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NOTE 38, p. 75
That there was an ancient priory at Tynemouth is certain. Its ruins are situated on a high rocky point; and, doubtless, many a vow was made to the shrine by the distressed mariners, who drove towards the iron - bound coast of Northumberland in stormy weather. It was anciently a nunnery; for Virca, abbess of Tynemouth, presented St. Cuthbert (yet alive) with a rare winding-sheet, in emulation of a holy lady called Tuda, who had sent him a coffin. But, as in the case of Whitby, and of Holy Island, the introduction of nuns at Tynemouth, in the reign of Henry VIII, is an anachronism. The nunnery at Holy Island is altogether fictitious. Indeed, St. Cuthbert was unlikely to permit such an establishment; for, notwithstanding his accepting the mortuary gifts above mentioned, and his carrying on a visiting acquaintance with the abbess of Coldingham, he certainly hated the whole female sex; and, in revenge of a slippery trick played to him by an Irish princess, he, after death, inflicted severe penances on such as presumed to approach within a certain distance of his shrine.
Note 39, p. 79
It is well known, that the religious, who broke their vows of chastity, were subjected to the same penalty as the Roman vestals in a similar case. A small niche, sufficient to enclose their bodies, was made in the massive wall of the convent; a slender pittance of food and water was deposited in it, and the awful words, VADE IN PACE, were the signal for immuring the criminal. It is not likely that, in latter times, this punishment was often resorted to; but, among the ruins of the abbey of Coldingham, were some years ago discovered the remains of a female skeleton, which, from the shape of the niche, and position of the figure, seemed to be that of an immured nun.
NOTE 40, p. 95 Upon revising the Poem, it seems proper to mention that the lines,
Whose doom discording neighbours sought,
Content with equity unbought: have been unconsciously borrowed from a passage in Dryden's beautiful epistle to John Driden of Chesterton. (1808. Note to Second Edit.)
NOTE 41, p. 98
The accommodations of a Scottish hostelrie, or inn, in the sixteenth century, may be collected from Dunbar's admirable tale of The Friars of Berwick. Simon La der, ‘the gay ostlier,' seems to have lived very comfortably; and his wife decorated her person with a scarlet kirtle, and a belt of silk and silver, and rings upon her fingers; and feasted her paramour with rabbits, capons, partridges, and Bourdeaux wine. At least, if the Scottish inns were not good, it was not for want of encouragement from the legislature; who, so early as the reign of James I, not only enacted, that in all boroughs and fairs there be hostellaries, having stables and chambers, and provision for man and horse, but by another statute, ordained that no man, travelling on horse or foot, should presume to lodge anywhere except in these hostellaries; and that no person, save innkeepers, should receive such travellers, under the penalty of forty shillings, for exercising such hospitality. But, in spite of these provident enactments, the Scottish hostels are but indifferent, and strangers continue to find reception in the houses of individuals.
NOTE 42, p. 106 Among other omens to which faithful credit is given among the Scottish peasantry, is what is called the 'dead-bell,' explained by my friend James Hogg, to be that tinkling in the ears
| James I, Parliament I, cap. 24; Parliament III, cap. 56.
which the country people regard as the secret intelligence of some friend's decease. He tells a story to the purpose in the Mountain Bard, p. 26.
NOTE 43, p. III
A vaulted hall under the ancient castle of Gifford, or Yester (for it bears either name indifferently), the construction of which has from a very remote period been ascribed to magic. The Statistical Account of the Parish of Garvald and Baro gives the following account of the present state of this castle and apartment: 'Upon a peninsula, formed by the water of Hopes on the east, and a large rivulet on the west, stands the ancient castle of Yester. Sir David Dalrymple, in his Annals, relates that "Hugh Gifford de Yester died in 1267; that in his castle there was a capacious cavern, formed by magical art, and called in the country Bo-Hall, i.e., Hobgoblin Hall." A stair of twentyfour steps led down to this apartment, which is a large and spacious hall, with an arched roof; and though it hath stood for so many centuries, and been exposed to the external air for a period of fifty or sixty years, it is still as firm and entire as if it had only stood a few years. From the floor of this hall, another stair of thirty-six steps leads down to a pit which hath a communication with Hopes-water. A great part of the walls of this large and ancient castle are still standing. There is a tradition, that the castle of Yester was the last fortification, in this country, that surrendered to General Gray, sent into Scotland by Protector Somerset.' (Statistical Account, vol. xi11.) I have only to add, that, in 1737, the Goblin Hall was tenanted by the Marquis of Tweedale's falconer, as I learn from a poem by Boyse, entitled Retirement written upon visiting Yester. It is now rendered inaccessible by the fall of the stair.
