgar Atheling, by mutual intercession brought about an amicable arrangement. Malcolm renewed his homage to Rufus, and received from him confirmation of all such lands as he theretofore held of the English crown.

On this occasion Rufus returned from Scotland by way of Cumberland; and it is said that on his coming to the site and ruins of the ancient city of Carlisle, which had been destroyed by the Danes 200 years before, and had since lain desolate, great oaks then growing upon the ruins of it, he was struck by the aptitude of the place for a stronghold, and resolved, notwithstanding his recent treaty with Malcolm, to seize upon and rebuild it. Accordingly, it is added, he in 1092 expelled Dolfin, 1 whom he found in possession of the district, erected a castle, reared walls, restored the town, and sent into it a population from the South.

Rufus' seizure of Carlisle must be considered as the first footing of the Norman in Cumberland. Documents are not wanting to denote an earlier occupation; but they are generally found to be spurious on close scrutiny. Such is the alleged foundation charter of Nunnery by William Rufus, in the year 1088 - which speaks of

1 In repairing Carlisle Cathedral, in 1855, a stone was discovered in the wall of the south transept bearing inscription of the peculiar kind of Runes termed the Norse or Icelandic, which were also used by the Danes. The inscription was read by Mr Maughan thus: - Tolfin suna salu sark this stane – in English, Tolfin, in sorrow, raised this stone for the soul of his son. Dr Charlton read it differently, thus: - Tolfin vraita thasi Rynr a thisi stain – in English, Tolfin wrote these runes on this stone. Mr Gibson, in a paper read before the Archaeological Society of Lancashire, suggested that it may have formed part of a longer inscription, recording, probably, Tolfin's share in the restoration of the church from its previous dilapidation; for it would seem that, although the city was laid waste, there was some religious establishment, and probably a church and cemetery there. Tolfin or Dolfin, was either the brother or a son of Cospatric. When expelled by Rufus he retired to Scotland. The little town of Dolphington, in Lanarkshire, marks the place where he eventually settled.


the “county” of Cumberland, and of “our town of Karlile ;” whence it has been argued that both at that early period were notoriously under the English king's sway. But the fact is unquestionable that not till at least four years after that date was there any town of Karlile, nor was the place in possession of the English king. Equally clear it is, that so late as the reign of Henry II., the term “county of Cumberland” was not in use - the term “ Chaerliol ” being used to denote it. And if other evidence were wanting to prove the Nunnery charter to be a composition of a later period, it is patent on the face and in the wording of it. It professes to grant the endowments to be held as freely “ as hert may yt think or ygh may yt see ,” - an expression which William Rufus surely could not have made use of : for if it could be thought a probable thing for the Red Norman to word the very pith of his charter in the language of the conquered and contemned Anglo-Saxon, yet it is certain that he could only have used the current language of the time; and could not have used, in anticipation, English of the time of Henry III., or perhaps later.

The seizure of Carlisle caused renewed hostility between the two kingdoms; and, although Rufus kept his hold, there is reason to think that little of Cumberland beyond the vicinity of Carlisle was acquired during his reign.

It may be that the personage called Randal de Meschines was placed in command there, to achieve the conquest of a county for his sovereign and an earldom for himself; and that he gradually extended his grasp thence up the vales of the Eden, the Caldew, and the Pettril. There are traces of this incidentally to be met with. In the old poem, called the “Anturs of Arthur,” in which the scene is laid in the forest of Inglewood, within the bounds of which Carlisle stands, we read that


Princys pruddust in palle,
Gay Gaynour and alle,
They went to Rondalle-sete Halle.

Rondalle-sete hall appears on ancient maps to have been upon the Roman station at Plumpton, in the vale of Pettril, and was probably one of Randal's lodgements effected from his stronghold at Carlisle. He also appears as donor to the monks of Wetheral of lands in the vale of Eden. We therefore trace something like a gradually extending occupation up the river valleys; the higher country, perhaps, remaining in possession of those who held under and maintained their allegiance to the Scottish prince.

The real name of this Randal de Meschines was Ranulf le Meschyn . He was son of Ranulf de Bricasard, Vicomte of the Bessin, in Normandy, - who accompanied the Conqueror at Hastings - by Maude, sister of Hugh d'Avranches, surnamed Lupus, Earl of Chester. The term Meschyn was used to designate the cadet of a noble house; thus, in the royal grant to the abbey of Melrose, we find mention of Robert Brus “meschin.” In his grant to the monks of Wetheral he is correctly denominated Ranulf Meschyn . He had adopted the name, dropping that of Bricasard. In process of time his name, first latinized into Ranulfus Meschinus , was recast by the monkish manufacturers of history into Ranulf de Meschines. Being nephew of Hugh Lupus, first Earl of Chester, and cousin to the young earl his son, who perished at sea with the children of King Henry I., he thereupon succeeded as next heir to the Earldom of Chester in 1121, and died in 1129.

In the year 1100 Henry I. succeeded to the throne and shortly afterwards espoused a Scottish princess, Matilda, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, by the Anglo-Saxon


princess Margaret. By that event hostility was removed, and peaceful relations thenceforward subsisted between the two kingdoms. David, the queen's brother, was educated in England. He married the daughter of Judith, the Conqueror's niece, by Waltheof formerly Earl of Northumberland; and had that earldom conceded to him in right of her. As heir-apparent of the Scottish crown, David was entitled according to the ancient usage, to the principality of Cumbria, as feudatory of the English crown; but he acquiesced in the retention of Carlisle. There was no formal cession of his right. There is no reason to think that any who held their lands under him were dispossessed. But the revenue was, undoubtedly, enjoyed and administered by the English king.

This is shown by the Pipe Roll of the 3lst year of the reign of Henry I., in which, under the heading “Chaerliolium,” the sheriff renders account to the king's exchequer of his receipts and payments on behalf of the crown. Thus he debits himself with the yearly Noutgeld , or cattle tax, amounting to £85 7s. 8d.; and takes credit for monies paid for works at the city wall, and for payments made to the canons of St. Mary for works at their church. Also, he makes deduction in respect of lands given by the king's writ to Richard the knight - in which we recognise the origin of Rickerby , and probably Rickergate in Carlisle. Mention is also made of lands at Carlisle that were of Guerri the Fleming, - whence we have Werry holme; and of others that were of Etard , - whence, probably, Etterby. There is nothing to show any extensive change of the ownership of property in the county. Some little is indicated in the neighbourhood of the city; generally, it may be assumed, the old possessors continued to hold as they had done under the Scottish Prince - paying their accustomed Noutgeld , with his concurrence, to the English


King. There is a curious charter preserved in the British Museum illustrative of the amicable relations which prevailed at that time. It is a grant by David to Robert de Brus. It runs thus – “David, by the grace of God King of Scots,1 to all his barons, and men, and friends, French, and English, greeting - Know ye that I have given and granted to Robert de Brus Estrahanent (Strathannan or Annandale) and all the land from the bounds of Dunegal of Strathnith even unto the bounds of Ranulf Meschyn. And I will and grant that he have and hold that land and its castle well and honourably, with all its customs, to wit, with all those customs which Ranulph Meschyn ever had in Carduilh and in his land in Cumberland on that day in which he had them best and freest.” The witnesses named are Eustace FitzJohn, Hugh de Morvill, Alan de Perci, William de Sumerville, Berengar Engain, Randolph de Sules, William de Morville, Hervi FitzWarin, and Edmond the Chamberlain, most of them English, several of them Cumberland names. The reference to Ranulf Meschyn's tenure of Carlisle as a pattern for Brus' tenure of Annandale implies an existing interest in that place as still forming part of the Cumbrian principality of the Scottish crown. Annandale is described as extending, not to the border of England, but to the bounds of Ranulf Meschyn , as if he also held under the like grant. The inference is, that during the reign of Henry the First, the utmost amity prevailing, all conflicting territorial questions were left in abeyance by mutual consent - that English and Scotch princes, nobles, and people, laid aside their animosities, and that something like a fusion of the races seemed to be approaching. It has generally been supposed that the troublous times of the Conqueror and his

1 David began to reign in 1124, about four years after Ranulf le Meschyn surrendered his earldom of Carlisle.


successor, Rufus, mainly caused the influx of English and Normans into Scotland. May it not rather be ascribed to the close union which prevailed during the reign of Henry the First between 1100 and 1134 ?

Another ancient document preserved in the chartulary of the Bishopric of Glasgow comes more directly to our subject. It is the record of an inquisition upon the possessions of the Church of Glasgow, made about the year 1118, as supposed, by order of David, then Prince of Cumbria, before he succeeded to the Scottish throne. It sets forth the ancient foundation of the See of Glasgow in the Cumbrian region, which it describes as being “inter Angliam et Scotiam sita” - the subsequent destruction and waste thereof (probably alluding to the Danish ravages) - and the intrusion of divers tribes from different parts, till at length, in the time of Henry, King of England, and Alexander, King of Scotland, God sent David, cousin of the King of Scots, to correct and bridle them, who elected John, by whom he had been educated, to the Bishopric, who, being consecrated by Pope Pascal, and received with joy by the prince and nobles, spread the Word by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Cumbrian diocese : Wherefore (it proceeds) David Prince of the Cumbrian region, principally from his love of God, partly also for love and munition of the religious, had caused it to be inquired concerning the lands belonging to the Church of Glasgow in each of the provinces of Cumbria which were under his dominion and power (for he did not rule the whole Cumbrian region) so that he might leave to posterity certitude of these possessions which the Church had anciently held. These, therefore, by the help and investigation of old and wise men of all Cumbria he to the best of his power investigated. Then follows a list of possessions of the Church, and the document proceeds “That


these were lands pertaining to the Church of Glasgow, at the request of the above said prince, have sworn Uchtred son of Waldef, Gill son of Boed, Leysing and Oggo Cumbrian judges, and Halden son of Eadulf.” Numerous witnesses are named, Amongst them are Cospatric brother of Dalfin, Waldef his brother, Hugo de Morvill, Berengarius Engaine, Alan de Perci ; exhibiting the same admixture of English and Scottish names which characterizes the public documents of that period relating Cumbria.

David's zeal and liberality in the promotion of religious establishments are well known. Of him it was said by James the Sixth, that he was “a sair saint for the crown.” The inquisition, therefore, was a consistent and probable proceeding on his part. Equally consistent with fact is the notice of his limited rule, “ for he did not rule the whole Cumbrian region .” It tallies remarkably with the state of things in or about 1118 - when Ranulf le Meschyn was holding the Earldom of Carlisle in allegiance to King Henry. The names of the jurors and witnessed are familiar to those who are conversant with the early history of Cumberland, - Cospatric, Dolfin, and Waldeof, the three sons of Patric, quondam Earl of Northumberland, - Uchtred, son of Waldeof, located probably at Oughterby , a benefactor of the Canons of Carlisle, - Halden, Engaine, Morvill, all territorially connected with Cumberland, are here found acting with and for the Scottish prince. Leising, the Cumbrian Judge, we trace to Lazonby, which is anciently written Leisingby, - and in Gill the son of Boet, we at once recognise Gilles Bueth, from whom Gillesland and Bewcastle (Bueth Castle) are named. In fact, although Ranulf le Meschyn at that period held the Earldom of Carlisle, and the English Exchequer received the noutgeld or tax, yet this document shews that the


great land-holders, at least those beyond the environs of Carlisle, and amongst them the Lord of Gillesland, recognised their allegiance to David as Prince of Cumbria.

