Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Thuns” (“Camp-Towns"), the renowned Cale- are the “Cheesewring," the “Kilmarth Rocks," donian strongholds—and tvo numerous to mention and the “Hare Stone,' engravings of which are the fastnesses which tell us that the people accompany this paper. Though I must confess I whom we cannot but honor for the servor of their have not been convinced that these are “frekes religion were likewise worthy of our admiration of nature," or the result of such freaks, I yield to for indomitable bravery and tenacious defence of the judgment of recognized authorities in so their homes and their country.

classifying them, the more because I find none of Cæsar tells of the terrible war-chariots of the these “recognized authorities” very pronounced Britons, which struck terror into his legions, but in favor of my own idea that the same wonderful of these we have no positive tokens. King, whom people whose skill was equal to the task of erecting I have cited on other points, gets widely astray in Stonehenge and placing in position the vast masses his estimate of the brave old Britons, viewing them designated Cromlechs, were the builders of the

Cheesewring,” the

Kilmarth Rocks,” etc. The fact that I can positively demonstrate no use for which these were certainly designed does not convince me that I am wrong, as many of the marvelous structures universally recognized as their handiwork cannot be any more confidently ascribed to any useful purpose. For example, the “Cheesewring" and the “Kilmarth Rocks” may have been

erected as altars of The CHEESEWRING,

incense; just as pro

bable is this as that as little else than painted savages, and in accord | the “ Trevethy Stone" and the “Cromlechs of with that estimate is his absurd notion that their Plas Newydd" were placed in position as altars war-chariots were but low carts similar to those of sacrifice ; or, if we prefer the theory that the used by the Welsh for agricultural purposes. The Cromlechs were simply monuments, why not with accompanying engraving is from a painting, and equal reason so regard the “Cheesewring,” etc.? embodies an artist's conception of the chariot With all due deference to the “recognized which terrified the Roman legions. Of the spears authorities," I can see no more evidence of human and shield and battle-axe, we know that they are art in the Cromlech, or even in the “Circles," fair representations of the weapons of the time. than in the vast columns, of Cornwall; I cannot

I have spoken of some memorials of antiquity conceive why we should credit the Druids with which are undoubtedly ancient enough but cannot the construction of “ Kit's Coty House" and deny be called Druidic with certainty, as they may be them the credit of the erection of the “Cheesewonders of nature, used but perhaps not con- wring." I believe that the Druids did raise structed by the Druids. Such are “Wayland the “ Barrows" and the “Hills;" that they did Smith" and "Hugh Lloyd's Pulpit," illustrated build “Abury” and “Stonehenge ;" that they and described in my January paper. And such did erect the "Cromlechs” and the “ Kists-vaen,"

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

and Kit's Coty House." And I believe too, with equal confidence, that they reared the “Cheesewring," the "Kilmarth Rocks," and the “ Hare Stone."

The "Cheesewring' of Cornwall is a granite column rising to the height of at least thirty-two feel, and consisting of eight stones, the sizes of which vary as shown in the engraving; I have not at hand my

The KilMARTH Rocks. memoranda of the dimensions of these stones, but my recollection or fourteen feet square by from four to five and is that the largest is nearly eighteen feet in diaineter a half thick, the total height being slightly over and nearly six feet thick. It takes its name from twenty-eight feet; the lofty column is carefully a supposed resemblance to an old-time cheese poised on the edge of a precipice, the lowest stone press. The “Kilınarth Rocks” is a column of extending about seven feet over the edge, while six stones, of nearly equal size, about thirteen 'the column leans to the opposite direction, over

hanging its centre more than twelve feet. The "Hare Stone," of Cornwall, is a single lofty stone with a heap of small stones at its foot, and its name indicates that those who first gave it that name regarded it as a boundary stone (hare or hoar is the old British word for "boundary" or “ border"), and I see no reason for questioning the designation. Doubtless it was

an early witness of a like Trans

transaction with that recorded in Genesis 31 : 51, 52.

