Picture of William Camden

William Camden

places mentioned

Yorkshire: West Riding

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BRITAINE, which hitherto hath, as it were, launched out with huge Promontories, looking on the one side toward Germanie, on the other side toward Ireland, now as it were affraid of the Sea violently inrushing upon it, withdraweth it selfe father in, and by making larger separations of lands retyreth backe, gathered into a farre narrower breath. For it is not past one hundred miles broad from coast to coast, which on both sides passe on in a maner with streight and direct shores Northward as farre as to Scotland. All this part well neere of the Iland, whiles the Romane Empire stood upright and flourished in Britaine, was inhabited by the Brigantes. For Ptolomee writeth that they dwelt from the East sea to the West. A nation that was right valiant, populous withall, and of especiall note among ancient Authors, who all doe name them Brigantes, unlesse it be Stephanus onely, in his booke Of Cities , who called them Brigae, in which place, that which he wrote of them is defective at this day in the bookes, by reason that the sentence is unperfect. If I should thinke that these were called Brigantes of briga , which in the ancient Spanish tongue signified a Citie , I should not satisfie my selfe, seeing it appeereth for certaine out of Strabo that it is a meere Spanish word. If I were of opinion with Goropius that out of the Low Dutch tongue they were termed Brigantes, as one would say Free-hands , should I not obtrude upon you his dreames for dainties? Howsoever the case standeth, our Britans our Welshmen, if they see any of a bad disposition and audaciously playing lawlesse and leawd parts, use to say of them by of a common merry quippe, wharret Brigans , that is, They play the Brigants. And the Frenchmen at this day, abiding as it seemeth to the ancient language of the Gaules, usually terme such leawd fellowes brigans , like as Pirats shipes brigantins. But whether the force of the word was such in old times in the Gaules or Britans language, or whether our Brigantes were such like men, I dare not determine. Yet, if my memorie faile me not, Strabo calleth the Brigantes (a people about Alpes) grassatores , that is, robbers , and Julius, a Belgian, a young man of desperat boldnesse, who counted power, authority, honestie, and vertue to be nothing but naked names, is in Tacitus surnamed Briganticus. With which kind of vice our old Brigantes may seeme to have beene tainted, when so they robbed and spoiled the neighbour inhabitants, that the Emperour Antoninus Pius for this cause tooke away a great part of their country from them, as Pausanias witnesseth, who writeth thus of them: ἀπετέμετο δὲ καὶ τῶν ἐν Βριττανίᾳ Βριγάντων τὴν πολλήν, ὅτι ἐπεσβαίνειν καὶ οὗτοι σὺν ὅπλοις ἦρξαν ἐς τὴν Γενουνίαν μοῖραν, ὑπηκόους ῾Ρωμαίων, that is, Antoninus Pius cut the Brigantes in Britaine short of a great part of their country because they beganne to take armes and in hostile maner to invade Genunia, a region subject to the Romanes. Neither will any, I hope, take this as a reproch. Surely I should seeme farre unlike my selfe if I fell now to taxe ignominiously any private person, much lesse a nation. Neither was this counted a reprochfull imputation in that warlicke age when all nations reckoned that their right, which they could winne or hold by might and dint of sword. Roberies , saith Caesar, among the Germans are not noted with any infamie, such I meane as are committed without the borders of every State, and they allow the practise thereof to exercise their youth withal, and to keepe them from ydlenesse. And for a reason not unlike, the Paeones among the Greekes are so called quia percussores , that is, because they were cutters, the Quadi among the Germans, and the Chaldaei likewise are reported to have gotten those names because they used to robbe and kill.