Then who or what was Gill, the son of Boed; or, as he is elsewhere named Gilles Bueth ? – There is little doubt that he was of Scottish or Celtic origin. Gille is a component of many Celtic names – Bodhe was the name of a son of Kenneth the 4th King of Scots; or Bueth may be identical with Beith or Beth, and so filius Boed may be Macbeth latinised. It survives in the names of Bewcastle (Buethcastr'), Boothby Buethby), Burtholme (Buetholme), Gille, in the larger and more significant term of Gilles-land.

Boed or Bueth was the more ancient possessor; Gille the more extensive. The latter is distinctly traceable in those parts back to a date coeval with the conquest. In the “Veredictum antiquorum” concerning the Chapel of Triermaine, in Gillesland, it is stated that Gilemor, the son of Gilander, who was Lord of Treuerman and Torcrossoc first made a chapel of the Virgin at Treuerman, and procured divine service to be celebrated there (with the consent of Edelwan the Bishop) by Enoc, priest of Walton; that he then admitted to that chapel as chaplain Gilemor, his cousin, who first domiciled in that land long time before the coming of Hubert de Vallibus into Cumberland; that to Gilemor succeeded Daniel as priest; and after him was Astin; and that after the foundation of Lanercost Priory the chapel was appropriated to that house by Robert de Vallibus the founder. By the incumbency of the four above named chaplains, previous to the foundation of Lanercost, we are carried back to nearly the time of the conquest: and we arrive at the same, or an earlier period; by the mention of Edelwan the bishop, by whom is meant no doubt Egelwyn , bishop of Durham from 1056 to 1069. Gilemor seems to be simply Gille - Mohr the great; and


Gilander may be Gillle-an- dearg , the red, of a celtic race which probably came into the country after the depopulation of it by the Danes.

In the year 1133 King Henry I. founded the Bishopric of Carlisle. On his death in 1135 ensued a contest for the English crown between Stephen and the Empress Maude and her son. David, King of Scots, took part with the latter, and did homage for his Cumbrian fief. At the same time he took the opportunity of resuming full possession by occupying Carlisle. The men of Cumberland are specifically mentioned as having formed part of his army at the battle of Northallerton in 1138. On, the general accommodation which took place in 1139, it was concluded that Stephen should reign for life; and that Cumberland, as by ancient right, should remain to David. He is said to have kept his court at Carlisle. Here, on the 12th May, 1150, the young Prince Henry, afterwards King Henry II., received from him the honour of knighthood - a ceremonial in those days of much solemnity and magnificence. About the same time David founded the Abbey of Holme Cultram; he died at Carlisle on the 21st of May, 1153; and was succeeded by his grandson Malcolm, a minor.

On the death of Stephen, Henry the II. succeeded to the English throne. No longer weakened by the claims of a competitor, he set about restoring the royal authority which had been impaired during the times of civil discord. He resumed the crown lands, which the necessities of Stephen and Matilda had compelled them to alienate to their partisans; and he demolished the castles which had been erected in various places, and had become the terror of the defenceless people. This was a work requiring time and force. Having at length effected his purpose, he then reckoned with the King of Scots. In the year


1157, he demanded restitution of the territory comprising Cumberland, Northumberland, and Westmorland, which David had obtained on the settlement between Stephen and the Empress Matilda. The young King Malcolm, though he might have alleged the oath sworn by Henry to David when he received his knighthood, was unable to resist the demand. He surrendered the Northern territory, and received in return the County of Huntingdon.

There can be little question that this event was not unaccompanied by violence, and that many were forcibly dispossessed in order to make room for the favorites of the English monarch. Amongst these latter was Hubert de Vallibus, whom we find to have accompanied the king in his northern progress, and to have been with him at Newcastle in the year 1157, where he received a grant of Gillesland.

The name “de Vallibus” has been fancifully said to be derived from the the “Gills” or vallies with which Gillesland abounds, to which peculiarity the derivation of the name “Gillesland” has also been ascribed. But neither the one nor the other is so derived. De Vallibus is simply a Latin version of De Vaux , a name borne on the continent of Europe by many eminent families, as the Dukes of Andrea, Princes of Joinville, Taranto, and Provence, as by the Lords of Vaux, in Normandy. One of the latter it was who accompanied William the Conqueror in his English expedition. Sir David Lindsay, in his Heraldry, mentions Vaus as one of the surnames of “thame that came forth of England with Sanct Margaret about the year 1070” - that is, of those Normans who, after having taken part in the abortive insurrection of Northumberland against the Conqueror, then retired to Scotland and settled there. The Barony of Dirleton, in East Lothian, was afterwards held by that branch. Others of the name


remained in the south of England. In Domesday book, A.D.1086, we find the name of Robert de Vallibus recorded as holding Pentney, in Norfolk, under Roger Bigod; in whose “large troop” he had probably had fought at Hastings. At Pentney he founded a Priory of Black Canons, and dedicated it to Saint Mary Magdalene. His son Robert de Vallibus made a grant to the Priory of Castleacre, in Norfolk, of a mill and meadow in Pentney. In that grant he mentions his brothers Robert Pinguis, Gilbert, and Hubert. Thus we have

Robert de Vallibus, 1086:

                Robert.                         Robert Pinguis.                     Gilbert.                          Hubert.


Again in the great Roll of the Pipe 31, Henry I., Robert de Vallibus is recorded in Norfolk as rendering £4 6s. 8d. that he may have the land of Hocton of the inheritance of his wife; whilst in the same Roll, under the heading “Chaerliolium” by which Cumberland was then designated, the name does not occur. It may be concluded, therefore, that Robert the eldest son and his posterity continued to hold the original family estate in Norfolk; and that Hubert, the youngest, was the valiant soldier who probably followed the fortunes of the young Prince Henry throughout the long struggle with Stephen; and, after his accession to the throne, accompanied him in his operations against the unruly chieftains whose castles he had to destroy; and eventually, on the final cession of Cumberland by Malcolm King of Scots, received his reward in a grant of Gillesland. That grant is yet extant, and runs in the following terms : -

Henry , Duke of Normandy and Acquitaine, Count of Anjou, to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justiciars, Sheriffs, Ministers, and all his faithful men of


England, French and English, Health; Know ye that I have granted, given, and confirmed to Hubert de Vallibus in fee and heritage to him and his heirs, All the land which Gilbert, son of Boete, held the day on which he was alive and dead, of whomsoever he may have held it. And, moreover, Korkeby with the fishery and other appurtenances which Wescubrich, son of William Steffan, held; and Kaderleng, with the mill which Uchtred, son of Halden held. And all that land shall he hold, he and his heirs of me and my heirs, by the service of two Knights. Wherefore I will and firmly command that he and his heirs the above said lands of me and my heirs may have and hold, beneficially and in peace, freely and quietly, in integrity and honour; with all their appurtenances in wood and plain, in meadows and pastures, in ways and paths, in waters and mills, and fisheries, and marshes, and pools, within burg and without, in all things and places; with thol and theam, and soch and sach, and infangthef; and with all other liberties and free customs, quit of all noutgeld. Witness , R . Archbishop of York, R . Bishop of Lincoln, H . Bishop of Durham, H . Earl of Norfolc, Earl Alberic, Earl Galfrid, Richard de Lucy, Manass ‘Bisset, the steward, Hugh de Essex, the constable, Hugh Morville, Robert de Dunstanville, William Fitz John, Simon Fitz Peter, Nigell de Brock, William Malet, Roger Fitz Richard, Robert de Stutevill, and Turgis de Russedale. At Newcastle upon Tine.”

The expression used in this grant, “all the land that Gilbert, son of Boete, held on the day on which he was alive and dead ” distinctly shew that he had held it till his last day. When that was, or what had been his fate, we are not informed. That it was his inheritance and not a recent acquisition in the unsettled period which followed the death of Henry the First, is evidenced by the impress


of his paternal name on places in the locality, as Boothby, and Burtholme, in the Central valley of Irthing. The expression “ of whomsoever he may have held ” is also remarkable as denoting his acknowledged legal tenure, whilst it strongly indicates the pre-existing uncertainty of the sovereignty under which he had held. Had he been a mere interloper such would not have been the language used. It is indicative of the anomalous condition of those parts since the time when William Rufus seized Carlisle. Gille, and his father Bueth, or Boete, no doubt had originally held immediately under the Scottish Prince of Cumbria; who yet was no more than the vassal, as regarded his principality, of the Kings of England; and during that period of alternate conflict and compromise between the two it might well be difficult for a man to avow under whom he held, or to decide to whom his allegiance was properly due. Gille most probably committed the mistake of adhering to the Scottish Prince, and fell in some vain effort to resist King Henry. The subsequent fate of his race may be traced. There is reason to believe that one of the name held Bewcastle (Bueth-Castle), situate to the North of Gillesland, in the border wastes, then, and to a comparatively recent period, an almost inaccessible district. Certain it is that De Vallibus never acquired nor claimed Bewcastle as part of his barony: and we find no record of it till a later time. It then appears as crown property. The probability is that the son and heir of Gille, whose name we learn to have been Wescop, found refuge with his kinsman there; and for a time held the adjacent higher parts of Gillesland. We know that he resisted De Vallibus in the enjoyment of it, -perhaps making incursions and harassing, though he could not expel, the too powerful Norman baron. The latter erected a stronghold at Irthington in the valley, where the dilapidated


keep of his castle may yet be seen. Unable to reach, or effectually to expel by open force, the continued assaults of his enemy, Robert de Vallibus, Hubert's son had recourse to other means. He invited his indomitable opponent to an amicable arbitration of their disputes. They mutually came to Tryst at Castlesteads, the old Roman Station at Walton : and there the young man fell treacherously slain. The title and possession of De Vallibus were thenceforward quieted. His outward foe was removed but inward sense of crime sate heavily on his conscience; and his subsequent life appears to have been marked by endeavours to make such reparation as the spirit of those times dictated : and to divert his mind from the painful recollection, he betook himself to the study of the law, and attained high judicial dignity. He devoted that district of his baronial lands (now constituting the manor of Walton) wherein the slaughter was committed, an the northern side of the beautiful valley of Irthing, including the lands of Buethholme, where the ancient family probably resided, to the foundation of the Priory of Lanercost. And he confirmed to the surviving relative of his victim the manor of Denton, in Gillesland, which Wescop had previously conferred. By this we are enabled to trace, even to this day, the lineage and descent of that ancient and enduring race. “Bueth-barn,” by which term is meant “the son of Bueth,” is recorded as holding Denton of the gift of Wescop, son of Gilles Bueth, and confirmed by Robert de Vallibus : and as having made a grant of the church of Denton to the Priory of Lanercost, - to which grant De Vallibus was a witness. Then we find Robert fil'Bueth, son of Bueth-Barn, making a grant to the Priory for health of the souls of himself and of Eda and Sigreda, or Sirith, his sisters. This Robert appears to have been the last male of the name there. Sigeda married Robert


son of Anketin and had a son named John, who took the name of Denton - John of Denton. From him descended a long line in succession there. In the reign of Henry VII. they exchanged Denton Manor for Warnell, where they flourished till the latter part of the last century, and as yet hold property and station in Cumberland.