Among the most wonderful stones of the Druids, are those called by antiquaries “Logan" or "Rocking Stones,"

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

for which Cornwall is reTHE HARE STONE, CORNWALL.

asymiz

66

[ocr errors]

markable. The ancient writers seem to have been been attempted to be assigned to these rocking much impressed with the wonder which such stones, beyond the general statement that they curiosities excite. Pliny tells of a rock near “ formed a part of the system of divination pracHarpasa that a finger rightly applied would move, ticed by the Druid priests." and the whole body otherwise applied could not I presume a slight digression just here will te stir ; Ptolemy says of the “Gygonean Rock” that pardoned by my readers, that I may notice briefly it could be stirred by a stroke from a stalk of a stone which originally stood, according to George asphodel, but could not be removed by any force. Buchanan, the Scottish historian and poet, in In Gibson's edition of Camden's Brittania" there Argyleshire, Scotland, was transferred in the ninth is a description, from a manuscript by Mr. Owen, century to Scone, and there enclosed in a wooden of a Rocking Stone in Pembrokeshire, which is chair, by King Kenneth. The old monkish legend specially interesting: “This shaking stone may be seen on a sea.cliff within half a mile of St. David's. It is so vast that I presume it may exceed the draught of an hundred oxen, and it is altogether rude and unpolished. The occasion of the name (y maen sigl, or the 'rocking stone') is for that being mounted on divers other stones about a yard in height is so equally poised that a man may shake it with one finger so that five or six men sitting on it shall perceive themselves moved thereby.This stone was made immovable by some soldiers during the civil wars; they threw it from its support, because, as they professed, it encouraged superstition, just as they destroyed monumental brasses, painted glass, etc., on the same pretext; the Cromwellian soldiers also upset a famous stone called Menamber, in Sithney parish, Cornwall, of which we are told that “a little child could move it, whereas it required immense labor and pains to remove it.” At Golcar Hill, near Halifax, in Yorkshire, there is a stone which was a rockingstone until, as it is said, “ some working men, curious to discover the principle thereof, hacked a fragment off of one extremitie, and lost its equilibrium ;" they sought to restore this, by hacking

CORPUT “the other extremitie, but when they had hacked

COSTUME OF GAULISH DRUIDS. a little the stone went the other way, and whiles they continued their efforts from end to end, it claimed that it was the identical stone which had went up and down indeed to one end and the formed Jacob's pillow. The popular Scottish other, but utterlie refused to recover its balance." legend, however, is far more credible, viz., that it Not many years since, there was a similar stone on was the ancient inauguration-stone of the kings the Cornwall coast which some “sailors threw of Ireland. Sir Walter Scott says: “ This fatal from its balance in sport; the people insisted upon stone was said to have been brought from Ireland its restoration, and tackle was brought from the by Fergus the son of Eric, who led the Dalriads ship and every effort was made under the supervi- to the shores of Argyleshire. Its virtues are presion of skillful engineers, but the tackle brake and served in the celebrated leonine verse . . . which the stone defied the skill of the engineers." I may be rendered thus: have not attempted to picture any of these rocking ««« Unless the Fates are faithless found,

And Prophet's voice be vain, stones because all I have seen have lost their

Where'er this monument be found characteristic peculiarity. No distinctive use has

The Scottish race shall reign.'"

Edward I. removed this stone from Scone to Is it not remarkable that a people with so much Westminster, and here it remains, “the ancient skill in some things, have left no sketch or picture est respected monument in the world; for, although or engraved or carved representation of themselves? some others may be more ancient as to duration, of the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, yet thus superstitiously regarded are they not." and other ancient people, we have clear and unThis is the famous “Stone of Destiny," upon mistakable testimouy in paintings and sculptures, which rests the seat of the Coronation chair of often extremely rude but always valuable as data England; the chair is shown in the engraving on from which to learn something of their every-day page 224, and the stone is seen beneath the seat. That Edward I. removed the stone from Scone to Westminster, and that it has ever since and continues to sustain the seat of the Coronation Chair of the sovereigns of the British Empire, are facts that admit of no question. In support of the first of these facts, I may as well mention that the record of the expenses of its removal is carefully preserved. That it was ever Jacob's pillow is as certainly not true, while the Scottish tradition so gracefully related by Sir Walter Scott, partially quoted above, is not improbable.

This stone is not a memorial of the antiquity of Engla-land in the same sense as the Druid remains. I have attempted to bring before my readers, and yet it is not entirely out of place or unworthy of note among those memorials, as its antiquity is beyond question so great that its origin or whence it first came can never be positively known.