2. Now, in that Florianus Del Campo, a Spaniard, hath with to much affectation derived our Brigantes from Spaine from Ireland, and from thence into Britaine, grounding upon no other conjecture but that he found the Citie Brigantia in his owne country Spaine, he hath, I feare me, swarved from the Truth. For in case our Brigantes and those in Ireland had not the same name both for one cause, I had rather with my friend, the right learned Thomas Savil, judge that as well divers of our Brigantes, also other nations of Britaine, from the first comming of the Romans hither, departed into Ireland, some for desire of quietnesse and ease, others that the Lordly dominion of the Romans might not be an eiesore unto them, and others againe because they would not by their good will loose that liberty in their old age which by nature they were endowed with in their childhood. But that Claudius the Emperour was the first of all the Romans who set upon these our Brigantes and brought them under the Romane dominion, Seneca in his Play sheweth by these verses:

The Britans, such as seated are beyond the knowen Sea-coast,
And Brigants with blew peinted shields, he forced with his hoast
To yeeld their neckes in Romane chaines, as captives to be led,
And even the Ocean this new powre of Romane-ax to dread.

And yet I have beene of this mind, that they were not they conquered, but committed themselves rather unto the tuition and protection of the Romanes. For that which he poetically endited, the Historiographers do not mention. And Tacitus recordeth how by occasion at that time of certaine discords risen among the Brigantes, Ostorius, who now made preparation for new warres, was hindered and pulled backe, which he with the execution of a few easily appeased. At which time, the Brigantes had Cartismandua, a right noble and puissant Lady, for their Queene, who intercepted Caratacus and delivered him into the Romans hands. Hereupon ensued welth of welth and prosperity, roiotous and incontinent life, in so much as, forsaking her husband Venutius his bed, she joined herselfe in marriage with Vellocatus his Esquire, and made him King. Which foule fact was the overthrow shortly after of her house, and thereby a bloudy and mortall warre was enkindled. The love and affection of the country went generally with the lawfull husband, but the Queenes untemperate lust and cruelty were perpemptorie in maintaining the adulterer. She by crafty plots and mischeivous meanes intercepteth the brother and kinsfolke of Venutius. Venutius againe for his part, pricked forward with shamefull disgrace, by the helpe of friends whom he procured, and the rebellion withall of the Brigantes themselves, brought Cartismandua into great extremities. Then, upon her instant [plea] unto the Romans for aid, garisons were set, Cohorts and wings of foote and horse were sent, which after sundry skirmishes with variable event delivered her person out of perill, yet so as that the Kingdome remained to Venutius, and the warre with the Romanes, who were not able to subdue the Brigantes before the time of Vespasian. For then Petilius Cerealis, having invaded this country, fought many battailes, and some of them very bloudy, and either conquered or else wasted a great part of the Brigantes. Whereas Tacitus writeth that this Queene of the Brigantes delivered Caratacus prisoner unto Claudius the Emperour, there is in that excellent author a manifest ἀντιχρονισμὸς, and the same noted a good while since by Justus Lipsius, deeply insighted in understanding old Authors. For neither was this Caratacus Prince of the Silures and Ordevices led in pompe at that triumph of Claudius, nor yet Caratacus sonne of Cunobelinus (for so he is called in the Roman Fasti , whom Dio nameth Catacratus). Of whom Aulus Plautius, if not the very same yeere, yet in the next following triumphed by way of Ovation. But let others sift out these matters, and thereof I have already said somewhat. In the Emperour Hadrians time, when, as Aelius Spartianus saith, The Britans could not be contained under the Romans dominion , it may seeme that these our Brigantes revolted from the Romans and made a turbulent insurrection. For had it not beene so, there was no cause why Juvenall, who then lived, should thus write:

Downe with the Moores sheepecotes and folds,
Downe with the Brigantes forts and holds.

Neither afterward in the time of Antoninus Pius was their courage, as it may seeme, very much abated, when he tooke away part of their territories from them, because they had mad rodes, as I have said before, into Genunia or Guinethia, a province confederate with the Romans.

3. If I durst by our Critickes good leave (who in these daies, presuming so much of their great wits, are supercriticall), me thinkes I could heere cleare Tacitus of a fault or two, which sitteth close to him, as concerning the Brigantes. The one is in the twelfth Book of his Annales, where I would read for Venutius out of the State of the Iugantes, out of the state of the Brigantes , which Tacitus himselfe seemeth to insinuate in the third Booke of his Histories. the other, in the life of Agricola, The Brigantes , saith he, under the leading of a Woman, burnt the Colonie &. Where truth would have you read The Trinobantes. For he speaketh of Queene Boadicia, who had nothing to doe with the Brigantes. But the Trinobantes she stirred indeed to rebellion,and burnt the Colonie Camalodunum.

