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the church, after the ringers had left the belfry. On this occasion, after a severe handling in the capture, he brought his prisoner before the priest : this last affair left such a horror, both of the place and of the parties, as to have a salutary effect; but it was long ere I got rid of my deep-rooted grudge both against the minister and the sexton.

John Brown was not a sexton of the description portrayed in Blair's Grave. I will not cite a line of that often-quoted poem; for, though exquisitely drawn, it is not the character I am describing. Indeed, they have scarcely any thing in common, except a knowledge of their profession. John Brown was not that facetious being, whose disposition is so little in keeping with his avocations. “Clerk's ale” has gone out of fashion now, “Easter dues,” are no longer collected in our Parish—and little remains of the old customs. On occasion of going his annual round at this festival, he washed his earthy hands, and appeared comfortable in his person. Yet he was neither a droll nor a toper, but a stern and trusty man; and I am persuaded, that if every church-yard had a sentinel as uncompromising as was John Brown, a resurrection-man would have but ‘few temptations to violate the sanctuary of the dead.

When old John drew near his end, he conducted himself with more than his usual gravity, and discovered a disposition the very reverse of ostentatious. It is the custom of the bell-ringers in Hexham, and probably in other places, on the death of one of their number, to honour him with a muffled peal at the funeral; and, as John was one of the eight, this tribute was his due, independently of his more important offices, which entitled him to still greater distinction. Indeed, when his long and faithful services are taken into account, I do not know that half the parish would have considered it too high a token of regard, to have attended his funeral. But John, it seems, did not relish parade; and in his circumstances, it is to be hoped that his thoughts were employed on more profitable subjects than the anticipation of posthumous honours. Certain it is, that he forbade the accustomed peal, and discouraged the intention of any unnecessary ceremony. “I have been a plain man all my life,” said he, to those around him, “and I wish to be buried in a plain manner-and hope you will make no needless fuss about me.”

This prohibition was a source of disappointment to many, and even to me, who by this time had got the better of my boyish antipathy; and would have had some special notice taken of a man who had been so especially useful to society. But John had given his protest against it, and his injunction was carefully observed.

This respectable old man had, however, the singular honour to be buried by his own two sons; he had initiated them into the mysteries of his

calling, and they have been fortunate enough to succeed him respectively in his offices of parish clerk and sexton.

It may not be amiss, in closing this sketch, to glance at an event, in itself interesting, bnt rendered still more so as it opened the way to John Brown's introduction to that station, which he occupied in such & creditable manner for a period little short of half a century. He came into office when Francis Bell died. Poor old Frank, whatever might have been his faults, seems to have discharged his official duties with scrupulous attention, and a pardonable pride ; and he died at his elecated post !

He had climbed the belfry, one Sunday morning, as usual, to ring for church, and had sat down, as is customary, after reaching the ringingloft, to recover from the fatigue of ascending the long winding stairs. One of the band observed, that all hands were there, the clock had struck ten, and they had better set in. There are cight bells in Hexham church; seven of the ringers were at their stands, and all wondered that the old man was inactive. “Come, Frank,” said some of them.-Frank was silent--all eyes were turned to him; he had leaned his head against the wall, and they thought he slept. He slept indeed—but waked no more! On old Frank’s death, his son, of the same name, became a bell-ringer; and it is somewhat remarkable, that he, too, died in the church, in ascending the same bell-loft of which we have had occasion to speak already; and in a manner still more deplorable. Thirty years have elapsed since; but it is, perhaps, still too soon to enter into a minute detail of the circumstances of his death.

Epitaph on an old Hexton—intended for John Brown.

Truly thy hand, relentless Death, spares none,
When e'en thy servants share the common doom;
The boary sexton from his post is gone ;
He drops his spade, and finds himself a tomb.
Peace to the dead! and sacred be his grave-
Gently, 0 earth, receive him to thy breast :
Let each sweet flow'ret o'er his ashes wave,
Who laid a thousand of his kind to rest.

JOSEPH RIDLEY, Herham, Sept., 25, 1830.



Or, The three Butchers,


KNOW nothing of the history of the following song; though I think it probable, that

it is founded on fact, and may have reference ཚུ་ to some deed of blood perpetrated by High

waymen in the reign of George II. It is a popular song at the present day, and is frequently sung at graziers' and butchers' dinners in different parts of England. It is

often called for at the butchers' meetings at Romford in Essex, and is indeed as great a favourite with the knights of the cleaver, as the old song of the Men of Kent is with the Kentish farmers. Like all songs which have only been printed by the common ballad printers, there are hardly two copies alike. The one below is partly taken from a broadsheet, printed in 1842, by Pitts, Great St. Andrew street, London, and partly taken from the recitation of a lady. If it were not beyond a question that the song can boast of a very respectable age, I should from the metre have supposed it to be a modern composition, intended to burlesque the style and manner of Lockhart's Spanish ballads—It can however be proved that the ballad is at least seventy years old, and I have no doubt it is much older. Young Johnson is only a street song-still there is a graceful flow in the rhythm, and a spirit about the composition, that places it far above the generality of such things, and well entitles it to a place, in a work designed in part, for the preservation of the legends and ballads of the North Countrie.'