Neither is the vitality of the blood of Robert de Vallibus who, seven centuries ago, slew the chief of their race, less remarkable. The Barony of Gillesland has since that time descended from ancestor to heir, in unbroken series, through the successive noble families of De Vallibus, Multon, Dacre, and Howard, down to its present possessor the Earl of Carlisle. Never sold, never alienated, it has witnessed many strange vicissitudes in the fortunes of its lords; and is connected historically as well as traditionally with some of our most interesting national events. A history of the Barons of Gillesland would afford both instruction and amusement; but we must now revert to the humbler, though not less salutary, theme of its Spa.




Were the mineral waters of Gillesland in repute in the olden times we have been treating of ? May we suppose that the ancient Britons and the Roman legionaries and settlers in Amboglanna, Magna, Petriana, and the other neighbouring stations, frequented that deep glen seeking health or recreation at its fountains ? There is some reason for the supposition : certain it is that these waters have been in high repute from time immemorial : there is no record or tradition of the discovery of them, whilst there remains circumstantial evidence of their celebrity in very ancient times.

The sulphureous spring is traditionally termed the “Holywell.” It is true the name proves little beyond the popular appreciation of its virtues. Many wells are called “Holy,” and why or how they acquired the designation none can tell. But here it is not so. Annually, on Mid-summer Sunday, a gathering of the country people takes place at Gillesland - a Sunday fair. It is the relique of a more solemn yet joyous festival, for blessing the waters with which, on St. John's-day yearly in the olden time, the good fathers of Lanercost Priory, indulged themselves and gratified the superstitious natives of that region. We may fancy their progress from St. Mary's shrine up the river valley, proclaiming holiday and festivity to the healthy, and inspiring hope and comfort to the sick


and ailing. More than three centuries have elapsed since the monks were ejected from Lanercost, yet the festival survives. The reason of this tenacity lays deeper than in any lingering reminiscence of them. In all probability the old Lanercost fathers, when they were first established there in the twelfth century, found and adopted an anterior superstition. It was not uncommon for the early Christians to avail themselves of the strongholds of paganism, from which they had dislodged the false spirit; and to adapt them to better purposes, instead of utterly desecrating and destroying them. On the site of the Pagan temple they often placed the Christian church : where they prostrated the idol, they erected the cross; the fountains once sacred to the nymphs they not unfrequently dedicated to the blessed virgin. Thus they had the advantage of all reverent feelings for time-honoured localities and objects which might lurk in the breasts of their converts.

“The faintest traces of a shrine,

Whate'er the worship, raise some thoughts divine”

Thus it is far from improbable that the Lanercost fathers finding a general traditionary superstition connected with the Gillesland waters moulded it into a festival of their church. The day of its celebration again leads us to its origin. The summer solstice was the grand festival season of the pagan world. The Druids and the Picts were both of them worshippers of wells : the Romans erected votive altars to the nymphs and fountains. Here then we have the season and the elements of the superstition concurring. May we not then suppose the native Britons, and the Romans, with one and the same reverent feeling, resorting to the deep romantic glen to do honor to the divinities who there presided over the restorative and invigorating waters and to rejoice in the health and spirit they imparted ? We assume, of course, that the locality and the waters were


noted for their salubrity. Such only were used to be deemed under the tutelar care of the divinities. And the assumption is not altogether without warrant.

In Camden's Britannia it is noted that “Nearer the wall, beyond the river Irthing, was lately found this fair votive altar, erected to the goddess Nymphe of the Brigantes , for the health of the Empress Plautilla, wife to M. Aurelius Antoninus Severus, and the whole imperial family, by M. Cocceius Nigrinus, treasurer to the Emperor, when Laetus was second time consul; With intricate connection of letters which I read thus : -












LAETO II . . .

Horsley, also, in his Britannia Romana, gives the same inscription, and says, “I know not where it was found, or where it now is; nor will I vouch for it being genuine.'' But Dr. Todd, who was Prebendary of Carlisle from 1685, and a remarkably accurate and acute observer, states in his M.S.S. “that within the limits of the parish of Lanercost, at a place called Shaws , was not long since a Roman Altar dug up with this inscription.” Then he gives the inscription, his reading of it varying in some slight particulars from that in Camden and Horsley. There can be little doubt that Dr. Todd had seen and transcribed it from the stone. That the Emperor Severus and his Chamberlain Nigrinus were at Amboglanna it is most probable – seeing


that Severus certainly repaired the wall, if he did not construct it. He remained some years in Britain - and may have had with him the Empress and his family also. The Shaws, where the altar was dug up, is outside, north of the wall, and some mile and a half distant from Amboglanna. The erection of it at Shaws, therefore, can only be accounted for by some local peculiarity; and when we find it to be a votive altar to the divinity of the country (not Rome) for the health of the Empress and her family, a strong presumption arises that they had there derived health from the salubrious character of the place, its pure atmosphere, and medicinal waters. Horsley also gives the following inscription from an altar said to have formerly been at Blenkinsop, a little eastward of Gillesland : -






He adds, “who these nymphs were may be difficult to determine; because they were of various sorts, and supposed to reside almost in all places by land and water.” May we not say that no where was there a more congenial habitation for these nymphs than the romantic glen wherein the sacred well gave forth its sparkling waters ? May we not assume that they were the presiding divinities there; to whom the Roman matron and her daughters, in grateful acknowledgement of health restored, raised their votive altar ?

A yet more interesting relic is the cup found at Rudge, in Wiltshire, now in the possession of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland. The print of it here given, is from that in Horsley's Britannia Romana. The inscription connects it beyond all question with this locality, as being a cup dedicated by the people of Maia, Aballava, Uxelodum,


Amboglanna, and Banna, to some common purpose, social or religious; and though the precise position of some of those places be not agreed on by all antiquarians, yet that of Amboglanna is on all hands admitted to be at Burdoswald, and the others are generally assigned to places not distant. Banna is supposed by Mr. Hodgson to have been Bewcastle - which was connected with Amboglanna by the maiden way, and was garrisoned by the same cohort as Amboglanna.

The purpose of this joint dedication appears to have puzzled Horsley. He observes “it is not easy to offer a plausible conjecture concerning the use of this cup, and the meaning of the inscription upon it. Some uncertain guesses offered themselves to me, but none of them so satisfactory as that of the excellent Mr. Gale, which he was so obliging as to impart to me in a letter. If the shape and smallness of it prove not a strong objection against its having been a Patera , I have little hopes of ever finding a more ingenious and promising conjecture than that of this incomparable antiquary; though it may perhaps receive some little additional strength from what is observed afterwards. This gentleman, then, supposes it may have been a patera , used in libations by the people of those towns that are mentioned upon it. Sacrifices were generally offered by the ancients when they met together upon any solemn occasion : sometimes even when they were assembled only for mirth and feasting, as is evident from many passages which mention this custom among them. Why then might there not be an alliance or society formed among these five neighbouring places, and perhaps a feast annually, or more frequently observed by them, when they jointly made their libations out of one common patera inscribed with all their names as a token of their friendship and unanimity ?





Virg: Aeneid. L. 8. 640.

Here, indeed, each king seems to have had his own patera , whereas in the other case it is supposed that one and the same patera was common to several places. The gentleman, however, would therefore have the inscription read, A Mais, Aballava, Uxelodumo, Amboglanis, Banna , supposing all the names to be in the ablative governed by the preposition A, and that the c before Amboglans has been designed for an o . and is to be joined to Uxelodum, which therefore makes it Uxelodumo. If we consider what has been said before concerning the stations per lineam valli, and what I shall offer concerning the names and order of the same stations as they occur in the anonymous Ravennas , perhaps some further light may be derived from thence to this learned conjecture. For it will appear that these five places were next to each other, and all of them upon that part of the wall where, probably, the inroads were most frequently made; and, consequently, the greater danger might make it more necessary for the several garrisons to enter into a stricter confederacy for their mutual strength and relief. According to tradition the northern inhabitants broke through a part of the wall near one of these stations; and the parts hereabout, as I have shewn on another occasion, seem to have been the principal seat bf the war. The enemy's country here was stretched out the furthest, and perhaps was the most populous; so that the part between the Solway Frith and the borders of the two counties of Northumberland and Cumberland might on this account be more liable to an invasion than any other. And this is the very space on which stood the places whose names are inscribed on this cup. But if this has been the use of the cup, and this the meaning of the inscription upon it, what


has brought it from Cumberland to Wiltshire ? For, according to the account we have, it was found at Rudge , about six miles east of Marlborough, where also some tessellated pavements and other Roman monuments have been discovered. To this it may be answered that so small a vessel might easily be transported from one part of the kingdom to another, even the most distant, and that on a thousand occasions which it is needless to mention.1 The learned Baron Clerke supposes that this patera may have been thrown into the well where it was found after some solemn libation. In those days wells were esteemed sacred, and sacrificing to them was common.”

There seems much probability in the conjecture that the cup belonged to some kind of society formed amongst the inhabitants of the places named on its margin. That their federation was of a martial character, for mutual defence, it is not so obvious. The cup bears no warlike emblem or allusion, and it is obviously a gift offering by them to some one else. Does not Baron Clerke's supposition afford us a better solution of the difficulty ? Horsley, full of classical antiquarian lore, seems to have known little of the natural features of the country. Perhaps he never saw nor heard of the “Holy Well” at Gillesland. In his day the monks of Lanercost had long ceased from their annual celebration, and all that remained of it was the vulgar “Sunday fair” at Midsummer. Yet, tracing that upwards through its traditionally religious or superstitious pedigree, we realise a state of things which fits well enough with Horsley's conjecture of “ a feast annually or more frequently observed by them ” (the people of the towns named on the cup) when they jointly made their libation out of one common patera ; or, if there be a question of

1 Rudge Coppice is on the Icknild Street, which had communication with the Northern boundary.


its being a patera, as he seems to think there may be from the shape and smallness of it, then the circumstances are yet more favourable to Baron Clerke's conclusion that the cup may have been the gift of those towns, thrown into the well at Shaws on some solemn festival occasion there, and dedicated to the purpose of those who came to partake of the water. The size and shape of it favour this supposition. Howsoever it may have been, the tenor of the inscription on the altar of Marcus Cocceius Nigrinus found at Shaws, the peculiar cup dedicated by the neighbouring towns, the certain natural salubrity of the place, and the established tradition of its ancient religious character, are strong circumstantial proofs that the virtues of the Spa were known to the Romans.

We pride ourselves on the enlightenment of these our own times, but the contemplation of this comparatively insignificant matter may remind us how slow is the progress, how difficult the emancipation, of the human intellect from its natural tendencies to error. The virtues of the fountain survived the lapse of Paganism, but the superstitious yearnings of men remained, and the early Christian churchmen were fain to minister to them by supplying what they deemed a legitimate object. The Pagan rites of the summer solstice were replaced by the festal celebration of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, whilst St. Mary took the place of the Nymphe Brigantum . On that holy day the monks of Lanercost made solemn procession to the Holy Well to invoke her blessing on the still venerated waters. The multitude rejoiced in their accustomed superstition, and accepted without question the improved version of its sanctity. The Midsummer Sunday Fair is now but the shadow of what was within three centuries an essential in the creed of the natives of these parts, who were, in truth, fully as ignorant and


superstitious as their Pagan ancestors twelve centuries before.

Descending to the sphere of our local historical records we find it stated by Camden that “not far from Naward is a medicinal spring which issues out of a rock. The water is impregnated with sulphur, nitre, and vitriol, and is said to be very good for the spleen, and the stone, and all cutaneous distempers. In summer time it is much frequented both by the Scotch and English.”