4. But this country of theirs, so exceeding large, which the further it goes the narrower it waxeth, riseth on high in the mids with continued ridges and edges of hils (as Italie is raised up with Appeninus), which make a partition betweene those counties into which it is now divided. For beneath those hils toward the East and the German Sea lieth Yorkshire and the Bishopricke of Duresme [Durham], and on the West side Lancashire, Westmerland, and Cumberland, all which countries in the first infancie of the English-Saxons Empire were contained within the Kingdome of the Deiri. For they call those Countries the Kingdome of the Northanhumbers, and devided them into two parts, Deiara, called in that age Dheirland , which is neerer unto us and on this side Tine, and Bernicia, which, lying beyond Tine, reached as farre as Edenborrough Firth in Scotland, which part, although they had their severall Kings a long time, yet at length grew all to be one kingdome. And, that I may note this one thing by the way, whereas in the life of Charles of the Great it is read thus, Eardulph King of the Nordanhumbers, that is, De-Irland, being driven out of his country unto Charles the Great &., we must read jointly Dierland , and understand the place of this country, and not of Ireland, as some have misconceived.


THE County of Yorke, in the Saxon tonge Everwic-scyre, Effroc-scyre and Ebora-scyre , commonly Yorkeshire, the greatest Shire by far of al England, is thought to bee in a temperate measure fruitfull. If at one place there bee stonie and sandy barraine ground, in another place there are for it cornfields as rich and fruitfull: if it be voide and destitute of woods heere, you shall finde it shadowed there with most thicke forests, so providently useth nature such a temperature, that the whole country may seeme by reason also of that variety more gracefull and delectable. Where it bendeth Westward, it is bounded with the hilles I spake of from Lancashire and Westmorland. On the North-side it hath the Bishopricke of Durham, which the river Tees with a continued course separateth from it. On the East-side the Germaine Sea lieth sore upon it, and the South-side is enclosed first with Cheshire and Darbyshire, then with Nottinghamshire, and after with Lincolnshire, where that famous arme of the sea Humber floweth betweene, into which all the rivers well neere that water this shire empty themselves, as it were, into their common receptacle.

2. This whole shire is divided into three partes, which according to three quarters of the world are called The West-Riding, The East-Riding, and The North-riding. West-riding for a good while is compassed in with the river Ouse, with the bound of Lancashire, and with the South limits of the shire, and beareth toward the West and South. East-Riding looketh to the Sunne-rising and the Ocean, which togither with the river Derwent incloseth it. North-Riding reacheth Northward, hemmed in, as it were, with the river Tees, with Derwent and a long race of the river Ouse. In that West part, out of the Westerne mountaines or hils in the confines issue many rivers which Ouse alone enterteineth ever one, and carrieth them all with him into Humber. Neither can I see any fitter way to describe this part than to follow the streames of Done, Calder, Are, Wherfe, Nid, and Ouse, which, springing out of these hilles, are the rivers of most account, and runne by places likewise of greatest importance.

