Charles G. (Charles George) Harper.

The Ingoldsby Country online

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Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Text enclosed by equal signs is in bold face (=bold=).

One verse is printed in blackletter, and that text is
enclosed by plus signs (+blackletter+).


"_A long narrow vaulted passage, paved with flagstones,
vulgarly known by the name of the 'Dark Entry.'_"
_The Legend of "Nell Cook."_


Literary Landmarks of the "Ingoldsby Legends"



Author of "The Brighton Road," "The Portsmouth Road,"
"The Dover Road," "The Bath Road," "The Exeter Road,"
"The Great North Road," "The Norwich Road," "The
Holyhead Road," "The Cambridge, Ely, and King's Lynn
Road," and "Stage-Coach and Mail in Days of Yore"

[Illustration: Woman on broomstick]

Illustrated by the Author

Adam & Charles Black

PREFACE [Illustration: Man on broomstick]

_"INGOLDSBY" has always been of that comparatively small number of
authors who command a personal interest and affection. Reading the
"LEGENDS" you cannot choose but see that when he sat down, often
at the midnight hour, to dash off the fun and frolic that came so
readily to his mind, it was a part of himself that appeared upon the
page. He did not and could not, when he wrote for publication under a
pseudonym, be other than himself, and did not self-consciously draw a
veil of style around him and speak, a cloaked figure lacking ordinary
human attributes, or as other than a man of the world. He claimed no
sacerdotal privileges, and we know, from the published "_Life and
Letters_" by his son, that he was in his life and intimacies, as the
Reverend R. H. Barham, the same genial wit and humorist he appeared
as "Tom Ingoldsby." He must, therefore, have been a likeable man,
and those who knew him were fortunate persons. The next best thing to
knowing him is to know something of the Ingoldsby Country, that corner
of Kent where he was born and whose legends he has put to such splendid
literary uses. The "INGOLDSBY LEGENDS" have so long since become a
classic that it is indeed somewhat surprising that no literary pilgrim,
for love of their author and interest in his career, has before this
traced the landmarks of his storied district._


_January, 1904._









VII. ROMNEY MARSH (_continued_) 98




XI. FROM HYTHE TO ASHFORD (_continued_) 159


XIII. THE BACK OF BEYOND (_continued_) 181








The "Dark Entry," Canterbury, From the Green Court _Frontispiece_

Sketch Map: The Ingoldsby Country 5

"Tom Ingoldsby:" the Rev. Richard Harris Barham 13

No. 61, Burgate Street, Canterbury _Facing_ 14

St. Mary Magdalene, Burgate Street, Canterbury 15

Westwell 16

The Hall, No. 61, Burgate Street, Canterbury _Facing_ 16

The Barham Coat-of-Arms 18

No. 4, St. Paul's Churchyard 22

Amen Corner, where Barham died.... 24

Ruins of St. Mary Magdalene, after the Fire of
December 1886 26

Canterbury Castle 32

The Dane John, Canterbury 34

The Dark Entry 37

" " " 38

"The Martyrdom," Canterbury Cathedral 52

The Vale of Barham 65

The "Eagle Gates," Broome Park 67

Broome Park, the Real Original of Tappington
Hall _Facing_ 68

Tappington, from the Folkestone Road 69

Denton _Facing_ 70

Denton Church and Court 71

Tappington Hall 73

The "Merchant's-Mark" of Thomas Marsh of Marston 74

Tappington Hall: Night _Facing_ 74

Warehorne 79

A Sundial, Warehorne Church 81

Warehorne 82

The Royal Military Canal at Warehorne 84

Snargate 100

Brookland 102

Ivychurch 104

Newchurch, on Romney Marsh: "This recondite
region; this fifth quarter of the globe" 105

