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The Hall of Waltheof

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Guest Jeremy

I thought that this might interest some others too. I have been occasionally watching out for this book to appear at Google books, and today when I searched it was there.

The Hall of Waltheof by S.O. Addy

One of the classics of Sheffield history books.


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Guest Gramps

Are we supposed to be able to read this book on-line....if so how ? I couldn't see any clickable links that would allow me to do so.



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I can click the link that I put in my post. If you can't, then try http://books.google.com/books?id=7GEWAAAAYAAJ


Hi Jeremy, I have the same problem as Gramps, nothing to click on to view?


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Guest nevynd

Hi Jeremy, I have the same problem as Gramps, nothing to click on to view?


Hmm I dont think the book itself has been put online, it looks like it is a typescript of the contents and a description of the work, rather than the work itself. I may of course be wrong, but it doesnt look like the whole thing has been digitised yet. :-(

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Hmm I dont think the book itself has been put online, it looks like it is a typescript of the contents and a description of the work, rather than the work itself. I may of course be wrong, but it doesnt look like the whole thing has been digitised yet. :-(

I was thinking that maybe my browser was blocking some links,

'thank you' for you're explanation nevynd.


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Guest Jeremy

Odd, it works for me:


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Guest Jeremy

I think that I've got it. I'm currently located in the US. Publishers to Google Books can specify the territorial rights that they have for a particular book. The scan of this book came from Harvard University and they must have specified that they only have US rights.

Is there anyone else located in the US that can see the contents of the book to confirm this?


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Guest Gramps

That's mean ! :(

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Remind me tomorrow (UK time) and I'll provide an FTP site and instructions, upload it to there and UK bods can download it - limited time offer ! (free)

I'd like to read that book !!!!

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Guest nevynd

I agree with Gramps, "Thats Mean".....!

Thank you RichardB thatd be great, Id love to read it too.

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Guest Jeremy

Because not everyone can get this I have been working on a transcription. Here is chapter 1: (more to follow)

I. Introductory Remarks: An Urn Burial at Crookes

There was once a hermit called Guthlac whose life was written by one Felix. This writer wanted his readers to think that the matter of his book was put in proper order, so he said in his preface "the beginning I have put at the beginning and the end at the end." Now I wish I could be so orderly as this old writer, because it is not easy to make either a beginning or an end of a subject when the facts which are known to us are very few, and the time is very far off.

In seeking for the origins of our local history the first thing we have to do is to look about and see whether we cannot find a few scratchings on the soil, a few old bones, pots, earth-works or stone-works which will tell us something of that far-off time, and of men and women whose ways were very unlike ours, but from whom, with an intermixture of races, we are descended. And in examining any English parish, township, or large district such as Hallamshire, we shall see that little else of a tangible or visible kind has come down to us from primitive times. When history is silent and almost every other record is gone we cannot do more than argue from such scanty remains and from analog. We can reason from survivals in folklore, in village communities, and in architecture, and though we may learn little we shall assuredly learn something worth knowing about the far-off past. The history of a parish may be as interesting as the history of a nation. In the history of a nation we see things, as it were, through a telescope; in local history we see them through a microscope. And the objects that we can see in the field of the smaller instrument may be quite as instructive and interesting as those which we can see in the field of the larger one. The value of the objects seen will depend firstly upon the things which we are fortunate enough to catch and bring into view, and secondly upon the efficiency of the instrument.

I will begin with a burial urn, not because it is absolutely the oldest relic of antiquity in Hallamshire, but because it is one of those interesting objects which appeal at once to our senses and take us at a bound into the prehistoric past.

In the spring of 1887 a baked cinerary urn containing human bones, a small cup, and a damaged bronze knife was found at Crookes. The urn is figured in the engraving. These ancient remains were discovered, as is usual in such cases, on the highest point of a hill. They were not covered by a mound, and they lay from six to eight inches below the natural surface, or what appeared to be the natural surface, of the ground. The remains lay within two feet of the boundary of an old lane called Tinker lane or Cocked Hat lane leading at right angles from the top of the village street at Crookes and pointing towards the Rivelin valley. The position of this burial by the road side is well worthy of note. In Sweden and Denmark, according to Vigfusson, monumental stones called bauta-steinar (road-side monuments) "used to be placed along the high road, like the sepulchral monuments of old Rome." Amongst the Romans, says Becker in his "Gallus," "whoever could afford it, selected a spot outside the city, in the most frequented situation, as on high-ways, and here a family sepulchre was erected." It is, of course, impossible to say positively whether the urn at Crookes was purposely deposited by the side of the highway, or whether the highway existed so long ago. But it is remarkable that it should have been found within two feet of its boundary, and there can be no doubt that, as I shall show in a subsequent chapter, Tinker lane is an old highway.

The urn which is 9½ inches in height and measures 26 inches round its largest circumference is a vessel baked[1] of rather coarse clay, and of a reddish, brown, or earthy colour. It is now deposited in the Weston Park Museum, where it can be compared with many other urns of the same kind discovered by Thomas Bateman in Derbyshire. At the museum I had the contents of the urn turned out upon a large sheet of paper, very much to the disgust of an old gentleman who regarded my conduct as worse than sacrilege. They consisted almost entirely of fragments of human bones of a grey or dirty white colour, some of them, however, being blackened by the fire to which they had been subjected. I could make out one or two pieces of vertebras, and a considerable piece of the skull, showing the sutures. A part of the jaw—the lower one, I think—is particularly well preserved, for the sockets into which the teeth fitted, with their thin divisions, are wonderfully perfect. From the smallness of the jaw I should say that the remains were those of a person of small size, but I must not pretend to give opinions on points of anatomy. The urn had been enclosed within another urn which was made of a coarser clay than the one which held the bones collected from the pyre, and a few fragments of this outer urn are amongst the ashes in the urn deposited in the museum. Mr. Watkinson who found the remains tells me that the inner urn was placed upside down within the outer and coarser vessel.[2] The urns, he says, lay so near to the surface that roots of grass clung to the outer one when it was removed from the ground. The urns were surrounded by a deposit of charcoal. At the bottom of the inverted urn were a bronze knife or "knife dagger" and a small cup of the kind which antiquaries provisionally call the "incense cup," having two small holes in one side. This smaller vessel is made of finer clay than the urns and is lighter in colour. Mr. Watkinson told me that the knife was bent in two or three places when he found it. Mr. Watkinson also spoke of "the bead or drop" at the end of the knife, and, as the edges are yet quite sharp it appeared to me that the point was always blunt, and that the instrument was intended to be used not as a poniard to stab with, but as an instrument to cut with; that it was an instrument of peace, not of war. Unfortunately it was accidentally broken into several pieces before it was deposited in the museum. The knife must have been an object of value to its owner. According to Caesar the Britons used imported bronze,[3] from which we may perhaps infer that they did not in his time make bronze weapons themselves. To its owner it may have been as precious as a handsome Sheffield knife would be to a modern savage. Posidonius the Stoic, with whom Cicero studied at Rhodes, has left a description of a Gaulish banquet, which is, of course, applicable to the British, as well as to the Continental, Gauls. At these banquets, he informs us, "there was always plenty of meat, both roast and boiled, of which they partook 'rather after the fashion of lions,' for they would take up the joint and knaw at it; but if a man could not get the meat off, he would use his little bronze knife, which he kept in a separate sheath by the side of his sword or dagger."[4] We are reminded of Chaucer's description of the miller who bore a Sheffield thwitel, or, as one might call it, a portable table knife, in his hose. The miller too, like the ancient Gaul, carried a "long panade" or two-edged knife, and a sword, in addition to his thwitel. The miller's accoutrements seem like an exacl parallel to the accoutrements of the Gaul as described by Posidonius, and the thwitel seems to be the direct descendant of the bronze knife with the blunt point which this inhabitant of Crookes carried about with him in the dawn of our local history, and probably before the Roman had set foot on our shores.

But what is most remarkable about this bronze knife is that it was purposely damaged before it was put into the urn. Its appearance when found is represented in the drawing, Mr. Keeling having fitted the broken pieces together on sawdust so as to get the actual shape which it bore when first laid in the urn. This could be well done as the parts fit accurately together and the bronze is bright at the points of fracture. Recent investigations amongst the natives of Central Africa, and in the burial mounds of the Northmen in Sweden and Norway, will enable us to see, firstly, that the religious practice of purposely damaging the articles which were buried with the dead still exists in the world, and, secondly, that it was common at a certain period amongst the Northmen.

The Rev. Duff Macdonald in a book called Africans, has recently described the rites and customs of tribes inhabiting the centre of Africa. In an account of a native funeral he says:—

"Along with the deceased is buried a considerable part of his property. We have already seen that his bed is buried with him, so also are all his clothes. If he possesses several tusks of ivory one tusk or more is ground to a powder between two stones and put beside him. Beads are also ground down in the same way. These precautions are taken to prevent the witch from making any use of the ivory or beads.

"If the deceased owned several slaves an enormous hole is dug for a grave. The slaves that were caught immediately on his death are now brought forward. They may be either cast into the pit alive, or the undertakers may cut all their throats. The body of their master or their mistress is then laid down to rest above theirs, and the grave is covered in.

"After this the women come forward with the offerings of food, and place them at the head of the grave. The dishes in which the food was brought are left behind. The pot that held the drinking water of the deceased and his drinking cup are also left with him. These, too, might be coveted by the witch, but a holt is pierced in the pot, and the drinking calabash is broken."[5]

Now it is certain that the inhabitants of England at a remote period were accustomed to bury cups containing food and drink, as well as articles of value, such as weapons and jewels, with their dead. Of this practice the numerous English barrows which have been opened supply the fullest proof. If then the funeral rites of these modern Africans are found to resemble the rites of the old inhabitants of Great Britain in other respects is it not likely that the comparison will also hold with regard to the damaged poniard or "the hole pierced in the pot"? Is it not likely that the same religious custom of breaking the goods deposited with the dead once existed in England and for the same purpose? In Africa the avowed object, at this very day, of breaking and damaging the cups and other offerings or goods buried with a dead man is to prevent "the witch," who is supposed to be answerable for his death, from coveting or using them.[6] It would seem that in the popular belief the dead, as well as the living, had their crosses and vexations.

That the ancient Northmen, like the modern Africans, were accustomed at one stage of their history, to break, twist, pierce, or otherwise damage the articles which they buried with their dead is apparent from great numbers of purposely damaged objects which are constantly being found in Scandinavian grave mounds. Mr. Du Chaillu has given illustrations of great numbers of purposely damaged weapons in his recent book called "The Viking Age." He says:—

"Connected with the burning of the dead was the intentional damage done to objecls which were exposed to the heat of the funeral pyre. Special care seems to have been taken to render swords and other weapons thoroughly useless. Swords are cut on the edges, bent and twisted; shield bosses are dented or flattened; and jewels and other objects are entirely ruined, and the illustrations seen in these volumes will show how thorough the destruction was. Bent swords and shield bosses, etc., were sometimes placed over the cinerary urn, at other times they were put on their side."[7]

In a footnote he says, "In an urn in a mound near Veile, Jutland, was found a bent bronze poniard; and in another mound at Mors, Jutland, an urn containing burnt bones, and a bent bronze poniard."

Objects intentionally damaged are also found in the bogs of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. "Here also," says Mr. Du Chaillu, "as in the graves where the bodies were burnt, we find objects intentionally damaged. This bending, twisting, and hacking of weapons seems to have been a religious custom." As the Romans did not bury weapons with their dead this urn burial at Crookes cannot, for this reason alone, be ascribed to that people. Nor can it be ascribed to the long-headed inhabitants of these islands who buried their dead in long chambered barrows and to whom the use of bronze and other metals was unknown.

I think we may say that the inhabitants of Hallamshire who burnt their dead on the funeral pyre, who pierced the cup, and twisted the poniard were of the same race as those dwellers in Scandinavia, or on the shores of the Baltic, who, in obedience to religious custom damaged the weapons and broke the cups which they laid in the grave mound. In Scandinavia these broken chattels are found along with splendid remains of northern art—remains which show that side by side with fantastic burial customs and creeds there existed a high degree of civilization. We are not to suppose that the old inhabitants of Hallamshire who buried their dead in urns on the hills were absolute barbarians. They must have been more or less acquainted with agriculture and with the arts known to their northern kinsmen beyond the sea.

The evidence shows that the interment at Crookes took place in the early Bronze Age. As showing the degree of civilization to which the people of that period had attained I may mention that they were familiar with the surgical operation of trepanning or trephining the skull. A single example of a trepanned skull was found a few years ago in the Island of Bute along with an urn decorated like the one found at Crookes and a small piece of thin bronze, but in France the fact has been established from a great number of cases. "Trepanning the human skull for therapeutic purposes," says Dr. Munro, "was not an uncommon surgical operation among the neolithic inhabitants of Europe long prior to the introduction among them of the metals from which the implements, so essential to the modern surgeon, are now made." The operation was performed with a flint knife or scraper. Dr. Broca believed that in the main the operation was intended "to relieve mental disorders, as epilepsy, convulsions, lunacy, etc.," and it is supposed that people then regarded such diseases as due to the attacks of a demon or evil spirit. "What could be more natural," says Dr. Munro, "than to suppose that by boring a hole in the prison walls the escape of the evil spirit would be facilitated?"[8]

Portions of trepanned skulls of various forms were worn as amulets or charms against evil, and in connection with this subject I may say that a piece of bone taken from a sheep's tongue and called the "lucky bone" is still worn in the neighbourhood of Sheffield as an amulet. One of these bones, scientifically known as the cornua, is figured in the drawing below. Here we have an example of the well-known principle of survival. What the amulet made from a bit of human skull was to the prehistoric man that the amulet from a sheep's head is to the modern Hallamshire peasant. The later superstition is a lineal descendant of the older superstition. As man became less barbarous he modified his old belief in the efficacy of the charm, as he could not wholly cast it off.


[1] Such urns, says Canon Greenwell, were not sun-dried; and they were not baked in a kiln, but at an open fire. They were all hand-made, "not one showing any sign of the use of the wheel," and "they were probably manufactured on the spot" from the clay of the neighbourhood.—British Barrows, pp. 63, 64.

[2] Canon Greenwell observes that the mouth of the urn is sometimes found to have been covered with clay "both in cases when the urn is standing on its base and when it is reversed." "It is not unlikely," he says, "that the mouth of the urn was occasionally covered with cloth or hide." (British Barrows, p. 14.) He does not appear to mention any instance of an outer and larger urn having been used to close the mouth of the urn in which the burnt bones were deposited.

[3] Aere utuntur importato.—De Bello Gallico, v., 14.

[4] In Elton's Origins of English History, 1882, p. 122.

[5] Vol. i., p. 107.

[6] Ibid. p. 107.

[7] I., p. 129.

[8] See an article by Dr. Munro in the Fortnightly Review, Feb., 1893.

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From the Incunabula of Sheffield History.

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Guest Jeremy

II. Carl's Wark

I must now turn over an earlier page, though I am going a little beyond my prescribed limits in describing a hill-fort which is situate on the Hathersage moors about a mile from the boundary of Hallamshire. The hill-fort known as Carl's Wark is so near to that boundary, and has such an important bearing on the subject with which we are dealing, that no apology seems needed for inserting an account of it.

As in other cases the builders of this hill-fort have made use of the defence afforded by a rocky summit with precipitous sides, and have supplemented the weaker parts of a natural fortification by massive walls. The area of ground enclosed by natural rocks and artificial walls is of considerable extent. Its mean length from east to west as taken from actual measurement is 450 feet, and its mean breadth is 200 feet. The northern and eastern sides of the hill-fort are very precipitous and show little sign of artificial work, nor for the purpose of fortification was such work necessary. But the southern and western sides are protected by rude walls built without mortar, and of immense age. Some of the stones in the southern wall, in which, as will be seen in the drawing, there is a gateway or opening about seven feet in breadth, are of Cyclopean size. They are from six to nine feet in length.[1] The walls which they form are not carefully-fitted polygonal masonry, but are built of great unhewn boulders fitted together without mortar and without any small stones in the interstices. But rude as the ancient masonry is these big stones have been fitted to each other with some care. The wall on the western boundary of the hill-fort is eighty-five feet in length, its height being from ten to twelve feet above the level of the ground outside the fort.

