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The Evolution Of An English Town
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"Item they saie that vpon Sondaie being the iij of November 1594 in tyme off evynnyng praie [sic] Richarde Haie being parishe clerk of Pickring and begynnyng to rede the first lesson of the saide evynnyng praier, Robert Leymyng did close and shutt the byble to geither whereupon he was to red at, and so disturbed him frome reding it, and therevpon John Harding redd the first lesson. And so hindred and disturbed the saide Richard Haie parishe clerke who was readye and abowteward to rede the same/ And the saide John Harding did likewise disturbe and hinder the saide Richarde Haie vpon All Saynts dais last when he was to haue helped the vicar to saie devyne service and so hindred him being commanded to the conrye[1] by the churche wardens, and having the admission of the saide Richard Haie openly redd with a revocation of the former granted to the saide Hardyng. wherebye he was commanded and enioyned to surcease frome execution of that office."

[Footnote 1: This word is doubtful, but is perhaps "conrye," for "contrary."]



In 1602 when Edward Mylls was vicar of Pickering, complaints were made of him "that he for the most parte, but not alwaies dothe weare a surplesse in tyme of dyvyne service / they present there vicar for that they ar vncerteyne whether his wif was commended vnto him by justices of peace nor whether he was licenced to marrye hir according to hir Maiesties iniunctions/" This vicar was deprived of the living in 1615, for omitting to preach sermons and for not properly instructing the people and as will be seen in the next chapter he appears to have been a most reprehensible character.

At the same time as this "Richarde Nicoll, Widow Kitchin, Robert Skayles, John Flaworthe, and widow Shorpshier are presented for deteyning the clerkes wages/ Elizabeth Dodds ffor having a childe in adultery withe one Anthonye Boyes, which Boyes is now fledd/ William Steavenson ffor a slanderer. And also Frances Fetherston the wif of Robert Fetherston for a scowlde/ Richard Hutchinson for harboring a woman which had a childe begotten in fornicacion They saie that [blank] Lavrock and [blank] Wilson did by the apoyntment of Richard Parkinson there master carrye turffes in to the house vpon the Sabboth daie The rest is all well."

The rigid observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest is vividly shown by this last complaint, and at Allerston we find that "Isabell Rea wiffe of William Raie" was reprimanded—"ffor workyng on the Sabbothe daie viz't for washing and dressing of hempe at the hemppe pitt vpon Sondaie was seavenyght/"

In 1592 appears the following/ "The chancell of Pickering in decaie bothe the windowes and the leades and to be repaired as we suppose by Mr Deane/ [The Dean of York] Mr Deane for want of the quarter sermons and for not geving the xl^tie part of his lyving of the parsonage of Pickering to the poore people of the said parishe Agnes Poskett wif of William Poskett of Pickering for a scold."

In the following year we find presented at Pickering "Elizabeth Johnson wif of Frances Johnson of Kinthorpe for an obstynate recusant in not comyng to the churche to here dyvyne service by the space of ij^o yeares last past and more/ Anne Browne wiffe of William Browne of Pickering for an obstinate recusant in not commyng to the churche to here dyvyne service and so haithe done by the space of ij^o yeares and more/ Rauffe Hodgeson of Pickring for an obstinate recusant and haithe absented him self ffrome the churche by the space of ij'o yeares and more. Anne Clerke being in John Wright his house of Blansbye and haithe meate and drinke there, ffor not commyng to the church to here dyvyne service by the space of half a yeare/ Rychard Hutchinson sonne of William Hutchinson of Kinthorpp ffor absenting him self from the churche by the space of halff a yeare and more/. And he is excommunicate."

Elizabeth Dobson was presented in 1600 as "a slaunderer who saide to Thomas Gibson that he was a Mainesworne ladd /"

To call anyone "mansworn" was evidently a very serious offence, for in 1527 the Newcastle-on-Tyne corporation of weavers decreed that any member of the corporation who should call his brother "mansworn" should incur a forfeit of 6s. 8d. "without forgiveness." To manswear comes from the Anglo-Saxon manswerian meaning to swear falsely or to perjure oneself. Among the men of note of this period mention must be made of Ralph Dodmer son of Henry Dodmer of Pickering who was a mercer and Lord Mayor of London in 1521.[1]

[Footnote 1: Thomas Fuller's "Worthies."]

The visitation book shows that it was no uncommon thing to accuse a woman of being a scold in these times and the following written in 1602[1] throws a lurid light on the methods for removing the effects of a witch's malice.

[Footnote 1: The original is stuck in Calvert's MS. Book of Folklore.]

"To cure an ill caste by any Witch putt upon any childe be y^t y^e evil eye, an overglent, spreeking, an ill birth touche or of a spittle boult but do as here given & alle shalle be overcome letting no evil rest upon y^m Take a childe so ill held & strike y^t seven times on y^e face & like upon y^e navel with y^e heart of a blacke cat then roast y^e heart & give of y^t to eat seven nights at bed meale & y^t shalle be well butt y^e cat must be seven years olde & y^e seventh dropped at birth otherwise y^t shalle faile to overcome any Witch spell soever ill worked y^e blood from such an heart laid to any witches dorepost or thrown over nighte upon her dorestep will cause a sore & great paine in her belly."

In the period which includes the momentous defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) it is fitting to describe the beacons of Pickering and the neighbourhood that must have helped to spread the news to the inhabitants of Yorkshire of the coming of that "Invincible" fleet. A contemporary manuscript book dated 1580 to 1590, and discovered by Mr J.G. Constable, tells us how Pickering beacon, which was presumably situated on Beacon Hill opposite the castle, gave light to the neighbouring heights.

[Sidenote: "Pickering Lythe 7 Beacons]

Pickering beacon giveth light to Setrington beacon, in the East Riding, and to Ampleforth beacon, in Rydall. Seamer two beacons do give light to Pickering, Susfeld, in Whitby Strand, and Setterington beacon. Waipnesse beacon, within the liberties of Scarborough, do give light to Muston Beacon, in the East Riding, and to the west of the beacons before named

"Charnell, three beacons, within the town of Scarborough adjoining to the castle, do give light to Waipnesse and Muston beacon."

[Sidenote: "Rydal 1 Beacon]

There is a beacon in Rydall called Ampleforthe beacon well repaired. It taketh light from Pickering beacon. It giveth light to the Sumclife beacon, in the Wapentake of Birdforth, three miles distant from it westward"

In 1598[1] the streets of Pickering are given as, Easte Gaite and Hallgarthe, Ungate, Birdgate, Borrowgate and Weste Gate.

[Footnote 1: MS. book of Pickering Records in possession of the Rev. Arthur Hill of Thornton-le-dale.]

Two interesting monuments of this period are to be found in Brompton and Kirby-Moorside Churches. The first is carved on stone in the north wall of the Church. It reads:—

"I.W. 1580. E.W. 1547. HEIR LIETH IAMES WESTROP WHO IN WARS TO HIS GREIT CHARGES SARVED OIN KYNG AND TOW QVENES WITH DV{O}BE{O}IENS AND WITH OWT RECVMPENS."

The brass at Kirby-Moorside is to the memory of Lady Brooke and bears this verse as well as the inscription:—

"Prepare for death for if the fatall sheares Covld have bene stayd by prayers, sighes or teares They had bene stayd, and this tombe thov seest here Had not erected beene yet many a yeare."

"Here lyeth the body of my Lady Brooke, who while she lyved was a good woman, a very good mother, and an exceeding good wife. Her sovle is at rest w^th God, for she was svre y^t her Redemer lyved, and that thovgh wormes destroyed her body, yet shee shovld see God in her flesh. She died the 12th of Jvly 1600."

From the different aspects of life at Pickering in the Tudor Period that we have been able to give, something can be seen of the manner of living at this time; but to have done justice to the materials that may be drawn upon would have required a volume for what has of necessity been limited to a chapter.



CHAPTER X

The Forest and Vale in Stuart Times

A.D. 1603 to 1714

As in the two preceding chapters the records belonging to the Stuart period are so numerous that one is almost embarrassed at the mass of detailed information that has been preserved, and it is only possible to select some of the most interesting facts. Commencing with the parish registers, however, we are confronted with a gap of about thirteen years. After having been kept with regularity since 1559, there appears on p. 48 of the earliest book this curious entry: "Edward Milnes Vicar of Pickering rent out all these following leaves." The missing pages contained the entries from 1602 to 1615, and this coincides with the years of Milnes's tenure of the living, for he appears to have come to Pickering in 1602, and he was deprived in 1615. The reasons for removing this vicar are recorded as follows in the last pages of the register, but the motives that prompted him to tear out these thirtyfive parchment pages from the register do not appear:—

"A true copie of the Order of the Councel ther in Pickering Lith asserted? obtained by Mr Lawrence Trotter attornie at the Common law Ano domi 1615.

[Sidenote: [Much thumbed at the edge.]]

"At the Court at Greenewich on Sunday the 21 of May 1615 in the afternoone: present L. Archbishop of Canterburie, L. Chancelor, L. Knolls, L. Treasurer Mr Secretarie Winwood, D. of Linnox, Mr Chanceler of the Excheq, E. of Worcester, L. Chiefe iusice, E. of Pembrooke, Mr of y^e Rolles, L. Souch, Sir Thomas Lake.

[Transcriber's Note: P and p was used to represent a P or p with a horizontal stroke through the lower part of the stem.]

"Complaint having bin made unto the boarde by the Inhabitants of the towne and parish of Pickering in the Countie of Yorke. That that personage now in possession of the bishop of Bristoll Deane of Yorke (it being an indowment of the said Deanerie) such slender care hath bene had by him for the preaching of the Gospell unto the said parishioners, and giving them that Christianlike and necessarie instrucon which is fitting, as for a long time they scarce had any sermon at all amongest them. Where upon their Lordships were pleased to direct their Letters unto the s^d Lord Bishop admonishing and requiring him to give speedie order for the redresse of so great an inconvenience and so scandalous to his ma^ties most Christian goverm^t. But receaving answer from his Lordship that in respect the said Psonage being an impropriacon is indued w^th a Vicarage and a Viccar presented thereunto he held him selfe freed in Law from any further charge, and that the said Psnage was in Lease w^th. such other like excuses but that notwithstanding he was contented to procure them 12 sermons every yeare, their Lordships thought fitting this day to call him to the boarde, and to let him sea in reason of State, besides the great obligacon they had as Christians it behoved them to presse his Lordship notwithstanding the former excuse to have yet a further care of the teaching so great a multitude (they being 4000 people) considering how busie the priestes and Jesuits are in these dayes (especially in these quarters) not only laboring to corrupt his ma^ties subjects in their religion but also infecting them with such damnable posiciones and Doctrine touching the valew ... (?) unto his ma^ties sacred person where upon the said bishop made offer unto the boarde that he would forthwith (?) remove the vicar now there present and place in his roome some lerned and religious pastor who should as it was desired weekely preach unto the people and carefully instruct them in the points of faith and religion of which their Lordships were pleased to accept for the present, and accordingly inioyned him to the performance thereof and withall ordered the said preacher now to be presented should first be approved and allowed by the lorde Archbishop of Yorke in respect of abilitie and sufficiencie." This entry is thus attested:—

"CONCORDAT CUM REGISTRO FFRANCIS COTTINGTON LAURENCE TROTTER ATTORNIE EDWARD BRIGHT VICARIUS DE PICKERING SCRIPTOR HUIS EXEMPLARIS."



Edward Bright succeeded to the living in 1615. We may believe that he was selected as being a "lerned and religious pastor." He appears to have remained in possession until his death in 1659, though there is an entry of the baptism of a son of a certain Robert King in 1644, who is described as "minister." There must have been some exciting scenes in Pickering at this time, for in the year 1644, when many other churches suffered a similar fate, the registers record the breaking up of the font and the tearing to pieces of the church Prayer Book on the same day. The entries are in very small pale writing at the back of one of the books and read:—

"Baptisterii Pickerensis Demolitio, Septemb. 25, 1644."

And in another hand:—

"Liturgia ecclesie ibidem lacerata eodem die 1644."

Edward Bright had several children whose names appear in the registers, and one of them, Joseph Bright, was on the 11th of July 1652 "elected and declared to be the parish clerk of Pickering." He was then twenty-five years old. On the night of August the 26th, 1634, there was a fire in the town which burnt down two houses and caused great fear among the inhabitants. Then among other entries on the back pages of register No. 2, 1615-53, appear recipes of this character:—

"A [cure?] for the dropsie in ye winter. Take a gallon of white wine and broome ashes to the quantitie [a few indecipherable words] sifted and drinke a pint thereof morning and [cause?] it [to?] be drunken also at meale times with ones meats and at other times when one is drie a little quantitie. Matthew Mitso ... e."

"For the same in Summer. Take a pecke of sage and bake it in a riddon (?) pastie, and when it is baked to a hard crust breake there crust and all in it ... and ... unne it up all into a barrell of drinke, and drinke it in the Sumer time especially in maye."

"A remeadie for the stich.

"Take a j^d. of treacle a j^d of aqua-vite and a j^d of sal ... and apply them to the place."

"A medicine for wormes.

"Take lavander c ... unset leekes an ox ('or bull' inserted above) gall and cumin seed, fry these togither with . (?) . and lay them warme in a linnen clath to the childes belly."

Some other remedies that belong to this period were discovered by Mr Blakeborough[1] in this neighbourhood. I have taken them from the original seventeenth century writing:—

[Footnote 1: Calvert's MS. book in the possession of Mr Richard Blakeborough. ]

"Take for to clear the eyes 1 ounce of dried batts bloode groude to powder & white hens bloode & dung sift & when they be well mixed & quite dry then blowe a little in the ill eye & yt shall soon be well."

"For a pinne or ivebbe in ye eye.

"Take ye galle of an hare the gall of a mowerpate and of a wild cat and honey and hogs lard a like quantity mix all together and annoynt y^e eye w^th a feather dipped in yt and yt shalle be soon cured."

The details of a remedy "For a fallynge sickness" though possibly considered very efficacious are too repulsive for modern ears.

The following recipe, "For the making of Honey Cakes. Certayne to be acceptable to y^e Fairy Folk," is from the same source and is dated 1605:—

"Taike of wilde honey thre ounce, of powder'd dill sede half ounce swete violet roote in fine powder 2 drachmes and six ounces of white wheaten meal which you will bringe to a light dowgh these thinges being all mixed together with faire water. This done with a silver spune helde in ye hand of a sure maid one be you sure who hath not as yet owther yielded her own or do then or ever hath worn a garter band there bound by her lover for such be not fitt and proper maids for the maykinge of Fairy Cakes. The Cakes thus mayde be they to the number of seven unbaked and mayde to the biggness of a marke. These cakes thus mayde may be used by any one wishfull to intercede with or begge a boon from the Fairy folk alwaie being mindfull of this matter be she passing as a maid lett her not dare to mayke use of the cakes." Then follows the story of the evils that befell "one Sarah Heugh who well knowing herself alacking her maiden-head" tried to pass herself off to the fairies as a "true" maid.

Coming back to the registers of Pickering we find that on the 13th August 1694 Archbishop Sharp held a confirmation in the church and confirmed about a thousand persons. The note is given in Latin as follows:—

"Memorandum. 13^o die Augusti 1694 Johannes Divina providentia Eboracensis Archiepiscopus in ecclesia parochiali de Pickeringe Mille (aut eo circita) Baptizatos Xti Relligioni Confirmavit.

"Joshua Newton.

"Vicarius Ib."

The parcel gilt Chalice still in use at Pickering Church belongs to this period. It is dated 1613, and was made by Christopher Harrington, the goldsmith of York. The paten was made in 1712 by Seth Lofthouse of London.

During the Commonwealth Levisham and Pickering parishes seem to have been joined from 1653 to 1661. The Levisham burials and births appear in the Pickering registers. Among the regular entries of deaths at Pickering are recorded:—

"1619. Jane Greenwood a stranger buried March. 1631. Ellen Kirbye a poore Girle buried. 1634. A poor traveller buried here the 3 day of June. 1636. Gawen Pollard pauper Generosus 30th May."

It would be interesting to know how a pauper came to be a "generosus."

A bequest dated 1658 that seems to have been entirely forgotten appears in one of the registers. It says: "Be it Remembred that Robert Huggett of great Edston In the County of yourke Labourer did by his last will and Testamente bearinge date the Eleaventh day of January in the yeare of Grace one Thousande Sixe hundred fifty Eight give & bequeste unto Elizabeth Huggett his Mother in Law all that his Cottage or Tennemente att Pickeringe with all & singular the Appurtenances theirunto belongeing duringe hir life Naturall and No longer and then to Come unto James Coates of little Barugh Husbandman all the Right & Title of the above saide Tennemente in Pickeringe aforsaide after the death of my saide Mother in Law Hee payinge theirfor year by & every yeare for Ever the some of Twelve shilling of Lawfull money of Englande to be paide unto the Poore of Pickeringe att the feaste of Sainte Martin the bishopp in winter to begine the firste paymente at Martinmas after the death of my saide Mother in Law & not before which Twelve shilling shall be distributede at the discretion of the saide James Coats or his assignes Togeather with the advice of the Church wardins & overseers of the saide towne of Pickeringe for the time beinge."



The briefs collected at Pickering for various purposes were very numerous between 1661 and 1665; they are set out elaborately at the back of one of the registers, but they are given below in condensed form:—

BRIEFS COLLECTED IN PICKERING CHURCH.

1661. July 28. 6s. 6d. for Condover Church, Shropshire. Sept. 8. 6s. Parish Church of Pontefract. Nov. 10. 4s. 2d. for the losses of Henry Harrison, mariner. Nov. 3. 13s. 7d. for the poor Protestants of Lithuania. 1661 Aug. 11. 5s. 10d. for the Parish Church of Scarborough. Dec. 15. 5s. for the Parish Church, Dalby-Chalcombe, in the County of Leicester. Dec. 29. 5s. for the reparation for the Collegiate Church of Rippon. Jan. 29. 3s. 4d. for the loss of Christopher Greene of Beighton, in the County of Derby. Feb. 23. 4s. 4d. Brief by his Majesty's special order for promoting the trade of fishing. 1662. April 6. 4s. for the loss of Thomas Welby in the County address. " 13. 4s. 4d. for the loss of William Copperthwaite. No date. 5s. for the relief of John Wolrich of (erased) County of Staffords. 1665. April 16. 4s. 2d. for the repairing of the Parish Church of Tinmouth, in the County of Northumberland.

The system of briefs became subject to great abuses, and in 1828 it was abolished. Most of the Pickering collections were very small, but the people evidently had some sympathy for the poor Protestants of Lithuania, for they gave nearly three times as much as usual.

Despite the statement made by Clark in his valuable book on "Mediaeval Military Architecture in England" that "Pickering was held for the king in the Parliamentary struggles," I can find no records to show that this was so or that any fighting took place there during the Civil War. I have searched many volumes of tracts relating to the period for any reference to Pickering, but although Scarborough on the east and Helmsley on the west are frequently mentioned, and details of the sieges and surrenders given, yet I have fourd no statement concerning Pickering. I must, however, mention that at least two iron cannon balls have been discovered in recent times embedded in the ground beneath the western walls of the castle.

In a Cromwellian survey found by Mr R.B. Turton, among the records of the Duchy of Lancaster,[1] there is, however, a most valuable account of the castle dated July 15th, 1651. It mentions damage done by the soldiers "in the time of the late warrs," but it also tells us that much lead, wood and iron was taken to Scarborough Castle by Sir Hugh Cholmley, which seems to show conclusively that the place was not defended. The Cromwellian soldiers were probably quartered in the somewhat ruined castle and used what timber they could find for lighting their fires. The survey of 1651 is as follows:—

[Footnote 1: "North Riding Record Society's Publications," vol. 1, New Series, p. 65.]

"The capital Messuage is scituate on the North side of Pickering Towne and knowne by the name of Pickering Castle; the Entrance whereof lyeth on the South through a Gatehouse which is somewhat (qu: decayed) in respect that all the covering is taken away. The outside gate you enter into a Spatious Court contayneing one Acre and three Roodes more or less; on which (on the East side) close adjoyning to the said Gate standeth a ruynous howse partly covered with Slate, in which were lately three severall Roomes below Staires, and as many above. But in the time of the late warrs, all the floares for the chambering have been pulled down by the Souldiers insomuch the whole howse is ready to fall, there being hardly any thing left to support the Roofe; The owt walles being partly built of Stone and part of Timber and the sparrs which are fastned to the mayne wall of the Castle do still remayne. Further eastward to the said howse along the wall standeth a Towre knowne by the Name of Dyet Towre, in which there hath beene three severall Roomes with other Conveniencyes thereunto belonging, which with litle Cost may bee made habitable, but the Lead Wood and Iron was by S^r Hugh Cholmley (as we are informed) carryed to Scarbrough Castle. Further along the said Wall standeth an other Tower North to the aforesaid howse and knowne by the Name of Rossimund Towre, the walls in good repaire, but the Wood Leade and Iron quite taken away. On the West side of the aforesaid Gate along the Wall standeth an other Tower knowne by the Name of Milne Tower, built within all of hewen stone with a staire Case of the same, conteyneing one Roome above lately used for a lodging chamber, but within these six or seven yeares all the Iron Lead and wood have been taken away and nothing left besides the out walles which are in very good repaire and one Rotten beame which lyeth cross the topp of the said Towre. On the North side of the said Court opposite to the Gate standeth an other Gate which is the Entrance over a decayed bridg into the midle Castle and leadeth into an other spatious Court conteyneing two Roodes more or less. On the North east of the said Gate standeth a fourth Tower knowne by the name of Coleman Towre contenyneing two Roomes, but the floars covering and all the wood is taken away. On the West side of the said Court standeth a Large Ruyned hall almost all fallen to the ground nothing of the Timber remayneing. At North end of which hall Eastward standeth one howse covered with slate and in indifferent good repaire conteyneing one Roome and knowne by the Name of the Chappell which is now used for keepeing of Courts for the Honor aforesaid. On the backside of which lyeth a third Court conteyneing two Roodes more or less in which hath been diverse buildings but now ruyned and fallen to the ground. In the midst of the whole Castle standeth a mount conteyneing one Acre on which there is a spatious, ruyned, and old decayed building being nothing but ruyned walls which in many places begin to fall downe. The said building is commonly knowne by the name of the Moate. The Materialles of the said Castle (which are there now remayneing), as the Timber hewen stone and slate, wee estimate to bee worth in ready money (besides the charge of takeing them downe)—CC li. The Ground lying within the walls and Ditches of the Castle aforesaid conteyne in the whole three Acres and three Roodes which is worth upon Improvem^t p. Ann.—C s."

[Transcriber's Note: The "CC li." and "C s." refer to 200 libra (pounds) and 100 shillings respectively. Several previous transcribers were confused by this, causing this note to be added.]

The story which has already been mentioned of the wanton destruction by the Parliamentary soldiers of ancient documents that had been preserved in the Castle may quite reasonably be true, but unfortunately Hinderwell, who seems to have been the first to record the tale,[1] does not give any authority for his statement. Another story which is sometimes mentioned among the people of Pickering states that Parliamentary soldiers were quartered in the church during the Civil War, but we can place no reliance upon the legend. Some details of the raising of train bands in the district are given in the memoirs of Sir Hugh Cholmley, the gallant defender of Scarborough Castle. Writing of the year 1636, he says, "I was at this time made Deputy-lieutenant and Colonel over the Train-bands within the hundred of Whitby Strand, Ryedale, Pickering, Lythe, and Scarborough Town." Three years later Sir Hugh tells us that in preparation for the king's march against the Scots, he had much business in mustering and training the soldiers of the Train-bands, and many journeys to York to consult with the Vice-President and other Deputy-Lieutenants. "About June the king sent down his army into Yorkshire, and himself came to it in August. The Earl of Northumberland was General from whom I had a commission. Divers of the colonels of the Train-bands, with their regiments, were called to march with the king into Northumberland; amongst which I had been one, but at that time I had caught cold and a dangerous sickness, in raising and training my whole regiment together on Paxton-Moor near Thornton, where one Hallden, a stubborn fellow of Pickering, not obeying his captain, and giving me some unhandsome language, I struck him with my cane, and felled him to the ground. The cane was tipped with silver, and hitting just under the ear, had greater operation than I intended. But either the man was ill or else counterfeited so, to be freed from service; which I willingly granted, and glad when he was well: but it was a good monition not to be hasty in the like or any other provocation, for passion doth not only blind the judgement but produceth other ill effects."

[Footnote 1: Thomas Hinderwell, "History of Scarborough," 1811, p. 350.]

In 1640, when Sir Hugh (as a burgess for Scarborough) was attending the Short Parliament in London, his regiment was commanded to march to the Scottish Border. His brother Henry Cholmley, being Lieut.-Colonel, went with it, but at Durham they were ordered back.

In November 1641 Sir Hugh was again attending Parliament, and at that time he feared the advance of the Scots into Yorkshire, "which," he says, "did not a little disquiet my mind and thoughts for my dear wife and children; the snow being so great, I could not possibly remove them so soon as I desired"; "but at the latter end of February, as soon as the ways were passable, I had her and all my family in London." It must have been an unusually prolonged period of snow to keep Sir Hugh and his family apart for two or three months. Roxby Castle was his birthplace, and his account of his early years there includes an accident which might have had fatal results.

[1]JC __ __ [2]SR [3]SRC ___ ___ [4]SR [5]J [6]A [7]M _____ ____ [8]F [9]R and [10]R [11]M [12]J [13]E [14]M [15] _ _ [16]K [17]SH [18]SRC [19]SHC

[1] John Cholmley of Cheshire.

[2] Sir Richard, Lt.-Gov. of the Tower in the time of King Henry VIII.; d. without issue; m. Elizabeth, one of the daus. of —— Nevill of Thornton Bridge; probably bought land there.

[3] Sir Roger Cholmley, First to settle in Yorkshire; m. Catherine, dau. of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough. Sir Roger knighted 5th of Henry VIII., when English had a great victory over the Scots; died April 28th, 1538; bought Roxby.

[4] Sir Richard, Called "The Great Black Knight of the North"; inherited property; knighted at battle of Musslebury Hill, 5th of Edw. VI.; m. 1st Margaret, d. of Wm. Lord Conyers.

[5] John, Slain in his youth.

[6] Anne, m. to the Earl of Westmoreland.

[7] Margaret, m. Henry Gascoigne of Ledbury, near Richmond.

[8] Francis, m. Mrs. June Boulmer; died without issue.

[9] and [10] Richard and Roger, m. 2 bastard daus. of Dallrivers. [Both set on one side.]

[11] Margaret.

[12] Jane.

[13] Elizabeth.

[14] Marmaduke.

[15] Purchased many lands in Yorks, Manors of Whitby, Whitby lithe, and Stakesby purchased in 1555; lived at Roxby; m. 2nd Katherine (d. 1598), dau. of Henry, 1st Earl of Cumberland, widow of Lord John Scrope of Bolton.

[16] Katherine.

[17] Sir Henry, m. Margaret, dau. of Sir Wm. Babthorpe; succeeded Francis.

[18] Sir Richard Cholmley, Born 1580, succeeded 1617, died 1632.

[19] Sir Hugh Cholmley, the defender of Scarborough Castle. Born 1600, succeeded 1632.

GENEALOGICAL TREE OF THE CHOLMLEYS OF ROXBY, NEAR PICKERING.

(Taken from the details given in the memoirs of Sir Hugh Cholmley.)

"I was," he says, "the first child of my dear mother, born upon the 22nd of July, being a Tuesday, and on the feast day commonly called Mary Magdalen's day, in the year of our Lord God 1600, at a place called Roxby, in the country of York, within the Hundred of Pickering lythe near to Thornton, now much demolished, but heretofore the chief seat of my great-grandfather, and where my grandfather, Sir Henry Cholmley, then lived, which place (since I was married was sold by my father and self, towards the payment of his debts)."

Sir Hugh then describes his weakness as a child due to the fault of his nurse. This gave him such "a cast back" that he was a weak and sickly child for many years.

"At three years old, the maid which attended me let me tumble out of the great chamber window at Roxby, which (by God's providence) a servant waiting upon my grandfather at dinner espying, leaped to the window, and caught hold of my coat, after I was out of the casement. Soon after I was carried to my father and mother, who then lived with her brother Mr John Legard, at his house at Ganton nine miles from Roxby, where I continued for the most part until I was seven years old; then my father and mother going to keep house at Whitby, went with them, and beginning to ride a little way by myself, as we passed over a common, called Paston moor [? Paxton, above Ellerburne] one of my father's servants riding beside me, I had a desire to put my horse into a gallop; but he running away, I cried out, and the servant taking hold of my arm, with an intention to lift me from my horse, let me fall between both, so that one of them, in his gallop, trod on my hat; yet, by God's protection, I caught no harm."

When his father was living at Whitby he had another narrow escape. "The next year," he writes, "being 1608 upon my very birth-day, being the feast of Mary Magdalen, and I just eight years old, by God's great Providence, I escaped as great, if not greater danger than this; which was, that, at my Father's house, at Whitby aforesaid, there was a great fierce sow, having two pigs near a quarter old, which were to be reared there, lying close together asleep, near to the kitchen door, I being alone, out of folly and waggery, began to kick one of them; in the interim another rising up, occasioned me to fall upon them all, and made them cry; and the sow hearing, lying close by, came and caught me by the leg, before I could get up, and dragged me half a score yards, under the window of the room now called the larder, and what in respect of the age and the amazement I was in, could not help myself; from the leg she fell to bite me in the groin with much fierceness; when the butler, carrying a glass of beer to my father (then in his chamber) hearing me cry, set down the beer on the hall table, and running out, found the sow passing from my groin to my throat."

Another famous name connected with this period is that of George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham. After the death of Charles II. the royal favourite retired to his seat at Helmsley, his strength being very much impaired by the vicious life he had led at Court. He seems to have devoted himself to hunting and open-air sports. Certain stories connected with the Duke and mixed up with the usual superstitions were told to Calvert nearly a hundred years ago.

"Near the Checkers' Inn at Slapstean," he says, "there stood until a few years agone the cottage in which there lived many years sen one Isaac Haw, who in his day did hunt the fox with George Villiers, and many a queer story did he use to tell. Here be one. There lived on the moor not over an hour's ride from Kirkby Moorside, one Betty Scaife, who had a daughter Betty, a good like wench." George Villiers seeing this girl one day is said to have induced her to become his mistress either by force or with her mother's consent. After having a dream she told Villiers to come near her no more, foretelling at the same time the time and death he would die. He was so affected by this that he is said to have ridden away and never seen her again.

Haw also tells how he once rode on the moor with the spirit of the Duke of Buckingham, being not aware at the time that his Grace was dead. Villiers made an arrangement that when both were dead and the devil gave them a holiday they would both hunt together on a certain moor.

"There be those whose word has been handed down to us," continues Calvert, "who sware to having seen these two ahunting of a spirit fox with a spirit pack of a moonlight night. I know one who hath in memory a song of that day anent these two but it be so despert blasfemous that for the very fear of injuring the chance of my own soul's salvation I do forbear to give it, but if it be that you wish to copy on't, one Tom Cale a cobbler living in Eastgate Pickering hath to my knowledge a copy on't."



The Duke lived to the age of sixty in spite of his life of unbridled vice, and it seems that a sudden illness seized him after a hard day's hunting, and he died at the house in Kirby Moorside where he was taken instead of to Helmsley. The house is still standing, and one may even see the room in which the reckless Duke expired. As may be seen from the illustration the house is a good one, and at that time must have been, with one exception, the best in the village. The lines by Pope descriptive of the favourite's death are, therefore, quite unwarranted:—

"In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung, The floors of plaster and the walls of dung."

It never was an inn, and the Rev. R. V. Taylor[1] has discovered that the house was in the occupation of one of his tenants. I have carefully examined the house without finding anything to suggest that such squalor could have ever existed there. The staircase is very picturesque, and one of the brass drop handles on the bedroom doors shows that the building was a good one. The bedroom in which the Duke died has the fireplace blocked up; there is a recessed window containing a seat, and the walls, where they are panelled, are of fir, although the larger beams throughout the house seem to be of oak.

[Footnote 1: "Yorkshire Notes and Queries," May 1904, p. 68.]

The sudden demise of this famous man must have created a sensation in the village, and although the body was not buried at Kirby Moorside, the parish register of that time has this illiterate entry[2]—

"buried in the yeare of our Lord 1687 Marke Reame ..... Aprill y^e 12 Gorges viluas Lord dooke of bookingam etc. 19"

[Footnote 2: The third volume of the registers at the top of page 4.]

A letter from Lord Arran to the Duke's late chaplain, dated April 17th, 1687, says, "I have ordered the corpse to be embalmed and carried to Helmsley Castle and there to remain till my Lady Duchess her pleasure shall be known. There must be speedy care taken; for there is nothing here but confusion, not to be expressed. Though his stewards have received vast sums, there is not so much as one farthing, as they tell me, for defraying the least expense." From this it appears that he died on or before the 17th of April, and that after the embalming process had been performed the intestines were buried at Kirby Moorside on the 19th and not on the 17th, as stated by Gill in his "Vallis Eboracensis."

One of the tattered registers[1] of Kirby Moorside also contains the following remarkable entry:—

"Dorythy Sowerbie of Bransdales (slayne with 6 bullett by theeves in the night) was buryed the 23th (sic) Day of May 1654." A few years before this in 1650 the burial is recorded of "a stranger that y^t sold stockins."

[Footnote 1: Vol. ii. p. 2]

On the first page of the register dated 1704, the vicar, "M. James Musgrave," gives a list of "things belonging to the churich—a surplus, a Hud, a challis, a patton, tow-flaggons [these are of pewter and are kept in the church], a putter Dubler, a Tabill clorth, on napkin. A dubler for christening."

During this period the Duchy records show that Pickering Forest was still being robbed of its oaks, some of them being used to repair the defences of Scarborough Castle during the Civil War.

"Wee are informed that there were xxx^tie Trees or } thereaboutes cut downe in Newton dale within the } said fforest and carried to Scarbrough Castle by } 20 0 0" Order from Sir Hugh Cholmley then Gouernor of } the same, to the value of }

Some of the other entries at the same time are given below.[1]

"Wee are informed that divers olde trees are cut downe } within the fforest of Pickeringe in a place called }lib. Deepdale and Helley Greene by Robert Pate by the } 6 0 0 Appointment of Mathew ffranke Esquire to the } value of }

Likewise wee are informed that John Hassell gent } hath cut downe diuers trees in Dalbye within the } 19 0 0 said fforest to the value of }

Wee are likewise informed that Beatrice Hassell widdow } hath cut downe diuers trees in Dalbye Hagges } 12 0 0 within the said fforest, to the value of }

Wee are likewise informed That seuerall Tennantes of } Goatland haue cut downe two hundred Trees and } more within the fforest in the North part of } 30 0 0 Newtondale and Gillwood to the value of }

And that Robert ffranke gent did take Composicions and summes of money of seuerall of the said Tennants of Goatland for the same wood.

And allso we are informed that there hath bene cut } downe Two hundred Trees in Haughe Hagge } within the said fforest, And that the said Trees were } l. s. d. cut downe and Carried away by the poore people of } 40 0 0 Pickeringe in the yeares 1647 and 1648 to the } value of }

[Footnote 1: From a thin foolscap book containing, inter alia, the findings of the Juries of the Courts Leet, etc., in the possession of the Rev. Arthur Hill of Thornton-le-dale.]

From the same book we discover that

"George Grayson holdes by Copie of Court Roll one Cottage in Pickeringe and one Garth thereunto belonging, dated the 11th of Aprill 1659 And was admitted Tennant thereof by John Syms then Steward and paid ffine 0 0 4"

This is of considerable interest in view of the fact that the Grayson family are still tenants of the Duchy.

Tenants are mentioned as holding property in "Smiddiehill" and "Hungate Greene," and the entry given below is interesting on account of the mention of the market cross that has completely disappeared.

"Jane Moone widdow holdes one Messuage and one parcell of waste ground in Pickering neare to the Market Crosse and was admitted Tennant thereof by John Sym, now deputie Steward, by Copie dated the 22d of November 1659: And paid ffine for per Admittance ... 0 8 1"

Many of the small houses of Pickering must have been built at this time. One near the castle gateway has a stone in the gable end bearing the initials E.C.W., and the date 1646, another with a thatched roof on the south side of Eastgate, dated 1677, is now fast going to ruin. The roofs were no doubt at that time chiefly covered with thatch, and the whole town must have been extremely picturesque. The stocks, the shambles, and the market cross stood in the centre of the town, and there were none of the unpleasant features that modern ideas, unchecked by a sense of fitness and proportion, bring in their wake.

The castle, we have seen, was in a far more perfect state than at the present time, but the church must have appeared much as it does to-day. The circular wooden pulpit is Georgian, and thus the one that preceded it has disappeared. Two of the three bells that still hang in the tower bear the date 1638. The treble bell is inscribed "Praise the Lord," and sounds the note G sharp. The middle bell gives F sharp and the inscription is "Soli deo gloria." Hanging in the bellcote of the schools adjoining the church is the small bell dated 1632 that was removed from the Bruce Chapel in 1857 when the schools were built. Before that date children were taught in the Bruce Chapel.

In Archbishop Sharp's manuscripts (page 106) preserved at Bishopthorpe there is a detailed account of the parish of Pickering. It is dated 1706, and is given under the heading of "Dean of York's Peculiars." There are numerous abbreviations, but the meaning is plain in most instances.

"Pickering Vic. St Peter and St Paul.

"1706. No Papist.

"A[nno] R[egni] Edw. I. 13. The Manor, Castle, Forest of Pickering were given to Edmund E. of Lancaster and so became thenceforward part of that Dutchy. The Church of Pickering was by Hen. I. given to the Deanery of York, w^th the soke thereof and all the chappells and tithes belonging. It is let at the rent of 100 li.

"The Vicarage consists of a house &c. And the tithe Hay of Garths w^ch may yield 7 or 8 Load in a year to the vicar, and all the small tithes of the Parish. Besides an augmentation of 20 li p an. made since the Restauration.

"This is a large parish in which are 2 Chappells neither of them endowed as the minister Mr Newton tells me, but he allows 5th to a neighboring minister to serve the one and the other he goes to himself. This vicarage, of the D^ns Collation is val in my B at 28 li. It is I hope worth 60 li [not above 40 K.B. 8. 3. 9. T 16-40b.] The Deans Tenant pays 20 li of it.

"Within this Parish are the Towns of Newton upon Rocliff, Blansby Park, Kinthorp. Here also is Dereholm Grange and Loft Maress Grange. 1707. 41 (indistinct) John Pickering Vr.; 1715 Robert Hargreaves, Vicar; 1740 Sam^l Hill Vicar.

"1745. George Dodsworth.

"1706 Papists 9. L S. D.

"The Chappell of Goteland. 1716 4 0 0

"Being distant above 8 miles from the Parish Church was by Dean Scot A.D. 1635 allowed the privilege of Sepulture for the inhab. Saveing to the Mother Church all its dues 1706 Certifyd by ye (indistinct) to the Dean to be worth 4 0 0 Arising out of Surplice Fees and Voluntary Contribution William Prowde, Curate 1722 Jonathan Robinson, Curate."



The country folk were in much the same state in regard to their morals and superstitions as in the Georgian Era described in the next chapter, but it is of great interest to know that efforts towards improvement were being made as early as the year 1708. The following account given by Calvert of an attempt to stop the May dance at Sinnington would show either that these picturesque amusements were not so harmless as they appear at this distance, or else that the "Broad Brims" were unduly severe on the innocent pleasures of the time. The account is taken by Calvert "from one Nares book."



"In the year 1708 there did come a great company of Broad Brims for to stop the May Dance about the pole at Sinnington, and others acting by concert did the like at Helmsley, Kirby Moorside and Slingsby, singing and praying they gat them round about the garland pole whilst yet the may Queen was not yet come but when those with flute and drum and dancers came near to crown the Queen the Broad Brims did pray and sing psalms and would not give way while at the finish up there was like for to be a sad end to the day but some of the Sinnington Bucks did join hands in a long chain and thus swept them clean from the pole. At Slingsby there was a great dordum of a fight, but for a great while the Broad Brims have set their faces against all manner of our enjoyment."

Fine examples of the carved oak cabinets, chests, and other pieces of furniture of this period still survive in some of the houses of Pickering. The cabinets generally bear the date and the initials of the maker, and the I.B. to be seen on some of the finest pieces from this district are the initials of John Boyes of Pickering, whose work belongs chiefly to the time of William and Mary.



CHAPTER XI

The Forest and Vale in Georgian Times, 1714 to 1837

With the accession of King George the First in 1714 we commence a new section of the history of Pickering, a period notable in its latter years for the sweeping away to a very large extent of the superstitions and heathen practices which had survived until the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The town had probably altered very little in its general appearance since the time of the Restoration. Most of the roofs were thatched; the castle was probably more dismantled within the outer walls, but the church of the Georgian period must have been almost identically the same as during the century that preceded it, and as it remained until the restoration in 1879.

At the top of the market-place stood the stocks at the side of the old stone-built shambles that disappeared in 1857, having for many generations formed a background to the groups of buyers and sellers in the steep and picturesque street. We can people the scene with the quaint costumes of the eighteenth century; knee-breeches and long waistcoats are to be seen in every direction, the three-cornered hat and the wig tied with a black ribbon are worn by the better classes. The wives and daughters of the squires and lesser gentry reflect in a modified form the fashions prevailing in London, and to be observed in actuality among the gay crowds that thronged the Spa at Scarborough, assuming and discarding the hooped-petticoat according to the mode of the moment. We can see the farmers of the Vale and those from the lonely dales discussing the news of the week and reading the scarce and expensive newspapers that found their way to Pickering. How much they understood of the reasons for the great European wars and alliances it is not easy to say, but when the reports came of victories to the British armies, assisted although they may have been by paid allies, the patriotic feelings of these Yorkshiremen did not fail to manifest themselves in a heavier consumption of beer than usual. We can hear the chink of glasses and the rattle of pewter tankards in the cosy parlours of the "White Swan," the "George," and the rest; we can hear as the years go by the loud cheers raised for Marlborough, for Wolfe, for Nelson, or for Wellington, while overhead the church bells are ringing loudly in the old grey tower. These were the days of the highwaymen, and even as late as 1830 a postman was robbed near the moorland village of Lockton, on his way to Whitby. The driver of the mailcart at that time used to carry a large brass-mounted cavalry pistol, which was handed to him when he had mounted his box by one of the two old ladies who acted as the post-mistresses of Pickering. It is not much more than ten years since the death of Francis Gibson, a butcher of East Ayton, who was over a hundred years old and remembered the capture of the last highwayman who was known to carry on the old-time profession in the neighbourhood. He was tracked to an inn at East Ayton where he was found sleeping. Soon afterwards he found himself on the road to York, where he was hanged.

The road across Seamer Moor between Ayton and Scarborough was considered sufficiently dangerous for those who travelled late to carry firearms. Thus we can see Mr Thomas Chandler of the Low Hall at West Ayton—a Justice of the Peace—having dined with some relations in Scarborough, returning at a late hour. The lights of his big swinging barouche drawn by a pair of fat chestnuts shine out on the white road; the country on either side is unenclosed, and masked men may appear out of the shadows at any moment. But if they are about they may have heard that Mr Chandler carries a loaded pistol ready for emergencies, for they always let him reach his house in safety.

To the simple peasants highwaymen were probably considered of small account in comparison to the apparitions that haunted many parts of the lonely country. Nearly every part of the moor had its own wraith or boggle, and the fear of these ghosts was so widespread that in many cases the clergy were induced to publicly lay them, after which were seen no more.

To record the advent of these strange beliefs is impossible, for who can tell how or when they originated? We can only describe them at the time of their destruction. Chaucer, writing in the fourteenth century, seemed to imagine that belief in elves and fairies had received its death-blow in his own time, for in "The Wife of Bath's Tale," he says—

"In tholde dayes of the Kyng Arthour, Of which that Britons speken greet honour, All was this land fulfild of fairye. The elf queene with hir joly compaignye Daunced ful ofte in many a greene mede. This was the olde opinion as I rede,— I speke of manye hundred yeres ago,— But now kan no man se none elves mo, For now the grete charitee and prayeres Of lymtours, and othere hooly freres, That serchen every lond and every streem, As thikke as motes in the sonne beem,— Blessynge halles, chambres, kichenes, boures, Citees, burghes, castels, hye toures Thropes, bernes, shipnes, dayeryes,— This maketh that ther been no fairyes."

Five hundred years, however, had to pass before the most implicit belief in hobs, wraiths, and boggles was to disappear, and even at the present day those who have intimate associations with the population of the North Yorkshire moors know that traces of the old superstitions still survive.

Several books have been written on the folklore of Yorkshire and from them it is possible to get a rough idea of the superstitions common to many parts of the county, but these do not particularly concern the district surrounding Pickering. We should probably have never heard of many curious facts specially belonging to this part of the county if a small manuscript book of closely written notes had not been discovered by Mr Richard Blakeborough of Stockton-on-Tees, who has kindly allowed me to quote from it. The stories were collected by one George Calvert, who writes in 1823, and frequently mentions that the customs he describes were rapidly dying out. Under the heading of "Witch Hags who have dwelt hereabouts" he writes—

"They be so great in number that mayhap it will shew the more wisdom, if mention be made only of those who in their day wrought some wondrous deed or whose word cast fear upon all."

From this list I have picked out those that belong to the neighbourhood of Pickering, and by the letters placed after each name one can discover in the key given below the special arts practised by each "hag."

"Nancy Nares o' Pickering" [T V Z W Y]. "Nanny Pearson o' Goathland" [X]. "Nan Skaife o' Spaunton Moor," called also Mary or Jenny. "Aud Mother Migg o' Cropton" [Z]. (Her real name was Sabina Moss). "Sally Craggs o' Allerston" [V Z]. "Dina Sugget o' Levisham" [W Z]. "Hester Mudd o' Rosedale" [T V]. "And Emma Todd o' Ebberston [Y].

KEY TO LETTERS AGAINST THE WITCHE'S NAMES.

T Did also use the evil eye. U Could turn thersels into a hare. V Could turn thersels into a cat. W Had a familiar. X Could cripple a quickening bairn. Y Well up in all matters of the black art. Z Did use ye crystal.

"All these," says Calvert, "were at one time of great note and did in their day work great deed and cast many an evil spell and charm and were held in great fear by great many good and peaceful folk. It be not for me to here put an argument in the favour of what do now be doubted and scorned by some. I will but say that I have seen and know that which hath been wrought by these hags o' the broom and of their power which they held at their beck and wink the which is not to be set on one side at the flip and flout of our young masters and misses, fresh from some teaching drove into their brain pans by some idiotick and skeptick French teacher. I therefore say no more on this matter."

Nancy Skaife of Spaunton Moor had a wonderful receipt for making a magic cube, and as she was a famous witch of her time and was reputed to possess most remarkable powers of foretelling events to come, it will be interesting to learn the ingredients of her magic cubes.



"Get you of the skull the bone part of a gibbetted man so much as one ounce which you will dry and grind to a powder until when searced it be as fine as wheatenmeal, this you will put away securely sealed in a glass vial for seven years. You will then about the coming of the end of that time (for your cube must be made on the eve of the day come seven years of his gibbetting) get you together these several matters, all well dried and powdered and finely searced so much as three barley corns weight of each

Bullock blood. Moudy [mole] blood. Great Flitter mouse blood. Wild Dove blood. Hag-worm head. Toade heart. Crab eyes. Graveyard moss and worms.

These being all gotten together on the eve of that day make a stiff dough of wheaten meal to the which you will add all the other powders working them to a stiff mass and into cubes of one inch square, to be pressed to a hollow, then they are to be set away to dry in a warm place for seven months to the day when with a sharp screever you shall deeply screeve the like of these upon each side, but be you mindful to screeve in the order as here ordered always turning the cube over and towards the left hand, the fifth side by turning the cube towards you, the sixth from you and thus you make your magic cube."

"The proper way to draw the virtue from and read a forecast with such cubes," says Calvert, "as yet I know not, but I learn that one Jane Craggs, a mantu maker of Helmsley, not only owns a cube but does at times play the craft for the entertainment of her lady visitors who wish their fortunes casting. I learn from Betty [Ellis] that these cubes were tossed upon the table and then used by the consultation of a book like unto that of the witche's garter but this book Betty kens nothing of its whereabouts. She aims one of her grandchilder must have gone off with it."

In the chapter devoted to Tudor times I have given an Elizabethan cure for an "ill caste" by a witch, but Calvert also tells us of a method for removing the spell from a "witch-held" house. "Of one thing I hear," he says, "which be minded unto this present day the which be that a bunch of yarrow gathered from off a grave and be cast within a sheet that hath covered the dead and this be setten fire to and cast within the door of any house thought to be witch held or having gotten upon it a spell of ill-luck, it shall be at once cleansed from whatsoever ill there be come again it as I hear even fevers and the like are on the instant driven forth. And this," he quaintly adds, "be worth while of a trial."

Of the awesome sights to be seen at night time Calvert gives many details.

"There be over anenst Cropton towards Westwood seen now and again at times wide asunder a man rushing fra those happening to cross his road with flaming mouth and having empty eye sockets, a truly terrible apparition for to come across of a sudden.

"At Bog Hall at times there is seen a plain specter of a man in bright armour who doth show himself thus apparrelled both on the landing and in a certain room.

"At that point where the Hodge and Dove mix their waters there is to be seen on Hallow Een a lovely maiden robed in white and having long golden hair down about her waist there standing with her bare arm thrown about her companion's neck which is a most lovely white doe, but she allowed none to come near to her.

"To the west of Brown Howe and standing by a boulder there be seen of a summer's eve a maiden there seated a-combing out her jet black tresses so as to hide her bare breast and shoulders, she looking to be much shamed to there do her toilet.

"And at the high end of Carlton anenst Helmsley there be seen at times a lovely maiden much afrighted galopping for very life oft casting her een behind her."



Concerning the existence of this lovely maiden we have indisputable evidence given us, for Calvert says that in the year 1762 "Jim Shepherd o' Reskelf seed the maiden galloping."

Then there was the figure of "Sarkless Kitty"; but this spectre, we are told, "having been public laid will now be seen never again and has the very mention of her name be now a thing forbid by all it must soon come to pass that the memory of this lewd hussey will be entire forgot and it of a truth be better so."

But this only rouses one's curiosity, for the spectre must have been surpassingly terrible to require the suppression of its very name.

It was in August in the year 1807 or 1809 (the manuscript is too much soiled to be sure of the last figure) that either the Vicar of Lastingham or his curate-in-charge publicly laid this spirit, which had for many years haunted the wath or ford crossing the river Dove where it runs at no great distance from Grouse Hall.

The ceremony was performed at the request of the whole countryside for there was a widespread outcry over the last victim. He was a farmer's son who, having spent the evening with his betrothed, was riding homewards somewhat late, but he never reached his house. On the next day his cob was found quietly grazing near the dead body of its master lying near the ford. There were no signs of a struggle having taken place, there were no wounds or marks upon the body, and his watch and money had not been touched, so every one concluded that he had seen Sarkless Kitty.

In the year 1770 the ford "had come to be of such ill repute that men feared to cross after dark and women refused to be taken that way," although as far as is known it was only men who came to harm from seeing Sarkless Kitty. The apparition was that of an exceedingly lovely girl who appeared "as a nude figure standing upon the opposite bank to that of the approaching wayfarer." Her beauty was so remarkable that those who had the ill-luck to come across the spectre could not refrain from gazing at it, and all who did so were believed to have died either at the same moment or soon afterwards.

Calvert, however, tells us that one Roland Burdon, who possessed a "Holy Seal," came face to face with Sarkless Kitty, but fortified by its virtues he survived the vision; then he adds: "This same Roland did slay in single combat the great worm or Dragon which at one time did infest Beck Hole to the loss of many young maidens the which it did at sundry times devour. He slew it after a fierce battle lasting over half a day throw the great power of the Holy Seal being about his person. This worm did also infest Sneaton Moor."

If we are to believe anything at all of this prodigious story we must place it among those which have been handed down from the time of the Danes and have become somewhat confused with later superstitions.

Coming back to the story of the beautiful spectre we find that in 1782 a certain Thomas Botran wrote down all the information he could find out in his time concerning the story of Sarkless Kitty, and Mr Blakeborough has added to it everything else that he has discovered relating to it.

It seems that there lived near Lastingham towards the close of the seventeenth century a girl named Kitty Coglan whose beauty was so remarkable that "folk at divers times come much out of their way in the pleasant hope of a chance for to look upon the sweetness of her face." She was, however, extremely vain, and her mother seems to have heard stories of her bad conduct, for she began to worry herself over her daughter's behaviour. Having had a curious dream she asked Takky Burton, the wise man of Lastingham, to tell her what it meant. He told her that the wonderful gem of her dream was her daughter Kitty, who like the gem had blemishes beneath the surface. Soon after this Kitty married the only son of a small farmer, but after they had lived together about four months he disappeared, and then Kitty seems to have gone from bad to worse. How long after this it was that the tragedy occurred is not known, but one day Kitty's naked dead body was found by the wath that her spirit afterwards haunted.

Two other stories that were at one time well known in the neighbourhood of Pickering must be mentioned. One feature of these old time legends is very noticeable, that is, how each ends with a moral usually of virtue overcoming vice. This was probably in some instances a new touch of colour given to the stories during the time when a religious wave swept over the dales.

"The White Cow of Wardle Rigg" is a good example of an old time legend, that owing to a natural process of alteration became gradually fitted to the beliefs and superstitions of each age in which it was told. How the story came to be localised is not known, but in its last phase it had reached this form.

Once an old couple lived near to Wardle Rigg, and bad seasons and other misfortunes had brought the wolf very near to their door. One night there passed by the humble cottage a little old lady driving along a thin and hungry looking white cow, she craved a crust and a drink of water for herself and shelter for the poor beast, this was readily granted by the old couple, they gave the old lady the easy-chair by the fire, and gave her of the best from their poor larder. She learnt from them how poor they were, and sorrowed with them.

In the middle of the night she called to them, as she stole silently out of the house, that for their kindness she left them all the worldly possessions she had, namely her white cow. This they were in no wise grateful for, because they could scarcely afford to feed it and it was too poor to sell or to hope to draw a drop of milk from.

But in the morning what was their surprise to find not a poor three parts starved cow, but a plump well fed animal, and with a bag full of milk, it indeed gave more milk than any cow they had ever known or heard of, their hay had also during the night grown to be quite a huge stack.

It was soon found that their butter was the best in all the dales, and was sought after far and wide, so that the old people were gradually filling their stocking with money. Added to this it was presently discovered that all who drank of the white cow's milk were cured, almost instantly, of a dreadful plague, which in the dales at that time was sending many young folk to an early grave. The fame of this wonderful cow soon spread. The old couple had given the milk to all those who fell ill of the plague, and people came to them from far off places.

It was then that their landlord determined by wicked arts to gain possession of this wonderful white cow, and sell the milk at a great price. His own child, his youngest daughter, falling ill of the plague determined him to carry out his evil design, and it was with sorrow and tears that the old folk watched their landlord lead their cow away.

When half way over the moor he was met by an old dame, "Where drivest thou my cow?" she demanded. Getting but a surly reply, and a threat to drive over her, she cried, "Let me teach thee how to milk my cow." So saying she seized hold of the cow's udder, crying out, "There's death in thee, there's death in thee," and then ran away. The landlord on reaching home was taking a cupful of the magic milk to his daughter, but setting it down for a moment a cat unseen commenced to lap from the cup and died instantly. The landlord then saw that in his greed he had outwitted himself. The good dame was brought to milk it under a promise of restoration, and all ended well.

The other story is known as "The Legend of Elphi." Elphi the Farndale dwarf was doubtless at one time the central figure of many a fireside story and Elphi's mother was almost equally famous. The most tragic story in which they both play their leading parts is that of Golpha the bad Baron of Lastingham and his wicked wife. The mother helped in hiding some one Golpha wished to torture. In his rage he seized the mother, and sentenced her to be burnt upon the moor above Lastingham.

Elphi to save his mother, called to his aid thousands of dragon-flies, and bade them carry the news far and wide, and tell the fierce adders, the ants, the hornets, the wasps and the weasels, to hurry early next day to the scene of his mother's execution and rescue her. Next morning when the wicked Golpha, his wife, and their friends gathered about the stake and taunted the old dame, they were set upon and killed, suffering great agonies. But Elphi and his mother were also credited with all the power of those gifted with a full knowledge of white magic, and their lives seem to have been spent in succouring the weak. Mr Blakeborough tells me that the remembrance of these two is now practically forgotten, for after most careful enquiry during the last two years throughout the greater part of Farndale, only one individual has been met with who remembered hearing of this once widely known dwarf.

The hob-men who were to be found in various spots in Yorkshire were fairly numerous around Pickering. There seem to have been two types, the kindly ones, such as the hob of Hob Hole in Runswick Bay who used to cure children of whooping-cough, and also the malicious ones. Calvert gives a long list of hobs but does not give any idea of their disposition.

Lealholm Hob. Hob o' Trush. T'Hob o' Hobgarth, Cross Hob o' Lastingham. Farndale Hob o' High Farndale. Some hold Elphi to have been a hob of Low Farndale. T'Hob of Stockdale. Scugdale Hob. Hodge Hob o' Bransdale. Woot Howe Hob. T'Hob o' Brackken Howe. T'Hob o' Stummer Howe. T'Hob o' Tarn Hole. Hob o' Ankness. Dale Town Hob o' Hawnby. T'Hob o' Orterley. Crookelby Hob. Hob o' Hasty Bank. T'Hob o' Chop Gate. Blea Hob. T'Hob o' Broca. T'Hob o' Rye Rigg. Goathland Hob o' Howl Moor. T'Hob o' Egton High Moor.

The Hob of Lastingham was presumably named after the cross above the village, and not on account of his disposition.

Elphi we have seen had an excellent reputation and some eulogistic verses on him, written in a "cook book" and signed J.L., 1699, give further evidence of his good character.

Elphi bandy legs, Elphi little chap, Bent an wide apart, Thoff he war so small Neea yan i, this deeal [dale], War big wi deeds o' kindness, Awns a kinder heart. Drink tiv him yan an all. Elphi great heead Him at fails ti drain dry, Greatest ivver seen. Be it mug or glass Neea yan i' this deeal Binnot woth a pescod Awns a breeter een. Nor a buss fra onny lass.

About the middle of the eighteenth century the people of Cropton were sadly troubled by "a company of evil water elves having their abode in a certain deep spring at the high end of that village," and in order to rid themselves of the sprites, a most heathen ceremony was conducted at the spring, "three wenches" taking a prominent part in the proceedings which are quite unprintable.



Belief in the power of the witches and wise men was universal, and youths and maidens applied to the nearest witch in all their love affairs. The magic cube, the witches' garter, leaden charms known as sigils, and the crystal were constantly in use to secure luck, to ward off evil and to read the future.

One of the witches was believed to have fallen out with the Devil for, says Calvert, "John Blades, ironmonger of Kirby Moorside, tells me he well minds hearing of a despert fierce fight which on a time did happen between ye Devil and an old witch over their dues, over anenst Yaud Wath (ford) and whilst they did so fight, one by stealth did slip himself over and in that wise did for ever break her spell."

I am able to give an illustration of one of the figures made by a witch of these parts for causing some bodily injury to happen to her client's enemy. The custom was a common one in the circles of witchcraft. A youth having a rival for the hand of some attractive maiden and wishing him every imaginary evil he would apply to "Aud Mother Migg" or one of the other hags of the neighbourhood and explaining his position the witch would prepare a small figure of the rival. The ingredients would be of the same class as the magic cube already fully described (generally pitch, beeswax, hog's lard, bullock's blood, and fat from a bullock's heart), and in order to cause his rival to lose an eye, or to go lame, or deaf, or to have any particular complaint in any particular part of his body the jealous lover had merely to stick a pin in that portion of the little brown figure. The ceremony was elaborate, especially in regard to the disposal of that part of the mixture not used to make the figure, for in every case the cunning old women worked on the imaginations of their dupes. There can be no doubt that the morals of the country folk during the eighteenth century were at an exceedingly low ebb. The practice of compelling girls who had misconducted themselves to stand in church for three Sundays was only given up at Pickering in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Calvert describes how the miserable girl was first required to go before the parson or the squire or anyone of the "quality" to name the child's father, and "be otherwise questioned, and if it so happened that the squire was one of the hard-drinking class it was more than likely that he came well on in his cups. If so it would be more like than otherwise that he would put the lass and all present to shame by the coarse ... questions he would ask the poor wench. I have heard shame cried aloud myself by those who then came together.

"On the Sunday when the poor lass had to do her first penance it was in this wise—She had to walk from her home to the church porch with a soiled white sheet cast over her head to her feet, and there stand from the ringing of the first bell calling to morning prayer, and as the good folk did so pass her to ask of them for to pray for her soul and forgiveness of her great sin and frailty; and thither did she have to stand until the parson, after the reading of the morning prayer, did go to her and bring her into the church with the psalm of miserere mei which he shall sing or say in English. Then shall he put her before all those present, but apart from them, when he shall publicly call upon her to confess her fault which, be she a single wench she did say aloud, 'wherefore I ... putting aside my maiden duty to Almighty God have yielded unto the vile sin of fornication with ... who is the true father of my child, may Almighty God forgive me my sin.' But be it a wedded woman then she shall stand bareheaded and barelegged, and instead of fornication she shall say the word adultery, she being nobbut covered with a sheet from the shoulders. At this day (1824) I cannot but say I am glad to say that there be a good feeling abroad for its abolishment, indeed, there be in many places so strong a feeling again this way of judging our daughters for a fault of this kind that they have bidden the clergy to set their faces against any lass ever being so judged, and though our clergy be in the main but a despert reckless lot, I hear that mostly they are of the same mind as those they do hold as their flock. Indeed, at one village not far from here a father set his back against his lass standing at the church, though she had been so judged to do, and the whole of thereabouts siding with the lass it was held by the parson and his fox-chasing, wine-bibbing crew for to pull in their tongues a piece which they most wisely did, or, for a truth, they would have found themselves astride of the wrong horse. It is now time this shameful practice was for ever laid on one side for it be not for the good of our own daughters that they witness such sights even in a place called God's house, but it oft be ought but that to our shame and the greater shame of all who hold its government of it. I could here give you a good list of curious cases of the which for the most part I did witness myself of both the hearing and of the standing of both many wed and single so browten to public shame, but as it would be to no good purpose I will hold from the putting pen to paper in this matter, letting what hath been wrote end this matter, for of a truth it is to a better purpose that both pen, ink, paunce box and paper, can be putten." Concerning the innumerable customs and superstitions associated with the dead and dying, Calvert collected a number of interesting facts. "It be held by many," he writes, "that a dying body cannot quit this life if they do be lying upon a bed which happen to have pigeon feathers gotten in by chance.

"A body cannot get their time over with ease to themselves if there be one in the room who will not give them up. It be better for all such who cannot bring themselves to part with those they love to withdraw from the room so that death may enter and claim his rights.

"It be held to be a sure sign that an ailing body will die if there be a downcome of soot.

"It be also a sure sign that death be awaiting for his own if an ullot [owlet] do thrice hoot so that the ailing one do hear it and remark thereon.

"It be an ill sign if a death glow be seen to settle upon the face of an ailing one or if such cry out they do see a shroud o' the quilt.

"If there be a death watch heard, then the ailing one need not longer hold on to hope, for it be for that time gone from that house and will not enter again until a corpse be hugged out.

"It be an ill sign to the dying if a dark winged moth make at the bed light and fall at it, but it be a good sign should a light winged one come thrice and go its way unharmed. Even if it do fall at it, it doth say nothing worse than the ailing one will soon die but that the death shall be the freeing of a happy soul.

"An ailing one shall surely die if a dog come and howl thrice under the window.

"It be a good sign of peace to a parting soul if there do come near to the window a white dove.

"It be the custom as soon as death doth enter the chamber for one present to immediate rake out the fire, turn the seeing glass to the wall and on the instant stop the clock, but this stopping of the clock in the death-room be not at all places a common practise. After the boddy hath been attended to in all its proper officies it be a good sign if the eyes do shut of themselves, if not then but a few years sen it was held to be the work of some evil spirits in some cases owing to a misspent life. In those days it was the common thing for to get or borrow a pair of leaden sigs (charms) from some wise dame or good neighbour, the like of those made by Betty Strother and others wise in such matters. They being magic made did ward off not only from about the bed but from the room itself all the deamons of every sort and kind and did hold the een fast shutten so that neither witch or hellspell could get aback of their power and cungel them open again.

"Many there be who yet do grace their dead with a salt platter putten upon the breast of the corpse, and all those friends who do view the dead and it be the common custom for all so to do, do first touch the corpse on the face or hands and then lay their own hands upon the platter first having full and free forgiven the dead any fault or ill-feeling they had in life held as a grudge again the dead.

"In some spots it is a common thing for the wake wail to be sung over the boddy each night it be in the house as also for a rushlight to be kept alight from sunset to sunrise and for the death watchers for to tend the dead throw the night owther in the same room or in one so held that those watching could see the corpse, and they due at this day deggle the quilt and floor with rue water.

"It be always most carefull seen to that no four-footed thing come nigh hand, for it would be a despert ill thing if such by any mishap did run just across or loup over the corpse.

"There be always a great arval feast after the funeral to which all friends are bidden."

The remedies of this period were not greatly superior to those of the seventeenth century if one may judge from the gruesome concoction the details of which were given to Calvert by William Ness of Kirby Moorside.

"For the certain cure of a cancer take a pound of brown honey when the bees be sad from a death in ye house, which you shall take from the hive just turned of midnight at the full of the moon. This you shall set by for seven days when on that day you shall add to it the following all being ready prepared afore. One ounce of powdered crabs clawes well searced, seven oyster shells well burnt in a covered stone or hard clay pot, using only the white part thereof. One dozen snails and shells dried while they do powder with gently rubbing and the powder of dried earth worms from the churchyard when the moon be on the increase but overcast, which you will gather by lanthorn which you must be sure not to let go out while you be yet within the gate or there virtue be gone from them. All these make into a fine powder and well searce, this been ready melt the honey till it simmer then add three ounces each of brown wax, rossin, and grease of a fat pigg, and when all be come at the boil divide your powders to seven heaps and add one at a time. Do not shake your paper on which the powder hath been put but fold it carefully and hurry it at some grave as there be among what be left some dust of ye wormes which have fed upon ye dead. So boil it till all be well mixed and then let cool and if it be too stiff add swine grease till it work easy. When you would use it warm a little in a silver spoon and annoint the sore holding a hot iron over till it be nearly all soaked in, then sprinkle but a little finely doubled searced powder of viper where there be matter. This hath been tried many times and on different folk in these dales and hath done wonderous cures when all else failed them. And these words wrate on lambs skin with lambs blood and hung above the ill one's head hath wrought a most magick wonders of healing and some I do find ready to take oath on it. I leave it so."

But Pickering was not very much behind the rest of England when we discover that in the second edition of "A collection of above 300 receipts in Cookery, Physick and Surgery" published in 1719, and printed and sold in London is given the following:—

"A very good snail-water for a consumption. Take half a peck of Shell-snails, wipe them and bruise them Shells and all in a Mortar; put to them a gallon of New Milk; as also Balm, Mint, Carduus, unset Hyssop, and Burrage, of each one handful; Raisons of the Sun stoned, Figs, and Dates, of each a quarter of a pound; two large Nutmegs: Slice all these, and put them to the Milk, and distil it with a quick fire in a cold Still; this will yield near four Wine-quarts of Water very good; you must put two ounces of White Sugar-candy into each Bottle, and let the Water drop on it; stir the Herbs sometimes while it distils, and keep it cover'd on the Head with wet Cloths. Take five spoonfuls at a time, first and last, and at Four in the Afternoon."

It was only about eighty years ago that the old custom of racing for the bride's garter on wedding days was given up. In the early years of last century an improvement in public morals showed itself in a frequently expressed opinion that the custom was immodest, and gradually the practice was dropped the bride merely handing a ribbon to the winner of the race.



Immediately after the wedding-ring had been put on, the youths of the company would race from the church porch to the bride's house, and the first who arrived claimed the right of removing the garter from her left leg, the bride raising her skirts to allow him to do so. He would afterwards tie it round his own sweetheart's leg as a love charm against unfaithfulness. The bridegroom never took part in the race, but anyone else could enter, runners often coming from distant villages to take part.

At the time of the outcry against the custom it is interesting to find one, William Denis of Pickering, writing to a friend and stating that "this racing for the bride's garter and the taking of the same from the leg of the bride, is one of the properest public functions we have so far as modesty is concerned."

Elaborately worked garters were worn "by any lass who would be happy in her love." The one illustrated here is drawn from a sketch given by Calvert. It bears the date 1749 and the two spaces were for the initials of the lovers.

A Pickering man named Tom Reid who was living in 1800 but was an old man then, was in his day a noted runner and won many races. He must have owned several of these garters which are now so difficult to find. It is said that one of the vicars of Pickering did much to put an end to the belief in the powers of the garters as charms, collecting them whenever he had an opportunity. He also put his foot down on every form of superstition, forbidding the old folk to tell their stories.

The village maidens considered it a most binding vow to remain true to their sweethearts if they washed their garters in St Cedd's Well at Lastingham on the eve of St Agnes. Other practices performed at the same spot are, like the spectre of Sarkless Kitty, better forgotten.

There can be little doubt that the death blow to this mass of ignorant superstition came with the religious revival brought about by the Methodists. Despite the hostile reception they had in many places the example of their Christian behaviour made itself felt, and as the years went by parents became sufficiently ashamed of their old beliefs to give up telling them to their children. This change took place between about 1800 and 1840, but the influences that lay behind it date from the days of John Wesley.

The sports common in the early part of last century include:—

Fox-hunting. Badger-drawing. Duck hunting with dogs and sometimes duck and owl diving. Cock-fighting. Cock-throwing at Eastertide. Bull baiting and sometimes ass baiting. Squirrel-hunting. Rat-worrying.

"To make it quite sure to you howe greatly cocking was in voge seventy years agone," says Calvert, "I have heard my own grandfather tell how he and others did match their cocks and fight em for secret sake in the crypt of Lastingham Church."

The entrance to the crypt was not at that time in the centre of the nave, and the fact that it could be reached from the north side without going into the church would make the desecration seem a far less scandalous proceeding than it sounds.

It has also been supposed that Mr Carter, curate-in-charge of Lastingham at a time prior to 1806, allowed his wife to keep a public-house in the crypt. There is only one authentic account[1] of this parson-publican as far as I have been able to discover and although it makes no mention of the crypt it states that Mr Carter used to take down his violin to play the people a few tunes. If this did not indicate the crypt it may have meant that he took his violin down from the vicarage to the inn, which may have been the "Blacksmith's Arms" that adjoins the churchyard on the east side. The parlour is certainly a much more cheerful place for refreshment than the dark and chilly crypt, and it is interesting to find that the benches in the inn are composed of panelling which I am told was formerly in the church.

[Footnote 1: Anonymous booklet entitled "Anecdotes and Manners of a few Ancient and Modern oddities, etc." Published at York, 1806.]

As the whole idea of the parson's wife conducting a public-house is somewhat preposterous, although we have already been told that the clergy at that time were on the whole "a despert reckless lot," it is interesting to read the original account. "The Rev. Mr Carter, when curate of Lastingham," it says, "had a very large family, with only a small income to support them, and therefore often had recourse to many innocent alternatives to augment it; and as the best of men have their enemies—too often more than the worst, he was represented to the Archdeacon by an invidious neighbour, as a very disorderly character, particularly by keeping a public-house, with the consequences resulting from it. The Archdeacon was a very humane, worthy, good man who had imbibed the principles, not only of a parson, but of a Divine, and therefore treated such calumniating insinuations against his subordinate brethren, with that contempt which would ultimately accrue to the satisfaction and advantage to such as listen to a set of sycophantic tattlers. ...therefore at the ensuing visitation, when the business of the day was over, he in a very delicate and candid manner, interrogated Mr C. as to his means of supporting so numerous a family ... which was answered as related to me by one well acquainted with the parties, in nearly the following words:—

"'I have a wife and thirteen children, and with a stipend of L20 per annum, increased only by a few trifling surplice fees, I will not impose upon your understanding by attempting to advance any argument to show the impossibility of us all being supported from my church preferment: But I am fortunate enough to live in a neighbourhood where there are many rivulets which abound with fish, and being particularly partial to angling, I am frequently so successful as to catch more than my family can consume while good, of which I make presents to the neighbouring gentry, all of whom are so generously grateful as to requite me with something else of seldom less value than two or threefold.—This is not all: my wife keeps a Public-House, and as my parish is so wide that some of my parishioners have to come from ten to fifteen miles to church, you will readily allow that some refreshment before they return must occasionally be necessary, and where can they have it more properly than where their journey is half performed? Now, sir, from your general knowledge of the world, I make no doubt but you are well assured that the most general topicks, in conversation at Public-Houses, are Politics and Religion, with which, God knows, ninety-nine out of one hundred of those who participate in the general clamour are totally unacquainted; and that perpetually ringing in the ears of a Pastor, who has the welfare and happiness of his flock at heart, must be no small mortification. To divert their attention from those foibles over their cups, I take down my violin and play them a few tunes, which gives me an opportunity of seeing that they get no more liquor than necessary for refreshment; and if the young people propose a dance I seldom answer in the negative; nevertheless when I announce it time for their return they are ever ready to obey my commands, and generally with the donation of sixpence, they shake hands with my children, and bid God bless them.—Thus my parishioners derive a triple advantage, being instructed, fed and amused at the same time: moreover, this method of spending their Sundays being so congenial with their inclinations, that they are imperceptibly led along the path of piety and morality ...'" with many other arguments Mr Carter supported his case so that "the Archdeacon very candidly acknowledged the propriety of Mr C.'s arguments in defence of his conduct, and complimented him on his discernment in using the most convenient vehicle for instruction."

Concerning a case of bear-baiting we have a most detailed account which Calvert heads with "The Baiting of a Bear at Pickering, Tuesday, Aug. 15th, 1809, which I did myself witness." Then he begins: "A week Wednesday senight there did with drum and pan pipes parade publickly the streets of this town two mountebanks leading by a chain a monster brown bruin which, as well as it being a good dancer and handing of its pole, its master did aclaim it to be the master of any dog of no odds what be its breed and which they would match for a crown to come off conqueror if given fair play and a fifteen-foot chain. Now it happening that in these parts there be living several sporting men some of which be owners of bull dogs of good courage and nowther dog nor master ever shirking a fight more than one dog was entered for to test its skill."

A day was fixed for the contests which were to take place in the castleyard, and soon the news was so handed from mouth to mouth that the demand for seats in the rough wooden stand, erected for those who chose to pay, was so great that another stand was built and the first one was enlarged.

On the appointed day a huge concourse including "farmers, butchers, hucksters, badgers, cadgers, horse-jobbers, drovers, loafers and scamps and raggels of all kinds" assembled in the castleyard.

There were "not a few young sparks and bespurred and beruffled bucks come thither from as far as Hull" who had brought with them certain overdressed women.

The first dog matched against the bear was owned by one Castle Jack "a worthless waistrel." The bear received the rush of the dog standing on his hind legs and gripped him in his forepaws, biting and crushing him to death. After this no one seemed inclined to let their dogs go to such certain death and the assemblage gradually became disorderly and many quarrels and fights took place before the crowd finally dispersed.

Calvert says, "and so when I did withdraw myself, the whole crowd seemed to be owther cursing, fighting, or loudly proffering for to fight any one. As I took my steps back to my uncle I could not help but consider that those of the Methodist holding, who did as we went towards the green [at the west end of the market-place] beg and pray of us to be mindfull of our sinfull pleasures and of the wroth to come and who did pray us to then turn from our sinfull course, and though we who did pass them did so with scoffs and ... gibes in some cases, yet I could not help but in my heart consider that they were fully in the right on't."

There is a remarkable story recorded of the fatal result of hunting a black-brushed fox found at Sinnington. It was on Thursday, January 13th, 1803, that "a black-brush'd fox was setten up at the high side of Sinnington. Some there were who left the hounds the instant they seed the colour of its brush for they minded that one who lived in those parts over a hundred years agone and who was held to be wise in dark things had owned a black-brushed reynard as a companion and which being on the moor on a time when hounds came that way they gave chace and presently killed, w^ch did so vex the wise dame that she was heard to cast a curse upon all those who should ever after give chace to one of its offspring and it hath being noted that by times when there be a black brush and it do be hunted that it is never catched and there be always some ill fall upon him who does first clap eyes on't and set the hounds on its scent. On this very day did some then present give chace and followed for ower three good hours while baith men, horses and hounds were all dead beat and just when they did aim for to claim its brush one Holliday fell from his horse and brake his neck, and he it was who had first set een on't. They were then close upon Chop Yatt ower forty mile by the course they had run. It was then brought to mind that one Blades a score years afore had been suddenly called to account on the same venture.

"One verse of an old hunting ditty which tells a tale of four bold riders who came by their death ower a cragg afollowing one of this same breed many years agone now, it tells in this wise:—

"Draw rein and think, bold hunter halt, Sly Reynard let go free, To ride ahint yon full black brush Means death to you or me. No luck can come so get you home And there tie up your steed, Yon black brush is ye devil wand It scents ye grave to feed."

The Sinnington hounds have long been famous in the North Riding, and their history goes back to the earliest days of fox-hunting in these parts. The Bilsdale being the only pack that claims an earlier origin. William Marshall, the agricultural writer (mentioned a few pages further on), hunted with the Sinnington pack for many years, and Jack Parker, huntsman of last century, was a very notable character whose witty anecdotes are still remembered. The silver-mounted horn illustrated here bearing the inscription "Sinnington Hunt 1750" is preserved at Pickering. Until about twenty-five years ago the pack was "trencher fed," the hounds being scattered about in twos and threes at the various farms and houses in the neighbourhood. The kennels are now at Kirby Moorside.

A curious "Dandy Horse" race was held at Pickering on June 22, 1813. Calvert describing it in his quaint way says: "On this day, Tuesday, June 22, 1813, Robert Kitching, Hungate, Pickering and S. Hutchinson of Helmsley, did bring off the wager they had laid of ten guineas apiece for their men to race from Pickering to Helmsley astride each of his master's dandy horse, which is a machine having two wheels in a line afixed with forks to a support beam upon which there resteth a saddle so high from the ground that the rider hath a grip on the ground, for it be by the pressure of the foot upon the ground that this new horse is shoved along, there be also a handle to hold by with a soft pad, this is for to rest the chest against as to gain a greater grip with the feet, the two Gladiators started fair away at ten of the clock, there been then come together from all parts upwards it was held of two thousand people, many on horseback arriving for to see this novel race from start to finish." However, when the opponents had covered about half the distance, one of them overstrained himself and gave up and the other admitted that "he was ommaist at the far end" so that the crowd assembled at Helmsley to see the finish waited in vain for the riders.

Although Pickering is several miles from the sea some of the more important people of the town were for many years closely interested in the whaling industry. It was about the year 1775, that Mr Nicholas Piper and some of his friends made a bold financial venture in the purchase of the Henrietta which became in time one of the most successful Greenland whalers sailing from the port of Whitby. Some of the ship's logs and also an account book are preserved by Mr Loy at Keld Head Hall, and from them I have been able to obtain some interesting facts. For a year or two the ship yielded no profits, but in 1777 there was a sum of L640 to be divided between the partners in the enterprise. Gradually the profits increased until they produced an annual total of about L2000.

Some of the entries in the account book are curious. These are some of the items in the preliminary expenses:—

"Jowsey's Bill for harpoon stocks and seal clubs, L3 2 8 To ye master to get hands in Shetland, 21 0 0 To ye sailors to drink as customary ye first voyage, 1 1 0 A crimp shipping seamen, 0 6 0

Then in 1776 comes:—

"By ye crimp's bill Sept. ye 20th, 225 0 6

Each voyage meant an advantage to Pickering, for it supplied the salt pork for the sailors. These are some of the entries:—

"1776. Paid for piggs at Pickering, L65 5 0 1777. Do. do. 59 19 6 Tom Dobson for carriage of do., 1 11 0 Window broke by firing a signal gun for sailing, 0 4 6 1778. Cheeses at Pickering, L 2 10 9 Paid for Piggs at Pickering, 55 14 5 Tom Dobson for carriage of piggs, 1 3 0 1779. James Gray's lodging ashore time of ye smallpox, 0 15 0 Paid for piggs at Pickering, 51 2 0 Paid at Saltergate for boys eating, etc., 0 4 6

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