The Shawes estate is situate in Triermain, a mesne manor within the Barony of Gillesland, and was anciently held of the lord of that manor in tenant right by payment of a small certain annual rent, and by border service : that is, the tenant was bound to serve at the requirement of the lord on the Scottish marches with horse and armour. There were in these border lordships two descriptions of tenements, viz., nag tenements, the holders of which were bound to serve with horses (nags), and foot tenements, the holders of which were bound to serve on foot only. The Gillesland tenements appear to have been generally nag tenements. At Flodden Field Lord Dacre commanded a body of horse in great part composed of his Gillesland “Riders.”

There were two ancient tenements at the Shawes, as the name imports, and it is not difficult to point out the sites. One of them, no doubt, stood where the hotel now is, on the top of the bank. The other is conjectured to have stood in the meadow in front of the hotel, nearly at the foot of the slope, not far from the river, where there remain traces of foundations and mound fences, and a magnificent old oak called the Trysting Tree. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth Andrew Carrocke held one and Jenkin Carrocke the other of these tenements, paying the ancient yearly rent of 3s. 6d. each. At the same period Richard Thirlwall


held land called Wardrew across the river in Thirlwall. In those days, and for centuries before, nothing like an hostelry for accommodation of peaceful visitors could have subsisted there. Situated on the verge of the wastes, which extended thence almost without interruption to Scotland, and were the scene of continual raid and violence, the solitary tenants of the Shawes, doubtless, looked with suspicion on all strange faces, and desired not the company of many visitors, who might prove to be either foes in disguise or constitute a dangerous temptation for the mosstroopers also to pay them a visit. Yet evidence is not wanting that the waters were at that time in repute, and that visitors of note were occasionally at the Shawes.

In the reign of James the First Lord William Howard, after years of contention with the Crown and the heirs male of the Dacres, obtained quiet possession of the Barony by means of a compromise and purchase of the rights of adverse claimants. Eminent as he undoubtedly was for his talents and virtues, yet he was induced, by the example of the king, into an arbitrary and oppressive course of proceeding towards the tenantry of his barony. King James, straitened for money by the profusion of his Court and the cravings of his hungry favourites hit upon the expedient of resuming from the tenantry of the Crown Lordships all estates that had been held by the Border service, on the ground that by reason of the union of the two crowns of England and Scotland on his one head the Border service had ceased, and that, consequently, these tenements were resumable by the Lord. Many of the customary tenants gave way, and were permitted to continue on composition at improved rents. Many resisted, and were prosecuted in the Star-chamber, fined, and imprisoned. Many became outlaws and infested the Borders which they once defended.


The example of the king was, unhappily, followed by other lords, amongst others by Lord William Howard. Like the king, he succeeded in part, and reduced many of the ancient tenant-right holders to the condition of lease holders. The two Carrockes, of the Shawes, were of the number who resisted, and were ejected. In the year l611 we find Andrew Thirlwall holding their property as farmer under Lord William, at the yearly rent of 45s. What had become of the Carrockes it does not appear; probably they lurked in the wastes with other broken and ejected men. In 1617 Widow Thirlwall appears to have been farmer, and in 1625 the Lady Elizabeth Howard, wife of Lord William, one of the co-heiresses of the Lord Dacres of the North, and as generally known in those days by the designation of “Braid-aproned Bess” as her noble husband was by that of “Belted Will,'' paid a visit to the Spa, and on that occasion would seem to have sojourned at Widow Thirlwall's house at Shawes.

In the Naward Account Book for 1625 there occurs, under the heading of “Rewards and given to the poor,” the following item :-

April 8. – Given to a man making a way for my lady going to ye well, xiid
               Given to ye poor, iiiid

And in the same book is an entry of the receipt of 40s. from the widow of Andrew Thirlwall, of the Shawes, for one year's rent, with. a note, “ ye other 5s. being forgiven by my Lady.

At that time the way to the sulphureous spring was difficult, by reason of the river wearing the base of the cliff out of which it issues, the causeway which now affords access being of later construction. A narrow ledge of rock, liable to frequent obstructions, was the only way


of approach. My Lady, however, would seem to have been determined to reach the fountain head.

After Lord William Howard's death, in 1640, the temper of the times became hostile to the overstrained claims the lords of manors. The civil wars broke out. Sir Charles Howard, grandson of Lord William, succeeding to the barony, at first sided with the king. A number of the ejected tenants petitioned Cromwell for redress of their grievances and for restoration of their ancient tenant-right estates. Sir Charles, eventually acquiescing in Cromwell's supremacy, and becoming captain of his guard and one of his press, is understood to have acceded to their prayer, and to have readmitted them on their ancient terms of holding. The Carrockes, at all events, regained their tenements at the Shawes. At what period the homestead at the foot of the meadow was removed we know not.

During the 17th century John Carrick, their descendant, true to the instincts of his border blood and lineage, with a keen eye for Scottish cattle, though in the altered spirit and circumstances of his day, which no longer tolerated the “strong hand” mode of dealing which his forefathers had practised, carried on an extensive droving trade with skill and integrity and great advantage to himself. He acquired the Wardrew and other neighbouring estates in addition to his patrimony at the Shawes; and erected new and more commodious houses at both. After his son, less thrifty, dissipated his fortune, and all were sold into different hands.

In Robinson's “Essay towards a Natural History of Westmorland and Cumberland” in 1709 Gillesland Spa is mentioned as “a sulphurated spa so strong of the mineral that the smell of the water may be smelt at a great distance from it. It tingeth silver with a goldish or copperish colour. It seems by the taste and smell it hath of


gunpowder to have something of nitre in it. By bathing it cures itches, scabs, and ulcers in the flesh and skin.”

In the “Life of John Buncle,” published about the year 1740, the following account is given, which, tho' it be (as usual with that writer in his descriptions) somewhat high-flown and inaccurate in details, yet serves to shew that the water was at that time in high repute :- “In Northumberland there is a place called Wardrew, to the north-west of Thirlwall Castle, which stands on that part of the Picts' wall where it crosses the Tippell, and is known by the name of Murus Perforatus , in Saxon Thirlwall, on account of the gaps made in the wall at this place for the Scots' passage. Here, as I wandered about this wild, untravelled country in search of Roman antiquities, I arrived at a sulphur spring, which I found to be the strongest and most excellent of the kind in all the world. It rises out of a vast cliff called the Arden rock, over the bank of the river Arde or Irthing, six feet above the surface of the water, and comes out of a chink in the cliff by a small spout. The discharge is fifty gallons in a minute from a mixture of limestone and ironstone, and the water is so very fetid that it is difficult to swallow it. The way to it is not easy, for there is no other passage than along a narrow ledge about nine inches broad, which has been cut off the rock over the deep river, and if you slip, as you may easily do, having nothing to hold by, down you go into a water that looks very black and shocking by the shade of the overhanging precipice and some aged trees which project from the vast cliff.

“This dangerous situation and its remoteness will prevent its being ever much visited, admirable as the spa is ; yet the country people thereabouts make nothing of the ledge, and drink plentifully of the water, to their sure


relief in many dangerous distempers. It is to them a blessed spring.

“The land all around here was one of the finest rural scenes I have seen, and made a pensive traveller wish for some small public-house there to pass a few delightful days. Its lawns and groves, its waters, vales, and hills, are charming, and form the sweetest, softest region of silence and ease. Whichever way I turned the various beauties of nature appeared, and nightingales from the thicket enchantingly warbled their loves. The fountains were bordered with violets and moss, and near them were clumps of pine and beech bound with sweetbriar and the tendrils of the woodbine. It is a delightful spot - a Paradise of blooming joys in the fine season of the year.”

The precise period of time at which the first house of public entertainment was erected is not well ascertained. From the style and appearance of the old house at Shawes, which until 1844 formed a part of the stables and out offices of the hotel, we conclude it to have been built very soon after the time to which the account given in Buncle's Life refers. It may be that his publication induced the erection of it.

Towards the close of the last century Gillesland had become a favourite place of summer resort for the gentry of the Scotch and English border counties. In July, 1797, Walter Scott, his brother Captain John Scott, and Adam Fergusson, after a tour of the English lakes, at length, as Lockhart tells us, “fixed their headquarters at the then peaceful and sequestered little watering-place of Gillesland, making excursions from thence to the various scenes of romantic interest which are commemorated in the Bridal of Triermain , and otherwise leading very much the sort of life depicted among the loungers of St. Ronan's Well. Scott was, on his first arrival in Gillesland, not a


little engaged with the beauty of one of the young ladies lodged under the same roof with him, and it was on the occasion of a visit in her company to some part of the Roman wall that he indited his lines,

‘Take these flowers which purple waving,
On the ruined rampart grow,' &c.

But this was only a passing glimpse of flirtation. A week or so afterwards commenced a more serious affair.

“Riding one day with Fergusson, they met, some miles from Gillesland, a young lady taking the air on horseback, whom neither of them had previously remarked, and whose appearance instantly struck both so much that they kept, her in view until they had satisfied themselves that she was also one of the party at Gillesland. The same evening there was a ball, at which Captain Scott produced himself in his regimentals, and Fergusson also thought proper to be equipped in the uniform of the Edinburgh Volunteers. There was no little rivalry among the young travellers as to who should first get presented to the unknown beauty of the morning's ride; but, though both the gentlemen in scarlet had the advantage of being dancing partners, their friend succeeded in handing the fair stranger to supper, and such was his first introduction to Charlotte Margaret Carpenter.”

Amidst the romantic scenery of Gillesland Scott's wooing sped happily, and his union with Miss Carpenter took place at Carlisle in the following December. Under circumstances so interesting the romantic features and traditions of the country could not fail to make a vivid and lasting impression on the memory of the great novelist. This is perceptible not merely in his Bridal of Triermain and St. Ronan's Well . In Waverley also we find mention of Carlisle, with its old castle, and the fatal hill of Harribee, as localities familiar to the recollection of the author; and


in Guy Mannering he is at home amongst the wild secluded dells and traditionary tales of Gillesland.

Brown, the hero of the tale, is described as on his route from the English lake district to Scotland through the eastern wilds of Cumberland (probably the very route which Scott and his friends took), and as coming to a small public-house, at which he proposed to get some refreshment. “The alehouse, for it was no better, was situated in the bottom of a little dell, through which trilled a small rivulet. It was shaded by a large ash tree, against which the clay-built shed that served the purpose of a stable was erected, and upon which it seemed partly to recline. The outside of the house promised little for the interior, notwithstanding the vaunt of a sign, where a tankard of ale voluntarily decanted itself into a tumbler, and a hieroglyphical scrawl below attempted to express a promise of ‘good entertainment for man and horse.' ”

This is an exact description of Mumps Ha' as it existed till the year 1831. In that year a viaduct was thrown over the rivulet, and the road was raised upon it to such a height as almost to hide from view the old alehouse in the dell. Yet, with a knowledge of the alteration, it is easy on the spot to recognise the place as described by Scott. There is the little dell through which the rivulet trills - there is the steep old road down to it, and the rough stony crossing of its bed - and beyond it there is the old alehouse at the roadside. All the difference there is consists in the modern viaduct and roadway placed in front, over which the uninquiring multitude may pass without noticing the Mumps Ha' of Guy Mannering . If anyone going from Rosehill station to Gillesland will take the trouble to keep to the right hand down the old road, instead of crossing the viaduct, and so follow the ancient track down to and across the rivulet, he will find himself on the spot where


Brown stood when he halted in front of the tankard and tumbler glass, and will at once recognise the locality.

An erroneous notion also prevails (only to be accounted for by the supposition that more people talk about the Waverley Novels than those who read them) that Meg Merrilies was the landlady of Mumps Ha'. To Dr. Granville's book on the Spas of England this is, in a great measure, attributable. “What stranger,” he ejaculates, “can have the still standing Hall (!) of the amazonian Meg Merrilies pointed out to him as he descends the winding road on his way to a small bridge over the Irthing and not recollect that under the semblance of a house of entertainment for Scottish travellers straying on the edge of the wild and trackless waste of the ‘Borders' the wretched insulated building he beholds often witnessed dark and bloody deeds, and has presented a traditional celebrity to this day under the appellation of ‘Mumps Hall.' There it was before me, the miserable thatched hut, its walls now plastered up and tinged with yellow ochre, which Scott has rendered so famous. It still bears the outward tokens of a house of entertainment, and upon an eminence a little way from it, within a few spans of the very earth she so often trod over in terror to the dwellers of Upper and Nether Denton, lies interred its former mysterious tenant.” This is a jumble every way worthy of the Doctor's peculiar talent for the descriptive. No doubt, as he passed over the bridge on his way from the station, he was informed by the lad who drove the “charabanc” that there was Mumps Ha'. All the rest is the Doctor's mere hazy reminiscence about Meg Merrilies and Scott, eked out possibly by some further traditional information volunteered by the lad on the charabanc as they slowly clomb the hill to Gillesland. Meg Merrilies is the creature of Scott's imagination : she had neither habitation nor name there.


The novel tells us that the landlady was Tib Mumps , and Meg a mere wayfarer, resting at the house when Brown called there. Tib Mumps was a real personage; her name was Margaret Teasdale, better known as Meg of Mumps Ha'.” It was the last house of entertainment for travellers across the waste which there divides England and Scotland - a lone house in a glen by the side of the brawling river : a place to challenge suspicion and inspire terror when tenanted by an amazonian such as Meg Teasdale is traditionally reputed to have been. Tales of “dark midnight deeds” are not wanting, and, no doubt, on them Scott founded the incident of his tale. She is said to have been in secret league with the thieves and freebooters who at that time of transition represented the former generations of mosstroopers. She acquired property, and managed to keep clear of charge; and, though universally looked upon as a woman of dark and mysterious ways, yet her stern and masculine spirit carried her unharmed amongst the reckless characters with whom the Borders then abounded through a long, long lifetime. She died in peace at the age of ninety-seven years, at Mumps Ha', and was laid, not “upon an eminence a little way from it,” as Dr. Granville has strangely fancied, but in the little quiet churchyard of Over Denton, about a mile distant. Here is her epitaph :

Here lieth the Body

of Margaret

Teasdale of Mumps

Hall who died May

the 5th 1777 aged 98 years

What I was once some may relate

What I am now is each one's fate

What I shall be none can explain

Till he that called call again

In 1839 Gillesland was visited by Dr. Granville, M.D., F.R.S., on a tour which resulted in the publication of his book on the Spas of England. The amount of accurate


investigation which he bestowed on the manufacture of that work, and the degree of reliance that can be placed on its statements, may be estimated by the fact, recorded on his pages as well as noticed at the time, that the Doctor arrived at the Shawes Hotel one evening in time for supper and went away next morning before breakfast. His remarks upon the place are, therefore, not the result of an actual personal examination of it, and they wear the appearance of a predetermined design to depreciate without due examination. We have already noticed his ridiculous blunder about Meg Merrilies and Mumps Hall. He goes on thus : “It is some consolation to one who has been taxed by the incredulous among his brethren with having too much vaunted the curative powers of mineral waters, whether abroad or at home, to find that even in places where little or nothing has been done by art or nature to make them desirable, pleasant, or agreeable residences, people of almost every class in this country will, if they are able, flock during the summer months, if there be but some spa or other in them. Indeed, rather than not follow such a practice, because of the absence of well-established mineral-water rendezvous, hundreds have been known to congregate together wherever a puddle of undrinkable water has been detected, or a ‘holy well' of undefined virtues has been pointed out by tradition.

“The lower and the middle classes of society have their ‘Spas,' as the great of the land have theirs, at home as well as abroad. Now, Gillesland is just such a place. It is a nook or a dell by the side of the river Irthing, which is here shallow, and its stream is like that which one sees issuing from some extensive tanyard, brown as the best London stout, and as frothy.”

In a similar strain he pursues his description of the place : “The geologist, the botanist, and even the antiquarian


may find interesting occupation in districts near at hand; but for the distant and perspective views, such as greet the eye in the vale of the Derwent and near Shotley Bridge, the rich, the luxuriant, the well cultivated, and in many parts the romantic, aspect of the region we described in a preceding chapter, those are not to be found here.” The Doctor certainly did not find anything of the kind - little chance had he to do so during the night he spent there. But indoors he was equally ill to please. He cavils at the hotel charges, as being too favourable to second-class visitors; he cavils at the admission of servants to the baths in which their masters also bathe. “A servant may have the itch,” he exclaims, “and hereabouts in the north and on the borders such a supposition is not preposterous : no matter - in he goes into the sulphur bath the moment his master has vacated it and the water can be changed ; and his master the next morning follows him into the same recipient ! This is primitive.”

Then the delicate gentleman is horrified by the medical destitution of the place. “In general, and throughout my long and laborious tour to the English spas, I have had occasion to lament the too busy interference of medicine with the fair use of mineral waters; but here, at Gillesland, absence of medical attendance of every description marks the spa. Not even a dose of salts can be obtained. It was the practice of a former housekeeper at the hotel, as the present landlady informed me, to keep a supply of medicines, though she professed not to dispense any, but kept them for the occasional service of visitors, some neighbouring surgeon being sent for in case of need, or arriving by chance. At present, however, no such accommodation exists, and one may awake in the night in this lonely and retired spot, ill, dying, for want of immediate medical aid, without the smallest prospect of being saved


through it.” Then he tells a tale of a country doctor whom he saw there playing at quoits, with his coat off, in “short corduroys and top boots, and long silver spurs strapped to his ankles.” Horrified by such an exhibition, the wonder is, not that Dr. Granville stayed but one night at the Shawes, but that he did not instantly turn about and seek shelter at some less perilous abode.

The motives to this depreciatory description of Gillesland did not escape detection. The people of these northern parts, whom he so clumsily attempts to ridicule, are shrewder than he seems to have supposed them to be. Indeed, he himself sufficiently developes them. At that time a sagacious “ Friend ” was engaged in forming an establishment at Shotley Bridge Spa, which seems to have been designed not merely to rival but to supersede that of Gillesland (though no reason appears why both should not flourish), and, as the Doctor says, to emulate the celebrity of Harrogate, Cheltenham, and Leamington. Having heard a report of the discovery of a wonderful mineral water at Shotley Bridge, he had hastened to Newcastle. “At Newcastle,” he writes, “not only did I learn as much as I could expect respecting it, but chance, and the courtesy as well as the marked urbanity of the proprietor of the land in which the spring was discovered, facilitated my object farther, for it put me in direct communication with that gentleman, and enabled me to gain a complete knowledge from personal inspection of every particular relating to this new spa.”

The sagacious proprietor made sure of his man, and kept him in hand with characteristic dexterity, though he could not prevent the gossiping Doctor from exposing his own subserviency when he passed into the hands of his publisher. “I proceeded from Newcastle,” writes the oracle, “in a light, open carriage, sent by ‘friend'


Richardson, a banker in that city and the proprietor before alluded to, driven by one of his resident bank assistants, whose intimate knowledge of the country proved to me a source of much useful information.” Under such exceedingly comfortable auspices it would indeed have been ungrateful in the highest degree for the learned M.D., F.R.S., to have seen, or heard, or set down anything but what his keeper chose to approve. The faithful bank assistant unquestionably had his instructions, and appears to have well understood and successfully performed his part. The Doctor's book depicts Shotley Bridge as something like a Paradise; and how they talked of the poor little Cumberland Spa, about to be extinguished by the miraculous mineral waters of Shotley Bridge, may be inferred from the way in which they summarily pronounce the doom of even the Cumberland bacon. The clever bank assistant would seem to have taken measure of the Doctor's credulity and found its capacity large indeed. Within the last twelve months, he gravely informs his readers, bills to the amount of £200,000 had passed through “friend” R.'s bank to pay for Irish bacon sent to Newcastle, the consumers at Newcastle and Durham being satisfied that the flavour and substance of Irish hogsflesh were as good as those of Cumberland bacon, which they used to purchase before at a somewhat higher price, &c. So, primed and prejudiced against everything Cumbrian, even to the pigs, the Doctor departed to pursue his “long and laborious tour” towards the West. No wonder, then, that Gillesland, where no banker friend was at hand to coach him, and feast him, and cram him, was visited only for one single night; and, almost unseen, certainly untried, bas been studiously disparaged and belied in almost every particular. And yet the most unpardonable of all remains to be told. He quitted the Shawes Hotel early in the morning, and went


to take breakfast at the hospitable mansion of a gentleman resident in the neighbourhood, on his way to the railway station. There he seems to have endeavoured to glean some farther data for depreciation of the neighbourhood. He thus quotes the conversation of the family group of his entertainer : “It was stated also that the resident inhabitants near and about the spa, who are born and bred there, are sickly and palefaced, and that the families of the farmers are not of good constitutions, being liable to consumption. The climate is very trying, a few days in the year being free from rain. The snow lies on the ground till mid-spring.” Much surprised indeed were the worthy gentlemen when they found this barefaced impudent misrepresentation fathered upon them. Nothing of the kind was stated. It is a pure invention. When a falsehood is coined it is fortunate, for the sake of truth, if it be cast in a clear and distinct die. It is then easily dealt with, and such is the case in this instance. The born and bred people of Gillesland were and are its standing confutation. The parish registers, at all events, tell no lies. They afford unimpeachable statistics, from which the average duration of life may be ascertained to a nicety. Thus, in a period of twenty years preceding Doctor Granville's pretended discovery of this consumptive population, an examination of the registers of the three conjoining parishes of Lanercost, Upper Denton, and Nether Denton gives the following results:-


  Lanercost U. Denton N. Denton
Burials under 1 year of age,





Out of an aggregate number of 724 deaths during those twenty years we perceive that 191 took place in childhood, under 14 years of age; of the remaining 533 no fewer than 263 were above the grand climacteric age of 63 years; 205 above the prescribed days of man, “three score years and ten;'' and a large proportion up to what may be truly termed a patriarchal age.

Such being the undeniable characteristic as regards the duration of life, the mendacious statements of Dr. Granville were matter of surprise no less to those gentlemen upon whom he fathered them than to the country people whom he libelled. Though not consumptive they are ‘cute, and they speedily detected the Doctor's motives and intent in the context of his own book -they perceived that he viewed Gillesland through “Friend R.'s” spectacles, and his vulgar witticism about Scotland and the itch provoked a surmise that to the irritation of his own “itching palm” for want of some agreeable “bank assistant” at the Shawes to apply the specific emollient was to be ascribed his depreciatory description of the place.

Dr. James Johnson, in his Excursions to the Principal Mineral Waters of England , thus notices with more impartiality

Gillesland Spa

“Between Newcastle and Carlisle, and on the line of railway, there is a mineral spring which enjoys some reputation in its neighbourhood, though it is little likely to


extend its fame through a wider circle. Its vicinity to ‘Mumps Hall,' the scene of the exploits performed by Meg Merrilies and her worthy associates, and also to the ancient Roman wall of Severus, renders the locale of Gillesland somewhat interesting, as calling up historical and romantic associations. These are not diminished by the knowledge that it was here the Wizard of the North first met with his first love and ultimate consort.

“The spa issues copiously from the foot of a cliff on the banks of the little river Irthing, which here struggles, frets, and foams through fragments of rock that had rolled at various times from the precipice above. The water is clear as crystal, and exhales the unequivocal odour of sulphuretted and carburetted hydrogen gas. It leaves no other apres-gout than that of sulphur.

“The imperial pint contains rather more than two cubic inches of sulphuretted hydrogen gas and nearly two inches of free carbonic acid gas. The solid contents are two grains of muriate of soda, half-a-grain of carbonate of soda, a trace of carbonate of lime, and the same of silica.

“This water, like others of a similar kind, produces fetid eructations some time after being swallowed, and even slight headaches, which is not wonderful considering the quantity of gas in the pint. It does not, of course, act on the bowels, as there are little or no saline ingredients in it, but it acts on the kidneys. This spa is little frequented by the upper classes, for whom there is small accommodation; and even the lower and middle classes seldom go through a regular course of the waters. One circumstance may enable us to form an estimate of the reputation of Gillesland Spa : there is not a doctor, surgeon or even a chemist, within many miles of the Hygeian font !”


Whether or not the Doctor intended his last observation in derogation of the character of Gillesland Spa it is left to the reader to judge. Supposing it to be the fact, as he has stated it, many will be of opinion that Gillesland is none the worse for having neither doctor, surgeon, nor chemist. These are seldom far distant when really wanted. We never heard of any one there who was in want of medical assistance and unable to procure it.

The British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review for April, 1857, treating of diuretics, says : “Those sulphuretted waters which by means of their saline contents act powerfully on the bowels are, therefore, not to be used when it is desired to act on the skin and kidneys. We have in the north of England Gillesland, and in the south of Scotland Moffat, which are pure sulphuretted waters, powerfully charged with this (sulphuretted hydrogen) gas, and containing little else, and therefore admirably adapted for obtaining the pure diaphoretic and diuretic effects of sulphuretted hydrogen.” The reviewer adds : “Gillesland is most unduly depreciated by Dr. Johnson in his Spas of England. It may be well, therefore, to take this opportunity to state that, for pure air and water, beautiful and romantic scenery, opportunities of pursuing angling, associations connected with ruined border castles, the Roman wall and camps, Gillesland has no superior.”

So much for the testimony of medical men - some less flattering than others - none able to deny the potent virtues of the spa. The better test consists in the never-failing resort thither of multitudes annually, who derive from something or other which they find there, be it what it may, and without the aid of doctor, surgeon, or chemist, a revival of health and spirits which neither doctor, surgeon, nor chemist can supply them with elsewhere.


The Sulphurated Water of Gillesland

issues from a cleft in the rock at an elevation of about thirteen feet above the level of the river. Above the vent of the spring the rock towers perpendicularly eighty feet in height, exhibiting distinctly on its face the successive strata of which it is composed, and also a remarkable “trouble” or disruption of the strata, which have here been bent and thrust downwards by some mighty convulsion of nature.

Measured from the top of the cliff the strata are as follows :-


Surface soil,
Irregularly stratified sandstone,
Bituminous shale, including a stratum of aluminous schist of 4ft. 2in. thickness,
Porphyry slate, containing minute hrystals of felspar and iron pyrites


Below the vent of the spring the strata are as follows:-


Bituminous shale, through which run thin strata of clay ironstone,
Coarse greenstone,
Bituminous shale, containing eight thin strata of clay ironstone,
Cubical coal,


The elevation of the cliff above the bed of the river Irthing is, therefore, at this point 92ft. 9in.

The spring gives out two and a half gallons of water per minute. The water is remarkably clear, slightly sparkling, its taste far from disagreeable, and it sits so lightly on the stomach as to tempt many to drink large quantities. It emits so strong a sulphureous smell as to be perceptible at the distance of fifty yards from the well. The temperature of it at 29 barometrical pressure was found by Dr. Clanny to be 42 degrees Fahrenheit, and its specific gravity 1.00037.

The late Dr. Garnett, in 1802, experimented upon the


sulphurated water, and drew the following conclusions :-

“From these experiments it is evident that this water is impregnated with sulphurated hydrogen gas; that it neither contains sulphuric acid, lime, nor iron; but that it probably contains some muriate, as would appear by the effects produced by the nitrate of silver. Accordingly, on evaporating slowly a wine gallon of this water, four grains of saline matter, which was chiefly muriate of soda or common salt, were found.

“Twenty-five cubic inches of gaseous fluids were expelled from a wine gallon of the water, of which seventeen were sulphuretted hydrogen gas, four azotic gas, and four carbonic acid gas.”

In 1816 Dr. Clanny published a treatise on the Gillesland waters. In treating of the medical effects of the sulphurated water he observes that the following lines of Thomson will be acknowledged as peculiarly applicable :-

“Cool through the nerves your pleasing comfort glides ;
The heart beats glad; the fresh expanded eye
And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit ;
And life shoots swift through all the lightened limbs.”

“He recommends visitors to rise early and drink at the fountain-head, in order that the sulphuretted hydrogen and carbonic acid gases may have their full effect. This early rising and taking exercise before breakfast contribute much to strengthen the system, and should never be dispensed with except the weather be severe. He goes on : In general a half-pint tumbler is a sufficient dose for an adult, but the quantity ought to be augmented as the stomach becomes accustomed to it and may be increased, if needful, to the extent of two or three quarts in the forenoon, always observing to keep the bowels open during the course.

“Dyspepsia, or indigestion, as it arises from so many causes, is consequently one of the most frequent in the


catalogue of diseases. It may be readily discovered by the following symptoms : pain in the region of the stomach, sickness, which is sometimes accompanied by vomiting, languor, sudden and transient distentions of the stomach, eructations, heart-burn, and want of appetite. These symptoms are most commonly attended with costiveness, and there are generally no affections of any other part of the body. In this disease the food taken into the stomach, which ought to be digested so as to form materials for good chyle, becomes acid or putrid. Most of these symptoms originate from atony or weakness of the muscular fibres of the stomach.

“It is not easy to define the quantity of water which should be drank by persons affected with dyspepsia; perhaps a quart in the course of the forenoon may suffice, and after the first week double that quantity may be used. Anxiety and uneasiness of mind being often remote causes of this disease, agreeable society and correct habits are, therefore, of considerable value. The diet should be easy of digestion. Vegetables and salted provisions of every description should be avoided.

“In scrofula and its concomitants this water has been found a most valuable remedy. It is difficult to give a clear account of this disease to the general reader, but a few symptoms may be mentioned.

“Children of scrofulous habits are often affected with tumors upon the neck, which sometimes break, and afterwards heal with difficulty, the upper lip is in some cases swelled, the eyes are inflamed, the skin is remarkably soft and. delicate, the cheeks are usually very florid. All these symptoms indicate great debility. The sulphuretted water is acknowledged to possess considerable powers as a deobstruent as well as a tonic, and, of course, has been highly esteemed as a remedy in this disease. It is impossible to


lay down any specify rules as to the doses of this mineral water for young persons affected with scrofula. For the cure of ill-conditioned and irritable ulcers this water is often used with great benefit as an external application.

“If consumption of the lungs be not identical with scrofula, one thing, at least, is sufficiently evident, namely, that there is a great affinity between these two diseases, and that the latter very frequently precedes the former.

“In hectic fever, whether from scrofula, consumption, chlorosis, or diseased viscera, this water will be found a very valuable remedy, particularly if it be used as a cold bath at the same time. A course of the sulphuretted water and a few tepid baths effected several cures of chronic rheumatism.

“This water is a valuable remedy in atonic Gout, which, being a distressing and obstinate disease, requires the greatest attention and reflection. It is known by the various forms of debility and irregular action in gouty habits, by giddiness, headache, fainting, melancholy, wandering, delirium, and palsy. The following distich is appropriate :-

Ut Venus enervat vires, sic copia Bacchi
Enervat vires, debilitatque pedes.

“In those diseases which are attended by a copious secretion of bile this water cannot be too much extolled, and in some instances in which the waters of Cheltenham failed, this water effected a cure.

“In worn-out constitutions, which may be recognised by swelled legs, a pale countenance, general debility, and irritability; this water has done wonders; for, as a diuretic, it removes the first-mentioned symptom, whilst its tonic powers are called into action in strengthening the system.

“In Calculous complaints this water has often been used with the best effect.

“In Herpetic eruptions, and other diseases of the skin,


this water will be found very efficacious; but as the medical treatment of diseases of the skin requires much talent, experience, and discrimination, it is advisable for patients afflicted with such diseases to take the advice of their medical friend before they commence a course. In all instances when this water is employed for diseases of the skin frequent and regular exercise ought to be taken. By this the diaphoretic effects will be increased, and the determination to the surface will carry off the disease.”

The following more recent analysis and observations, by the late Professor Wilson, shew the specific components of the water :-


Analysis of Gillesland Sulphureous Water


Grains in 1 gal.
  Carbonates of Lime, Magnesia, and Iron (containing Carbonic Acid equivalent  to 22.56 cubic inches),
  Sulphates of Lime, Soda, and Potash,
  Chloride of Sodium (Salt),
  Carbonate of Soda,
  Sulphide of Sodium,
  Vegetable Matter,
Free Gases contained in one Imperial gallon of water -  
  Sulphuretted Hydrogen,
21 cubic inches
  Carbonic Acid,    0.44        "
  Nitrogen Gas,    5.80        "
  Oxygen Gas,    2.20        "


“This may be described as an alkaline sulphureous water. Its most abundant chemical constituent is carbonate of soda; its most important constituents. are sulphuret of sodium and sulphuretted hydrogen. Besides these bodies it contains small quantities of salts of lime, magnesia, soda, potash, and iron, as well as some organic matter, and a little silica. A small quantity of free carbonic acid is present, besides a much larger amount in combination; and the water, after being kept for some time till the odour it


originally possesses disappears, contains oxygen gas as well as nitrogen, but, as analysed at the well, oxygen will not be found.

“The most valuable medicinal ingredient of the water is its sulphur, which occurs partly as sulphuretted hydrogen equivalent to a combination of sulphuretted hydrogen with soda. A water constituted as the Gillesland sulphureous spring is cannot fail to be serviceable in the many forms of disease on which sulphuretted waters have long been recognised as exercising a powerful remedial influence. It is needless to enumerate those diseases, which medical men must be left to specify; but no intelligent physician will doubt that a mineral water having the chemical composition given above will prove an important therapeutic agent, both as taken internally and as employed in the form of bath.


“Laboratory of the Industrial Museum,

Edinburgh, May l9th, 1858.”


The Chalybeate Spring

is situated a little to the north of the sulphureous spring, at a much higher level, and recessed from the river in one of those “Gills” for which the district is remarkable, and through which a streamlet descends from the higher grounds into the river Irthing.

The water issues from a stratum of coarse sandstone cemented by an argillaceous basis.

Dr. Clanny thus remarks upon it –

“Upon repeatedly pouring this chalybeate from one tumbler into another it became turbid. The same effect followed when the water was briskly agitated in a phial, but when it was permitted to rest for a short time an orange-coloured precipitate was deposited.. The taste is


acidulous and strongly ferruginous. The temperature of the water, as it stood exposed to the sun, was 50 degrees, and at the same time the water of the rivulet indicated exactly the same degree of heat. The temperature of the atmosphere was 60 degrees, and barometrical pressure 28½. The specific gravity of the water was 1.00078. This chalybeate generally flows at the rate of a gallon in fifteen minutes; but, from its being near the surface, the quantity is in some degree influenced by the state of the weather, which is not the case with the sulphuretted water.

“The iron suspended in this water is in the state of a sulphate, which is uncommon. The dose should be half a wineglass at first twice a day, which may be increased to a small tumbler. Perhaps the best plan would be to commence the use of it by putting a tablespoonful of the chalybeate into a common-sized tumbler and taking it to the sulphuretted water, with which it may be filled, and immediately afterwards drank. The sulphuretted hydrogen and carbonic acid gases of the sulphuretted water will cause the chalybeate to sit more lightly upon the stomach, and by this process the dose may also be more readily augmented.

“In Dyspepsia it may be used with the sulphuretted water, as recommended above, for eight or ten days, and after this time it may be drank by itself. It will be found a valuable remedy for Amenorrhoea. Professor Gregor, in his Conspectus Medicinae Theoreticae, bears testimony to the efficacy of such chalybeates in this disease, in the following words. ‘Ferrum variis modis praeparatum, et aquae medicinales ferratae, quorum vires roborantes certe haud exiguae sunt, in eliciendis mensibus insigniter saepe prosunt.'

“As a tonic, this water will be found very serviceable. Under its use the stomach and chylopoetic viscera will be


strengthened, the vascular system excited, the secretions promoted, and consequently the muscular power increased. Its virtues, therefore, are unquestionable in diseases of debility, in excessive discharges, (provided they be not attended with fever,) local pain, and irritation, or affections of the lungs and head.

“This mineral water is a well-known and valuable application for spongy gums, and if employed as a douche will render essential service in chronic rheumatism, anchylosis, contractions, indolent tumours, debilitated joints, in tinea capitis, and in some herpetic affections.”

Professor Wilson's analysis of the chalybeate water is as follows :-


Grains in 1 gal.
  Carbonates of Lime, Magnesia, and Iron (containing Carbonic Acid equivalent  to 9.57 cubic inches),
  Sulphates of Lime, Soda, and Potash,
  Chloride of Sodium (Salt),
  Carbonate of Soda,
  Vegetable Matter,
Free Gases in one Imperial gallon -  
cubic inches
  Carbonic Acid


Dr. Wilson adds : “This is a mild chalybeate or ferruginous mineral water, containing a small quantity of carbonate of iron held in solution by free carbonic acid, and associated with a larger amount of carbonate of lime, and with small quantities of salts of magnesia, potash, and soda, as well as with some silica and organic matter. Besides carbonic acid it holds in solution the gases of the atmosphere. This water will prove serviceable as a tonic, and otherwise, in the large number of diseases where compounds of iron along with saline matter are known to exert a marked curative action.”




The Hotel and Environs


The extent and quality of accommodation which a place of public resort is found to afford may, generally speaking, be taken to indicate the degree of estimation in which it is held. Supply is the product of demand; regulated by it both in quantity and quality. In the olden times whilst warfare and rapine prevailed in these Border parts, and a man's house was literally his castle, the law a dead letter, and the strong hand the sole protection of life and property, such things as hotels and hotel-keepers were out of the question at Gillesland. A common necessity, affecting alike friend and foe, no doubt protected the sick and ailing in the brief occasional report to the Spa ; but there was neither place nor possibility for the sociable conflux of visitors in the mixed pursuit of health and enjoyment to which we in these happier times are accustomed. We may picture in our fancy timid groups of invalids scrambling along the narrow ledge of rock by which the spring was accessible, with here and there a stout Borderer, swordgirt, or pike in hand, on the look out from the heights above to descry and prevent approaching danger. The yearly festival of blessing the water, no doubt, had its mollifying influence; yet those who occasionally harried the monastery and plundered the monks would not be likely to make much scruple in plundering the water drinkers also. We may readily believe that Lady Elizabeth Howard, when she visited the well, was accompanied from Naward Castle by an escort of Belted Will's best troopers. At that time, it is true; the union of the Crowns had taken


place and warfare had ceased ; yet the state of the borders was, if anything, worse than before. They swarmed with thieves and ejected broken men. Bold Jenkin Carrocke would have gained a prize indeed could he have pounced upon her ladyship, in the very tenement from which he had been arbitrarily expelled, and have carried her of as a hostage to his asylum in the wastes.

Such a state of things cannot at once subside into the condition of order and civilisation. A country once demoralized is only to be restored to health by continued operation on generation after generation, gradually. Lord William Howard, and his successor, Sir Charles Howard, Cromwell's valiant guardsman, dealt, we may say, with two generations. Lord William was Lord Warden of the Marches and had a considerable garrison in Narward. There exists a record in his own hand writing of “Felons taken and prosecuted for felonies committed in Gillesland and elsewhere,” numbering sixty-eight. We are told by his biographer that there appears no such thing as any execution otherwise than by conviction at the regular assizes. Tradition tells a different tale; and certain ancient oak trees near the Castle are believed to have born their part in a less regular, and, no doubt, an equally just and necessary operation of law. Sir Charles Howard was not less determined, and by him mainly the eradication of the more violent symptoms of the disease was effected. Yet the country long retained an ill reputation; and we may recognize in the incidents recorded by Sir Walter Scott, as traditional in his time, the characteristic features of society in a not remote generation there.

Under such circumstances it was impossible that anything like a modern hotel establishment could subsist at Gillesland. Accordingly we have no record of any till towards the middle of the last century; and that was on


a very limited scale. In process of time, and improved habits of living, it became the stables and out-offices of a more commodious house erected in front. To the few who can now recollect the latter, and contrast its limited accommodation with those of modern establishments of the kind, nothing is more striking than the change in tastes and habits which the retrospect exhibits. Private rooms there were none. A public “drawing-room” received the gentry - a “stone (flagged floor) parlour” those of the second-class - the out-houses harboured the poorer sort. Yet was there no lack of enjoyment in any. They feasted, they drank, they danced, they gambled, they made love, and oftentimes matches. There was hilarity - excitement - yet little of that which we now esteem indispensible, comfort. It seemed as if people left the comforts of their homes for a holiday trip, resolved to put up with any amount of petty discomfort during a brief season of excitement. We learn from the note book of a gentleman who visited these parts some seventy-five years since, that there were at that time three houses of entertainment at Gillesland, viz., the Shaws, Orchardhouse, and Wardrew. He took up his quarters at the first-mentioned. He says, “There were nearly forty ladies and gentlemen at the dinner table, placed according to the stay they had respectively made in the house; those who had been the longest resident sitting the highest. The accommodations tolerable, and the eating as good as could be expected when the charge made was so very small - each guest being provided with a room and, supplied with dinner and supper for 10s. 6d. a week and only 1s. 2d. a day charged for your servant.” Breakfast and tea do not seem to have at that time entered into the calculation of the parties. “On the score of breakfast,” observes the writer, “you meet with little inconvenience, as the ladies in general are so well bred as


to invite you to partake of that repast with some one or other of them, unless you are of that description to render yourself unacceptable to the fair sex. Dancing in the evening. The music which plays during dinner and supper, and whenever the company are inclined to dance, is subscribed for by every person paying only 1s. a week.” He adds that he spent three days at Gillesland very agreeably, and drank the waters - from which he felt neither good nor bad effect - and then rode onward. In the early part of this century considerable additions were made to the Hotel at Shawes, and again in 1840 ; yet still the accommodations were short of modern notions - the rooms small, the arrangements inconvenient, and the extent limited. In the month of August, 1859, a fire broke out; in the afternoon, happily, so as to prevent the loss of life which such a visitation during the night must have inevitably caused in a crowded house - and before dark little remained save the bare walls.

The Hotel has been since rebuilt on a new and excellent plan, fitted up in elegant and comfortable style, and may be said to afford accommodation for visitors not inferior to that of any place of public resort in England; so that now every requisite is combined here for the enjoyment of recreation by those who seek it, and restoration of health to them who need it. Indoors we have spacious airy apartments, public and private, good fare, baths, billiards, library, music. Out of doors, delightful walks, fine tonic appetising air, extensive views, picturesque variety of hill and holme, coppicewood and crag, secluded dell and breezy height, are to be found in every direction; whilst almost every step leads the pedestrian over grounds marked by traces of bygone generations, and invested with historical and traditional interest. The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway affords ready access to Rose Hill Station from


east or west. From that station the Shawes Hotel is distant not much more than a mile, and conveyances meet every train. The charges are moderate; and it may truly be said, on the whole, that there is no place more healthy, more interesting, or more enjoyable than this.

In another respect, also, not less essential to the comfort and edification of visitors, the condition of Gillesland has been materially improved. Situated at the extreme verge of a parish which measures some eleven miles in length by seven in breadth, the parish church at the opposite extremity, and no other place of worship within reach save the singular little erection at Over Denton, where service was formerly so occasional and irregular that nobody could ever reckon upon it, and, consequently, nobody ever thought of going, there existed a total destitution of the ordinary means of public worship. This was felt to be a strange and serious defect by those who came from parts better cared for in things spiritual. Occasionally a clerical visitor was found to supply it; not unfrequently a gifted layman was induced by the general feeling to officiate without license in the assembly rooms of the hotel; and latterly a worthy old clergyman of the Scottish Presbyterian Church bent his steps thither from Haltwhistle for a few Sundays during the summer season, and gave the company the benefit of his prayers and exhortations. But it was not the casual visitors alone that had to suffer this privation of religious observances, though they, perhaps, felt it the most. Spiritual destitution was the normal condition of the country, for temporal degradation was that of the clergy. To think of the once flourishing establishment at Abbey Lanercost, holding, as it were, under its wings the appropriate churches of the surrounding parishes, maintaining within its walls an educated body of clergy for the continual celebration of divine worship, and sending


forth its priests to perform the Sabbath services and the parochial cures of the neighbourhood with assiduity; and then to contrast with that mental picture of former time the sad realities of the state of things which ensued upon the abolition of the monastery; it almost induces a question whether the boasted Reformation of the English Church was productive of good or evil to the people. Most assuredly in these parts, and down to a not distant period of time, the result was degradation of the status of the clergy, with its certain consequence – a lapse into something like heathenism amongst their flocks.