The western side of the fort was its most vulnerable part, and the section will show how the earth was thrown up within the fort against this side. The stones of which this western wall are formed are smaller in size than the stones wnich form the wall on the southern side. The average length of each stone in the western wall is about three-and-a-half feet, its depth or thickness one foot, and its width three feet, that being the width of the wall, which consists of one course of stones only. These stones also, like the stones in the southern wall, are fitted together without mortar and without smaller stones to fill up the interstices. A winding pathway goes down from the gateway or opening on the southern side, and on the eastern side is a narrow pathway leading down between the rocks. The eastern side has been strengthened by a wall built into a crevice in the rocks. Both the southern and eastern sides are strengthened by earth which has been thrown up. In some of the isolated boulders are cup-like markings which show curiously the action of the prevailing winds and rain. The walls are built of therough millstone grit which is found on the surrounding moors, and they are worn by the pitiless storms which on this high ground have beaten upon them for ages. In the last century Carl's Wark attracted the notice of Wilson the Sheffield antiquary. He speaks of the west end as being "walled with stones as large as strong gate stoops, some a ton apiece, and twenty or thirty yards long; the north side a steep perpendicular rock, and the south side and east end defended with large stones evidently laid to defend the passage up the hill. No engines now in being could move such great stones."[2]

Like the Acropolis of Tiryns Carl's Wark is a fortified place on a hill, and, as will be seen in the drawing above, there is no small resemblance between it and the ancient hill-forts of Greece.

Writing of the Cyclopean masonry of Greece Dr. Reber says: "Walls built of enormous boulders, unhewn, and roughly piled up without calculation, the larger interstices being filled with smaller stones, are of extreme age. Such masonry appeared to later generations to be the work of giants, of Cyclops, and hence a name which might more fittingly be changed to Pelasgic than to Poseidonic, as suggested by Gladstone. The walls of Tiryns are of such gigantic blocks—bulwarks mentioned by Homer and Hesiod, and admired in their ruins by Pausanias. They are built upon a ridge of rock."[3]

The Cyclops are first mentioned in the Odyssey as a race of one-eyed giants. "We came," says Odysseus, "to the land of the Cyclopes, a froward and a lawless folk, who trusting to the deathless gods plant not aught with their hands, neither plough: but, behold, all these things spring for them in plenty, unsown and untilled, wheat, and barley, and vines, which bear great clusters of the juice of the grape, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase. These have neither gatherings for council nor oracles of law, but they dwell in hollow caves on the crests of the high hills, and each one utters the law to his children and his wives, and they reck not one of another."[4]

In this interesting description Homer seems to have been thinking of hill tribes, or of a race of men who had not yet passed into the agricultural stage, and were without social organization. Such men, he tells us, "dwell in hollow caves on the crests of the high hills." About 1,600 feet to the northwest of Carl's Wark is a hill known as Higgar Torr, on the top of which are small caves into which sheep[5] often retreat for shelter. It is just possible that Higgar may be Yggr (with a genitive Yggjar), a name of Odin. The Old Norse uggr means terror, fear, and Grimm connects Yggr with the Latin Pavor, the god of fear. "Rock of Fear" would be a fit name for this dark and awful eminence.

Just as the Cyclops was a one-eyed giant so in Northern mythology Odin pawned his eye in the well of Mímir. And just as in Greece the great stone walls of the hill-fort were ascribed to the Cyclops, so in England such works, as I shall presently show, were ascribed to the one-eyed Odin. This brings us to the term "Carl's Wark," and its meaning. And first of all it is of great importance to remember that the word "wark" here means "fort,"[6] so that in the very name of the place we have proof that it was regarded in ancient times as a stronghold.

It is evident that the making of this fortification was attributed in early times to a being called Karl or Charles. It was not the work of churls or slaves—an explanation which would do violence to the rules of Old English grammar, to say nothing of any other objection. Grimm conjectured that the wagon or wain in Charles's Wain was that of Odin.[7] In the Norse mythology Odin was the wagon-man; the heaven was called the wagon hall, the wagon roof, the wagon road. From the seven bright stars in Ursa Major, which look so like a wagon, it may have been fabled that Odin threw down great stones upon the earth and built the walls. The heap of stones called the Apronfull of Stones formerly existing in Bradfield is evidence of a belief in this district of giants or giantesses scattering big stones upon the ground from their aprons.

Carl's Work or Charles Work[8] is also the name of a cavern in Middleton Dale in Derbyshire, and there is a cave called Odin's Mine at the foot of Mam Tor in Castleton in the same county. There is also a Charles Clough or Churl Clough on the Hallam moors.[9] From the names of these two caverns alone it would appear that Carl and Odin are synonyms. In Old Norse karl, in addition to its ordinary meaning of man, means an old man, and in this neighbourhood the Devil is popularly known as the Old Lad or the Old One. Carl's Wark then is The Old One's fort, otherwise Odin's fort; and the Norse Sagas represent Odin as an old man with one eye. Grimm has shown how the tales about Odin began to be attributed to the Frankish Charles.[10] Just as the one-eyed Cyclops, according to the ancient fable, built the great walls of the Greek hill-forts, so the one-eyed Odin was the fabulous builder of this strong hill-fort on the Hathersage moors. Its very name is a proof of its vast age. In "the dark backward and abysm of time," long before the dawn of English history, there dwelt upon these wild moors "a froward and lawless folk" who, in the words of Homer, planted not aught with their hands neither ploughed. According to Cæsar most of the Britons dwelling in the interior of the island did not sow wheat, but lived on milk and flesh, and were clad in skins.[11]

The view of Carl's Wark and of the surrounding country as seen from "the Duke's drive" is a scene of weird and desolate grandeur. The Wark itself has been compared to an immense blackened altar. There are great stretches of yellow rush-beds lying on all sides below the hill, and these commingled with patches of heather make the moors look like a huge tiger skin spreading far out before the eyes.


[1] According to Schliemann the usual size of the stones at Tiryns is seven feet long and three feet thick.—Mycenæ, 1878, p. 3. At Carl's Wark the largest stones are not near the gateway.

[2] In Bateman's Ten Years' Diggings, p. 253.

[3] History of Ancient Art, trans. by Clarke, London, 1883, p. 187.

[4] 1 Od. ix, 106-115, in Rutcher and Lang's elegant translation. The original of the words which I have put in italics is—

'Αλλ ὀί γ ίψηλῶν ὸρέων ναίοωι κάρηνα

'Εν σπθτσι γλαφνρόυτι

In Iliad 2, 117, 9, 24, the word κάρηνον is used as the equivalent of άκρὁπολις

[5] The word σπἐος which in the passage just quoted from the Odyssey is rendered "cave" is applied in Iliad 4, 279 to a cave used for folding sheep in, as well as to the dwelling of the Cyclops in Odyssey ix, 400.

[6] Thus in Kormaks Saga, 24. we have "virki þat er heitir Skarðaborg" the work (or stronghold) that is called Scarborough. So Aldwark near Rotherham means old fort, old castle.

[7] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 724

[8] Bray's Tour in Derbyshire, 1783, p. 178. Black's Guide to Derbyshire, 1866, p. 268.

[9] Sheffield Glossary, p. 40, and Supplement, p. 12.

[10] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 937

[11] Interiores plerique frumenta non serunt, sed laćte et carne vivunt, pellibusque sum vestiti.—De Bello Gallico, v. 14.

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III. Stone and Bronze Implements

Flint implements of various kinds are found in considerable numbers in Bradfield, especially at the springs or sources of the streams on the moors.

There is a stone hatchet recently lent to the Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, by Mr. Thomas Winder, to whom I am indebted for assistance in getting together some materials for this book. It was found three or four feet below the surface of the ground in John street, Sheffield, about fourteen years ago. This hatchet, which is polished all over, is in fine condition, and, with the exception of one slight fracture at the butt-end, is as fresh and perfect as if it had been made yesterday. Its extreme length is eight inches, and it measures seven-and-one-third inches round its largest circumference. As will be seen in the drawing one of its sides is considerably longer than the other. The hatchet is made of a light-coloured hone slate, or of a stone which resembles hone slate. No doubt it was first rudely struck out, and then polished. The edge is clearly cut and sharp, but it is thick, and such a thickness, it is said, would make the hatchet stronger and more useful for working in wood. But I doubt whether such an instrument could bear hard blows without breaking, and this hatchet, which has not the least fracture of any kind upon its edge, does not appear to have been ever used.

There is also another stone hatchet in the Weston Park Museum which was found at Upperthorpe, near Sheffield, and is of smaller size than the one which has just been described. It is of similar shape and colour, and is made of the same kind of stone. This hatchet, too, is polished, but its edge shows some slight signs of having been used. Parallel to the edge on one side of the hatchet and extending down thereto is a broad streak of greenish colouring, the width of the streak being approximately shown in the drawing. There is a corresponding streak of similar colour on the other side of about the same breadth, but on this side it is not quite so regular, and is not, as is the streak shown in the drawing, quite parallel to the edge. That this colouring is not part of the natural stone may be proved by the facl that it is of uniform thickness and can be scratched or chipped off. And that the colour or paste was not—at all events when the hatchet was first made—designedly laid on seems to be shown by the fact that some little holes or fractures near the edge are coloured by the same material, which when magnified has a crystallized appearance in such holes or fractures. Moreover, a close examination reveals the fact that other parts of the surface of the hatchet also bear minute portions of the same substance, which resembles the oxide of bronze or copper. This streak of colour has, or rather had before some experiments were made on the hatchet, a decided appearance of artificial ornamentation, and it is hard to account for the fact that on one side the streak of colour is exactly parallel to the curved edge of the hatchet, except on the supposition that it has been artificially laid on. Nevertheless I can find no instance of a stone implement which has been decorated in this way, and it is much more probable that the colouring at the edge has arisen from contact with bronze or copper. The polishing of this hatchet is most clearly marked at and near the edge, and it diminishes gradually towards the butt-end. Its extreme length is five inches, and it measures six-and-a-half inches round its largest circumference. A memorandum at the museum describes it as "a stone celt found at Upperthorpe two feet below the surface and lent by T. W. Marsden of Terrace villas, Upperthorpe road, in 1875." On making enquiry I find that Mr. Marsden has been dead for some years, but his daughter, Miss Marsden, tells me in a letter that the hatchet was found by her father's workmen when digging the foundation of the house formerly belonging to him in a street now called "Upperthorpe" which runs from the Heavygate road to the old hamlet known as Upperthorpe. This house, which is now unoccupied, is the topmost house on the north side of the street and the nearest to "Howard Hill." Miss Marsden tells me that the exact place of discovery was under the dining room which is nearest to "Howard Hill." She says also that the hatchet was "always of the same colour as that described in my letter," and she informs me that it was found "along with some Roman coins." She also says that the workmen "came across some parts of a Roman wall." Contact with the bronze coins is probably the true explanation of the streak of colour upon the hatchet, notwithstanding its regularity. I have not, however, been able to trace the "Roman coins." There was formerly a big old yew tree near the Heavygate road a little to north-west of the place of discovery, and there is a tradition in the neighbourhood that this tree stood near a Roman road. The Heavygate road is an old highway leading from Walkley to Barber Nook.

Another stone implement has been found at a distance of 580 yards to the north of the place where the hatchet last described was discovered. In 1874 it was described by a writer in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent as a "spear head." The writer says: "In the summer of 1872 when Mr. H. Draper was digging in a garden at the back of 132 Hoole street, Walkley, he found a large stone spear head made of close grain sandstone. It measures six inches in length, with the point broken off. The broken piece would measure about one-and-a-quarter inch, making the total length to be seven-and-a-quarter inches; the breadth at the broadest part is three-and-a-half inches, and the thickness in the middle is five-eighths of an inch, narrowing off to a sharp edge on either side."[1]

We have seen that the stone hatchet belonging to Mr. Marsden was found within a distance of 200 yards from a place called Barber Nook, and that Mr. Draper's stone implement was found at Walkley at a distance therefrom of barely 600 yards. Now an eminent scholar once expressed the opinion that Walkley was Wealja-leáh, Welshmen's territory.[2] The opinion seems to have been well founded, and it could be supported by many analogous examples. I would go a step further and say that the adjoining Barber Nook is Welshman's Nook, Barbarian's Nook.[3] In a subsequent chapter I shall give examples of the word barbar in local names, and I will only allude to it here in connexion with Walkley, with the stone implements, and with the tradition about the Roman road. It will be objected, no doubt, by some local readers that a family called Barber lived at this place in the present century, and is still well remembered. But Barber Nook is as much the old name of a place as Upperthorpe is the old name of a place, and I have failed to find any evidence that the family gave their name to the place. As well might it be said that the ancient earthwork at Kimberworth called Barber Balk which extends for miles takes its name from a person called Barber ! I think we may fairly conclude that these heights were formerly occupied by a race of men who differed in nationality from the newer settlers living in the plains or valleys below. The occupants of the high ground were neither Anglo-Saxons nor Norsemen, and it was these Teutonic settlers who spoke of the older or aboriginal inhabitants as Welsh, and, as I think, as barbars.[4]

Although stone hammers and axes must originally have been made for use, yet, says Worsaae, they "have had a symbolical signification among many different peoples, dwelling far apart from each other."[5]

Axes are found figured upon old gravestones built into the walls of our English churches, as for instance upon two gravestones at Ashover Church in Derbyshire, where the axe appears side by side with the cross, both symbols being emblems of heathen belief. These gravestones are figured below. The most remarkable of them (Fig. 2) now forms the top stone of the south window of the belfry, and is divided into two parts by the stone mullion of the window. On the right of this grave-stone is a plain incised sword. The figure on the left, which is exceedingly remarkable, is not the Christian cross, but a double-headed axe resembling the cross. Its shape is exactly like that of the symbolical double-headed axes of gold which Schliernann found in sepulchres at Mycenæ, and it also exactly resembles the symbolical double axes of thin gold plate fixed between the golden horns of cows which he found in the same sepulchres.[6] Schliernann also found numerous gold crosses there, all of which, it need hardly be said, belong to a period long anterior to the Christian era.[7]

Figure 1 is another incised slab now forming the sill of one of the chancel windows in Ashover Church. Here also, as will be seen in the drawing, four axes make up a cross resembling a sun-wheel. The length of the central cross is five feet eleven inches, showing that the slab formed part of a tomb. Both the slabs are quite flat, and it seems likely that they once formed either the side stones or the covering stones of graves belonging to a very early period. "Figures of axes," says Worsaae, "are often found carved upon the side stones of the graves of the Stone Age in Western Europe."[8] "In Brittany," says Mr. Evans, "the figures of stone celts are in several instances engraved on the large stones of chambered tumuli and dolmens."[9] Here, then, may be seen a clear connection between the celt carved on the chambered tumulus and the axes carved upon the old tombstones at Ashover.

Not only in Europe, says Worsaae, "but in other parts of the world small stone axes have been worn as amulets for luck. The inhabitants of several of the South Sea Islands possess 'ceremonial hatchets' which are used at religious festivals and similar solemn occasions. Some of the oldest representations of the god of thunder or lightning which have been found in Europe and Asia represent him with an axe or hammer in his hand. It is also well known that the stone axes are called 'thunderbolts' over the whole world, on account of the universal superstition that they fall from the sky during thunderstorms. This superstition cannot, however, have been general at the time when man himself made and used these stone axes; but must have been a subsequent idea, which, to judge from the peculiar occurrence of hatchet-shaped objects in the bogs and grave finds, doubtless had its origin in the faft that the axe and the hammer were, in the Stone Age, sacred to the mighty divinity of thunder and lightning, who not only inspired terror, but greatly contributed to the increase of the fertility of the earth. It is, therefore, quite natural to suppose that it was the protection of that god especially which was invoked, and was believed to be secured by wearing hammer or hatchet-formed objects, or by burying them in the ground as propitiatory sacrifices."[10] In Northern mythology the thunderbolt was represented as a hammer. "It was from a hatchet," says Mr. Evans, "that, according to Plutarch, Jupiter Labrandeus received that title; and M. de Longpérier has pointed out a passage, from which it appears that Bacchus was in one instance, at all events, worshipped under the form of a hatchet, or ireXexis. He has also published a Chaldaean cylinder on which a priest is represented as making an offering to a hatchet placed upright on a throne, and has called attention to the fact that the Egyptian hieroglyph for Nouter, God, is simply the figure of an axe."[11]

The question then arises whether the stone hatchets just described were made for manual use or for a religious purpose. Mr. Winder says of the hatchet found in John street that "it is beautifully marked with dendritic spots proving that it had not been handled for ages."[12] So perfect, indeed, is its condition that it has evidently never been used at all. It seems to me to have been buried in the earth as a sacrifice to the god who in ancient belief made the thunder. Possibly the stone hammer or hatchet was laid in the earth to protect the crops against rain and storm, or the house against lightning. As bronze and stone implements are found together in graves it is evident that the making of stone implements was contemporaneous with the making of bronze implements, so that it cannot be asserted that these two stone hatchets belong to a "stone age" which preceded a "bronze age," though doubtless the use of stone long preceded the use of bronze in the making of tools and weapons.[13]

A plain bronze hatchet was found about ten years ago by a gamekeeper near some stones known as "the Coach and Horses" on Derwent Edge in Bradfield, and it is now in the possession of Mr. John Bedford, of More Hall. The edge is blunt and jagged, as though a long time ago it had borne hard blows. Its extreme length is six-and-a-half inches, and its breadth in the widest part is exactly three inches. The average thickness is about a quarter of an inch. One side of this instrument is quite plain and flat, but on the other side are two round holes which penetrate about half way through the bronze. They do not appear to have been produced either by casting or punching. Judging from their irregularity and their size I should say that they were scraped out by some sharp instrument. What they were intended for can only be guessed. I do not think that they would have been of any service in fastening a handle to the hatchet. Their appearance rather suggests the mysterious round holes so often found on stones, rocks, and in the burial mounds of prehistoric times. The shape of the hatchet makes it probable that it is of great antiquity. "Among celts," says Mr. 'Evans, "the simple form, and that most nearly approaching in character to the stone hatchet, was probably the earliest, though it may have been continued in use after the introduction of the side flanges, the stop-ridge, and even the socket. Some celts of the simplest form found in Ireland are of copper."[14]

This hatchet is certainly made of bronze, and not of copper. On the moor where it was found part of an ancient quern, which will be hereafter described, has been lately discovered.

A bronze knife-dagger found in a cinerary urn at Crookes has already been described.[15]


[1] Note on "Walkley," by "Electric" in Local Notes and Queries of the Independent, in 1874.

[2] Mr. Henry Bradley.

[3] The word "nook" is not easy of explanation, and it may mean several things. A nook of land (in Low Latin noca) is said to be "quarter of a yard land."

[4] The word will be discussed in a subsequent chapter.

[5] Industrial Arts of Denmark, 1882, p. 32.

[6] Schliemann's Mycenæ, London, 1878, pp. 218, 252.

[7] Ibid. pp. 190 194, etc. The golden cross figured on p. 194 of Schliemann's work, with its ornamentation of spirals on either side, will remind the reader of some of the old crosses fixed in English churchyards, as, for instance, that at Eyam, in Derbyshire.

[8] Industrial Arts of Denmark, p. 32.

[9] Ancient Stone Implements, 1872, p. 54.

[10] Ibid, p. 32.

[11] Ancient Stone Implements, 1872, p. 54.

[12] I was told at the museum that these spots are probably owing to the presence of iron in the soil.

[13] In connexion with this subject it is perhaps worth while mentioning that people in the neighbourhood of Sheffield say that "they've buried t' hatchet" when they have settled a quarrel.

[14] Ancient Bronze Implements, 1881, p. 39.

[15] p.4.

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IV. The Bar Dike and Other Earthworks at Bradfield

Less than a mile to the south of Broomhead Hall in Bradfield is a ditch or fosse with its embankment known as Bar Dike. The width of the fosse, which is on the northern side of the embankment, is about thirty feet,[1] and its depth about ten feet. About 300 feet to the north-west of the embankment is an earth circle with a diameter of about seventy feet. The embankment seen somewhat faintly in the distance, with the circle in the foreground, are represented in the aquatint which faces the beginning of this chapter. A portion of the Dike is shown more clearly by the smaller drawing on the following page.

I will first deal with the embankment. In this case, as sometimes happens, the old name lingers, and of itself seems to give a clue to the history of the embankment. For the Old English dic, according to Professor Lèo, means a continuous protecting dam; though in modern times it has come to mean ditch or fosse alone. And "bar" seems here to mean a defensive barrier or bulwark. If that is so Bar Dike means defensive barrier, and we seem to learn from its old name that this earthwork was intended for a pretentura and was erected by one people to protect themselves from the attacks of another people. The Dike is not more than 1,500 feet from one end to the other, and it is almost in a straight line. At its northeastern end it terminates in an abrupt declivity, and at its south-western end the ground is very steep and rugged. The land descends from the Dike both to the north and south. It would seem then that the fosse and mound were intended to protect a piece of ground through which an inroad could be easily made, the nature of the ground at either end being itself a substantial protection. A mile to the north-west of Bar Dike, and running nearly parallel to it, is another entrenchment about three-quarters of a mile in length. This entrenchment runs in a straight course across a comparatively level moor and is divided at right angles by a stream. In this case the fosse is also on the northern side of the mound. I think it is important to state on which side the fosse is situated because attack would be expected on that side. This entrenchment, like the Bar Dike, was a barrier against the north. Close to the southern side of this entrenchment are a number of burial mounds, and the Ordnance Map marks a number of such mounds on the northern side. They are, however, much more apparent on the southern side, where they are higher, and where their conical forms are more clearly defined.

We have now to consider by what people these entrenchments were made. In Bradfield, beyond the discovery of one or two Roman coins, I am aware of no evidence of Roman occupation. There is, nevertheless, reason to believe that the Romans had a settlement at or near Stannington a few miles distant, and this matter will be examined in the sequel. Canon Greenwell, however, regards the numerous entrenchments on the Yorkshire wolds as the work of a round-headed people who intruded upon a long-headed people already settled in the country. He finds in the modern Danish head "the same peculiarity of type as is found to exist in the round skull of the barrows."[2] These round-headed people were taller and of more ferocious aspect than the long-headed people. "But the skull of both types is capacious, and the different parts are well balanced; nor is there anything in it to lead to the belief that either people was wanting in mental power."[3] Professor Rolleston would speak of the people who buried in the long barrows and had long heads as belonging to the "Silurian" type, and he would describe the round-headed people who buried in the round barrows as belonging to a "Cimbric" type, because "a similar form of skull is found at the present day to be the skull form of the inhabitants of Denmark once called the 'Cimbric' peninsula."[4]

Can we say that these long-headed people were hill tribes invaded by a round-headed and stronger race ? And can we identify the Silures who, according to Tacitus, were a British people, with those hill tribes of whose mode of life Mr. Gomme claims to have found traces in Great Britain? Mr. Gomme has drawn attention to land cultivated in terraces on the slopes of hills, and to hill fortresses, or "protected clan homesteads," and he holds that he has proved "the existence in Britain of a hill folk who bear a relationship to the Aryan occupiers of the valleys exactly similar to that obtaining in India, where races have not lost their special characteristics and are still marked off from each other instead of being crushed out by the greater weight of nationality."[5] Without going this length—though I think that Mr. Gomme's conclusion is founded upon strong evidence—we may at all events place confidence in the conclusion which Professor Rolleston has drawn from craniological and other evidence. Professor Rolleston concludes that a black-haired people, of short stature, long skulls, and feeble development occupied Great Britain before the invasion of a stronger and taller race with rounded skulls, lighter hair, and lighter complexions. The evidence which he gives on this subject seems to me both ample and convincing.

Now a Cimbric people advancing inland from the sea might be expected to throw up earthworks to defend themselves from the attacks of a people whose country they had invaded, and especially from the attacks of hill tribes. And this, I think, may be the explanation of Bar Dike.[6] The round-headed Cimbric invaders coming from the Danish peninsula had chosen the lower ground for their place of settlement, leaving the heights and fastnesses to the long-headed hill tribes. We know from Tacitus[7] that the Cimbri were accustomed to make "camps and spaces" (castra ac spatia), and it was possibly they, and not the Romans or the older settlers or aborigines, who made the Bar Dike. The student of English history is familiar with the attacks of native barbarians whom the Romans themselves had to keep back by such great works as Hadrian's wall, and possibly the Cimbric invaders adopted a similar, if ruder, method of fortification.

"Who were the original inhabitants of Britain," said Tacitus, "and whether they sprang from the soil or came from abroad is unknown, as is usually the case with barbarians. Their physical characteristics are various, and from this conclusions may be drawn. The red hair and large limbs of the Caledonians point clearly to a German origin. The dark complexion of the Silures, their usually curly hair (colorati vultus et torti plerumque crines[8]) and the fact that Spain is the opposite shore to them, are evidence that Iberians of a former date crossed over and occupied those parts."

It is very likely then that a short, swarthy people, with long and narrow heads, and of a ferocious and warlike disposition, originally occupied these parts, and that before the coming of the Romans they were invaded by a taller, stronger, and light-haired race who came over from the Danish peninsula.

The colonization of England from time to time by Germanic races may be taken as being in some degree parallel to their more recent colonization of the American continent. One could not, of course, fairly compare the neolithic Briton or Silurian with the North-American Indian. But still, to some extent, the comparison holds good. One can understand how the invaded race would try to maintain their ground, and how, like savages in other lands, they would attack the foreign settlers who had invaded their country. Of the defence made against such attacks, it seems to me, the Bar Dike is an eloquent witness. In saying this it need not be supposed that the flint implements scattered over the soil in Bradfield are evidence of battles fought there. Where wood-work, and indeed almost every other relic of neolithic life has perished, the flint implement, imperishable in its hardness, may well lie scattered over the earth in which the softer and less durable works of early man have long since been dissolved.

A short distance to the north of the northern entrenchment is another circle about fifty-three feet in diameter. Here short upright stones have been embedded in a rather wide ring of earth, and in this respect the circle differs from the one near Lady Bower called Seven Stones, which will be described in a subsequent chapter. Most of the upright stones are buried in the circling mound. It is possible that the circle near the Bar Dike may have been a doom-ring[9] in which men were sentenced. And the last-named circle is still more likely to have been a doom-ring, for the short stones would form seats for the judges. The doom-ring was the bar within which the court sat in the open air. "No evil doer," we are told, "might enter this hallowed ring, or commit an act of violence within it; if he did so he was called a vargr í véum," a wolf in holy places. "In early heathen times this sacred circle was formed by a ring of stones (dóm-steinar, court stones, court ring); no doubt some of the so-called Celtic or Druidical stone circles are relics of these public courts, e.g. the Stones of Stennis in the Orkneys."[10] A passage in the Landnama mentions a doom-ring in which men were sentenced to be sacrificed. It is not, however, necessary to suppose that either of these circles was used for that purpose alone. They are more likely to have been ordinary places of judgment, or open-air courts, and it is important to bear in mind that in old times these courts were held not only in the open air but on a plain. On the six-inch Ordnance Map the circle near the Bar Dike is marked and described as the site of the Apronfull of Stones, but those stones stood, before their removal, near the milestone at the junction of the two roads.

About a quarter of a mile to the west of the northern entrenchment, amidst wild and beautiful scenery, is a cliff called Raven Rocher, i.e., Raven Rock, and about 300 yards further to .the west in the sapie line of cliff is a rock called Gallows Rocher. Now a German name for the gallows, says Mr. Baring- Gould, "is the raven's stone, not only, perhaps, because ravens come to it, but because the raven was the sacred bird of Odin."[11] These two names Gallows Rocher and Raven Rocher, which by reason of their proximity or contiguity are virtually names of the same precipice, make it very probable that men were once hanged in this place, or, as the custom was, flung from the rock as sacrifices to Odin.[12]

It is possible, no doubt, that both these circles instead of being doom-rings may be of sepulchral origin. Canon Greenwell says that "circles are placed in some cases immediately round the base of the barrow, and in others at some little distance from it."[13] In these cases, however, there is no barrow sufficiently near the circles to warrant the conclusion that they are of sepulchral origin, though Canon Greenwell has described a grave-mound which "was placed just to the west of one of the entrenchments so abundant on the [Yorkshire] wolds."[14] Yet there must have been doom-rings in England as well as in other parts of Northern Europe. Although Canon Greenwell has said that "circling mounds and trenches are found to surround spaces of ground which have been devoted to the purpose of burial, but where, apparently, no barrow has ever surmounted the graves,"[15] he does not appear to have considered that many of these circling mounds may have been doom-rings or public courts. It seems to me that only an adlual exploration in each case can finally decide whether the circle in question is a place of burial or a place of judicature. But the proximity of the Gallows Rocher affords strong evidence that one at least of the circles on Broomhead Moors was a doom-ring.


[1] The ditch on the north side of Hadrian's wall "measures occasionally over thirty-six feet across, but much more frequently rather less. Its general shape is 'fastigate,' that is, its sides seem to have originally sloped to a narrow point at the bottom like an inverted roof."—Neilson's Per Lineam Valli, Glasgow, 1891, p. 2.

[2] British Barrows, p. 126.

[3] Ibid. p. 128.

[4] See Greenwell's British Barrows, p. 630.

[5] Village Community, p. 101.

[6] I think, however, that it would be very rash to deny positively that the Romans made the Bar Dike.

[7] Germania, 37. The words of the historian throw a strong light upon our subject. He says: :Eundem Germaniæ sinum proximi Oceano Cimbri tenent, parva nunc civitas, sed gloria ingens. Veterisque famæ lata vestigia manent, utraque ripa castra ac spatia, quorum ambitu nunc quoque metiaris molem manusque gentis, et tarn magni exitus fidem."

[8] Tac. Agric. c. 11. The translation of this variously interpreted passage has been taken from Mr. Elton's Origins of English History, 1882, p. 137.

[9] O. N. dóm-hringr.

[10] Cleasby and Vigf. s. v.

[11] Strange Survivals, p. 245.

[12] In a very interesting survey of Whiston Fields, made by W. Fairbank in 1765. I find Gallow Tree Hill (O. N. gálga-tré; gallows tree). There is also a Gallow Tree Hill at Kimberworth near Rotherham, which the Ordnance Map wrongly prints as "Garrow Tree Hill." Mr. Gomme remarks that there are few places in Scotland which have not a gallows hill, and he observes that many moot-hills and law-hills are associated with another hill or place, connected with the "Gallows."—Primitive Folk-Moots, p. 273.

[13] British Barrows, p. 4.

[14] Ibid. p. 274.

[15] Ibid. p. 6.

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V. Bailey Hill—The Long Mound—Castle Hill

Hann sәt á haugi sem konungar: He sat on the mound as kings do sit.—Heimskringla, i, 136.

Some of my readers are no doubt acquainted with Mr. Seebohm's "English Village Community." They may remember seeing in that book a plan of a "toot-hill" which adjoins the churchyard at Pirton, and also a plan of another artificial hill which is close to the church at Meppcrshall. It is not an uncommon thing to find artificial mounds near old churches, and the late Mr. Wright has described a large tumulus which stands near the church at St. Weonard's, and which he opened, finding therein a rude vault and burnt human remains. Now the large mound known as Bailey Hill at Bradfield is only 130 yards to the north-west of the church, and there is a striking resemblance between it and the mounds which I have just mentioned. The history of most of these mounds is possibly of the same character.[1]

The evidence which I shall give will point to the conclusion that Bailey Hill was the place of the village assembly.

A reference to the plan will show that at Bradfield there are two artificial mounds adjacent to each other, but of an entirely different shape, and I shall refer to them as the round mound and the long mound. They stand at the edge of a steep declivity. The round mound is now known as Bailey Hill. It is of conical shape, and is entirely surrounded by a deep trench. Round its base the round mound measures 504 feet, and its perpendicular height, B to C, is fifty-eight feet. The height of its sides, A to B, measured from the bottom of the trench, is seventy-nine feet. The top is truncated, the diameter of the platform on the top, B to D, being thirty-nine feet. A hole has been dug in the top.