Tollington Park, Feb. 2, 1843,


NWAS Ipson, Gibson and Johnson- listen to my truthful lay

They had five hundred guineas bright, all on a market day; As they rode o'er Northumberland, as fast as bird can fly, “O hark! O hark !” says Johnson, “sure I hear a woman's cry.'

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Then Johnson being a valiant man, a man of courage bold,
He rang'd all o'er a neighb'ring wood, till a woman he did behold,

“How came you here," says Johnson “how came you here?

says he; I am come here to relieve you, and unbind you from the tree.”

“ There have been ten villains fierce, have hand and foot me bound.
And stripped me stark naked, and my hair pinned to the ground."
Then Johnson being a valiant man, a man of courage bold,
He took his coat from off his back, to keep her from the cold.

As they rode o'er Northumberland, as hard as they could ride,
She put her fingers to her ears, and dismally she cried;
When up did start ten highwaymen,* with weapons in their hand,
And riding up to Johnson, O they bid him for to stand.

" Its I'll not stand !” says Ipson, “ stand! O no indeed not I” “ Its l'll not stand

says Gibson,

“ I will sooner live than die!” “ Then I will stand !” says Johnson “I'll stand the while I can, “I never yet was daunted, nor afraid of any man!”

Then Johnson drew his glittering sword, with all his might and main,
So well he laid upon them, that he eight of them has slain ;
As he was fighting the other two, he the woman did not mind,
She took a knife all from his side, and stabbed him deep behind.

“I fall, I fall," did Johnson say “I fall unto the ground; This wicked woman I did relieve, has given me my death wound!” He spake, and yielded up his life—“ base woman what hast thou

done Thou hast killed the bravest butcher that the sun e'er shone upon.”

This happened on a market day as the folk were riding by,
And for this dreadful murder soon they raised the hue and cry.
That wicked one was taken, and in irons strong was bound,
For killing the bravest butcher that did ever tread the ground.

’Neath Hexham's abbey, grey and old, young Johnson's bones were

laid; The death knell rung, the anthem sung, and Christian rites were

paid; While a tree was raised in Morpeth town, the market place within, And on that tree, I trow, that she did shrive her deadly sin.

In the broad-sheet printed at York these worthies are called “ten swaggering blades."



Olden Time.

HE following extracts from the books of the society of Merchant Adventurers of Newcastle upon Tyne, exhibit an interesting picture of the then dress and manners of the apprentices, and of the regulations of the fellowship concerning them. The charters and records of this company, which was established by king John, A. D. 1215,

together with all their original orders, correspondence, accounts, &c., are in a perfect state of preservation, and we find enrolled amongst its members the ancestors of nearly all the principal families now settled in the northern counties.

“An act for the apperell of the apryntices, made in November, 1554, Mr. Cuthber Ellyson then beying governour,” thus inveighs against the vices and excesses of the times, “What dyseng, cardeng, and mummyng, what typling, daunseng and brasenge of harlots ! what garded cotes, jagged hose lyned with silke and cutt shoes ! what use of gitternes by nyght, what wearynge of berds ! what daggers ys by them worne crosse overthwarte their backs, that theis their doeings are more cumlye and decent for rageng ruffians than seem lie for honest apprentizes ! The act proceeds to forbid apprentices “to daunse, dyse, carde, or mum, or use any gytternes ; to wear any cut hose, cut shoes or pounced jerkens, or any berds ; to weare none other hoses than sloppes of course clothe whereof the yarde do not excede 12d.—their shoes and cotes to be of course clothe, and housewifes making—they are to wear no straite hoose, but playn without cuts, pounsyng or gards.”

The apprentices of mayors, sheriffs, and aldermen were excepted in the dress articles of this very humiliating order.

“ Anno die 1563. the xix daye of Auguste.

“It is orderyde, lycencyde assentyde and agree the xix of Auguste Ao 1563 by the Governor assystaunce and Hole Fellyshipe that Cuthbert Carre being Apprentyce to mayster Cuthbert Ellysonne that he shall be lycensyde to marye at his pleasure, his Indenture, Bond, Covenant, Act or Statutt made in this Hous withowt breaking or infrenging anny of the same.

A remarkable order of the society, originating, no doubt, in their

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