Sir David Dalrymple's authority for the anecdote is in Fordun, whose words are, — ‘A.D. MCCLXVII. Hugo Giffard de Yester moritur; cujus castrum, vel saltem caveam, et dongionem, arte dæmonica antiquæ relationes ferunt fabrifaclas: nam ibidem habetur mirabilis specus subterraneus, opere mirifico constructus, magno
terrarum spatio protelatus, qui communiter Bo-Vall appellatus est.' (Lib. x. cap. 21.) Sir David conjectures, that Hugh de Gifford must either have been a very wise man, or a great oppressor.
NOTE 44, p. 112 In 1263, Haco, King of Norway, came into the Frith of Clyde with a powerful armament, and made a descent at Largs, in Ayrshire. Here he was encountered and defeated, on the 2d October, by Alexander III. Haco retreated to Orkney, where he died soon after this disgrace to his arms. There are still existing, near the place of battle, many barrows, some of which, having been opened, were found, as usual, to contain bones and urns.
NOTE 45, p. 112
'Magicians, as is well known, were very curious in the choice and form of their vestments. Their caps are oval, or like pyramids, with lappets on each side, and fur within. Their gowns are long, and surred with fox-skins, under which they have a linen garment reaching to the knee. Their girdles are three inches broad, and have many cabalistical names, with crosses, trines, and circles inscribed on them. Their shoes should be of new russet leather, with a cross cut upon them. Their knives are dagger-fashion; and their swords have neither guard nor scabbard.' (See these, and many other particulars, in the Discourse concerning Devils and Spirits, annexed to Reginald Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, edition 1665.)
NOTE 46, p. 113
A pentacle is a piece of fine linen, folded with five corners, according to the five senses, and suitably inscribed with characters. This the magician extends towards the spirits which he invokes, when they are stubborn and rebellious, and refuse to be conformable unto the ceremonies and rites of magic.' (See the Discourse, etc., above mentioned, p. 66.)
NOTE 47, p. 114
It is a popular article of faith, that those who are born on Christmas, or Good Friday, have the power of seeing spirits, and even of commanding them. The Spaniards imputed the haggard and downcast looks of their Philip II to the disagreeable visions to which this privilege subjected him.
NOTE 48, p. 118
The following extract from the ' Essay upon the Fairy Superstitions,' in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. 11, will show whence many of the particulars of the combat between Alexander III and the Goblin Knight are derived:
Gervase of Tilbury (Otia Imperial, ap. Script. rer. Brunsvic., vol. 1, p. 797) relates the following popular story concerning a fairy knight: 'Osbert, a bold and powerful baron, visited a noble family in the vicinity of Wandlebury, in the bishopric of Ely. Among other stories related in the social circle of his friends, who, according to custom, amused each other by repeating ancient tales and traditions, he was informed, that if any knight, unattended, entered an adjacent plain by moonlight, and challenged an adversary to appear, he would be immediately encouna tered by a spirit in the form of a knight. Osbert resolved to make the experiment, and set out, attended by a single squire, whom he ordered to remain without the limits of the plain, which was surrounded by an ancient intrenchment. On repeating the challenge, he was instantly assailed by an adversary, whom he quickly unhorsed, and seized the reins of his steed. During this operation, his ghostly opponent sprung up, and darting his spear, like a javelin, at Osbert, wounded him in the thigh. Osbert returned in triumph with the horse, which he committed to the care on his servants. The horse was of a sable colour, as well as his whole accoutrements, and apparently of great beauty and vigour. He remained with his keeper till cock-crowing, when, with eyes flashing fire, he reared, spurned the ground, and van