Gordon Home

Part 2 out of 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



We have come out of Wensleydale past the ruins of the great Cistercian
abbey of Jervaulx, which Conan, Earl of Richmond, moved from Askrigg to
a kindlier climate, and we have passed through the quiet little town of
Masham, famous for its fair in September, when sometimes as many as
70,000 sheep, including great numbers of the fine Wensleydale breed,
are sold, and now we are at Ripon. It is the largest town we have seen
since we lost sight of Richmond in the wooded recesses of Swaledale,
and though we are still close to the Ure, we are on the very edge of
the dale country, and miss the fells that lie a little to the west. The
evening has settled down to steady rain, and the market-place is
running with water that reflects the lights in the shop-windows and
the dark outline of the obelisk in the centre. This erection is
suspiciously called 'the Cross,' and it made its appearance nearly
seventy years before the one at Richmond. Gent says it cost £564 11s.
9d., and that it is 'one of the finest in England.' I could, no doubt,
with the smallest trouble discover a description of the real cross it
supplanted, but if it were anything half as fine as the one at
Richmond, I should merely be moved to say harsh things of John
Aislabie, who was Mayor in 1702, when the obelisk was erected, and
therefore I will leave the matter to others. It is, perhaps, an
un-Christian occupation to go about the country quarrelling with the
deeds of recent generations, though I am always grateful for any traces
of the centuries that have gone which have been allowed to survive.
With this thought still before me, I am startled by a long-drawn-out
blast on a horn, and, looking out of my window, which commands the
whole of the market-place, I can see beneath the light of a lamp an
old-fashioned figure wearing a three-cornered hat. When the last
quavering note has come from the great circular horn, the man walks
slowly across the wet cobble-stones to the obelisk, where I watch him
wind another blast just like the first, and then another, and then a
third, immediately after which he walks briskly away and disappears
down a turning. In the light of morning I discover that the horn was
blown in front of the Town Hall, whose stucco front bears the
inscription: 'Except ye Lord keep ye cittie, ye Wakeman waketh in
vain.' The antique spelling is, of course, unable to give a wrong
impression as to the age of the building, for it shows its period so
plainly that one scarcely needs to be told that it was built in 1801,
although it could not so easily be attributed to the notorious Wyatt.
Notwithstanding much reconstruction there are still a few quaint houses
to be seen in Ripon, and there clings to the streets a certain flavour
of antiquity. It is the minster, nevertheless, that raises the 'city'
above the average Yorkshire town. The west front, with its twin towers,
is to some extent the most memorable portion of the great church. It is
the work of Archbishop Walter Gray, and is a most beautiful example of
the pure Early English style. Inside there is a good deal of
transitional Norman work to be seen. The central tower was built in
this period, but now presents a most remarkable appearance, owing to
its partial reconstruction in Perpendicular times, the arch that faces
the nave having the southern pier higher than the Norman one, and in
the later style, so that the arch is lop-sided. As a building in which
to study the growth of English Gothic architecture, I can scarcely
think it possible to find anything better, all the periods being very
clearly represented. The choir has much sumptuous carved woodwork, and
the misereres are full of quaint detail. In the library there is a
collection of very early printed books and other relics of the minster
that add very greatly to the interest of the place.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wordsworth writes of

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The road past the church drops steeply down into the pretty village,
and, turning northwards, takes us to the bend of the valley, where
North Burton lies, which we passed earlier in the day; so we go to the
left, and find ourselves at Kilham, a fair-sized village on the edge of
the chalk hills. Like Rudstone and a dozen places in its neighbourhood,
Kilham is situated in a district of extraordinary interest to the
archaeologist, the prehistoric discoveries being exceedingly numerous.
Chariot burials of the Early Iron Age have been discovered here, as
well as large numbers of Neolithic implements. There is a beautiful
Norman doorway in the nave of the church, ornamented with chevron
mouldings in a lavish fashion. Far more interesting than this, however,
are the fonts in the two villages of Cottam and Cowlam, lying close
together, although separated by a thinly-wooded hollow, about five


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