Old Romney 111

New Romney 116

A Martello Tower 119

Dymchurch Wall 121

" " 122

The "Smugglers' Nest," Hythe 127

Hythe, from the Road to Sandgate 128

Folkestone 132

The Stade, Folkestone 135

Folkestone Harbour 137

Folkestone in 1830. _After J. M. W. Turner, R.A._
_Facing_ 140

Romney Marsh, from Lympne " 144

Lympne Castle 146

A Cottage Tablet, Lympne 147

A Kentish Farm 148

The Ruined Chapel, Court-at-Street 149

An Old Sundial, Aldington 151

Aldington 154

Cobb's Hall 159

Aldington Knoll 160

Bilsington Woods 161

Bilsington Priory 162

Bilsington Church 163

Orlestone Hill 164

Saltwood Castle 169

Westenhanger House 175

Lyminge 182

Lyminge Church 183

Old Houses at Elham 185

Acryse 187

The Preceptory, Swingfield Minnis 190

The "Lone Tree" 197

East Langdon 199

"Marston Hall" 200

The "Three Horseshoes," Great Mongeham 201

St. Peter's, Sandwich 205

The Barbican, Sandwich 209

Sandwich, from Great Stonar 210

Richborough, and the Kentish Coast-line towards Ramsgate 213

The Smuggler's Leap 215

Monkton 217

" 218

The "Ville of Sarre" 220

Chislett 223

Reculver 225

Fordwich 228

Fordwich Town Hall 230

Sturry 232

The Devil's Footprint 234

Minster-in-Sheppey 243

Tomb of Sir Robert de Shurland 245

The Horse-vane, Minster-in-Sheppey 246

The Soul, from a Monument in Minster-in-Sheppey Church 249

The Estuary of the Medway, from the Road near
Minster-in-Sheppey 251

Shurland Castle 253

Netley Abbey 261

Salisbury Plain: where the Lavington Road branches off
to the left from the one to Devizes 266

[Illustration: The Ingoldsby Country]



The present writer foregathered a little while since with a man who had
been to the uttermost parts of the earth. He had just returned from
Australia, and was casually met on what the vulgar call the "Tuppenny
Tube," travelling from the Bank to Shepherd's Bush. It was a humorous
anti-climax to all those other journeys, but that is not the point here
to be made. He was full, as might have been expected, of tales strange
and curious of those outposts of civilisation he had visited, and of
legends of places - whose names generally ended with two gulps and a
click - where civilisation was an unknown quantity. But to this man, who
had been everywhere and elsewhere, who had crossed the Dark Continent
when it was still dark, England, his native land, was largely a sealed
book. Even as one spoke with him it could be perceived how perfect an
exemplar he was of many globe-trotting Britons who roam the world and
can talk to you at first hand of Bulawayo or the Australian bush, but
are instantly nonplussed if the subject of rural England be broached.

When he was done talking of places with savage and
infinitely-repetitive names, composed of fantastically-arranged
vowels, with never a consonant to consort with them, he was asked if
he knew Kent. "Kent?" he repeated, in Jingle-like fashion, "why, yes.
Canterbury Cathedral, hop-gardens, Charles Dickens, Rochester, Dover,
and - and all that," he concluded, with a vague sweep of his arm. "Run
through it on y'r way to Paris," he added, in an explanatory way. And
that was all he knew of Kent: a place you run through, on the way to
somewhere else! a country observed from fleeting and not very attentive
glances obtained from a railway-carriage window! Such glances furnished
him fully forth in all he had cared to know of the Garden of England!

Not that one fully subscribes to that familiar epithet of praise, which
must have originally been given by a Cockney who knew no better. Who
that ever has sojourned in the west, and has known lovely Devon, would
for a moment give Kent that pride of place? Now, if it were called the
"Market Garden of England - - !" What?

But this is not to say that Kent is not very beautiful; only it is not
Devon. I do not pillory Kent because it is not something else, and
would by no means contemn its chalky soil because of any affection for
the good red earth of that other shire. Kent has its lovable qualities,
and when you have eliminated the thronging tramps, the paper and other
factories, the objectionable hop-pickers, the beanfeasters, and the
multitudinous yahoos who people its nearer Cockneyfied districts, there
is a very considerable residuum of exquisite country. The elimination
of all those items would be what the slangy term a "big order"; but
the tourist who knows, and even the tourist who does not actually
_know_, but can infer and deduce, need never lose himself in the Kent
of commerce and blackguardism. He seeks out, and by instinct finds,
the best; and, having found the best that Kent affords, is ready to
declare that it is hard to beat. It is, for example, impossible to
match, even in Devon, the beauty of that fertile fruit and hop-bearing
belt of country which begins at Newington, a few miles below Chatham,
and continues beside the Dover Road, past Teynham and Faversham, and
on to Canterbury. It is a beauty that appeals alike and at once to the
artist and the man with carnal appetites and fleshly longings; for,
once off the dusty high-road, it is a constant succession of orchards
and hop-gardens, wherein it is pleasant to lie on sunny afternoons
in the dappled shade of the apple, pear, or cherry-trees, with the
swede-eating sheep for sole companions, and the noise of the toilsome
world coming restfully over the hedgerows.

It _is_ a noisy and a toilsome world. There goes the roar of the big
guns down at the Medway forts; the clear note of the bugles sings
up faintly - like an anthem from amid a naughty nest of vipers - out
of Chatham and New Brompton (we are being duly taken care of!); the
whistling and rushing of the railway trains are never still, and you
can hear that holiday world which takes its vacation strenuously,
"pip-pipping" on cycles, "poop-pooping" on motor-cars, and playing the
yearnful concertina on the passing break like anything, t'other side
of the merciful hedge. Even if you could not hear them, the signs of
their passing would be evident in the cloud of chalk-dust which, like
the pillar of cloud by day that guided the Children of Israel, marks
their route. But the Land of Promise sought by those pilgrims, at such
speed, is not ours. How should it be? Theirs is ever the Next Place;
ours is Here. Theirs is the Promise without fruition; ours is granted
to the full, and Now, wherever we be. That is if we be indeed wise in
our generation, and content with the happy moment. One understands that
same happy moment, here and now, to be passed in the consumption of
ripe cherries out of a cool cabbage-leaf, in the shade of the boughs
that bore them. This is one way in which beauteous Kent appeals, as we
have said, to the carnal man, who perceives that if indeed Devonshire
cream be good, equally good are the kindly fruits of Kent.

If Kent be essentially the Market Garden of England, rather than
pre-eminently the Garden in the picturesque sense, certainly this
country yields to none other in historic or literary interest.
That coast where Cæsar and Augustine, easily first among the great
personages of history, landed; this fertile county which contains the
Metropolitan Cathedral of the Church of England; the neighbourhood of
Rochester and Maidstone, linked with the literary activities of Charles
Dickens, must needs hold the affections of Englishmen, irrespective of
the physical and æsthetic attractions of scenery. But there is another
great literary figure connected with Kent, both by birth and by reason
of his having exploited many of its rural legends in his merry verse.
Richard Harris Barham was born at Canterbury, and in his _Ingoldsby
Legends_ created an Ingoldsby Country, which he had already peopled
with many notable characters before death cut him off in his prime.
The capital of the Ingoldsby Country is Canterbury; its very heart and
core is comprised within the district to the east of a line drawn
due south from Whitstable to Canterbury, Denton, and Hythe; and its
frontiers make an indeterminate line to the west, beyond Romney Marsh
and Ashford. The whole north coast of Kent, including Sheppey, the
Swale, and the littoral of the Thames and Medway, is part and parcel
of Ingoldsby Land, whose isolated and far-off dependencies are found
at Shrewsbury, the scene of "Bloudie Jack"; or Salisbury Plain, where
the "Dead Drummer" is located; at Wayland Wood, near Wymondham, in
Norfolk, where the legend of the "Babes in the Wood" belongs; and at
Netley Abbey, the scene of a fine poem. London, too, has its Ingoldsby
associations, duly set forth in these pages.

[Illustration: Sketch Map: The Ingoldsby Country]



There are _coteries_, circles inner and outer, in the world of letters,
and there have always been. There are some in this time of ours whose
members think they are of the giants whose memory the world will not
willingly let die. There were other _coterie_ when the nineteenth
century was but newly come into its second quarter, when the period
that is now known as Early Victorian was in the making, and when the
Queen was young. The members of those literary brotherhoods are gone,
each one to his place, and the memories of the most of them, of the
books they wrote, the jokes they cracked, of their friendships and
quarrels, are dim and dusty to-day. The taste in humour and pathos
is not the taste of this time, which laughs at the pathos, and finds
the humour, when not dull, merely spiteful and vindictive. When you
rise from a perusal of Douglas Jerrold's wounding wit, you think him
ungenerous and a cad, De Quincey's frolics merely elephantine, Hood's
facilities dull, and Leigh Hunt's performances but journalism.

All this is but the foil to show the brilliant humour, the fun, and
the truly pathetic note of Richard Harris Barham's writings to better
effect. Time has breathed upon the glass through which we see the
lives and performances of Barham's contemporaries, and has obscured our
view of them; but the author of the _Ingoldsby Legends_ remains, almost
alone among that Early Victorian band, as acceptable to-day (nay,
perhaps even more acceptable) than he was fifty years ago.

The _Ingoldsby Legend_ will never be allowed to die. Indeed, we live
in times when their admirable sanity might well be invoked as a
counterblast to modern neurotic conditions, and a healthy revulsion
from superstitious revivals. Written at that now historic time when
the Ritualistic innovations and tendency towards Roman Catholicism of
the new school of theology at Oxford were agitating English thought,
they express the common-sense scorn of the healthy mind against the
mystification and deceit of the religion that the Reformation pitched,
neck and crop, out of England, close upon three hundred and seventy
years ago, and for which the large-minded tolerance of to-day is not
enough. Domination is its aim, but no mind that can enjoy the mirth and
marvels of the Legends has any room for such ghostly pretensions, and
their continued popularity is thus, by parity of reasoning, something
of an assurance. The _Ingoldsby Legends_ are included in the _Index
Expurgatorium_ of Rome.

Superfine critics have in recent years declared that Barham's fun has
grown out of date, and that they cannot read him as of old. But your
critic commonly speaks only for himself; and moreover, the superfine,
who cannot read Dickens, for example, have been sadly flouted of late
by the still increasing popular favour of that novelist.

It was in the fertile county of Kent that Barham was born, in the
midst of a district that has ever been the cradle of Barhams. Eight
miles to the south of the old Cathedral of Canterbury, and near
by the Folkestone Road, there lies, secluded in a deep valley, an
old-fashioned farmhouse, unpretending enough to the outward glance, but
quaint and curious within. This is the old manor house of Tappington
Everard, mentioned so often and so familiarly in the _Ingoldsby
Legend_, and for many centuries the home of Richard Harris Barham's
ancestors. "Tom Ingoldsby" himself was, indeed, born at Canterbury,
near the Cathedral precincts, and first saw the world beneath the
shadow of that great Church, of whose glories he was in after years
to tell in his own peculiar and inimitable way. His father, made rich
by hops, was a man of consideration at Canterbury, and filled an
Aldermanic chair with all the dignity that comes of adipose tissue
largely developed. He was, in fact and few words, a fat man, and it was
probably in reference to him that Tom Ingoldsby, in later years, wrote
of the "aldermanic nose" trumpeting in the Cathedral during service.

The Rev. Richard Harris Barham, the self-styled "Thomas Ingoldsby",
claimed descent from the De Bearhams, anciently the FitzUrses, whose
possessions extended round about Tappington for many miles of this fair
county of Kent. He delighted to think that he was descended from one
of those four knights who, on that dark December day of 1170, broke in
upon the religious quiet of the Cathedral and slaughtered Becket in
the north transept. When their crime was wrought the murderers fled,
FitzUrse escaping to Ireland, where he is said to have taken the name
of MacMahon, the Irish equivalent of his original patronymic, which was
just the Norman-Latin for "Bear's Son".

He died an exile, leaving his Manor of Barham to his brother, who,
so odious had the name of FitzUrse now become, changed it for an
Anglicised variant, and called himself "De Bearham." Eventually the
aristocratic prefix "De" fell out of use, and in course of time even
Bearham became "Barham."

The Barhams held place and power here for centuries, giving their name
to the village of Barham, which nestles, embowered in foliage, beneath
the bleak and bare expanse of Barham Downs; their estates dropping from
them little by little until, in the time of James I., the remaining
property was alienated by a Thomas Barham, a nerveless, unworthy
descendant of the fierce FitzUrses, who sold it to the Reverend Charles
Fotherby, Archdeacon of Canterbury. Thus were the Barhams torn from
their native soil and rendered landless.

The adjoining manor of Tappington, next Barham, had been held in
1272 by one Gerrard de Tappington, as one knight's fee. In the reign
of Henry VIII. it was purchased by a certain John Boys, who died in
1544, when his son, William Boys, alienated a small portion of the
demesne to a person named Verrier, and the manor, with the remainder
of the demesne, to one Marsh, to whose descendants it passed until at
length sold by Colonel Thomas Marsh to Mr. Thomas Harris, hopfactor of
Canterbury, who died in 1729, and whose daughter and sole heiress had,
by a singular freak of fate, married a John Barham, bringing him not
only the old manor of Tappington, or Tapton Wood, as it has sometimes
been styled, as her dower, but also some portions of the long-lost
lands of those whom he claimed for ancestors, including the manors of
Parmstead (called in olden times Barhamstead).

It will be noted that it was a John Barham - not necessarily one of
the Barhams of Tappington - who thus secured the Harris heiress. Kent
contains more than one family of the name, but let us hope, for the
sake of sentiment, that all Barhams, of whatever district, descend from
the original assassin. It would certainly have been a grievous thing
to Tom Ingoldsby if he had been compelled to cherish a doubt of the
blood-boltered genuineness of his own ancestry. We have, indeed, some
slightly different versions of what became of the FitzUrse family. One
tells us that a branch lingered long in the neighbourhood of Williton,
in Somerset, under their proper name, which became successively
corrupted into Fitzour, and Fishour, and at last assumed the common

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Online LibraryCharles G. (Charles George) HarperThe Ingoldsby Country → online text (page 1 of 16)