The long mound is crescent-shaped, and stands to the south-west of the round mound. Its extreme length, measured from K to L upon the summit of the crescent, is 310 feet. A deep trench runs along its southern side. There is no trench on the side E H F, and the trench K J L forms a duct leading into the trench which surrounds the round mound. The width of the trenches is the same as that of the fosse on the northern side of the Bar Dike,[2] namely thirty feet. The height of the long mound, J to I, on the side adjacent to the trench, and measured from the bottom of the trench, is forty-five feet. On the other side, I to H, where there is no trench, its height is only twenty-five feet. The distance between the ends of the arc formed by the long mound, E to F, is 261 feet, and from G to H the measurement is thirty-nine feet. The circumference of the long mound is 648 feet. These measurements are, of course, approximate, as it is impossible to give them with perfect exactness.

The long mound seems evidently to have been thrown up simultaneously with the round mound, for these mounds and their uniform ditches can hardly have been other than parts of the same plan.

It has been noticed that prehistoric circles, whether surrounding barrows or not, are often incomplete, and in this case the circular trench which surrounds the round mound is rendered incomplete by the trench which leads into it from the side of the long mound. The incompleteness of these circles has frequently been the subjecl of conjecture. Whatever their meaning may have been such circles are of such frequent occurrence that the incompleteness cannot be accidental; it must have had a religious or other distincl meaning.

The older antiquaries did not hesitate to describe these mounds and trenches as a "Saxon fortress." The opinion seems to have been based on the fact that the mounds occupy an elevated and commanding position, and are surrounded, in the way that has been mentioned, by deep trenches.

The depth of the ditches at Bailey Hill, taken together with the fact that such ditches are of the same breadth as that of the fosse on the northern side of the Bar Dike, might well have led to the belief that these mounds were thrown up for the purpose of fortification. But there are serious objections to this popular view of these mounds. In the first place there is the frequent occurrence of such mounds near to old English churches, and the proved fact that many of such mounds are either "toot-hills" or burial mounds. In the next place there is the improbability that a fortress would be built in the form of a cone or pyramid. And the last, but not the least serious, objection is to be found in the name Bailey Hill itself. In my opinion this place was certainly not a fortress or camp.

In the remarks which follow I shall speculate more or less on the probable history of these remarkable mounds, and perhaps I need hardly tell the reader that he must make a strong distinction between speculations and proved facts. But I think he will admit that my speculations are legitimate, and that they may, at all events, supply material from which the truth may in the end be obtained.

What the church, which stands so near, was to the later inhabitants, that, it seems to me, these two strange mounds were to the primitive inhabitants of this place. They formed the local seat of religion and justice.

In the absence of better evidence the history or probable history of these mounds can only be made out by comparing them with other mounds of the same kind and situated in similar places, by means of comparative custom and usage, by an examination of the beliefs and customs of modern races which are still in the infancy of civilization, and not least by that valuable evidence which has been preserved in Icelandic literature. Let us turn, then, first of all, to that evidence. In the first place Vigfusson has described the family mounds or barrows of the Norsemen.[3] "The barrow," he says, "besides being the place for the 'horg' of family worship was also the seat of the patriarch."

Can we fairly apply this statement of the Icelandic scholar to Bailey Hill? We have seen that this mound, like other English mounds, is in the village, and near the church, and I think we may conclude that it was not far from "the big house on the estate." In England the "big house on the estate" in more recent times was the lord's house, the "manor house," which usually stood near to the church,[4] or in the village. If therefore we may apply the customs of the Norsemen to this village situate in a Danish part of England we may infer that near to the house of the village chieftain was the seat whereon he administered justice or gave advice, the place where the people met both to worship and to deliberate in council. And as in early Christian times there was no church without an altar, and no altar without dead men's bones, so we may infer that amongst the heathen there was no mound or high place of worship which did not contain the bones of the village chief, or founder of the settlement.

Now we have seen that the mound near the church at St. Weonard's was a grave mound, and if we turn to the customs of modern savages we shall be able to guess what was the origin and ulterior use of these mounds, and with some show of reason to infer that the worship carried on there was the worship of dead ancestors. It seems a long way off, but let us hear what a modern traveller has said about the Africans:—

"On the subject of the village gods opinions differ. Some say that every one in the village, whether a relative of the chief or not, must worship the forefathers of the chief. Others say that a person not related to the chief must worship his own forefathers, otherwise their spirits will bring trouble upon him. To reconcile these authorities we may mention that nearly every one in the village is related to its chief, or if not related is, in courtesy, considered so. Any person not related to the village chief would be polite enough on all public occasions to worship the village god."[5]

Thus we see that modern African savages worship the forefathers of their chief, and with them, as with the Norsemen, the chief held the priesthood of the village.

We have just seen that the round mound besides being possibly the place of family or tribal worship—a worship which the adjacent Christian church carried on in another and purer form—was also "the seat of the patriarch." Let us now enquire whether it had not also a secular use. The mound near the church at Pirton which I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter is called Toot hill. Now a toot hill, as is well known, is a look-out hill,[6] a spying place or watch tower. This word toot survives in the modern tout, as when an enterprizing solicitor touts or looks out for business, though, of course, such a pradtice is as obsolete as the word toot-hill itself. Now the Bailey Hill at Bradfield was also a "toot-hill" or look-out hill, though I am not aware that at Bradfield it was ever called a toot-hill. It was here that the village chieftain, afterwards represented by the bailiff or bailey, who was the governor[7] of the village, used to spend some portion of his time not in looking out for his enemies, or, as some have supposed, in shooting flint-pointed arrows at them, but in seeing that the people in the village were behaving themselves and doing their work properly.

Let us examine this matter more in detail. The old writings of the Norsemen often give us, without intending it, glimpses of the social life of Northern races, just as Homer unconsciously tells us something about the manners and customs of his own time when he is telling tales about things which never happened. The adventures of heroes and giants can only be described in terms of human aclion. And in like manner when we read in Old Norse literature of the giant Thrym sitting on the mound by his hall plaiting golden leashes for his greyhounds we are accidentally told that the chieftains of Northern clans or village communities were accustomed to sit upon mounds near the doors of their houses. And when we are told in Hallfred's Saga that the good yeoman Thorlaf "was wont, as was much the habit of the men of old, to sit for long hours together out on the howe not far from his homestead," and that "here he was to be found by all who sought him, and could see all that was going on all over the farm,"[8] I think we are fairly justified in concluding that the time was when the same thing was done by the Norsemen who settled at Bradfield. Commanding, as it does, a wide and splendid view over all the country round, as well as a prospect of the hamlet which lay close by, Bailey Hill would have been peculiarly suitable for such a purpose.

Inasmuch as the high place of religious observance was also "the seat of the patriarch," Bailey Hill would be a fit place for the village assembly or open-air court. Mr. Gomme has pointed out that according to Hindu law judgments delivered inside a house are of no effect, and he has observed that according to old belief in England it was uncanny to hold a public meeting in a roofed building lest magical arts should be practised therein.[9] He also refers, when discussing the village assembly, to the Birlie Court at Whitsome in Berwickshire "where the Birliemen sit on the raised mound in the village, and the villagers receive from them their decisions in matters of dispute."[10] At Bradfield the whole administrative machinery of the village community was formerly in existence. It had its lord (represented by its steward or bailiff), its manorial court, or court of the village community, its homagers, and its by-laws. As Jacob Grimm has observed, the shape of the ancient open-air court was annular, because men naturally form a circle when they meet to hear a speaker in the field.[11] At the court held upon the Tynwald Hill in the Isle of Man the twenty- four Deemsters sat round about the lord on the hill, "the commons standing without the circle."[12] The truncated summit of Bailey Hill would have given ample room for the chieftain and elders sitting about him, and forming, as one might say, a sort of "Local Board."

As I have explained Bailey Hill as the hill upon which the bailiff or governor of the village sat in judgment it may be expecled that I should give some further reasons for this opinion.

In the first place then I will refer to some documents dating from the sixteenth century. At a court baron of Thomas Duke of Norfolk held for this manor on the 17th of June, 1717, before John Battie, steward, John Woodhead of Woodseats in Bradfield, in consideration of £295 paid to him by Arthur Grisedale of Sheffield, surrendered a customary messuage called Gawkehouse together with a customary tenement in Nether Bradfield and the following closes held therewith, viz., the Bayley field and the Hill, the Church field alias Kirke field, the Stake Piece, the Little Bank, the Little Rood, the Long Croft, the Sowter Acre, the Sowter Acre meadow, the Little Bank, and the Holme.[13]

Thus we see that in 1717 the mound and its surroundings were known as "the Bailey Field and the Hill." In a deed of 1764 I find "Bailey Hills," in allusion, no doubt, to the round mound and the long mound. The Bailey Field was the piece of land which the bailiff held in consideration of the services rendered by him to the village community. Examples of this are found elsewhere. Thus "the bailiffs of Northampton were allowed the rent of a piece of ground called the bailiff's hook, and the bailiff of Axbridge possessed a piece of ground called the bailiff's wall,"[14] i.e. the bailiff's field.[15] And in Sheffield the piece of land, now covered with streets, to the west of the Parish Church, called Bailey Field, was probably applied for the same purpose.[16] And so "the Sowter acre" in Bradfield, just mentioned, was the trade-allotment which the village shoemaker or tanner—for the word will mean either—held in respect of services rendered by him to the community.

There are historical examples of the manorial steward or bailiff sitting on a hill, and holding court there. For instance at Rochford in Essex a "lawless court" was held. Fuller tells us how a gentleman in that county showed him "a little hill which he called the King's Hill: and told me of a strange customarie court, and of long continuance, there yearely kept, the next Wednesday after Michaelmas day in the night, upon the first cock crowing without any kinde of light, saue such as the heavens will affoard." The description of the proceedings is too long to quote,[17] but enough has been given to show that the bailiff of Rochford held his court upon "a little hill" which was called "the King's hill." Compare with this the extract given at the head of this chapter.

I think I have given satisfactory evidence as to the meaning of the term Bailey Hill, but it appears that at Rochester the hill where the court was held was known as Boley Hill. But I think this is only a loose spelling of Bailey. "King's hill" and "bailiff's hill" are perfectly intelligible, and in harmony with known historical facts.

The history of the word bailey must nevertheless be referred to, and I shall cite my examples from the New English Dictionary. (i) Bailey used in the sense of the bailiff or governor of a town is traced back to 1297. The word also meant, in the fourteenth century, the jurisdiction of a bailiff, and also the district or bailiwick under the jurisdiction of a bailiff. (2) Another word bailey is used in the fourteenth century in the sense of "the external wall enclosing the outer court, and forming the first line of defence of a feudal castle; and, in a wider sense, any of the circuits or walls or defences which surrounded the keep." These two words seem to have been confused with each other. It is not likely that Bailey Hill is derived from this last-mentioned word.

I might mention here that Bailey Hill, together with the croft and plantation adjoining and containing together 3A. OR. 18P., was sold by public auction on the 28th September, 1892. The lot was purchased by C. Macro Wilson, Esq., for £350.

There is a natural eminence in Bradfield called Castle Hill. The following note thereon may be found amongst Hunter's MSS.:—

"At the east end of the town of Bradfield is a round hill with a sort of trench still visible about it, from which there goes a foss-way to the moor. There are now no remains of building upon it, but it is reported to have been a castle, which seems a not improbable tradition, both from the name of itself, and of a farm near adjoining, called Castle field. In a certain writing belonging to the said farm, it is called 'campum buttantem super castellum.' This, connected with the obvious traces of a trench and foss, shows that heretofore hath been a fortification, but when, by whom, or for what purpose it was erected, is uncertain."[18]

I have examined this place carefully, and at the present time the signs of fortification are very indistinct. The Ordnance Survey, however, gives a small oval enclosure with a "sort of trench" running a few yards therefrom to the south-east. There is no "foss-way to the moor" to be seen now, though Hunter was probably right in saying that such an entrenchment existed in his time. Places called Castle Fields, Castle Lathe, and Castle Bents are, according to the Ordnance Survey, adjacent to Castle Hill. Genuine as the local name undoubtedly is, it is not at all necessary to suppose that a castle, in the modern sense of the word, stood here. Probably the word means no more than a rampart. In Iceland, says Vigfusson, a dome- shaped hill is called kastali, and út-kastali is an outwork. In the name Castle Dyke near Sheffield—a place at which no "castle" is known to have existed—the meaning seems to be the same. The "castle" in these cases is not a fortified house, but an earthen bulwark thrown up for the purpose of defence or attack.[19]


[1] "The top or level part of the Delve, or Delf, a plot of land adjoining the street, and opposite Eyam Hall, is known to this day by the name Toothill." This is near the church.—Wood's History of Eyam, 4th ed., p. 41.

[2] See p. 28.

[3] "Where there was not some natural feature, rock or stone or cave, which might be looked on as the dwelling of the dead, there were artificial howes ('ätt-högar,' family-howes, as the Swedes call them) set near the main door of the big house on the estate."—Corpus Poeticum Boreale, i, 416. In the old laws of Norway it was said that no one ought to bury in another's family howe (engi á at grafa í annars œttarhaug).

[4] For example at Dronfield in Derbyshire the manor house is in the village, and at Norton in the same county it adjoins the west side of the churchyard.

[5] Macdonald's Africana, 1882, i, 65.

[6] Totehill, specula. Prompt. Parv.

[7] "At Ashby-de-la-Zouch . . .where his Father under the Earl of Huntington, was Governour or Baly of the Town."—Fuller's Worthies, ii, 129.

[8] Corpus Pocticum Boreale, i, 416.

[9] Village Community, p. 257.

[10] Ibid. p. 258.

[11] Deutsche Rechtsalterthūmer, 1854, p. 809.

[12] Document in Gomme's Primitive Folk-Moots, p. 91.

[13] Deed penes Arthur Wightman, Esq. In 1533 William Foxley son and heir of Henry paid 16d. fine in the Sheffield Court for the moiety of a bovate of hastier land called Carholme, the moiety of a messuage and bovate called Bailey land, and the moiety of a piece of land and wood called Cogmanhoile in the soke of Bradfield. In 1681 William Bagshaw of Nether Bradfield surrendered in the same court his house in Nelher Bradfield and closes called Sidleing, The Close, Baylyland, Cogmanhole, the Hastier Close, two closes called the Broomacre, Long Acre, &c. Cogmanhole appears on the Ordnance Map as Copman Holes, and is the name of the deep valley below Bailey Hill.—Ex inform. J. G. Ronksley, Esq.

[14] Gomme's Village Community, p. 273.

[15] O. N viillr, a field.

[16] A deed of the year 1508 mentions the bailiff of Sheffield—Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 139. Also in 1434. Ibid. p. 42, note.

[17] See a full account in Hone's Every-day Book, 1827, ii, 1286.

[18] Published by "J. D. L." in the Local Notes and Queries of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent.

[19] This paragraph was already printed when my attention was drawn to an article in the Reliquary (July, 1893) by Canon Atkinson, of Danby. The writer refers to such places as Castle Hills in Easby township, Castle Hill in Egton parish and Castle Dykes in Aysgarth parish. He regards the word as merely "the name of an ancient earth-work." The New Eng. Dict. says that the word is "applied (in proper names) to ancient British or Roman earthworks."

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VI. Assembly Stones—Mere Stones

And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments. . . . . . And all the people stood to the covenant.—II Kings, xxiii, 3.

A plan in the Duke of Norfolk's office without date, but made apparently at the end of the seventeenth, or the beginning of the eighteenth, century, gives some curious names of places and boundary marks between Loxley and Wadsley. Amongst them I noticed Landin Stone, Candlin Stone, Haggin[1] Field, Normandale, Primtree, Lord's Oak. A later plan of the same property is entitled "a sight of the boundary way betwixt Loxly and Wadsly and Owlerton liberties, his Grace the Duke of Norfolk being Chieff Lord of Loxly, and Mr. Bamforth of Wadsley and Owlerton: the line with props[2] of each side is the way." This plan mentions "the Landin Stone or Landmark Stone," "the Candlin Stone," and "Robertshaw Stone formerly Lord's Oak." Mere trees, or boundary trees, are also marked on the plan.