I cannot but wish there were some better, more reliable and more intelligible tokens preserved of the domestic manners and customs of the old Druidic inhabitants

COSTUME OF GAULISH DRUIDS. of Engla-land. But I have found little or I might say nothing that is clear and authentic life and of their characteristic appearance, dress, enough to approximate the stone and earth records etc. But of the early inhabitants of Britain, even of their religion and of their warlike skill and to the period of the Roman invasion, there is prowess. But such as I have found, I must give literally nothing sufficiently pronounced and aumy readers the benefit of.

thentic to serve as a safe basis for the merest The first question as to the manners and customs conjecture. Their very dress, as we have seen, is of a people, I take it, naturally concerns their only to be surmised from Roman statues of a dress. And here the best I can offer are sketches neighboring people, and even these of a comfrom somer Roman statues showing the costume paratively modern day. of the Gauls of the time of the Roman invasion, That the Britons were agriculturists in some at which time probably the British people were considerable degree, has been inferred from certain arrayed in pretty much the same style; we cannot caves and pits found in various parts of Britian, determine, however, with any certainty, the time believed to be of sufficient antiquity, viewed in when skin garments were superseded by those of connection with certain passages in Tacitus's

account of the manners and customs of the ancient

[graphic]

1

linen or cloth.

ac

top."

Germans; he says:

“ The Germans were and on that part which is next the water it is customed to dig subterraneous caverns, and then covered with a horse-hide. It is about five feet to cover them with much loose mould, forming a in length and three in breadth, and is so light refuge from wintry storms and a receptacle for the that, coming off the water, they take them upon fruits of the earth,” etc. A notable cavern, their backs and carry them home." Such were agreeing with the German cavern-barns described the fishing boats on the Severn in Camden's time, by Tacitus, exists at Royston, in Hertfordshire, and such or similar were, I doubt not, the fishingfirst discovered under the market-place of that boats of the Britons of centuries before. It has town in 1742. Kent has

been conjectured, from some many such, in the heaths

Roman writers, that the and fields and woods about

Britons had boats adapted Crayford. So also near Til

to distant navigation ; but bury, in Essex, there are two,

this is questioned by many which Camden describes as

of the most reliable English he saw them; he gives rude

antiquaries. Cæsar, in his representations of them, and

“History of the Civil War," tells us they were “spacious

says that he had modeled his caverns in a chalky cliff built

boats for crossing rivers in very artificially of stone to

Spain after those he saw in the height of ten fathoms,

Britain; these may have been and somewhat straight at the

somewhat like our American As Tacitus states

Indians' canoes, as remains that the caverns of the Ger

of what appear to have been mans were chiefly designed

boats, seven to eight feet as barns for the safe-keeping

long, hollowed out of trees, of the fruits of the earth, so

have been found in Dumfries, it is inferred that the same

in the marshes of the Med. was the purpose of those of

way, and elsewhere in distan: Britain, and it is further

parts of the country, in inferred from the large num

draining Mar-on Lake Marbers of these found all over

tine Mere), in Lancashire, old Britain that the people

eight canoes, each out of a were largely employed in

single tree, were discovered agriculture.

deeply buried in the mud But the primitive Britons

and sand, and in a creek of were also fishermen. We

the Arun, near North Stoke, know that the primitive in

The STONE OF DESTINY.

Sussex, a canoe of the same habitants of all sea-girt coun

sort was found in 1834. tries have been mostly fishermen, and we cannot Suetonius tells us the pearls of Britain afforded doubt that the people who had at their command a strong temptation to Cæsar, and contributed to the treasures of the wide estuaries and deep rivers his determination to invade the country. Marof Britain found an important proportion of their bodæus, a still earlier Latin poet, quoted by Camsustenance in the waters. We find in Gibson's den, says : "Camden's Brittania," an admirable description “And Brittania's ancient shores great pearls produce." of the fishing boats on the Severn: "The fishermen And later Ausonius poetically calls the pearls of in these parts use a small thing called a coracle, Britain, “the white shell berries." Hence, in which one man being seated will row himself pearl fishing at least must have been an imporwith incredible swiftness with one hand, while tant pursuit of the Britons at a very early period. with the other he manages his net, angle or other I have still to speak of the dwellings and of the fishing-tackle. It is of a form almost oval, made public roads of the ancient Britons, and then, after of split sally twigs' interwoven,round at the bottom a general summary, we shall have to enter upon 1 Willow-twigs.

the study of Engla-land in the Roman Period.

[graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »