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wild animals. He does not consider that fou-
marts are quite extinct (1900) in the neigh-
bourhood of the Solway Firth ; that they
are very scarce may be surmised from the
fact that only two local specimens entered
my hands in seventeen years' residence. Both
of these were bitches, trapped near Silloth in
October, 1893, and September, 1894. Re-
ports from the south and east of Cumberland
are unanimous in representing the foumart as
locally all but extinct. Many particulars re-
garding the life history of this animal will be
found in the Fauna of Lakeland, pp. 27-35.

16. Stoat. Putorius ermineus, hinn.

BcW— Mustela erminea.
Fairly common, especially in parts of the
county where there is little game-preserving.
I have seen some beautiful white stoats in
the banks and hedges close to the sea, where
snow seldom lies for many days. The largest
stoat that I have handled was killed on our
northern borders in March, 1885. It mea-
sured thirteen inches in the flesh.

17. Weasel. Putorius nivalis, Linn.

Bell — Mustela vulgaris.

This little animal is very common in all

parts of the county, and shows no signs of

ever becoming scarce. Reports of pure white

specimens have reached me on more than one



220



MAMMALS



occasion ; indeed the late J. W. Harris ob-
tained a perfectly white weasel from the
vicinity of Keswick. I was also assured that
a black specimen had been killed on the Lyne-
how estate a few years ago.

1 8. Otter. Lutra Intra, Linn.

Bell — Lutra vulgaris.
The rivers and lakes of Cumberland afford
many strongholds to the otter ; indeed, no
part of England affords grander sport to de-
votees of otter-hounds than the Eden val-
ley. Trapping on the part of some who
erroneously regard the presence of the otter
as inconsistent with the preservation of salmon
reduces our river-side population of otters
periodically ; but as soon as the prejudice has
died away again, these plucky animals replen-
ish their favourite waters with fresh litters of
cubs. The largest males sometimes scale as
much as 31 lb. ; females have been found to
scale as much as 20 and 2 1 lb.

19. Badger. Meles meles, Linn.

Bell — Me/ei taxus.
Locally, Brock, Gray, Pate {pbs.).

Formerly badger-earths were to be found
in most parts of the county, from the shores
of the Solway Firth to the borders of West-
morland. Some years ago it appeared prob-
able that the old race of badgers had become
extinct ; but of late years badgers have re-



asserted their right of domicile in some of our
larger covers. Whether these animals had
escaped from confinement is difficult to deter-
mine ; but as wild badgers certainly exist in
Westmorland, it is probable that though the
numbers of badgers in Cumberland dwindled
to very small proportions, the original stock
never became entirely extinct. The Field
of May 20th, 1893, contains a note that
three weeks earlier a sow badger had been
found in a wood near Aspatria with two
young ones. Other instances of badgers
being caught of late years come to me from
the Cockermouth district.

The badger was formerly included in the
proscribed list of vermin to be exterminated at
the expense of the parish. As early as 1658,
we read in the accounts of Penrith parish,
' Payed for killinge of two paytes, 2f.' Thirty-
six badgers were killed and paid for in Dacre
parish between 1685 and 1750. A shilling
was the price set upon the head of an old
badger, and fourpence was given for a cub.

20. Common Seal. Phoca vitulina, Linn.

Immature specimens of the common seal
not infrequently enter the higher waters of
the Solway Firth in pursuit of fish, and in
exceptional cases ascend both the Eden and
Esk for a few miles. But there are no sands
or rocks on the coast of Cumberland that are
regularly frequented by these animals.



RODENTIA



21. Squirrel. Sciurus kucourus, Kerr.

Bell — Sciurus vulgaris.
Locally, Con, Swirl (pbs.).
The squirrel is plentiful lin wooded dis-
tricts, but there are many parts of the county
in which a squirrel is never seen, simply be-
cause timber and coppices are absent. The
late Tom Duckworth once saw a black variety
near Rose Castle.

22. Dormouse. Muscardinus avellanarius,

Linn.

Bell — Myoxus avellanarius.
The dormouse is rare in Cumberland, but
has been taken on a good many occasions in
the south of the county. It has never been
reported to me from any of our eastern fells.

23. Brown Rat. Mus decumanus, Pallas.
Locally, Rattan.

This pest is only too plentiful in most of
our homesteads. Many frequent the coast-
line feeding on animal and other substances
thrown up by the tide.



24. Black Rat. Mus rattus, Linn.

As long ago as 1796, Dr. Heysham con-
sidered that the old English black rat had
become ' very rare ' in Cumberland. I have
never myself seen a fresh local specimen,
though reliable reports of the presence of this
animal have reached me from the west of
Cumberland on several occasions.

25. House Mouse. Mus musculusy Linn.
The universal presence of this animal calls

for no remark ; but it may be noted that
white varieties occasionally occur in a state of
nature.

26. Wood Mouse or Long-tailed Field Mouse.

Mus sylvaticus, Linn.
A common resident in woods and gardens,
and one that is easily reconciled to the loss of
liberty.

27. Harvest Mouse. Mus minutus, Pallas,

A rare animal in Cumberland, but speci-
mens have been captured in the north of the



321



A HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND



county in isolated instances. I have never
seen it myself in the north of England.

28. Water Vole. Microtus amphibius, Linn.

Bell — Arvicola amphibius.
Locally, Water Rat.
Exceedingly numerous on the Caldew and
most of our rivers and inland waters ; at
Edenhall it forms an important item in the
dietary of the heron. Melanism occurs in
individual specimens, but very rarely. It is
a curious fact that a species so partial to
water should rear its young among the sand
dunes on Drigg Common ; but that it does so
I have proved by personal investigation.

29. Field Vole. Microtus agrestis, Linn.

Bell — Arvicola agrestis.
This little animal is extremely common
and of very general distribution, sometimes
causing great damage to hill pastures. A
very pretty grey and white variety was
brought to me from Drumburgh. It was a
full-grown animal. The Duckworths were
at one time acquainted with a little colony of
field voles, among which pied examples often
occurred.

30. Bank Vole. Evototnys glareolus, Schreber.

Bell — Arvicola glareolus.
This interesting little mammal is probably
common in the county, but is best known to



me as well established at Aigle Gill. It is
generally observed in winter, at which season
it makes its home in heaps of turnips, two
pairs of full-grown voles and one smaller one
being generally found together. In confine-
ment it becomes a tame and fascinating pet.

3 1 . Hare. Lepus europaus, Pallas.

Bell — Lepus timidut.

A resident species, but in very sparing
numbers except upon a few large estates.
Hares not infrequently lie out upon the salt-
marshes ; I have known of their being
drowned by the tide. In November, 1884,
a pied hare was killed in the county, having
the forehead and muzzle, the sides of the
head, two fore-paws and one hind-paw per-
fectly white. This, and a larger specimen in
which the red hairs are plentifully mixed with
white, have since been presented to the Car-
lisle Museum.

32. Rabbit. Lepus cuniculus, Linn.

Locally, Coney.

Warrens have long existed in the neigbour-
hood of our coast, and many black and sandy
varieties occur. In 1883 I saw a tame speci-
men which had entered on its eleventh year
of captivity. It belonged to a working man
at Carlisle, and enjoyed the run of the house,
being a familiar and Umusing pet.



UNGULATA



33. Red Deer. Cervus elaphus, Linn.

The red deer of Gowbarrow Park are
lineal descendants of the race of stags and
hinds which cropped the sweet grass and
toothsome clover of the Cumbrian hills when
the Roman legions tramped across High Street
and manned their forts upon the shores of the
Solway Firth. All Roman settlements in the
county yield remains of red deer, and the
antlers were of far more vigorous growth
than can be foimd in these days. The deer
of Gowbarrow Park often receive visits from
stags that have descended from Martindale
Forest to the edge of Ullswater, and swum
the cool waters of the lake, in order to pay
court to the fat hinds of ' Wethermlake,' as
the locality was anciently entitled. A famous
deer-forest was that of Inglewood, which long
remained a royal chase. Ennerdale Forest
was the last home of the free wild deer that
knew nothing of enclosed life, but took toll
of the oats of the dalesmen at their own
sweet will. I have inspected several fine



herds of red deer in private parks, such as
those of Muncaster, Crofton, Highmoor ; but
only at Gowbarrow is there a strain of white
blood. This is due to the introduction many
years ago of a white stag, supplied by Lord
Petre, and believed to be of continental origin.
This white stag lived for many years at Gow-
barrow, but was killed when very old (in the
sixties) by the younger and more vigorous
animals setting upon him, as Mr. H. Howard
informed us. Several white descendants of
this stag were still living at Gowbarrow when
I last inquired about the herd. For a fuller
account of the red deer of Cumberland refer-
ence must be made to The Fauna of Lakeland,
pp. 50-64.

34. Fallow Deer. Cervus dama, Linn.

The bucks of Cumberland once afforded
good sport to royalty ; indeed an early chroni-
cler accredits Edward the First with having
killed two hundred bucks and does in Ingle-
wood. The Howards kept a good stock of



223



MAMMALS



bucks at Naworth in the days when England
was ruled by the Stuarts. So indispensable
was a haunch of venison to public hospitality,
that when the judges were entertained at the
Carlisle Assizes in 1661, an entire buck was
carted all the way from Millom to the scene
of the banquet. The Fauna of Lakeland con-
tains a digest of all that I have been able to
bring to light about the fallow deer of this
county. But it may be remarked that, while
at Levens Park the milk-white deer, which
occasionally appear in that dark herd, are per-
fectly white when dropped and always re-
main so, the white fallow deer which exist in
the mixed herd at Edenhall are not pure white
at birth, but a cinnamon-white, from which
condition they pass to a pure white stage in a
term of four or five years.



35. Roe Deer. Capreolus capreolus, Linn.
Bell — Capreolus caprea.

The roe was once plentiful in the thickets
of our forests, especially in the Naworth
woods, whence a draught of no fewer than
thirty-two kids was despatched in carts to
London for Charles the First, in 1633. The
price paid to those who had captured these
young animals was about five shillings a kid.
Six men and seven horses were required to
convey them to the south. The kids were
procured in the month of June. We are
assured that a few roe deer still exist in the
Naworth district, and others visit the Netherby
estate from the Scottish borders. Single
stragglers have been known to occur as far
south as Penrith.



CETACEA



36. Sperm Whale. Physeter macrocephalus,

Linn.
A sperm whale was cast ashore near Flimby
on April 21st, 1840. It measured 58 feet
in length and 26 feet in girth, as recorded in
the Carlisle Patriot of April 24th, 1840.

37. Bottle-nosed Whale. Hyperoodon ros-

tratus, Mailer.
This cetacean has often visited our waters,
and dead specimens have frequently been
washed ashore by the tide ; as for example in
September, 1897, and August, 1887, when
specimens were beached near Mowbray and
Maryport.

38. Grampus. Orca gladiator, Bonnaterre.
An occasional visitant to the channels of

the Solway Firth, among which it is some-
times left high and dry by the retiring tide.
In July, 1874, six of these animals made
their appearance in Silloth Bay, and one of
them, an adult female, was stranded near
Skinburness. I showed a tooth of this animal
to the late Sir W. H. Flower.

39. Pilot-whale, or Black Fish. Globicephalus

melas, Traill.
Locally, Bottle-nose.
Herds of these animals occasionally appear



off our coast, and in some instances they have
been known to push their way up the Solway
Firth as high as Silloth and Bowness, only to
be stranded upon the flat sands, and buried
by the coastguard service. A single example
was found dead near Silloth in the autumn
of 1898.

40. Porpoise. Phocana communis. Lesson.

Locally, Sea Pig, Sea Swine.

These animals often endeavour to drive
shoals of herring and other round fish into
our inshore waters. I have watched them
careering through the swell of the Solway
Firth on many a wild morning ; but they
rarely stay long in our partly land-locked
waters, preferring to plough their way through
the open main, unchecked by tortuous chan-
nels or shifting sandbanks.



41. Bottle-nosed Dolphin.
Fabricius.



Tursiops tursio,



Bell — Delphinus tursio.

A young example of this rather rare species
was killed in the Esk near Longtown, on or
about July 30th, 1896. We saw it imme-
diately after, and had it photographed in the
flesh.



223




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EARLY MAN



OF the earliest inhabitants of the district now known as Cumber-
land, the men of the Stone Age, whose only implements for
war, for the chase, or for domestic use were of stone, bone or
shell, no histories written with the pen have been handed down
to us : for what we know of them we are indebted to such of their relics
as may be accidentally found on the surface of the ground, or beneath it,
or may be turned up by the spade in the hands of trained observers. But
little work with the spade, compared with what might have been done,
has been undertaken. When the Cumberland and Westmorland Anti-
quarian and Archaeological Society was formed in 1866, Canon Greenwell,
D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A., and the late Canon Simpson, LL.D., F.S.A.,
both experienced excavators and trained observers, urged upon the new
Society the importance of this kind of work. They also cautioned the
Society as to the danger of entrusting it to unskilful hands, who too
frequently disturb and disperse the contents of barrows without putting
on record a satisfactory and sufficient account of the barrow itself, of the
mode of burial, and, in case of a burial by inhumation, of the type of
the skull ; or, in case of a burial after cremation, of the character of the
urn containing the ashes. These exhortations have not been without
effect in the sphere of the Society's work (viz. Cumberland, Westmor-
land and Lancashire north of the Sands). More exploration of this
kind has been done, and better done, in Westmorland and in Lancashire
north of the Sands, than in Cumberland. The chief workers in
Westmorland were the two eminent archaeologists just mentioned and
the late M. W. Taylor, M.D., F.S.A. In Lancashire north of the
Sands, Mr. H. S. Cowper, F.S.A., has done good work, which is re-
corded in Archaologia, vol. liii. For the work in Westmorland, and
what little Canon Greenwell and his colleagues did in Cumberland,
Greenwell and RoUeston's British Barrows should be consulted. That
prehistoric work in Cumberland has been comparatively neglected is due
largely to the existence there of the Roman Wall, and the interest it
excites among all archseologists resident within reach of it. Other
working archaeologists resident in Cumberland have had their own

* As the writer of this contribution died before it was set up in type, Dr. W. Boyd
Dawkins has been so good as to read the proofs. The author's statements have not been

interfered with.

J 225 Q



A HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND

special hobbies, such as early sculptured crosses, ecclesiastical antiquities,
genealogies, local bibliography, and the like.

THE STONE AGE
a. Long Barrows

The Stone Age has been divided into two periods. In the earlier
or Paleolithic when man did not know how to grind or polish a
stone, but only how to chip it to a sharp edge. The remains of the
Palsohthic Age are found in caves, and in river drift, but none have
been found in the district we are dealing with. Two stone implements
in the Keswick Museum, and one in the Carlisle Museum, have been
suggested as Palaeolithic, but they are more probably unfinished imple-
ments of the later or Neolithic Stone Age. It has been suggested by
Sir John Evans, K.C.B., that there are gravels in the valley of the Eden
in which Paleolithic (river drift) implements might be found. As to
how long it is since the Paleolithic man lived, it is unnecessary here to
go into that question ; dates varying from 60,000 years ago to 600,000
have been assigned to him ; it is maintained by Professor Boyd Dawkins
and Sir John Evans that a period of glaciers has intervened since he
roamed about this district — if he was ever there at all, and some of the
very features of the country have been completely changed since he lived.

But the Neolithic man, the man of the later Stone Age, who could
polish and grind a stone, saw this country much as we see it — the
position of his graves tells us that. He, too, has left no histories behind
him ; but the spade in the hands of Sir R. Colt Hoare, of Dr. Thurnam,
and of Canon Greenwell, has been the key which has unlocked the
secrets buried in his graves. The researches of Canon Greenwell have
been mainly in the Yorkshire Wolds, in Durham, Westmorland, and
Northumberland. Results only can be dealt with here ; for the evidence,
proper works must be consulted, the chief of which are Lubbock's
Prehistoric Times, Evans's Ancient Stone Implements, Thurnam's Crania
Britannica, Greenwell and RoUeston's British Barrows, and Boyd Dawkins's
Early Man in Britain.

The Neolithic man in these districts was of short stature, with a
long head (technically called dolicho-cephalic) . His facial angle, as
measured from his skull, and other evidence afforded by it, show him to
have probably had a mild and pleasant countenance. The remains of
the animals on which he lived show that he led a pastoral, semi-
agricultural existence, eking out his subsistence by the chase, rather of
birds than bigger animals. He had for domestic animals only the Bos
longerons, a species of ox ; it is doubtful if he had the goat ; he had not
the dog. He ground his grain with stones, and the sand and grit got
into the meal and wore his teeth down to the gum. He had toothache
badly, as the condition of his jaws shows. Dr. Thurnam thinks he was
a cannibal ; Canon Greenwell and Professor RoUeston repudiate the
slander. When he died, the man of the long head was buried in a lone

236



EARLY MAN

mound or barrow. (Long heads and long barrows go together ; round
heads and round barrows.) That long barrow was also the place of
sepulchre for his wife, or wives, and children. With him were deposited
certain earthen vessels, and implements of stone and bone, apparently
made new for the occasion. This may prove that he had some belief in
a future state in which he would require these things.

Many long mounds exist in Cumberland which externally bear the
appearance of long barrows ; in most cases, perhaps in all, positive proof
by excavation is wanting ; the late Dr. Simpson, than whom no man
was better acquainted with Cumberland and Westmorland farms, farmers
and their ways, has suggested that some of these long mounds are mere
bracken-stack-bottoms, bracken being formerly extensively cut and
stacked for winter use. Others, again, may be mere natural mounds,
but such natural mounds were liable to be, and have often been, adopted
by prehistoric people as ready-made places of sepulchre. The greatest
caution is therefore necessary in pronouncing upon such mounds, until
they have been explored by competent persons.

At Latterbarrow, under Ivluncaster Fell, are three long mounds
fenced in by large stones — two of them about 20 feet long and 3 feet
high, the third smaller. Their position is near the upper side of a large
grass field, on the 400 feet contour, soutii of the western end of Raven
Crag. These were first pointed out by Mr. C. W. Dymond, F.S.A.,
and promise well to repay examination. At the other extremity of
Cumberland, according to the late Rev. John Maughan, in the Archaeo-
logical Journal, vol. xl., pp. 231, 232, there were once, in the parish of
Bewcastle, in a field called Cairns, at a place known as the Nook,
Roanstrees,

five parallel ridges of stone or barrows, averaging about 150 yards in length and
about a yard deep.

They have been long cleared off to make way for the plough, and were
more probably bracken-stack-bottoms than long barrows. At Cairn
o' the Mount, near Peelohill in the same parish, is, according to the
same authority, a mound about 80 yards in length and about 8 yards
broad, pointed at each end, and terraced round. Further investigation
is required here. At Harras, near the Roman Camp of Birdoswald, is
what seems to be a fine long barrow. On Stockdale Moor in west
Cumberland is a large tumulus 35 yards long, 12 yards across at the
broadest end, while the other is pointed. This is called Sampson's
Bratful. A careful search through the district would probably add to
the number of mounds which might or might not be long barrows.
High up on the fells would be the best hunting ground, for in the valleys
mounds and tumuli are apt to be swept away by good agriculturists, who
dislike to see unproductive patches of ground in their holdings.

b. Implements

If, however, the long barrows of the dolicho-cephalic man in
Cumberland are few and doubtful, yet stone implements have been found

227



A HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND

in many places. At Aigle Gill, near Aspatria, a stone adze and a double-
pointed stone ; AUonby, a stone hammer ; Bewcastle, six rude stone
implements (hammer heads and perforated stones), also two stone adzes,
and a stone axe ; Blackford, polished stone celt ; Blennerhasset, stone
hammer ; Bootle, stone hammer and flint and quartz arrow-heads ;
Broadfield, polished stone hammer ; Burns Common, Threlkeld, stone
hammer ; Carlisle, stone axes, pestle of greenstone, length 1 6 inches ;
Castle Carrock, flint knives ; Dearham, unpolished celt ; Distington,
stone hammer ; Drigg, stone axe ; near Eaglesfield, unpolished stone
celts ; Edenhall, Oxhouse Oaks, stone hatchets ; Ehenside (Gibb) Tarn,
stone implements ; Garlands, near Carlisle, stone implements, flint arrow-
heads ; Gelt Bridge, near Leafy Hill, flint knife ; Gosforth, stone axe ;
Grinsdale Common, stone hammer ; Hallguard Farm, Birdoswald, per-
forated stone hammer ; Hesket Newmarket, Gillfoot, stone implements
and beads, and pieces of flint ; Holm Cultram, Highlaws and Souther-
field, stone implements, celts ; Inglewood Forest, large axe ; Ireby, stone
hammer, thumb and finger stone ; Irton, flint spear-head, polished stone
axe ; Irton Fell, unpolished celt ; Irthington, flint spear-head ; Keswick,
Burns Moor, perforated hammer-head of granite ; Keswick, Castle Rigg
Stone Circle, stone implements ; Keswick, celt of greenstone, a large
celt, stone celts (9), perforated implements (6) ; Kidburngill, stone
hammer ; Kirkbeck River, Bewcastle, stone implement ; Kirkoswald,
perforated stone axe ; Kirkoswald, The Castle, stone hammers ; Lam-
plugh. Wood Moor, stone hammer ; Loweswater, stone hammer ;
Melmerby, hammer stone; Millom, ancient British battle axe, 13I
inches long (? large stone celt), also Neolithic implements; Mow-
bray, stone hammers, polished celts, stone adze ; Newtown of Mowbray,
polished celts ; Ousby, perforated stone axe ; Penrith Beacon, polished
greenstone celt ; Plumpton, Penrith, perforated stone axe ; Ravenglass,
stone axe ; Red Dial, near Wigton, perforated stone axe or hammer ;
Great Salkeld, stone celts ; Scotby, stone adze ; Solway Moss, hafted
stone celt ; Sprunston, St. Cuthbert's, Carlisle, stone hammer ; Wan-
thwaite Crags, stone celt ; Wastwater Screes, flint arrow-head ; Wetheral,
stone implements ; and Wigton, stone hammers and celts.* From this
list it will appear that the most common are large stone celts or hatchets,
the greater part of them made of felstone, and some of a shape almost
peculiar to Cumberland (see fig. 61, Evans's Ancient Stone Implements
of Great Britain, ist edit., p. 106, 2nd edit., p. 118). A fine typical
one found at Horsegills in Cumberland, and now in the Carlisle
Museum, is 15I inches long, i\ inches broad at widest part ; 3 inches



Online LibraryJames WilsonThe Victoria history of the county of Cumberland → online text (page 32 of 63)