It will be seen that in the later plan Landin Stone is explained by the surveyor as "landmark stone." Although at the time when the plan was made the stone is said to have marked a boundary it seems that this explanation—if intended for an explanation at all—is a guess made by the surveyor, for Landin Stone does not mean "landmark stone."[3] It means "assembly stone." In describing German open-air courts held by great stones Grimm mentions a court held "in campo apud longum lapidem quod landding dicitur,"[4] and there can be little doubt that this "long stone called landding" was used for the same purpose as Landin Stone in Hallamshire, and that the meaning of the words is the same. Let us enquire what that meaning is. It will be observed that in Grimm's landding stone there are two d's, so that we may divide the word as land-ding. Now the Old High German ding answers to the Old Norse ϸing, a meeting, assembly, and Vigfusson gives land-ϸing, "a kind of parliament." And then we have the Swedish landsting which denotes, amongst other things, a place of judgment, and also the Swedish folklandsting, which was a court of appeal from the hundaristhing, or hundred court, the final court of appeal being the King's court. The change from Land-ϸing to Landin would be quite regular; for we may see that a similar change has taken place in Tynwald Hill (ϸing-völlr) in the Isle of Man, and final g is usually dropped in the local dialect.

It will be seen in the next chapter that a circle of stones called Seven Stones marked a boundary, though they were not erected for a landmark. And so Landin Stone, though not creeled for a boundary stone, marked a boundary—namely the boundary between the liberties of Loxley, Wadsley, and Owlerton. It appears to have been usual for the place of assembly to be upon a boundary, for Kemble says "on the summit of a range of hills, on the watershed from which the fertilizing streams descended, at the point where the boundaries of two or three communities touched one another, was the proper place for the common periodical assemblage of the freemen."[5]

Can we connect this Landin Stone with the famous London Stone, in the City of London, at which proclamations were made, and important legal business transacted; in other words does London Stone mean assembly stone, parliament stone?[6] In Old English London was written Lunden, Lunden-burg, and land was very often written lond. One can understand, therefore, how a confusion might arise between the name of the city and the name of the assembly stone, the order of change having been from Land-ding or Land-ϸing to "Landin" or Londin, and then to "London" by way of popular interpretation. And in favour of this explanation it may be remarked that "assembly stone" makes sense, whilst "London Stone" seems unlikely, for one would hardly expect to meet with a "York Stone" or "Chester Stone" in those cities.

Landin Stone does not appear to be now remembered by the old inhabitants of the district, from some of whom I have made enquiry, and on comparing the old maps with the Ordnance Survey and with the place itself it seems that a large quarry, which has been worked for many years, occupies the site whereon the stone stood.

Another interesting stone is Burleystone in the parish of Ecclesfield. In an agreement dated 1161 and made between Richard de Lovetot and the monks of Ecclesfield we read of cilium collis de Burleya, the ridge of Burley Hill. This agreement states that "the wood on the left-hand side of the road as you go from Ecclesfield Church to Burleystan, and also the ridge of Burley Hill as far as the clearings of Wereldsend shall be held in common [between the monks and the lord] as anciently they have been."[7] Now the road from Ecclesfield to Oughtibridge passes the northern end of the steep ridge called Birley Edge, and at this northern end, about seven yards from the road, is a stone pedestal surmounted by a stone pillar. This erection is now without name, but its position agrees exactly with the description given above, and it is undoubtedly the Burleystone mentioned in 1161. Birley Edge is a rough and steep ridge of high ground which has only been cleared of late years, being hardly yet cultivated. "Birlaystone" is mentioned as a place-name in 1424, for in that year I find that William de Birlay of Birlaystone conveyed lands in the neighbourhood.[8]

The stone pillar is fixed into a square or rectangular hole in a stone pedestal. The pedestal is two feet high, and measures three feet by three feet nine inches. The stone pillar which fits into the pedestal is four feet six inches in height, and it measures one foot nine inches by one foot in breadth. The present pillar appears to have been chipped during recent years, and viewed from one side it has a somewhat modern appearance, resembling that of an ordinary stone gate-post. It may have been eredted in substitution for the original pillar, but the pedestal on which it stands has an appearance of great age. A farmer who lives near mentions a tradition that "Druids came and worshipped" at this stone. This association of the stone with Druids and with worship affords, at least, proof of the great estimation in which the stone has long been held, and it is not unimportant as suggesting stone worship.[9] Standing on the northern end of Birley Edge this stone commands a wide and lovely prospect to the north and west.

It does not appear to be known at present where Birley is, the name being seemingly merged or lost in Birley Edge and Birley Carr. (Mr. Gatty, however, occasionally mentions Birley in the notes to his edition of the Ecclesfield Church Registers, 1558 to 1619.) And it may have been noticed that in the agreement of 1161 Burley Hill and not Burley is mentioned. We may ask: Is Burley Hill a hill near Burley—a place not at present known—or is it byrlaw-hill, town-law hill? And further, is Burleystone a stone near Burley, or is it byrlaw-stone,[10] or town-law stone? In many places, as for instance in Lancashire and in Cheshire, byrlaw-men are known as burley-men. And there are plenty of examples of Birlie or Burley Courts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[11] One would scarcely expect to meet with a place-name meaning simply "town-law," though the word byrlaw came afterwards to mean the district in which the byrlaw or town-law was exercised, as it does for instance in Ecclesall Byrlaw. But it is difficult to find any other satisfactory meaning for this Birley or Burley, though the place-name is by no means uncommon. The word cannot be derived from the O. E. búr, a cottage, as that would make "bower," and we should have Bowerley, and not Birley. If Burleystone be the town-law stone, the stone by which a village assembly met, we have here an interesting example of such an assembly held near a single stone.[12]

In the neighbourhood of Sheffield lands were frequently divided by mere-stones and trees. Occasionally I have found the mere-stones themselves drawn upon old plans. Thus "lands" or acre strips in Cowen Field, Heeley, are, as appears in a plan dated 1758, divided by "mearstones and trees," the stones themselves being neatly drawn on the plan. When we consider how easily such stones could be removed we must also remember that "lands" in the common fields were cultivated in rotation, and that the "lands" themselves were originally apportioned amongst the freeholders at fixed periods by casting lots. We must also remember that the decisions of byrlaw courts were of no effect if not unanimous, and that such decisions were regarded as of such a binding nature that to disobey them was to undergo ostracism of the most severe kind.


[1] O. E. hagan, thorn-bush. The word is now pronounced hagin, with a long a.

[2] There are dotted lines on the plan showing the "props" or posts.

[3] The Scotch "land" or "landin," meaning, according to Jamieson, "that portion of a field which a band of reapers take along with them at one time" does not seem applicable. We must bear in mind that Landin Stone stood on uninclosed moorland or waste, so that landin could not here mean a "land" between the furrows of a ploughed field. It may be said, no doubt, that "Landin" in Landin Stone is louden, a dative plural of land or lond. But we have to deal with Grimm's land-ding stone.

[4] The document which he quotes is of the year 1274, and it states "quod dominus Wulframus praedićtus judicio advocatiae suae intra sepes dićtae villae (Werstad), quae zingile nominantur, condićto praesidebit, et quicquid ibi de causis civilibus ceterisque minoribus accusatur, cum suis scabinis licite judicabit, superiora vero judicia et judicium in campo apud longum lapidem, quod landding dicitur, dićto ringravio cum omnibus suis proventibus ratione cometiae suae competent."—Deutsche Rechtsalterthiimer, 1854, p. 803. We learn from this that civil causes and smaller matters were disposed of in an enclosed space within the town, whilst the more important matters, meaning apparently trials in which sentence of death might be pronounced, took place in the open field at the Landding Stone. I may mention that on Loxley Edge where "the Landin Stone" stood a man named Fearne was gibbeted in 1782, after having first been executed at York.

[5] Saxons in England, i, 75.

[6] Stow's description of London Stone may be quoted. He says: "On the south side of this high street, neere unto the channell, is pitched upright a great stone, called London-stone, fixed in the ground very deepe, fastned with barres of iron, and otherwise so strongly set, that if carts doe runne against it through negligence, the wheeles be broken, and the stone it selfe unshaken."—Survey of London, ed. 1633, p. 243.

[7] "Et boscum sicut via vadit de ecclesia de Eglesfeld usque Burleystan ad sinistram, et cilium collis de Burleya usque ad essarta de Wereldsenda ad sinistram sit in communione sicut antiquitus fuit."—Eastwood's Ecclesfield, p. 398

[8] Deed penes John Carr Fletcher, Esq. In the Poll Tax Returns (1379) for Ecclesfield Henry de Byrlay, a franklin, is mentioned, together with his wife Margaret

[9] On this subject see Mr. Gomme's Ethnology in Folklore, p. 27, et passim.

[10] Quasi O. N. byjar-lög-steinn.

[11] New Eng. Dict. s.v. birlie and burley

[12] As to such assemblies near single stones see Mr. Gomme's Primitive Folk-Moots, passim.

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VII. The Seven Stones

Tingstad, locus judicii, qui sub dio fere erat in loco erectis aliquot lapidibus finito.—Ihre's Glossarium Suiogothicum, ii, 902.

In a perambulation of the boundaries of Hallamshire made in 1574 mention is made of "a place where certeine stones are sett upon the ends and having markes upon them called the Seavenstones; which ould and antient men say that the same is the meere betweene my lord and the lord of Hathersedge."[1] These stones still remain and still bear the name of Seven Stones. They are situate about half a mile from Lady Bower in Ashopton. They form one of those mysterious circles which antiquaries used to call "Druidical circles" in the days when people attributed all prehistoric remains to the Druids. There are ten stones altogether, but only seven of them are standing upright. Mr. Winterbottom has happily pictured them at the time when the afterglow of the setting sun and the light of the rising moon are contending for mastery.

The diameter of the circle is fifty-four feet. The marks upon the stones are not runes, as I once guessed, not knowing that they still existed. The illustration which gives details of these stones will show the appearance of the marks. The marks are nearly all longitudinal, and I think they have been caused by the action of the wind and rain in a way which has lately been very ingeniously explained by Mr. Baring-Gould. About twelve years ago Mr. Baring-Gould dug up and re-erected "a menhir that had lain for certainly three centuries under ground."[2] This stone was of fine-grained granite. Mr. Baring -Gould says:—

"At the summit, which measures fifteen inches by twelve inches, is a small cup three inches deep sunk in the stone, four-and-a-half inches in diameter, and distinctly artificial. Now, that the monolith had been standing upright for a vast number of years, was shown by this fact, that the rain water, accumulating in the artificial cup, driven by the prevailing S.W. wind, had worn for itself a lip, and in its flow had cut itself a channel down the side of the stone opposite to the direction of the wind to the distance of one foot six inches.

What can this cup have been intended for ? It is probable that it was a receptacle for rain water, which was to serve for the drink of the dead man above whom the monolith was erected. The Rev. W. C. Lukis, one of the highest authorities on such matters, was with me at the time of the re-erection of this monolith, and it then occurred to him that the holes at the top of so many of the Brittany menhirs, in which now crosses are planted, were not made for the reception of the bases of these crosses, but already existed in the menhirs, and were utilized in Christian times for the erection therein of crosses which sanctified the old heathen monuments."[3]

Now the tops of the Seven Stones contain cup-like hollows, and the channels or "marks" down their sides are probably due to the overflow of water from such hollows.[4] It is possible then, if Mr. Baring- Gould's conjecture be right, that these basins or cups on the tops of the Seven Stones were intended to contain drink for the dead, it having been supposed that the dead, as well as the living, required food and drink. In later times such offerings of food and drink took the form of libations offered to the gods, who represent the spirits of the dead. There is, says Mr. Baring-Gould, "a custom very general in Roman Catholic countries which must have struck travellers: it is that of placing cups, basins, or other concave vessels on graves. The purpose is that they may be filled with holy water—or if not with that, then with the dew of heaven. The friends, kindred, or charitable as they pass dip a little brush in the basin and sprinkle the grave with the water. . . . . The original signification of the basin or cup on the tomb was that of a vessel to contain the drink supplied to the dead. The dead man continued to eat and drink in his cairn or dolmen, and the relatives supplied him with what he required."[5]

All this tends to show that the Seven Stones are monuments erected in memory of the dead, like the monoliths in our modern churchyards. But on the other hand it is equally possible that they mark the seat of justice, the place of judicature. "The Court of the hundred of Stone in Somersetshire," says Mr. Gomme, "is held very early in the morning, at a standing stone on a hill within the hundred. In the stone is a hollow, into which it is customary on opening the court to pour a bottle of port wine."[6] Here, surely, the wine poured into the stone is a libation, just as the rain which fell into the hollow cups was, if I may so call it, a natural libation.

The name of this circle supplies proof that it was formerly a place of justice, or the site of an open-air court. In open-air courts, according to Grimm, whether held near stones or trees, the numbers three, seven, and twelve prevail.[7] Proof of this statement may be seen in such names as Sevenoaks in Kent, and in the German Siebeneichen, though Fcirstemann doubts whether this marks a place of judgment or a place of burial.[8] Grimm also shows that in many old German courts seven judges (schöffen), who were popularly elected, sat.[9] It may be remarked that in the folk-lore of Hallamshire seven is still known as "the magical number."


[1] Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 12.

[2] Strange Survivals, p. 275.

[3] lbid. p. 277

[4] The horizontal marks cannot, however, be accounted for in this way.

[5] Ibid. p. 269.

[6] Primitive Folk-Moots, p. 108, citing Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, iv, 183.

[7] "Nähere forschungen können ergeben, ob auch bei diesen dingsteinen, wie bei den bäumen, die zahl drei, sieben, und zwolf vorwaltet."—Deutsche Rechtsalterthümer, 1854, p. 803.

[8] Altdeutsches Namenbuch (Ortsnamen) 1872, p. 1328.

[9] R. A. p. 775, seq. Sometimes twelve, as with our juries, made up the proper number, sometimes seven. Grimm quotes an old document containing the words "septem suffragiis reus vel vincit vel vincitur."

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VIII. Wadlsey

"There is a tradition," says Hunter, "among the inhabitants of Wadsley, that the ancient owners of the hall were accustomed to entertain twelve men and their horses every Christmas for twelve days; and that at their departure each man was expected to stick a large pin or needle in the mantle-tree."[1] A curious superstition which seems to illustrate the custom at Wadsley, has been observed at the village of Pulborough in Sussex. "During the repairing of a house in that village, on removing the hearth-stone of one of the rooms, a bottle containing upwards of two hundred pins was discovered, every pin being bent, and some of them much curved. On a bystander expressing his astonishment at this discovery, the workmen told him that they often found such things, and that they were deposited under the hearth-stone at the building of a house to insure its safety from witchcraft."[2] Now the hearth, says Mr. Gomme, "was the seat, not of the fire only, but of the spirit of the house ancestor himself. In earlier times it appears that the bodies of the deceased ancestors were actually buried within their dwellings." It seems then that these offerings of pins and needles on the mantle-tree, or mantle-piece, of the chief's house at Wadsley, were originally offerings made to the household god, or, in other words, to the spirit of that dead ancestor from whom the chief and the whole clan or community claimed descent.[3] "The primitive religion," says Dr. Hearn, "was domestic. This domestic religion was composed of two closely-related parts ; the worship of deceased ancestors, and the worship of the hearth. The latter form was subsidiary to, and consequent upon, the former. The deceased ancestor, or his ashes, was either actually buried, or assumed to be buried, beneath the hearth. Here, therefore, according to the primitive belief, his spirit was supposed to dwell; and here it received those daily offerings which were its rightful dues, and were essential to its happiness."[4]

Wadsley appears to be derived from a personal or mythological name Wad, and we may assume the old form of the word to have been Wads-leáh, Wad's territory. Under the word Vad (Wad) Förstemann gives a long list of place-names compounded with this personal name. At the head of the whole race of heroes was placed King Vilkinus "named," says Grimm, "after Vulcanus as the Latin termination shews, a god or demigod, who must have had another and German name, and who begets with the merwoman a gigantic son Vadi, Old English Wada, Old High German Wato, so named I suppose because, like another Christopher, he waded with his child on his shoulder through the Grœnasund where it is nine yards deep (between Zealand, Falster and Moen)."[5]

He further tells us that the Danish hero Wate in Gudrun is identical with him, and that the Old English Wada is placed towards Helsingen. "Old English poetry," he says, "had much to tell of him, that is now lost." But Chaucer mentions "Wade's boot Guingelot," "boot" meaning "boat." Now Wads-ley is by the side of the Don, which was crossed by a ford (wath) there. It is difficult to separate the personal from the mythological name, but Wads-ley seems to be derived either from the name of a chief or founder of a clan, or from a mythological being like Chaucer's Wade.


[1] Hallamshire, p. 272.

[2] Henderson's Folk-lore, 1879, p. 232.

[3] These offerings of needles seem afterwards to have been made by way of nominal chief rents.

[4] The Aryan Household, p. 54.

[5] Teut. Myth. p. 376. This connection with the verb wade would probably be inadmissible in the present state of philological science.

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IX. Foundation Sacrifice

He shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.—Joshua, vi, 26.

Modern research has shown that there has existed, and perhaps still exists, in various parts of the world, a practice of burying human beings alive beneath the foundations of buildings. "It was often thought necessary," says Grimm, "to immure live animals, even men, in the foundation on which the structure was to be raised, as if they were a sacrifice offered to Earth, who bears the load upon her: by this inhuman rite they hoped to secure immovable stability or other advantages."[1]

According to more recent opinion the object was to propitiate the local spirit or god. Numerous instances of human sacrifices made at the foundation of houses and other buildings have been collected by Dr. Tylor[2] and Mr. Gomme[3] from widely-separated parts of the world. For example "a seventeenth-century account of Japan mentions the belief that a wall laid on the body of a willing human victim would be secure from accident: accordingly, when a great wall was to be built, some wretched slave would offer himself as foundation, lying down in the trench to be crushed by the heavy stones lowered upon him."[4] And, as Mr. Gomme has shown, English and Scotch legends and folk-lore have preserved the memory of such sacrifices in these islands. One of the most notable legends is that about St. Columba who attempted to build on lona, when the walls fell down as fast as they were erected. Then the "saint" was told that the walls would never stand unless a human victim was buried alive beneath the foundations, and this had to be done.

A recent discovery at Treeton in Hallamshire furnishes an apparent illustration of foundation sacrifice at the building of a church. During the restoration of the church at this place in 1892, under the supervision of Charles Hadfield, Esq., of Sheffield, architect, a child's stone coffin was found in a remarkable position. It appears that the wall of the south aisle was of great age—it was probably the oldest part of the building—and this wall, owing to its tottering and 'unsafe condition, had to be removed and rebuilt. The removal was effected by Mr. George Webster, the builder and contractor, and from him and from Mr. Hadfield I have received the following account of the discovery of this little coffin. It was found about twelve inches below the surface of the ground, and in the foundation of the old wall. It lay on its side lengthwise, with the hollow part facing the inside of the church, and with the head eastwards and close to the buttress of the Brampton Chapel. It had no lid or covering, and Mr. Webster informs me that there were no bones therein, but that it was "filled with dirt." The coffin, which is figured in the drawing, is now placed inside the porch of the south aisle, on the west wall of the porch, with the cavity facing outwards. Its interior measurements are: length thirty inches, length to the shoulders twenty-three inches, extreme breadth six-and-three-quarter inches, breadth in the narrowest part three-and-three-quarter inches, depth four inches. A piece of one of the sides of the coffin has been broken off, and it may have lost a little of its original depth owing to its having been trimmed by the mason so as to fit its new position in the porch. Such a little coffin could only have contained the body of a child of about a year old, and the thought of the horrible and cruel rite of which it is an appalling witness may well bring tears to the eyes. The position in which the coffin was originally placed shows either that a child was built in alive to ensure the stability of the wall or of the church, or else that an empty coffin was laid in by way of symbol of the ancient sacrifice.[5] The fact that the coffin was "filled with dirt," without containing bones, would seem to point to the conclusion that it was laid in merely as a symbol, but on the other hand we must remember that as the coffin was without lid its contents would be more freely exposed to the dissolving earth. The church, moreover, is very old, and a church at Treeton is mentioned in the Doomsday Survey. In so long a period the bones of a little child would hardly escape dissolution, and all that can be said is that there is no evidence whether the coffin was placed there as a symbol of the foundation sacrifice, or whether a child was actually buried there alive. But one of these two things must have happened, and if such sacrifices had ceased to be made at the time when the church was built, the position of the coffin nevertheless shows that children were once built in alive in England to ensure the stability of churches or other buildings. The position of the coffin also shows that it can hardly have been a "bond stone" or a piece of earlier work made use of by the builder in erecting the wall, and I shall presently relate three other English discoveries which make such a conclusion highly improbable, if not impossible. Before doing so I will quote a few sentences from Grimm. He says: "When the new bridge at Halle, finished 1843, was building, the common people fancied a child was wanted to be walled into the foundations. To make Liebenstein Castle impregnable, there was walled-in a child, whom its mother for base gold had parted with; while the masons were at work, says the story, it sat eating a roll and calling out, 'Mother, I can see you,' then, 'Mother, I see a little of you still,' and when the last stone was let in, 'Mother, I see nothing of you now.' In the outer wall of Reichenfels Castle a child was built in alive: a projecting stone marks the spot, and if that were pulled out, the wall would tumble down at once."[6] And he relates various legends of the same kind.

Mr. Gomme gives the following account of two remarkable burials in England:—"In the year 1876, the old church at Brownsover, Warwickshire, was restored ; the earlier parts of the building were of Norman, the latter of early thirteenth century architecture. The church stands upon the site of an early British entrenchment about two miles from Rugby, and two from the Roman station on the Watling street road. It was found necessary to lower the foundations of the north and south walls of the church; and in doing so two skeletons were discovered, one under the north, the other under the south wall—about one foot below the original foundations—exactly opposite to each other and about six feet from the chancel wall which crosses the north and south wall of the church at right angles. Each skeleton was covered with an oak slab about six feet in length by ten inches wide and two inches thick—of the colour of bog oak; these pieces of oak plank had evidently been used as carpenters' benches from the fact that each of them had four mortice-holes cut in them in such a form as to throw the legs outwards, and from the cuts made in them by edged tools. The skeletons were found in a space cut out of the solid clay which had not been moved, on either side, and just large enough to take the bodies placed in them. The skeletons were seen in situ; they could not have been placed there after the original walls had been built. The skulls were, by an eminent authority, said to be Danish. They were remarkably thick and heavy, as also were the jaw-bones. The teeth, though a good deal worn, were perfecl in condition and number. The feet pointed towards the east."[7]

In 1881 some pretext or other was invented for pulling down the chancel of Hope Church in Derbyshire (fourteen miles from Sheffield). "There can hardly be any doubt," says a writer on this subject in the Sheffield Independent,[8] "that the chancel, in point of age, is the least ancient part of the church. As it now appears it is entirely of the fifteenth century, and by comparison with the rest of the edifice its external appearance is poor and mean. Whilst the remainder of the church is all faced with squared ashlar, this is constructed of small and unshaped stones, in the placing of which the builders seem to have taken the faintest possible interest." It seems to me that the "small and unshaped stones" which, according to the same writer, "were secured with mortar of such excellent quality that in not a few cases the stones and not the mortar have given way,"[9] furnish proof that the original chancel was not the "least ancient" but the oldest part of the church.[10] The same writer in the Independent gives an excellent account of a discovery made in this chancel. "To begin with," he says, "there were no foundations, in the ordinary sense of the term. The walls were simply built on the surface of the ground, as was found to be the case during the late restorations at Rotherham and Sheffield Parish churches. The wonder is how such massive piles stood with so imperfect a bearing. But at Hope there was in one sense, and in two places, a foundation. Under the north wall and under the south wall, where these joined the nave of the church, were placed, face upwards, two massive ancient gravestones, and on these the walls were built. Beneath the stone on the north lay the vault of the ancient family of Woodroofe; below the one on the south we are not aware that there were any interments. The position and character of these stones are interesting. . . . Both stones are perfect. The smaller one bears a well-proportioned floriated cross, with a bugle horn at its side, and so fresh and perfect is the work that the squaring lines by which the mason guided himself in making out the design may still be seen. The larger stone bears, in addition to the cross, a bugle horn, arrow, and sword. . . . Besides these several other fragments of incised slabs were found built into the rubble within the wall."[11] Such fragments are not uncommon in the walls of churches built on the site of earlier buildings.

It will have been seen that the skeletons at Brownsover lay under the north and south walls of the foundations of the church, and that their position was similar to that of the incised slabs at Hope. The extreme freshness of one at least of the slabs at Hope seems to show that they were expressly made for the purpose of being laid beneath the foundations, or of covering bodies laid beneath the foundations. But the evidence in this case is too imperfect to allow the inference that the walls of this chancel were built on the bodies of human beings sacrificed to ensure the stability of the building, for it does not appear whether bodies were found beneath the stones or not. In the absence of afhial sacrifice we may nevertheless conclude that the slabs were purposely laid under the walls in accordance with custom or ritual, for the symbols of sacrifice would survive after the more barbarous rite had ceased to exist. It should be mentioned that the Doomsday Book records a church at Hope. Dr. Cox has recorded his his [sic] opinion that the date of these slabs "is probably of the reign of Richard I or John,"[12] and in a letter to me Mr. Leader says "you may fairly contend that early in the thirteenth century the builders of this chancel so far paid deference to the ancient heathen rite as to prepare gravestones and pretend to bury human beings under the north and south walls."

"In 1885," says Mr. Baring-Gould, "Holsworthy Parish Church was restored, and in the course of restoration the south-west angle wall of the church was taken down. In it, embedded in the mortar and stone, was found a skeleton. The wall of this portion of the church was faulty, and had settled. According to the account given by the masons who found the ghastly remains, there was no trace of a tomb, but every appearance of the person having been buried alive, and hurriedly. A mass of mortar was over the mouth, and the stones were huddled about the corpse as though hastily heaped about it, then the wall was leisurely proceeded with."[13]


[1] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 1141.

[2] Primitive Culture, i, p. 96, etc.

[3] Folk-Lore Relics of Early Village Life, p. 24, seq.

[4] Gomme, ut supra, p. 27, following Dr. Tylor.

[5] "In Holland," says Mr. Baring-Gould "have been found immured in foundations curious objects like ninepins, but which are really rude imitations of babes in their swaddling-bands. When it became unlawful to bury a child, an image representing it was laid in the wall in its place."—Strange Survivals, 1892, p. 29.

[6] Teut. Myth. p. 1142.

[7] Folk-lore Relics of Early Village Life, p. 34.

[8] 15th May, 1881.

[9] Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 2nd Aug., 1881.

10] The great strength and tenacity of Roman mortar is well known. The stones with which a Roman wall in Britain is faced can be broken with much greater ease than the mortar which holds them together.—Wright's Celt, Roman, and Saxon, 4th ed., p. 189. Mr. Irvine who reported on the Hope chancel said: "The lower walling represents probably the work of the Early English period."—Derb. Arch. Jour. iv, 92. I gather from the account given at the last reference that the chancel walls were of different ages, and underwent a good deal of alteration at various times.

[11] Sheffield Independent, 2nd Aug., 1881. The italics are mine. "The pulling down of this chancel," says the same writer, "has enabled us to see the foundation wall of an older and narrower chancel about twelve inches within the present wall."

[12] Derb. Arch. J., iv, 140, where drawings of the slabs are given. The sharpness and freshness of the carving are very apparent in Mr. Leader's photographs from which these drawings were taken.

[13] Strange Survivals, 1892, p. 13. Mr. Baring-Gould has given many other instances of foundation sacrifice in the first chapter of this book.

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X. Mythological Place-Names

Two miles to the west of Kneesall, in Nottinghamshire, is a hill called Grimston Hill. Its sides are now all cultivated land, and there is no house upon it. But a folk-tale is current in the neighbourhood which tells that once upon a time there was a great cock-fight held on a Sunday in a solitary house which stood on the very top of this hill. Whilst the fight was going on it is said that an earthquake came and swallowed up the house, the spectators, cocks, and all, and that, at this very day, if you put your ear to the ground you can hear the cocks crowing inside the hill. It is said, too, that a ghost is to be seen there. This spectre can be called up by any person who will go to the hill at midnight and walk nine times round a particular field—no other field will suffice—upon its slopes.

The tale about the crowing of cocks inside Grimston Hill suggests the former sacrifice of cocks in that place. The folk-tale often hands down the creeds and usages of antiquity with accuracy, for we know that the sacrifice of cocks, either by burial in the ground, or by fire, was once a common practice in England. In old books on witchcraft it will be seen that the burning of a hen or of a hog alive, to propitiate an offended spirit, was a frequent thing when pestilence or disease attacked the farmer's cattle.[1] I have myself talked to an old Derbyshire woman who remembered in her youth that cocks were buried alive as a charm to avert pestilence, and, as Dr. Munro has lately told us, this heathen praclice still lingers in Scotland.[2] It was thought that the smothered cries of the poor birds when buried in the earth would propitiate the offended spirit which caused the mischief.

This line of thought has been suggested by a natural pillar composed of three stones at Hollow Meadows, near Sheffield. The pillar is known as the Cock-crowing Stones, otherwise Stump John. It is said that on a certain morning in the year these stones turn round when the sun shines upon them.[3] Several other large stones, or heaps of stones, in the district are also known as "cock-crowing stones." Possibly they have been the scene of pagan rites. In South India at the present time "cocks are actually sacrificed to the village deity who is represented by the large stone in the centre of a cromlech."[4] Some time ago a clergyman asked me whether I could tell him what "a loak hen" was. He had seen the phrase in some old parish accounts, and could not make out its meaning. I thought it might have originally meant a hen to be used for sacrifice, from the Old English lác, gift, sacrifice. This was rather a bold guess. Grimm, however, mentions the fact that red cocks, in preference to black or white ones, had to be brought in payment of ground rent, and probably for sacrifice.[5]

The place-name Eccles occurs singly, as Eccles in Lancashire, and Eccles in Norfolk, and in many compounds, such as Eccleston, Eccleshill, Ecclesall, Ecclesfield, Eccles Craig near Aberdeen, Eccles-hall in Tideswell, Derbyshire, Eccleswell in Herefordshire.

