Robert Naylor.

From John O'Groats to Land's End online

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end. An old book, published in 1821, gave us the following interesting
information about the lake:

It was at one time thought to be unfathomable, but on the third and
fourth of June, 1772, when the water was six feet below its greatest
known height, and three feet above the lowest ebb, a trial was made
to ascertain by soundings the depth and form of the lake. Its
greatest depth was found to be near Ecclesrigg Crag - 201 feet. The
bottom of the lake in the middle stream is a smooth rock; in many
places the sides are perpendicular, and in some places they continue
so for a mile without interruption. It abounds with fish, and the
Rivers Brathay and Rothay feed the lake at the upper end, and in the
breeding-season the trout ascend the Rothay, and the char the Brathay
only; but in the winter, when these fish are in season, they come
into the shallows, where they are fished for in the night, at which
time they are the more easily driven into the nets.

We now turned along an old coach road which crossed the hills over
Cartmel Fell to Kendal, and appeared to be very little used. Our road
climbed steadily for about two miles, when suddenly there came a bright
interval between the showers, and we had a magnificent view of a portion
of Lake Windermere, with a steamboat leaving the landing-stage near
Newby Bridge. We stood, as it were, riveted to the spot; but another
shower coming on, the view vanished like a dream, though it lasted
sufficiently long to bring us encouragement and to cheer us upon our wet
and lonely way. The showers seemed as full of water as ever they could
hold, and sheltering-places were by no means plentiful. Sometimes
sheltering behind trees and sometimes in farm buildings, we proceeded
but slowly, and about eight miles from Kendal we halted for lunch at a
small inn, where we found cover for so long a time that, after walking
about three miles from that town, we called at another inn for tea. It
was astonishing how well we were received and provided for at these
small inns in the country. Every attention was given to us, a fire
lighted to dry our coats, and the best food the place could provide was
brought on to the table. We were shown into the parlour, and the best
cups and saucers were brought out from the corner cupboards.

The temperance movement appeared to be permeating the most unlikely
places, and we were astonished to find the crockery here painted with
temperance signs and mottoes, including a temperance star, and the
words "Be them faithful unto death." This seemed all the more remarkable
when we saw that the sign on the inn was the "Punch Bowl." The rain had
apparently been gradually clearing off, while we were at tea, but it
came on again soon after we left the comfortable shelter of the inn, so
we again took refuge - this time in the house of a tollgate, where we had
a long talk with the keeper. He pointed out a road quite near us which
had been made so that vehicles could get past the toll-bar on their way
to and from Kendal without going through the gates and paying toll. This
had been constructed by a landowner for the use of himself and his
tenants. As a retort the toll people had erected a stump at each side of
the entrance, apparently with the object of placing a chain across the
road, and had also erected a wooden hut to shelter a special toll-keeper
who only attended on Kendal market days. Some mischievous persons,
however, had overturned the hut, and we did not envy the man who on a
day like this had to attend here to collect tolls without any shelter to
protect him from the elements. Tollgates and turnpikes were ancient
institutions on the British roads, and in many places were in the hands
of Turnpike Trusts, who often rented the tolls to outsiders and applied
the rent chiefly to the repair of the roads. A fixed charge was made on
cattle and vehicles passing through the gates, and the vehicles were
charged according to the number of animals and wheels attached to them,
a painted table of tolls being affixed to the tollhouse. The gates were
kept closed, and were only opened when vehicles and cattle arrived, and
after payment of the charges. There was no charge made to pedestrians,
for whom a small gate or turnstile was provided at the side nearest the
tollhouse. The contractors who rented the tolls had to depend for their
profit or loss upon the total amount of the tolls collected minus the
amount of rent paid and toll-keepers' wages. Towards the close of the
Trusts the railways had made such inroads upon the traffic passing by
road that it was estimated that the cost of collection of tolls amounted
to 50 per cent. of the total sum collected.

The tollgate-keeper informed us that Dick Turpin, the highwayman, never
paid any tolls, for no collector dare ask him for payment, and if the
gate was closed, "Black Bess," his favourite mare, jumped over it.

He had a lot to tell us about Furness Abbey. He knew that it had been
built by King Stephen, and he said that not far from it there was a park
called Oxen Park, where the king kept his oxen, and that he had also a
Stirk Park.

He asked us if we had seen the small and very old church of Cartmel
Fell, and when we told him we had not, he said that travellers who did
not know its whereabouts often missed seeing it, for, although not far
from the road, it was hidden from view by a bank or small mound, and
there was a legend that some traveller, saint, or hermit who slept on
the bank dreamed that he must build a church between two rivers running
in opposite directions. He travelled all the world over, but could not
find any place where the rivers ran in opposite directions, so he came
back disappointed, only to find the rivers were quite near the place he
started from. The church was of remote antiquity, and was dedicated to
St. Anthony, the patron saint of wild boars and of wild beasts
generally; but who built the church, and where the rivers were to be
found, did not transpire.

We had carried our mackintoshes all the way from John o' Groat's, and
they had done us good service; but the time had now arrived when they
had become comparatively useless, so, after thanking the keeper of the
tollhouse for allowing us to shelter there, we left them with him as
relics of the past. The great objection to these waterproofs was that
though they prevented the moisture coming inwards, they also prevented
it going outwards, and the heat and perspiration generated by the
exertion of walking soon caused us to be as wet as if we had worn no
protection at all. Of course we always avoided standing in a cold wind
or sitting in a cold room, and latterly we had preferred getting wet
through to wearing them.

We arrived in Kendal in good time, and stayed at the temperance hotel.
In the town we purchased two strong but rather rustic-looking umbrellas,
without tassels or gold or silver handles - for umbrellas in the rainy
region of the "North Countrie" were wanted for use and not for ornament.
We found them quite an agreeable change from the overalls. Of course we
held them up skilfully, and as we thought almost scientifically, when
walking in the rain, and it was astonishing how well they protected us
when holding them towards the same side and angle as the falling rain.
Many people we met were holding them straight up, and looking quite
happy, reminding us of the ostrich when hunted and hard pressed, hiding
its head in the sand and imagining that its body was covered also! The
draper who sold us the umbrellas told us that Professor Kirk, whom we
had heard in Edinburgh, was to deliver an address in the evening on the
Good Templar Movement, so we decided to attend. The Professor, a good
speaker, informed us that there were between five and six hundred
members of the Order in Kendal. Mr. Edward Dawson of Lancaster also
addressed the meeting, and told us there were about three hundred
members in Lancaster, while the Professor estimated the number in
Scotland at between fifty and sixty thousand. It was quite a new
movement, which had its origin apparently in America, and was becoming
the prevailing subject of conversation in the country we travelled

[Illustration: KENDAL CASTLE.]

Kendal was an ancient place, having been made a market town by licence
from Richard Coeur de Lion. Philippa, the Queen of Edward III, wisely
invited some Flemings to settle there and establish the manufacture of
woollen cloth, which they did. Robin Hood and his "merrie men" were
said to have been clothed in Kendal Green, a kind of leafy green which
made the wearers of it scarcely distinguishable from the foliage and
vegetation of the forests which in Robin Hood's time covered the greater
part of the country. Lincoln Green was an older cloth of pure English

Robin Hood was the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon, and Shakespeare makes
Falstaff say -

All the woods
Are full of outlaws that in Kendal Green
Followed the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon.

Catherine Parr was born at Kendal, and an old writer, noting that she
was the last Queen of Henry VIII, added, "a lady who had the good
fortune to descend to the grave with her head on, in all probability
merely by outliving her tyrant." This beautiful and highly accomplished
woman had already been married twice, and after the King's death took a
fourth husband. She narrowly escaped being burnt, for the King had
already signed her death-warrant and delivered it to the Lord
Chancellor, who dropped it by accident, and the person who found it
carried it to the Queen herself. She was actually in conversation with
the King when the Lord Chancellor came to take her to the Tower, for
which the King called him a knave and a fool, bidding him "Avaunt from
my presence." The Queen interceded for the Chancellor; but the King
said, "Ah, poor soul, thou little knowest what _he_ came about; of my
word, sweetheart, he has been to thee a very knave."

[Illustration: KENDAL CHURCH.]

Kendal possessed a fine old church, in one of the aisles of which was
suspended a helmet said to have belonged to Major Phillipson, whose
family was haunted by the two skulls, and who was nicknamed by
Cromwell's men "Robert the Devil" because of his reckless and daring
deeds. The Phillipsons were great Royalists, and Colonel Briggs of
Kendal, who was an active commander in the Parliamentary Army, hearing
that the major was on a visit to his brother, whose castle was on the
Belle Isle in Lake Windermere, resolved to besiege him there; but
although the siege continued for eight months, it proved ineffectual.
When the war was over, Major Phillipson resolved to be avenged, and he
and some of his men rode over to Kendal one Sunday morning expecting to
find Colonel Briggs in the church, and either to kill him or take him
prisoner there. Major Phillipson rode into the church on horseback, but
the colonel was not there. The congregation, much surprised and annoyed
at this intrusion, surrounded the major, and, cutting the girths,
unhorsed him. On seeing this, the major's party made a furious attack on
the assailants, and the major killed with his own hand the man who had
seized him, and, placing the ungirthed saddle on his horse, vaulted into
it and rode through the streets of Kendal calling upon his men to follow
him, which they did, and the whole party escaped to their safe resort in
the Lake of Windermere.

This incident furnished Sir Walter Scott with materials for a similar
adventure in "Rokeby," canto vi.:

All eyes upon the gateway hung.
When through the Gothic arch there sprung
A horseman arm'd, at headlong speed -
Sable his cloak, his plume, his steed.
Fire from the flinty floor was spurn'd.
The vaults unwonted clang return'd! -
One instant's glance around he threw,
From saddle-bow his pistol drew.
Grimly determined was his look!
His charger with the spurs he strook -
All scatter'd backward as he came,
For all knew Bertram Risingham!
Three bounds that noble courser gave;
The first has reach'd the central nave,
The second clear'd the chancel wide.
The third - he was at Wycliffe's side.

* * * * *

While yet the smoke the deed conceals,
Bertram his ready charger wheels;
But flounder'd on the pavement-floor
The steed, and down the rider bore,
And, bursting in the headlong sway.
The faithless saddle-girths gave way.
'Twas while he toil'd him to be freed.
And with the rein to raise the steed.
That from amazement's iron trance
All Wycliffe's soldiers waked at once.

(_Distance walked fifteen miles_.)

_Friday, October 20th._

We left Kendal before breakfast, as we were becoming anxious about
maintaining our average of twenty-five miles per day, for we had only
walked nineteen miles on Wednesday and fifteen miles yesterday, and we
had written to our friends some days before saying that we hoped to
reach York Minster in time for the services there on Sunday.


In the meantime we had decided to visit Fountains Abbey, so, crossing
the River Kent, we walked nine miles along a hilly road over the fells,
which were about 800 feet above sea-level. We stopped at a place called
Old Town for breakfast, for which our walk through the sharp clear air
on the fells had given us an amazing appetite. We then walked quickly
down the remaining three miles to Kirkby Lonsdale, passing on our way
the beautiful grounds and residence of the Earl of Bective. At the
entrance to the town we came to the school, and as the master happened
to be standing at the door, we took the opportunity of asking him some
particulars about Kirkby Lonsdale and our farther way to Fountains
Abbey. He was a native of Scotland, and gave us some useful and reliable
information, being greatly interested in the object of our journey. We
found Kirkby Lonsdale to be quite a nice old-fashioned town with a
church dedicated to St. Mary - a sign, we thought, of its antiquity; the
interior had been recently restored by the Earl of Bective at a cost of
about £11,000. An old board hanging up in the church related to one of
the porches, on which was painted a crest and shield with the date 1668,
and the following words in old English letters:

This porch by y' Banes first builded was,
(Of Heighholme Hall they weare,)
And after sould to Christopher Wood
By William Banes thereof last heyre.
And is repayred as you do see
And sett in order good
By the true owner nowe thereof
The foresaid Christopher Wood.

There was also painted in the belfry a rhyming list of the "ringers'

If to ring ye do come here,
You must ring well with hand and ear;
Keep stroke and time and go not out,
Or else you'll forfeit without doubt.
He that a bell doth overthrow
Must pay a groat before he go;
He that rings with his hat on,
Must pay his groat and so begone.

He that rings with spur on heel,
The same penalty he must feel.
If an oath you chance to hear,
You forfeit each two quarts of beer.
These lines are old, they are not new.
Therefore the ringers must have their due.

_N.B._ - Any ringer entering a peal of six pays his shilling.

The first two lines greatly interested my brother, whose quick ear could
distinguish defects when they occurred in the ringing of church bells,
and he often remarked that no ringer should be appointed unless he had a
good ear for music.

There were one or two old-fashioned inns in the town, which looked very
quaint, and Kirkby Old Hall did duty for one of them, being referred to
by the rhymester "Honest" or "Drunken Barnaby" in his Latin Itinerary of
his "Travels in the North":

I came to Lonsdale, where I staid
At Hall, into a tavern made.
Neat gates, white walls - nought was sparing,
Pots brimful - no thought of caring;
They eat, drink, laugh; are still mirth-making,
Nought they see that's worth care-taking.

The men of the North were always warlike, and when in the year 1688, in
the time of James II, a rumour was circulated that a large French Army
had landed on the coast of Yorkshire, a great number of men assembled on
the outskirts of the town and were waiting there ready for the call to
arms, when news came that it was a false alarm. Of course this event had
to be recorded by the local poet, who wrote:

In eighty-eight, was Kirby feight.
When nivver a man was slain;
They ate the'r mey't, an' drank the'r drink,
An' sae com' merrily heame again.

We were sorry we could not stay longer in the neighbourhood of Kirkby
Lonsdale, as the scenery in both directions along the valley of the
River Lune was very beautiful. As we crossed the bridge over it we
noticed an old stone inscribed:

Fear God
Honer the
King 1633,

and some other words which we could not decipher. The bridge was rather
narrow, and at some unknown period had replaced a ford, which was at all
times difficult to cross, and often dangerous, and at flood-times quite
impassable, as the river here ran between rocks and across great
boulders; it was, however, the only ready access to the country beyond
for people living in Kirkby Lonsdale. One morning the inhabitants awoke
to find a bridge had been built across this dangerous ford during the
night, and since no one knew who had built it, its erection was
attributed to his Satanic Majesty, and it was ever afterwards known as
the Devil's Bridge.

The bridge was very narrow, and, although consisting of three arches,
one wide and the others narrow, and being 180 feet long, it was less
than twelve feet wide, and had been likened to Burns' Auld Brig o' Ayr,

With your poor narrow footpath of a street.
Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet.

The country people had a tradition that it was built in windy weather by
the Devil, who, having only one apron full of stones, and the breaking
of one of his apron-strings causing him to lose some of them as he flew
over Casterton Fell, he had only enough left to build a narrow bridge.


Another legend states that "Once upon a time there lived a queer old
woman whose cow and pony pastured across the river and had to cross it
on their way to and from home. The old woman was known as a great cheat.
One dark and wet night she heard her cow bellow, and knew that she was
safely across the ford; but as the pony only whined, she thought that he
was being carried away by the flood. She began to cry, when suddenly the
Devil appeared, and agreed to put up a bridge that night on conditions
named in the legend:

"To raise a bridge I will agree.
That in the morning you shall see.
But mine for aye the first must be
That passes over.
So by these means you'll soon be able
To bring the pony to his stable.
The cow her clover."

In vain were sighs and wailings vented,
As she at last appeared contented.
It was a bargain - she consented -
For she was Yorkshire.
Now home she goes in mighty glee.
Old Satan, too, well pleased he
Went to his work, sir.

He worked hard all night, and early in the morning the bridge was made,
as the old woman knew by the terrible noise. He called to the old woman
to come over, but she brought her little mangy dog, and, taking a bun
out of her pocket, threw it over the bridge. The dog ran over after it.

"Now - crafty sir, the bargain was
That you should have what first did pass
Across the bridge - so now - alas!
The dog's your right."
The cheater - cheated - struck with shame.
Squinted and grinned: then, in a flame
He vanished quite.


On reflection we came to the conclusion that whenever and however it was
built, the bridge was of a type not uncommon in Cheshire, and often
called Roman bridges, but erected in all probability in mediæval times,
when only width enough was required for the passing of one horse - in
other words, when most roads were nothing but bridlepaths. We were glad
of the assistance afforded by the bridge for the rushing waters of the
River Lune were swollen by the heavy rains, and our progress in that
direction would have been sadly delayed had we arrived there in the time
of the ancient ford. We now passed the boundaries of Lancashire and
Westmorland and entered the county of York, the largest in England. A
large sale of cattle was taking place that day at a farm near the
bridge, and for some miles we met buyers on their way to the sale, each
of whom gave us the friendly greeting customary in the hilly districts
of that hospitable county. Seven miles from Kirkby Lonsdale we stopped
at Ingleton for some dinner, and just looked inside the church to see
the fine old Norman font standing on small pillars and finely sculptured
with scenes relating chiefly to the childhood of our Saviour. Joseph
with his carpenter's tools and the Virgin Mary seated with the infant
Saviour on her knees, the Eastern Magi bringing their offerings, Herod
giving orders for the destruction of the young children, Rachel weeping,
and others - all damaged in the course of centuries, though still giving
one an idea of the great beauty of the font when originally placed in
position. We heard about the many waterfalls to be seen - perhaps as many
as could be visited in the course of a whole week; but we had seen - and
suffered - so much water and so many waterfalls, that for the time being
they formed no attraction. Still we resolved to see more of this
interesting neighbourhood on a future occasion.

Passing through Clapham, said to be one of the finest villages in
England, and where there was a cave supposed to run about half a mile
underground, we came to some fine limestone cliffs to the left of our
road, which were nearly white as we approached nearer to the town of
Settle, situated at the foot of Giggleswick Scar, alongside which our
road passed. We visited the Ebbing and Flowing Well, where the much-worn
stones around it proclaimed the fact that for many ages pilgrims had
visited its shrine; but how "Nevison's Nick," a famous highwayman, could
have ridden his horse up the face of the rock leading up to it - even
with the aid of his magic bridle - was more than we could understand.
Another legend stated that a nymph pursued by a satyr was so afraid that
he would overtake her that she prayed to the gods to change her into a
spring. Her prayer was granted, and the ebbs and flows in the water were
supposed to represent the panting of the nymph in her flight.


We turned aside to visit Giggleswick village, with its old cross, which
seemed to be nearly complete, and we found the old church very
interesting. It contained some ancient monuments, one of which
represented Sir Richard Temple, born 1425, knighted at the Battle of
Wakefield, 1460, attainted for treason 1461, pardoned by King Edward IV,
and died 1488, the head of his charger being buried with him. There was
also the tomb of Samuel Watson, the "old Quaker," who interrupted the
service in the church in 1659, when the people "brok his head upon ye
seates." Then there was the famous Grammar School, a very old foundation
dating back to early in the sixteenth century. We were delighted with
our visit to Giggleswick, and, crossing the old bridge over the River
Ribble, here but a small stream, we entered the town of Settle and
called for tea at Thistlethwaite's Tea and Coffee Rooms. There were
several small factories in the neighbourhood. We noticed that a concert
had recently been held in the town in aid of a fund for presenting a
lifeboat to the National Society, one having already been given by this
town for use on the stormy coasts of the Island of Anglesey.


Leaving Settle by the Skipton road, we had gone about a mile when we met
two men who informed us we were going a long way round either for Ripon
or York. They said an ancient road crossed the hills towards York, and
that after we had climbed the hill at the back of the town we should see
the road running straight for fourteen miles. This sounded all right,
and as the new moon was now shining brightly, for it was striking six
o'clock as we left the town, we did not fear being lost amongst the
hills, although they rose to a considerable height. Changing our course,
we climbed up a very steep road and crossed the moors, passing a small
waterfall; but whether we were on or off the ancient road we had no
means of ascertaining, for we neither saw nor met any one on the way,

Online LibraryRobert NaylorFrom John O'Groats to Land's End → online text (page 27 of 66)