There cannot be a stronger proof of this than the necessity which occurred in the reign of Queen Elizabeth for constituting the Court of High Commission in the northern parts. The Ecclesiastical Courts had proved wholly inadequate to stem the flood of recusancy, sedition and immorality. Commissioners “were armed with the most formidable and inquisitorial powers. They were authorised to inquire, on the oath of the person accused and on the oaths of witnesses, of all heretical, erroneous, and dangerous opinions; of absence from the established service and the frequentation of public conventicles; of seditious books and libels against the Queen, her magistrates, and ministers ; and of adulteries, fornications, and all the offences cognisable by the ecclesiastical law; and to punish the offenders by spiritual censures, by fine, imprisonment, and deprivation.” The Commissioners in Cumberland were the Bishop of Carlisle; Henry Lord Scroop of Bolton, Warden of the West Marches; Thomas Burton, Edward Hausbie, and Gregory Scott, clerks; Sir Simon Musgrave, Knight; Richard Dudley and John Lamplugh, Esquires. They held their sittings in the Castle of Carlisle, in St. Mary's Church, and at Rose Castle. Some of the minutes of their proceedings between 1575 and 1590 have been


preserved, which shew the state of things they had to deal with and their mode of dealing with it. No accuser appears - all is ex-officio . The Office of my Lords Commissioners against such an one ------. Parties were cited to appear : appearing, they were interrogated, and if not cleared of suspicion were required to give sureties to abide the judgment of the Commissioners, or else shut up in prison - that dismal vault under the Keep of the Castle of Carlisle. Nothing but the direst necessity could have justified so arbitrary a course of proceeding. Then, as to the nature of the accusations, people were cited as

“Suspect of adultery”

“For not cohabiting with their wives.''

“Suspect to be in bed with their own mothers, being at man's estate.”

“For keeping monuments of superstition.”

“For speaking rayling wordes against the Queene's Majesty's lawes and the articles given by the Commissioners to enquire uppon.”

Thus it appears that they issued Articles of Inquiry, probably to the clergyman or the churchwardens, and so got wind of all the scandals current in the country. The following are specimens of the cases in which the Commissioners called before them the parties thus “presented”:

John Adamson presented to be a drunkard. He hath not receyved (a) sence Easter – he cometh not to churche.

William Smyth (Curate of Edenhall) presented to wear his hose lowse at the knees.

William Mester presented to be a drunkard and rayler against ministers wifes.

Robert Gibson, Agnes Strieket, and Agnes Morehouse , presented that they have not receyved thrise this.yeare because they could not saye the Ten Commandments. (These parties were ordered to learn the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and Creed, before next Easter.)

John Dockher for playing on his pipes when the Curate was at evening prayer.

Anna Harrison , widow, suspected of witchecrafte.

Anthony Huggen presented. for medicioning children with miniting a hammer as a smith of kynde.(b)

(a) The Sacrament.

(b) This practice was not altogether exploded within the recollection of some get living. It was, to place the child on an anvil. The smith of kind then, with the heavy sledge-hammer uplifted, made as if he would crush the infant beneath at a blow ; the hammer was allowed to descend close upon it, but stayed in time, so as not to touch it. This was repeated three times. When it did not result in frightening the child to death it may have been fancied to have an effect something akin to that of an electric shock. A smith of kind was not every man who followed the business of a blacksmith ; probably his name must have been Smith, of a race of hereditary hammerers. Such there were in old times.



Janet Huggon presented to be a sorcerer and medicioner of children.

Maria Hutton , alias Skelton, a widow lady, presented for wearing beades.

Margaret , wife of Richard Jackson, presented for fasting St. Anthonie's fast.

John Taylor presented for suspect of sorcerie for that he had knit in his cows taile staves, salt, and herbes.

Henry Willson , Curate of Holm Cultram, presented for drunkennes, and playing at cardes and tables at sundrie times.

Robert Winter presented that he is a malicious person and beareth evell will against his neighbour.

Thomas Hodgson presented for ringing a bell at the last floode to provoke people to prayer.

John Stricket for that he gave George Marshall 8d in the weeke for the lone of 20s. (Usury).

Agnes Watson for keping a dead man's scalpe.

Robert Sanderson for medicioning for the worme.

Hugh Askewe for burying a quick nowt, and a dog, and a quick cock. (A charm.)

Alice Thompson presented that she will not learn the catechism.

Jenkin Swan presented for casting his glove downe in the churche (Irthington) and offering to fight with any one that would put forth the hand.

Janet Walker of Lanercost, presented she hath had 4 bastardes. Christopher Dacre and Thomas Carleton, officers of Gillesland, ordered to bring her up. She appears, and is ordered to do penance in Carlisle market-place the next Saturday and in the parish churche.

Agnes , wife of John Wise, alias Winkan John Wise, presented to be a medicioner for the waffe of an ill winde and for the fayryes.

Mabell , wyffe of John Browne, presented to be a witche and taketh milk from kye.

Margaret , wife of Nicholas Gyll, presented that she liveth in disquietnes with her husband in banning and scolding.

William Forster for fornication with Janet Mowse, and because he can't say the catechism .

The Churchwardens of Irthington , for that the church yard layd common unfenced, the

church porch down, the surplesse rent, the Bible rent, no commandments set upp, and they would presente none for not coming to churche.

The Curat of Lanercost for that he married two cupples of folkes in a prophane place without bannes asking. (in all probability the church was dilapidated )

Margaret Avery , of Lanercost, presented for cursing her father and mother.

The Churchwardens of Denton presented that they come not to churche neither levie the penalties nor presente the absente.


When such were the fruits the ill condition of the country may be imagined. How, indeed, could it be otherwise ? The ancient religious establishments had been swept away, and little or nothing done to supply their place.


To earnest religious reformers the suppression of monasteries and the triumph of Protestantism might afford satisfaction to cover every other shortcoming. But these were the minority. To the bulk of the people the transaction seemed more like plunder. They beheld the ancient possessors turned out, their habitations and churches dilapidated - one rapacious grantee of the Crown stripping off the lead, another overhauling the furniture and decorations, a third, perhaps, carrying away the very stones to rear for himself a mansion on the fair domain he had the luck or the interest to obtain out of the sequestered estates of the Church. Little or no care was taken to make provision for the spiritual wants of those numerous parishes which the religious houses had held appropriate and had served by their brethren. What could be the effect of this on the popular mind but to induce a feeling of indifference and a disbelief in the reality and efficacy of any religious establishment whatever, and hence a falling away to ignorance and superstition of the grossest kind.

Perhaps a more perfect instance of this feckless method of dealing with the Church property cannot be found than in the parishes of Lanercost, Farlam, and Over Denton. Every acre of land, every dwelling and erection within them belonging to the Church, all tithes and all pecuniary dues, were seized by the Crown. Some portion of land near the Abbey yet remains so, having been granted to Sir Thomas Dacre and his heirs male, and having fallen in again to the crown on failure of such. The remainder were granted in fee without any stipulation or expressed condition for the grantees to provide for the parochial cures. It was not to be expected that they would voluntarily do so, but surely it ought to have been specifically enjoined. Generally speaking, these grantees


were either Court favourites, or greedy speculators who purchased of the Crown. Neither the one nor the other cared for aught but to make the most for themselves. They pocketed the whole proceeds, and refused to pay the miserable ecclesiastic more than the meagre fee or allowance which the monastery had formerly given to the brother who took the duty. The law made no provision for compelling them to allow a decent maintenance to a sufficient minister. It may well be imagined, therefore, what manner of men their parochial clergymen were when it is stated that in none of the three parishes named was there any house of residence for the clergyman - that in Over Denton the whole yearly amount paid by the grantee(a)of the Church property there to the incumbent was 20s ! - that so late as the year 1750 the Incumbent of Farlam realised from his benefice no more than £5 15s. yearly, including £4 paid him by the grantee (a) - and that in Lanercost, a parish which covers some 40,000 acres of land, the incumbent was left to earn his maintenance by the collection, if his health and strength proved equal to it, of the following extraordinary list of dues over that wide area :-

For a cow and calf 3d

”    a quey and calf 2d

”    a Farrow cow 1d

”    a foal 4d

”    a winter stand of bees 4d

”    a cast 2d

”    every communicant 3d

”    every family for holy bread 2d

”    plough penny 1d

”    customary pennies by such families as keep no plough 3d

(a) In 1737 the inhabitants of Farlam petitioned the Bishop : - “We your humble servants, doth desire your assistance, for we think our Church is like to want a Parson to officiate in it, for Jacob Smith hath sold all the tithes and part of the Glebe for above £1,000. First, he sold to the right Hon. Charles, Earl of Carlyle, all the tithes in the Templegarth Forrest, and all the Royaltys of limestones and coals that is found within the said Glebe. Then he sold to the said Earl another tithe at the Cherrytree Hill. And he sold the said Earl part of the glebe at another time. He sold Thomas Pears his tithe at Moseland. At another time he sold Thomas Hodgson his tithes at High Bowbank. Now again he hath sold the aforesaid Earl all the rest of the tithes of the said parish. And it is but twelve years since he entered on this rectorye and church of Farlam. Now the Glebe is small, and we are afraid that he parcel it also and leave nothing for a curate to live on. Therefore we humbly crave your Lordship's assistance, that we may have a Parson every Lord's day, and to administer the sacrament of baptism and the Lord's supper."


When it is added that the sum total realised from these pence averaged communibus annis £20, it is not easy to decide whether was the more to be commiserated - the penury and degradation to which so miserable a pittance must have reduced the minister of such a parish, or the labour and vexation he must have constantly endured in making a collection such as not the hardest-faced of collectors now-a-days would willingly undertake. By means of Queen Anne's bounty these truly miserable pittances were gradually augmented, yet not till within the present century were these benefices separately tenable. A highly respected clergyman, who for many years held all three, has been heard to declare that he could not average a clear £100 per annum out of the whole. His fulfilment of the duties of the three was, of course, out of the question. He could not on Sunday be in three churches at once – he could not visit a sick or dying parishioner in one of his three parishes whilst he was engaged miles off in another. He did what he could. His parishioners appreciated the man, whilst they wondered how the system which bore so hard on him and them could have place in a Christian country with an Established Church; but the sight had become so habitual that they looked on it as irremediable.

To remedy this unseemly state of things much has of late years been done. Lanercost and Farlam have had parsonage houses built for their clergy, and have been so far re-endowed as to become separately tenable. Over Denton, in 1808, reached the comparatively ample yearly value of £46 5s., by means of Queen Anne's bounty, but continued to be a burden upon the Incumbent of Lanercost till 1858 - enjoying the benefit of his occasional service


on the Sunday afternoon; unless something came in the way, the consequence of which uncertainty was that the people seldom formed a congregation for him. He often-times made his appearance, unlocked the church door, sat alone a brief time, then locked up again, and departed. Consequently, Gillesland and the remote parts of Lanercost were no better off than before.

The proprietor of the Shawes at length took steps to remedy that evil. With the assistance of friends he erected at a short distance from the hotel a church, of good architectural style of building, in a picturesque position, and sufficiently commodious. He then provided the amount of endowment requisite for its consecration, which ceremony was performed by Bishop Percy on the 3rd of October, 1854, constituting it The Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gillesland . On the 24th of April, 1855, a district was assigned to it by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, consisting of the eastern part of the parish of Lanercost ; and in 1858 an arrangement made with the Earl of Carlisle, as patron of Over Denton, was carried into effect, whereby that little parish was united for ecclesiastical purposes with the district church of Gillesland. A resident clergyman is now established near the Shawes, who performs morning service in the church there and evening service at Denton, very much to the satisfaction of good congregations at both places. The united districts form a wide area. The incumbency is no sinecure ; the endowments, put together, are as yet quite inadequate to the charge. But the good work has been initiated, the labourer is worthy of his hire, and it may be hoped that ere long it will be obtained.