There is probably no place-name whose etymology has been so much contested. The better opinion hitherto held is that Eccles is the genitive case of an Old English personal name Æcel, so that, if the opinion were correct, Eccleshill would be a hill once inhabited by a man called Æcel. I am not, however, aware that hills were ever named after persons, though it is possible that in a few cases they may have taken the names of the mythological or half-divine beings which arose from the worship of ancestors or chiefs, or, in later times, of the saints which succeeded those beings. It is very difficult—nay impossible—to believe that all these places have derived their names from the personal name Æcel, though there might be some ground for supposing that the mythic Eigill, the archer and star-hero, was intended; or for supposing that, according to the practice of ancestor-worship, the spirits of chieftains called Æcel were believed to be present there. It has been objected that the genitive case of a personal name, or of any name, cannot stand alone, and that, therefore, the place-name Eccles cannot be the genitive of Æcel, or of any other word. But it does stand alone in such names as St. Ives or St. Albans, and Egils, meaning "Egil's house," is actually found in Old Norse poetry.[6] The idea that Eccles is the Latin ecclesia seems untenable.[7] There is a Middle High German word häckel, Dutch hecksel, meaning a witch, and though the corresponding word is not, so far as I am aware, found in the remains of Old English or Old Norse literature, it may nevertheless have once existed. It seems to survive in such place-names as Eccleshill, and in Ecclesall (anciently Heclessale) the last syllable of which may be the Old Norse hallr, a slope. If Eccles-hall in Tideswell, or Ecclesall near Sheffield, means witch hill, we may compare Sparken Hill (wise woman's hill) near Worksop therewith. Eccles-field and Eccles-bourne are more difficult to explain, but with the former we may compare the old German phrase "na Hekelvelde faren," go to Hekelvelde,[8] and with the latter we may compare the Scotch saying "go to John Hacklebirnie's house." Ecclesfield, then, may mean witch hill. We may ask ourselves the question whether the well-known Eccles cakes made at Eccles in Lancashire are not really witch cakes. Richard Huloet, who compiled an English-Latin dictionary in 1552, speaks of "hegges or nyght furyes, or wytches like vnto old women which do sucke the bloude of children in the nyght," and also of "wytches or nighte furies that do transforme or alter nature called hegges." The Middle English hegge or hagge, which is found in Piers Plowman, points back to an Old English hæg, and from this we may infer a diminutive hægel, like hovel from hof, etc., the aspirate in the place-name being used or omitted indifferently. Grimm mentions "Mount Hekla in Iceland, sometimes called Heklu-fiall, a rendezvous of witches." There seems to be the same connection between hacele, a cloak, and häckel, a witch, as there is between gríma, a ghost, and gríma, a mask, or the name of a witch, the cowl and the mask being apparently the dress of the ancient priestess. When the witch of Endor raised up Samuel "the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle." Here it would seem that the witch had an accomplice, who wore a mantle or cowl. If we examine some of the field-names about Ecclesall, we shall detect signs of that worship or fear of the spirits of the dead which was always associated with witchcraft. In the thirteenth century the monks of a neighbouring abbey built or further endowed a chapel just below the hill known as Dobbin Hill—the very highest ground in Ecclesall—and an old road between Porter Brook and High Storrs is still known as Dead Lane or Deadman's Lane.[9] "Dobby" is a northern word for a spirit or goblin, and Dobin, as is well known, is only another form of Robin. It reminds us of Dockin, and some other names of sprites, Tom Dockin being a local goblin whose name appears in Dockin Hill near Doncaster, and who is still held up as a bugbear to children. Dockin, however, is not the same word as Dobbin. A mile or more to the west of Dobbin Hill is Priest Hill, otherwise known as Siva Hill. All these names appear to savour of pagan belief and practice.

Mr. Hartland has lately shown that there is no substantial distinction to be made between ghosts and witches and fairies. "Whether," he says, "it be child-stealing, transformation, midnight meetings, possession and gift of enchanted objects, spell-binding, or whatever function, or habit, or power be predicted of one, it will be found to be common to the three. I conclude, therefore, that they are all three of the same nature."[10] That being the case we may translate häckel either as "witch" or "fairy." And when we find Eccles and Ickles attaching to the sites of ancient ruins, such as Roman villas or encampments, the explanation here offered seems to be the right one.

Harrison's Survey, dated 1637, relating to estates in Hallamshire, mentions a field called Haggas Croft, which contained "the foundation of an house where Robin Hood was born." The croft was Iess than half an acre, and it lay in the heart of a forest. Perhaps some woodsprite or sylvan god was once worshipped there. When Alice Duke, a witch, was examined in 1664 she is reported to have said that "when the Devil doth anything for her she calls for him by the name of Robin, upon which he appears."[11] Who can doubt that this Robin was the divine or ghostly being whose aid she had been accustomed to invoke? It was not the witch, but her accuser who, putting the word into her mouth, named him "the Devil." The gods of the old religion had become, in Christian eyes, the devils of the new, and witchcraft was, above all things, the practice of the old religion. We may be almost sure that Haggas Croft was once the abode, or reputed abode, of a sorceress or witch. The very foundations of the witch's house were left, and the name Haggas—Old English hægesse, a witch—can hardly be mistaken. On a hill at Baslow in Derbyshire is a great stone called the Egglestone, sometimes popularly corrupted into Eagle Stone.[12] This stone, even yet, is associated with popular superstition, and the late Duke of Rutland used to say that a girl would not accept a man for her lover, or marry him, until he had climbed upon the top of this stone, which is very difficult of access. There is a stone known as "the Hagglestone" near Studland on Purbeck Island in Dorsetshire. It stands upon the summit of a hill, and owing to its curious shape, its top is also very difficult of access.

In the time of James I women firmly believed in the existence and power of witches, and would not believe what "the Scripture man," as they called the Christian minister, said about them. If we examine books on witchcraft we shall see that late in the seventeenth, or even in the eighteenth, century, witches continued to hold their meetings, and practise their orgies, in secret by night. The ancient religion had been dying for centuries, yet in spite of persecution and contempt the "wise women" had not ceased to assemble on the hill top, on the lonely heath, in the green place, or the fastness of a forest. In 1664 we learn that a number of them assembled at Brewham in Somersetshire "at a place called Hussey's-knap in the forest, in the night-time, where met them the fiend, in the shape of a little man in black cloaths, with a little band, to him all made obeysances, and at that time a picture in wax or clay was deliver'd by Agar [one of the witches] to the man in black, who stuck a thorn into the crown of it, Margaret Agar one towards the breast, Catherine Green in the side; after which Agar threw down the piclure, and said 'there is Cornish's picture, with a murrain to it, or a plague on it.'"[13] Here we see that the meeting was on a "knap," or hill top, in the forest. Sometimes, we are told, the little man in black "plays on a pipe or cittern and the company dance." At last he vanishes, and the witches "are all carried to their several homes in a short space." The heathen practice of attempting to torture or destroy a person by sticking pins, etc., into an image made to resemble him, or into a live animal, is still in use. I am told that at Curbar in Derbyshire, a few years ago a girl was deserted by her lover. To win him back she was advised, probably by a "wise woman," to get a live frog, and after having stuck its body full of pins, to bury it in the ground. She did so, and in a short time her faithless swain was seized with such excruciating pains in all his limbs that he "crawled back" to beg her pardon, and to renew his love. Thereupon she dug up the frog and removed the pins, when the man's pains ceased, and the pair were shortly afterwards married!

These meetings of witches in high places did not exclude sensual delights. After the witches had gone through the business of obeisance to "the little man in black," and had received "wax candles like little torches" from him, and had performed their various orgies and ceremonies, "they had wine, cakes, and roast-meat (all brought by the man in' black) which they did eat and drink. They danced and were merry, were bodily there and in their cloaths."[14]

It appears from the statement of one of the accused witches mentioned in Glanvil's book that they were sometimes present in the body and sometimes in the spirit, yet when their spirits only were present they knew one another. These carousals, whether real or fancied, or whether existing only in the popular belief as traditions from past ages, preserve the memory of very ancient practices, and they lead us straight back to heathen sacrifice and feast.

I am acquainted with at least four places which are known as Machon Bank, "machon" being here equivalent to maykin, malkin, little maid, elle maid, nymph, or even witch, the word being also found in the surname Makin or Machon.[15] The name is evidence of a belief in fays or hill-folk who were once supposed to haunt these places. As we have seen that witches, according to popular belief, might be present either in the body or the spirit at these meetings, it is difficult to separate the nymph or demi-goddess from the witch, and this difficulty runs through all Teutonic mythology. The belief that lovely beings of light dwelt upon these places seems to have been associated with nightly mysteries which were wholly sensual, and in no sense divine. Particular spots were associated with the presence of nymphs or elle maids. Elias Ashmole, according to Aubrey, said that "there was in his time a piper in Lichfield that did know what houses were faiery-ground, and that the piper had often-times seen them."[16] Machon Bank was "fairy ground."

The place now known as Endcliffe was formerly called Elcliffe. It is written Elcliffe in 1333 and in 1577[17] and I never saw Endcliffe in an old document. At the beginning of the present century the place is mentioned in title-deeds as "Elcliffe or Endcliffe." It is probable that the change from Elcliffe into Endcliffe was made by some person who thought that the latter word was more euphonious, and that there was a danger of prefixing an aspirate to the former, and so suggesting the abode of the wicked. At all events we must take Endcliffe as a very modern alteration of the older Elcliffe, which appears to mean elf-cliffe, inasmuch as the word el-mawes, meaning elf-maidens, is found in Old English.[18] "The Elle-people live in the Elle-moors. The appearance of the man is that of an old man with a low-crowned hat on his head; the Elle-woman is of a fair and attractive countenance, but behind she is hollow like a dough-trough. Young men should be especially on their guard against her, for it is very difficult to resist her; and she has, moreover, a stringed instrument, which, when she plays on it, quite ravishes their hearts. The man may be often seen near the Elle-moors, bathing himself in the sunbeams, but if any one comes too near him he opens his mouth wide and breathes upon them, and his breath produces sickness and pestilence. But the women are most frequently to be seen by moonshine; then they dance their rounds in the high grass so lightly and so gracefully that they seldom meet a denial when they offer their hand to a rash young man. It is also necessary to watch cattle, that they may not graze in any place where the Elle-people have been; for if any animal come to a place where the Elle-people have spit, or done what is worse, it is attacked by some grievous disease which can only be cured by giving it to eat a handful of St. John's wort, which had been pulled at twelve o'clock on St. John's night."[19]

I never saw the word "end," meaning boundary, as the prefix of a place-name, though it is curious that Rand-moor, meaning probably Edge-moor, should be so near. Amongst some field-names in Bolsover I have noticed Entercliff (enta-clif) which is strangely like Endcliffe, and means giants' cliff.

William Harrison, in his survey of Hallamshire in 1637 mentions a field called Godman Storth which contained an acre and one perch. In connection with this name it may be observed that the piece of land on the south side of the street called the Wicker just over the Lady's Bridge in Sheffield was called Good Croft. The position of Good Croft is clearly shown on Fairbank's map made at the end of the last century. It was a- piece of waste ground adjoining the river. Ray in his "Proverbs" mentions the lines:

When all the world shall he aloft,

Then Hallamshire shall be God's croft.

Winkabank and Templebrough

Will buy all England through and through.

I cannot, of course, identify Good Croft with the God's Croft of these lines, but the name seems to point back to some old religious practice or belief. "In many parishes of Scotland," writes Sir Walter Scott, "there was suffered to exist a certain portion of land called the Gude-man's Croft, which was never ploughed or cultivated, but suffered to remain waste, like the temenos of a pagan temple. Though it was not expressly avowed, no one doubted that the goodman's croft was set apart for some evil being; in fact that it was the portion of the arch-fiend himself, whom our ancestors distinguished by a name which, while it was generally understood, could not, it was supposed, be offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of despair. This was so general a custom that the Church published an ordinance against it as an impious and blasphemous usage. This singular custom sank before the efforts of the clergy in the seventeenth century; but there must still be many alive who in childhood have been taught to look with wonder on knolls and patches of ground left uncultivated, because, whenever a ploughshare entered the soil, the elementary spirits were supposed to testify their displeasure by storm and thunder."[20]

The "evil being," or the "arch-fiend" of this account was merely the name by which Christian sentiment had chosen to designate the pagan god of the fields. The Good Croft, God's Croft, Godman Storth, Gudeman's Croft, was a piece of land dedicated to the local divinity, genius loci, or, to use the more modern phrase, to the fairies. At this very day colliers in Derbyshire leave a piece of coal in the pit ungot "for the fairies," in other words as a sacrifice, or first-fruit, to the local god. And exactly in the same way the farmer, or tiller of the ground, once left an untilled piece of land to propitiate the deity of the woods and fields. Scott tells us that "good old Mr. Gibb, of the Advocates' Library, used to point out amongst the ancient altars under his charge one which is consecrated Diis campestribus, and usually added, with a wink, 'the fairies, ye ken.'" Onesmoor, formerly Wonsmoor, in Bradfield, and Onesacre,[21] in the same place, appear to Wodan's moor, Wodan's acre, the former place having been probably regarded as sacred to the supreme god, and the latter being the equivalent of god's acre, or the "god's croft" of the old local saw.

In the neighbourhood of Sheffield there are several place-names in which the word Jenkin occurs. Thus we have Jenkin hill and Jenkin lane at Ranmoor, "the Jinkin hill" at Holmesfield near Sheffield, and Jenkin lane,[22] which runs across the "Roman Rig" or ridge-way between Meadow Hall and the earthwork on Wincobank. There is also a Jenkin Wood near Rotherham. It is obvious that these names were intended to express the same idea, and it is equally clear that these two hills and this lane did not obtain their names from living men and women. Jenkin is equivalent to "little John," and as Robin Hood is a mythical being, so also is his companion Little John a mythical being. When we are told that Little John lies buried in Hathersage churchyard we can only infer that a long time ago a sprite called Little John or Jenkin was believed to haunt the slope or hill on which the church was built. Grimm mentions a noisy ghost in Lower Germany called Chimken (gimken)[23] and he, no doubt, is the same being as our Jenkin.

It is possible that the words Peter and Parkin its diminutive which occur amongst Hallamshire place-names are the names of sprites or mythological beings, and not merely the names of persons who once lived in the district. I might mention Peter Wood at Fulwood, and Parkin Hagge[24] near Rivelin Firth mentioned by Harrison in 1637. Perkun, Perkunos, is an old name of the thunder-god. Grimm mentions a place called Perkunstein near Battenhof in Courland with legends about it. There is a field in Ecclesall called Patrick Storrs which occurs in a survey made in 1807. We may compare with it Patrick Poole in the city of York, Patricroft near Manchester, Patrixbourne near Canterbury, Kirkpatrick, etc. "Storrs" appears to be the plural of the Middle English star, Old Norse störr, bent grass, coarse grass, so that we might compare Patrick Stors with Totley Bents, near Sheffield. But what is Patrick? Is it the name of the Irish saint with which we are so familiar, and were crofts, streams, churches, pools, and marshy places alike named after this "toad-driver"? The many legends and old wives' tales which are related about St. Patrick lead one to think that he is a myth, the creation of popular fancy. In Iceland, where no amphibia are found, the word padda, a toad, our paddock, is used of any inserts or beetles in foul water.[25] The legend about there being neither snakes, frogs, nor toads in Ireland is said to have been taken from a popular etymology of the saint's name, namely pad-reaker or toad-driver. It is curious to find the word associated with pools, and sedges, and one may suspect that the popular etymology, unlike other popular etymologies, may here contain a grain of truth.[26] "Lying along the banks of the river," says Hunter, "at the foot of the hill on which stands Shiercliffe Hall are the hamlets of Neepsend and Farfield." The word is written "Neepesend"in 1365.[27] Harrison, in 1637, mentions "Neepsende greene." The English word "gnipe" meaning a peak, or hill, Old Norse gnipa, or nipr is not applicable to this place, which is flat land lying by the banks of the river Don. The Middle English neep, which occurs in neap-tide, low tide, comes nearer, and it may be connected, but the Don is not a tidal river. There seems to be no way of explaining the word unless we take Nepe (1365) or Neep (1637) either as a personal, or a mythological, name. In the belief of our ancestors, the woods, fields, and rivers were peopled with spirits, just as they are now in the belief of savage nations. In the Edda we read of "Neps dóttir," i.e., the daughter of Nepr, who was the son of Odin. The nickname Nefja (Neb) occurs in a Wicking song.[28] "Nippen" and "Number Nip" are names of goblins.[29] Henderson mentions "the Nick or Nippen." In the words Neeps-end and Wards-end, the termination "end" means land, mark, district.[30] Neepsend, therefore, may be the piece of land which was believed to be haunted by a local genius or spirit, probably a river sprite, and possibly the name of this sprite may be connected with Neptune, who was god of the fresh, as well as of the salt, waters. Hunter has preserved the following local rime[31]:

The shelving, slimy river Dun

Each year a daughter or a son.

There can be no doubt that these lines point back to a time when human sacrifices were offered to the god or goddess of the river.[32] In mediaeval times there was a chapel of "Our Lady" on the bridge which crosses the Don between Waingate and the Wicker, and which still retains the name of Lady's Bridge. There is a similar chapel on the bridge at Rotherham. The worship of "Our Lady" on the bridge is merely the substitution of a Christian saint for a pagan god or goddess of the river. Is it too much to say that Nepr, Nip, or Nippen was the being who was once here worshipped as the river god, and to whom, in the words of the old local saw, "a daughter or a son" was offered "each year"?

I find in a plan dated 1778 that Nico' Busk is the name of a narrow strip of Woodland adjoining the Don at Wadsley. "Busk" is an obsolete form of bush, and Nico' stands for the Old Norse nykr, "'the nick,' a fabulous water-goblin mostly appearing in the shape of a gray water-horse, emerging from lakes, to be recognised by its inverted hoofs. . . . . The nykr is the Proteus of the Northern tales, and takes many shapes."[33] The same word, it need hardly be said, appears in our Old Nick, an epithet of the Devil. Nico' Busk, then, is Nykr bush—the little wood by the river side which in the belief of the old inhabitants of this district was the dwelling-place of a water-horse. Nikarr was also one of the names of Odin, but, as suggested by Finn Magnusson, it no doubt was originally the name of Neptune or a water-goblin.[34]

There is a place in Bradfield called Ughill, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as Vghil. This is not, as I have said in the Sheffield Glossary,[35] yew hill. I find the word written as Hughill in 1580,[36] and I also find Uggellwoodd-side in 1582.[37] Harrison also mentions Uggle Brooke in 1637. I think we must connect the word with the Old Norse uggr, so that Uggell Wood may mean fear-hill wood—prisca formidine sacrum. Uggr, according to Vigfusson,[38] is used as equivalent to Yggr, a name of Odin in the Edda.


[1] See, for example, Gifford's Witches and Witchcrafts, 1603, pp. 116, 118, etc. (Percy Society.)

[2] Good Words, May, 1889, p. 335.

[3] A recent writer speaks of Stump John as "the cock-crowing stone," and says that "the action of the weather has formed its top into a series of perforations which almost resemble the honeycomb decorations of the Alhambra"—Zimmermann's Sketches of Sheffield, 1863, p. 48. Some people now turn the old superstition into a joke by saying that the stone turns round when it hears the cock crow. The heathen feast which afterwards became St. John Baptist's day originated in a worship of light and sun.

[4] Tylor's Anthropology, p. 348.

[5] Teutonic Mythology, trans, by Stallybrass, p. 670.

[6] Hymis-kvida in Corpus Poeticum Boreale. i, 220.

[7] It may, however, be pointed out that Eccles Close adjoins the Roman station of Brough near Hope, and that Ickles or Ickles Hall adjoins the Roman station of Templeborough. It would thus appear that these names are sometimes associated with old ruins, in that respect resembling the word Grim or Grime. As will appear below we must admit the identity of witches and fairies, so that Ecclesall would mean "fairy hill" as well as "witch hill," and so with regard to the other names compounded with Eccles.

[8] Grimm observes that velde is here the O. N. fiall, a hill.

[9] I have noticed this curious name in several places. Thus I find Deadman's Lane in the City of York mentioned in 1579. (Yorkshire Fines, ii, 140.) There is a Deadman's Lane in Derby. Harrison mentions Deadman's Half Acre in Bradfield containing three roods and two perches. The Ordnance Survey marks Deadman's Lode adjoining the Roman town called Templeborough, lode meaning "road" or "lane." Was it ever the practice of the inhabitants of this country to bury their dead, after the Roman fashion by the road side? We have already noticed (p. 3, ante) a burial by the road side at Crookes. "The high roads of old Sweden," says Vigfusson, "seem to have been lined with monumental stones." It is a common belief in the neighbourhood of Sheffield that the carriage of a corpse along a road confers a right upon the people to use that road for ever.

[10] Science of Fairy Tales, 1891, p. 348.

[11] Glanvil's Sadducismus Triumphatus, 1726, p. 304.

[12] The bird eagle was pronounced yargle in Derbyshire, as I have been told.

[13] Glanvil's Sadducismus Triumfhatus, 1726, p. 311.

[14] Glanvil, ut supra, p. 296.

[15] There was a Malkin Croft in Heeley, as will be seen in the chapter on "The Church Lands."

[16] Remaines of Gentilisme (Folk-Lore Society), p. 379.

[17] Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 125.

[18] Wright-Wulcker Vocab. 591, 30. Compare the O. N. álf-hóll, an elf-hill, fairy mount. Is not Kirk Ella, near Hull, the O N. álfa-kirkja, elves' church, the order of the words being changed ?

[19] Thiele, iv. 26, translated in Keightley's Fairy Mythology, ed. 1889, p. 81.

[20] Demonology and Witchcraft, letter 3.

[21] Some regard this as the Anesacre of the Doomsday Book, and if so, and if the spelling in that survey be correct, the derivation from Wodan will not hold.

[22] Harrison in 1637 calls it "Ginkin lane." It is now called "Jenkin Road." Jenkin lane at Ranmoor is between Lower Ranmoor and the Porter Brook, and is continued up to Ecclesall by Dead lane or Deadman's lane.

[23] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 503.

[24] Compare Parkenfield in the Holmesfield Court Rolls, and Parkin Field at Bamford, Hathersage, adjoining the stream. I find Porter Hill or Peter field in a map of land at Wadsley dated 1778.

[25] Cleasby and Vigfusson, s. v. padda.

[26] Förstemann gives Padra, with a genitive Patris, as an old German river-name. He gives many place-names compounded with this word, and amongst them Padarburn, which may be compared with our Patrixbourne, and Pathrafons, which may be compared with Patrick Poole.

[27] Gatty's Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 16.

[28] Vigfusson and Powell's Corpus Potticum Boreale, i, p. 372.

[29] Gomme's Handbook of Folklore, p. 31.

[30] Matzner, s. v.

[31] My Sheffield Glossary, p. 67.

[32] "The river Spey is spoken of as 'she,' and it is a common belief that at least one victim is necessary every year."—Gomme's Ethnology in Folklore, 1892, p. 74, citing Folklore, iii, 72.

[33] Cleasby and Vigfusson, s. v.

[34] Ibid. p. 455.

[35] p. 270.

[36] Yorkshire Fines, ii, 158.

[37] Ibid. ii, 185.

[38] Dictionary. p. 648. And see Higgar Torr, ante, p. 15

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Guest Jeremy

XI. Holy Wells

NEAR the spot where the burial urn described in the first chapter was found, and between Crookes and Clough Field, is a well called St. Anthony's Well. The adjoining hill, too, is known as St. Anthony's Hill. The word "saint" denotes the sacred character which the hill and well once possessed, and it is evident that these places have not derived their names from former owners. St. Anthony was the patron saint of swineherds, but his name is of rare occurrence in old English literature. There is a field called Anthony Field in Dore, and Bateman mentions a barrow in which he made excavations upon "an eminence called Anthony Hill."[1] In this neighbourhood Tant is the pet form of Anthony. As late as 1535 "Sant Antony moneye" is mentioned in the churchwardens accounts of the adjoining parish of Ecclesfield. It was usual to vow one of the pigs of a litter to this "saint," and the youngest pig has been popularly called Anthony. All this is a relic of the times when sacrifices were made to appease the spirits of ancestors or the local gods. The Anthony pig has also been called the Tantony pig,[2] and this may give us a key to the true form of the word, and show what pagan deity the Christian St. Anthony superseded. Tacitus mentions a deity known as Tanfana, and a celebrated temple dedicated to her, and this word, says Grimm, "is certainly German."Whatever the sex of this divinity may have been, there is a strong likeness between Tanfana and Tantony, which might be Tanthony. The letters f and th will readily interchange, and do interchange in the dialect of this district. But it is not at all necessary to suppose that Anthony is a verbal descendant, if I may use such a phrase, of Tanfana. The similarity of sound might well lead the Christian priest to substitutethe name of a sacred personage in his own calendar for that of a heathen divinity, and so make a compromise with heathenism. And hence the "St. Anthony money" of the Ecclesfield churchwardens may only be the descendant of offerings once made, in the shape of young pigs or otherwise, to a deity known as Tanfana.[3] St. Anthony's Well, which is shown in the drawing, has been divided by a stone wall, so that the spring is on one side of the wall, and stone troughs on the other. The appearance of the well has therefore been considerably altered. Forty years ago I am told that the inhabitants of Crookes believed that its waters would cure various diseases. The supply of water never fails in the driest summer.

About the year 1280, John the son of Thomas del Holm granted to Peter de Bernis, amongst other things, a piece of land lying near "the Helrinuelle;" and by another deed of about the same date the said John granted to the said Peter a piece of land lying near "the Olrinwelle."[4] This well called the Helrin Well or the Olrin Well was at Bradway in the parish of Norton and county of Derby, just outside the boundary of Hallamshire. In mentioning it I feel that I am rather poaching on foreign preserves, but the name is too interesting to be passed by. Grimm observes that the Old Norse name Ölrún belongs to a wise woman.[5] Tacitus mentions a famous German prophetess or sorceress whom he calls Aurinia, and Grimm thinks that the true form of the word may have been Aliruna, or Alioruna. Grimm also mentions the wise women whom Jornandes calls aliorunas,[6] and Alarûn, Alerûna, names of women in Old High German. "But," he observes, "I have never seen Elirûn, the form we should expect from ali." Have not we got something very much like it in our Helrin? There is, or was, a well at Dore which adjoins Bradway, called Sparken Well, and this I take to mean "prophetess well," from the Old Norse spákona. Judging from this analogous instance it seems to me that Helrin Well and Sparken Well both mean prophetess well, or sorceress well, and that our Helrin or Olrin is connected with the wise women mentioned by Jornandes, if not with the Aurinia of Tacitus.

In the neighbourhood of Sheffield the holy well is not yet quite forgotten, and a recent topographical writer[7] has mentioned the "discovery" of such a well near a house on the road between Sheffield and Owlerton. "Close behind this house," he says, "are the remains of a stunted plantation which occupies the side of a steep hill. Here was discovered, some twenty years since, what was called a well of 'holy water,' and pretended to possess wonderful medicinal virtues. The good people of Sheffield rushed by thousands to partake of its potent waters, carrying off in cans and stone bottles what they could not swallow upon the spot." It only needs some sorceress, saint, or "blessed lady," as genius of the well, to complete the picture.

There is a well at the Tofts in the Rivelin Valley which bears the singular name Matty Well. One may fairly guess that Matty is the name of some mythological being now lost or too much disguised to be identified.

The drawing below shows a "wishing well" near Whiteley Wood, Sheffield. In German mythology one of the names of the god Wuotan or Odin was Wunsch or Wish. "In Wuotan," says Grimm, "I have produced the god of song, and as Wish he may have been a god of longing and of love."[8]


[1] Ten Years' Diggings, p. 81.

[2] Halliwell's Dict.

[3] It might, however, be said that Tantony is only an abbreviation of Sant Anthony, the t of the former word being transferred to the latter.

[4] Derb. Arch. Journal, vol. iii, 1881, p. 101. The words in the deeds are "juxta le Helrinuelle," and "juxta le Olrinwelle."

[5] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) p. 404.

[6] "Magas mulieres quas patrio sermone aliorumnas (al. alyrumnas, aliorunas, aliuruncas) is ipse cognominat." Ibid.

[7] Zimmermann's Sketches of the Neighbourhood of Sheffield; Sheffield. 1863 p. 12. The house was the "Burgoyne Arms."

[8] Teut. Myth. (Stallybrass) Preface, p. xlviii.

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This is a remarkable piece of work. Many Thanks for your efforts on behalf of us all.

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Guest Jeremy

Thanks Richard, only 24 chapters left to go...

XII. The Cross

There is a hamlet called Creswick in Ecclesfield, and there was a Johannes de Croswick in Sheffield in 1379.[1] This is the Old Norse Krysi-vík, a local name in Iceland, equivalent to Kryci-vík, Holy-rood-wick, the meaning here being Holy-rood-hamlet, and not Holy-rood-creek as in Iceland. It would thus appear that in the local name Creswick we have evidence of cross-worship.

Banner Cross is another striking name in Hallamshire which may have arisen from an Old Norse word bœna-kross, meaning cross of prayers. This compound does not actually occur in Cleasby and Vigfusson. But the Dictionary gives bœna-hald, prayer meeting, and bœna-hús, a prayer-house or chapel, and from what we know of cross -worship it is fair to guess that Banner Cross may have the meaning here suggested.[2] Du Cange however mentions cruces bannales, meaning perambulations made within the ban and district of parishes and churches. Compare also the German ban-stein, a boundary stone.

At such crosses as this the gospel was read in Rogation Week, when the hounds were beaten, these crosses themselves "being deck'd like idols."[3] It appears, also, that such parochial assemblies were themselves called "crosses."[4] The following extract from Plot's Staffordshire, 1677, may throw light on the subject. "I cannot but note an odd custom at Stanlake, where the parson in the procession about Holy Thursday reads a gospel at a barrel's head in the cellar of the Chequer Inn, where some say there was formerly a hermitage; others that there was anciently a cross, at which they read a gospel in former times, over which now the house and particularly the cellar being built they are forced to perform it in manner as above." The base of an old stone cross at Banner Cross was standing in Hunter's time. The gospel appears to have been sometimes read near trees. There is a field or place in Bolsover, Derbyshire, called Gospel Thornes, and Gospel Oak is occasionally found, as for instance near London.

A stone cross of great antiquity and interesting shape has lately been found by the road side in Low Bradfield at a place called The Cross. "It was dug out of a field near a public-house called the Cross Inn,"[5] and is now placed in Bradfield church. The five circles or globes carved in low relief upon the cross seem to be emblems of sun-worship illustrating the transition from heathenism to Christianity. The sign of the cross was itself a sun-sign amongst the heathen Northmen, and ring-crosses may be seen carved upon the lids of many ancient stone coffins side by side with the simple cross, as for instance at Hope and Ashover in Derbyshire. As will be seen in the drawing, the Bradfield cross is of rude and irregular workmanship, and according to Mr. Gatty "is made of rough moor stone." This old emblem of religion, once standing where the roads met, is interesting not only as being the only example of its kind which has been preserved in this district, but as a relic of the cross-worship which must at one time have prevailed here as well as amongst other northern peoples. In the Icelandic Sagas one meets with sentences as "to go to worship at church or cross," or "he comes neither to cross nor church,"[6] just as one hears people nowadays say "he goes neither to church nor chapel." As the Doomsday Book mentions neither priest nor church in Hallamshire—except at Treeton[7]—it is probable that Christianity was of late introduction into that large district, and that, possibly, Christian worship at the cross preceded worship in churches. If that were so one could understand how missionaries of the Roman faith, too poor at first to build churches, would ereft the cross by the side of the highway. Parson Cross in Ecclesfield may originally have been a holy rood at which the Christian missionary called his small band of converts together.

On the Penistone road about half way between Bradfield church and Broomhead Hall there was a cross called "Handsome Cross." The late Mr. Eastwood mentions this cross, but says that he was "unable to find it at all."[8] Its position, however, is marked on the six-inch Ordnance Map, and the Rev. A. B. Browne, Rector of Bradfield, tells me that the place is usually spoken of as "Hanson Cross," there being on the spot a plain upright shaft which serves the purpose of a milestone, containing the date 1753 and the distances from Bradfield, Sheffield, and Penistone. Eastwood says that Wilson of Broomhead Hall, the antiquary, describes "Hansom Cross" as existing on Bradfield Moor, though dilapidated, in his time. Since Wilson's time the land on this moor has been in a great measure enclosed, the newness of the enclosures being apparent in the regularity of the fences. In a manuscript account[9] Wilson relates that an old woman remembered that the cross "had a head and armes H R C; the one side is plain, the other not quite so plain." Its position is interesting, for it stood on a moorland road, far away from the village below.


[1] Sheffield Glossary, p. 54.

[2] Compare this passage in Landnama III: "Hón haði bæna-hald sitt á Krosshólum, þar lét hón reisa krossa." An objection to this derivation is that one would expect the a in Banner to be sounded like the a in same; at present it is like the a in man.

[3] A writer of 1570 quoted in Brand's Popular Antiq. 1849, i, p. 199.

[4] Ibid, p. 200, footnote.

[5] The Rev. R. A. Gatty in Gatty's "A Life at One Living." 1884, p. 212.

[6] Cleasby and Vigf. s v. kross.

[7] See Chapter IX ante for the foundation sacrifice there.

[8] History of Ecclesfield, p. 418.

[9] Ibid. p. 418.

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