3. The river Danus, commonly called Don and Dune, so termed, as it should seeme, for that it is carried into a chanell some-what flat, shallow and low by the ground (for so much signifieth dan in the British language), after it hath saluted Wortley, which gave surname to a worshipfull family, as also Wentworth hard by, whence beside other gentlemen as well in this Country as else where, the Barons of Wentworth have derived both their originall and name, runneth first by Sheafield a towne of great name (like as other small townes adjoyning) for the Smithes therein (considering there bee many iron mines there about), fortified also with a strong and ancient Castle, which in right line descended from the Lovetofts, the Lords Furnivall, ‡and Thomas Lord Nevil of Halumshire,‡ unto the Talbots, Earles of Shrewsbury. From thence Don, clad with alders and other trees, goeth to Rotheram, which glorieth in Thomas Rotheram sometime Archbishop of Yorke, a wise man, bearing the name of the towne, beeing borne therein and a singular benefactor thereunto, who founded and endowed there a Colledge with three schooles in it to teach children writing, Grammar, and Musicke, which the greedy iniquity of these our times hath already swallowed. Then looketh it up to Connisborow or Conines-borrough, an ancient castle, in the British tonge Caer Conan , seated upon a rock, into which, what time as Aurelius Ambrosius had so discomfited and scattered the English Saxons at Maisbelly that they tooke them to their heeles and fled every man the next way hee could finde, Hengest their Captaine retyred himselfe for safety, and a few daies after brought his men forth to battaile before the Campe against the Britans that pursewed him, where hee fought a bluddy field to him and his. For a great number of men were there cut in peeces, and the Britans, having intercepted him, chopt of his head, if we may beleeve the British History rather than the English-Saxon Chronicles, which report that he, being outworne with travell [travail] and labour, died in peace. But this Coningsborough in latter ages was the possession of the Earles of Warren. Afterwards, he runneth under Sprotburg, the ancient seat of that ancient family of the Fitz-Williams Knights, who are most honourably allied and of kin to the noblest houses of England, and from whom descended Sir William Fitz-Williams Earle of Southampton, in our fathers remembrance, and Sir William Fitz-Williams late Lord Deputy of Ireland. But in processe of time this is fallen to the Copleys, like as Elmesly with other possessions of theirs in this tract are come by right of inheritance to the Savils.

4. From hence Done, running with a divided streame hard to an old towne, giveth it his owne name, which we at this day call Dan-caster, the Scots Don-castle, the Saxons Dona-ceaster , NinniusCaer Daun , but Antonine the Emperour Danum, like as the booke of Notices , which hath recorded that the Captaine of the Crispinian Horsemen lay there in garison under the Generall of Britaine. This about the yeere of our Lord 759 was so burnt with fire from heaven, and laie so buried under the owne ruines, that it could scarce breath againe. A large plot it sheweth yet, where a Citadell stood, which men thinke was then consumed with fire, in which place I saw the Church of S. Georges, a faire Church, and the onely Church they have in the towne. Beneath this towne Southward scarce five miles off is Tickhill, which I am not willing to omit, an old towne, fensed with as old a Castle, large enough but having onely a single wall about it, and with an high mount whereon standeth a round Keepe. It carried in old time such a dignity with it that the Manours and Lords belonging thereto were called the Honour of Tickhill. In the reigne of Henry the First Roger Busley held the possession thereof. Afterwards the Earles of Ewe in Normandy were long since Lords of it by the gift of King Stephen. Then King Richard the First gave it unto John his brother. In the Barons warre Robert de Vipont deteined it for himselfe, which that he should redeliver unto the Earle of Ewe, King Henry the Third put into his hands the Castle of Carleol and the County. But when the King of France would not restore unto the English againe their possessions in France, the King of England retained it to himselfe, whenas John Earle of Ewe in the right of Alice his great Grandmother claimed of King Edward the First restitution thereof. At length Richard the Second King of England liberally gave it unto John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster. But now by this time Done, that often riseth heere and overfloteth the fields, gathering his divided waters into one streame againe, when he hath for a while run in one channell through Hatfeld Chace (where there is great game and hunting of red Deere), being divided eft-soone, speedeth himselfe on the one hand to Idel, a river in Nottinghamshire, on the other to Are, that he and they together may fall into Humber. In which very place there are environed with these rivers Diche-march and Marchland, little Mersh Countries or River-Ilands rather, taking up in circuit much about fifteene miles, most plentifull of greene grasse, passing good for feeding of Cattell, and on every side garnished, as it were, with prety townes. Let some of the Inhabitants are of opinion that the land there is hollow and hanging, yea and that as the waters rise the same also is heaved up, a thing that Pomponius Mela hath written concerning Antrum an Isle in France. But among those Beakes [streams] and Brookes that conveie their streames hither, I must not overpasse Went, which floweth out of a standing Poole nere unto Nosthill, where sometime stood an Abbay consecrated to Oswald, both a King and a Saint, which A. Confessour to King Henry the First re-edified. But since the dissolution it hath beene the dwelling house of the Gargraves, knights of especiall good respect.

5. Calder, springing in the very confines of Lancashire, runneth along certaine townes of no account, among which, at Gretland in the toppe of an hill (whereunto there is no ascent but of one side), was digged up this Votive Altar, erected, as it should seeme, to the tutelar God of the whole State of the Brigants, which altar was to be seene at Bradley in the house of the right worshipfull Sir John Savill Knight, Baron of the Exchequer, ‡but now among Sir Robert Cottons Antiquities:‡

On the other side:

ET SVIS S. M. A. G. S.

That is, To the God of the whole Communalty and state of the Brigantes, and to the sacred Majestie of the Augusti, Titus Aurelius Aurelianus hath dedicated for him selfe and his. (The letters that bee last of all passe my skill altogither.) When Antonine the third time and Geta were Consuls.

6. Now whether that Dui be God, whom the Britans now call Diw , or a peculiar local God or Genius of the Brigantes, I leave for to be discussed by them that are better learned. Like as the soules are divided and distributed among them that are borne (saith Symmachus), even so are Fatal Genii among men. And the divine minde alloteth sundry keepers and guardians to particular Countries. For thus they were in old time perswaded in their divinity, and thus they beleeved. And, to say nothing of forraine nations, whose historie is very full of such peculiar and locall Gods, the Britans had in that part which is now called Essex, Andates; in Cumberland, Bello-Tucadrus; in Northumberland Viterinus and Mogontus, as shall appeere more evidently out of those Inscriptions which I will set downe in due place. Servius Honoratus likewise hath well and truly observed that these Locall or Topick Gods doe never passe unto other Countries. But to returne unto the river Calder, which when by the comming in of other waters he is growne bigge and carrieth a fuller streame, hath a faire bridge over it at Eland, neere unto which, at Grimscarre, were brickes found with this inscription:


For the Romans, flourishing in military prowesse, in great wisdome and pollicie exercised both their Legions and Cohorts in times of peace to withstand Idlenesse, by casting of ditches, making of high-waies, baking of brickes, building of bridges, &.

7. Calder afterward among the very hils leaveth on the left hand Halifax, a most famous towne, lying from West to East upon the steepe descent of an hill. And not many ages since tooke it this name, whereas before time it was called Horton, as some of the Inhabitants doe report, who tell this prety story also touching the alteration of the name. A certaine Clerke, as they call him, was farre in love with a maiden, who when when he might not have his purpose of her, for all the faire meanes and entisementes hee could use, his love beeing turned unto rage (vilanous wretch that hee was), cutt of the maides head: which being hung afterwards upon an Eugh tree, the common people counted as an hallowed relique, untill it was rotten, yea and they came devoutly to visit it, and every one gathered and carried away with him a branch or sprig of the sayd tree. But after the tree was bare and nothing left but the very stock (such was the credulity of that time), it maintained the opinion of reverence and religion still. For the people were perswaded that the little veines that are stretched out and spred betweene the barke and bodie of the eugh tree in manner of haires or fine threads were the very haires in deed of the virgins head. Hereupon they that dwelt there abut repaired on pilgrimage hither, and such resort there was unto it that Horton, beeing but a little village before, grew up to a great towne, and was called by a new name Halig-Fax or Hali-fex , that is, Holy haire. For the Englishmen dwelling beyond Trent call the haire of the head Fax. Whence also there is a familie in the Country of gentlemen named Faire-fax, of the faire bush of their haire. They therefore which by resemblance of the name gather this to be Ptolomees Olicana be farre deceived. Now this place is become famous as well among the multitude by reason of a law there whereby they behead streightwaies whoever are taken stealing, as also amongst the learned: for they report that Johannes de Sacro Bosco, the Author of the Sphaere , was here borne, yet more famous it is for the greatnesse of the Parish, which reckoneth in it eleven Chappels, whereof two bee Parish-chappels, and to the number of twelve thousand people therein. So that the inhabitants are wont to give out that this parish of theirs mainteineth more men and women than other living creatures of what kinde soever. Whereas you shall see elsewhere in England, in the most fruitfull and fertile places, many thousands of sheepe and very few men, as if folke had given place to flockes of sheepe and heards of neat, or else were devoured of them. Moreover, the industrie of the inhabitants heere is admirable, who in a barraine soile, wherein there is no commodious, nay scarce any dwelling and living at all, have so come up and flourished by clothing (a trade which they tooke to not above three score and tenne yeere agoe at the farthest) that they greatly enrich their owne estates, and winne the praise from all their neighbours: yea, and have proved the saying to bee true, that barrain places give a good edge to industry, and that hence it is that Norimberg in Germany, Venice and Genua in Italie, and Limoges in France, situate all in barain places, are become right flourishing Cities. Sixe miles from hence and not farre from the right side of the river Calder, neere unto Almond-bury, a little towne standing upon an high and steepe hill which hath no easie passage on even ground unto it but of one side, are seene the manifest tokens of a rampier, some ruines of walles and of a Castle, which was garded about with a triple strength of forts and bulwarkes. Some will have this also to have been Olicana. But the truth saith otherwise, and namely that it is Cambodunum, which Ptolomee calleth amisse Camulodunum, and Beda, by a word divided, Campo-dunum. This is proved by the distance thereof, on the one side from Mancumium, on the other from Calcaria, according to which Antonine placeth it. Moreover it seemeth to have flourished in very great honour when the English Saxons first beganne to rule. For the Kings towne it was, and had in it a Cathedrall Church built by Paulinus the Apostle of these partes, and the same dedicated to Saint Alban. Whence in steed of Albon-bury it is now called Almon-bery. But when Ceadwell the Britan and Penda the Mercian made sharpe warre upon Edwin the Prince of these Countries, it was set on fire by the enemie, as Beda writeth, which the very adust and burnt colour as yet remaining upon the stones doth testifie. Yet afterwards there was a Castle built in the same place, which King Stephen, as I have red, confirmed unto Henry Lacy. Hard unto it lieth Whitley, the habitation of an ancient and notable familie of Beaumont, which notwithstanding is different from that house of the Barons and vicounts Beau-mont, yet it was of great name in this tract before their comming into England.

8. Calder, now leaving these places behinde him, and having passed by Kirkley an house in times past of religious Nunnes, and the tombe of Robin Hood that right good and honest Robber (in which regard he is so much spoken of), goeth to Dewsburrough, seated under an high hill. Whether it had the name of Dui that tutelar God of the place of whom I wrote a little before, I am not able to say. Surely the name is not unlike, for it soundeth as much as Duis Burgh , and flourished at the verie first infancie, as it were, of the Church springing up amongst the Englishmen in this Province. For I have heard that there stood a Crosse heere with this inscription:


That is,


And that this Paulinus was the first Archbishop of Yorke, about the yeere of our redemption 626, all Chronicles doe accord. From hence Calder, running by Thornhill (which from knights of that surname is descended to the Savills), passeth hard by Wakefield a towne famous for clothing, for greatnesse, for faire building, a well frequented mercate, and a bridge, upon which King Edward the Fourth erected a beautifull chappell in memoriall of those that lost their lives there in battaile. the possession some time this was of the Earles of Warren and of Surry, as also Sandall Castle adjoyning, which John Earle of Warren (who was alwaies fleshly lustfull) built when he had used the wife of Thomas Earle of Lancaster more familiarly then honesty would require, to the end he might deteine and keepe her in it securely from her husband. By this townes side, when the civill warre was hote heere in England and setled in the very bowels thereof, Richard Duke of Yorke, father to King Edward the Fourth (who chose rather to hazard his fortune than to stay the good time thereof) was slaine in the field by those that tooke part with the house of Lancaster. The Tract lying heere round about for a great way together is called the Seigniory or Lordship of Wakefield, and hath alwaies for the Seneschal or Steward one of the better sort of Gentlemen dwelling thereby. Which office the Savills have oftentimes borne, who are heere a very great and numerous familie, and at this daie Sir John Savill knight beareth it, who hath a very sightly faire house not farre of at Howley, which maketh a goodly shew. Calder is gone scarce five miles farther when hee betaketh both his water and his name also to the river Are. Where at their very meeting together standeth betweene them Medley, in times past Mede-ley , so called of the situation, as it were, in the midest between two rivers. The seat it was in the age aforegoing of Sir Robert Waterton Master of the Horse to King Henry the Fourth, but now of Sir John Savil a right worshipful knight and a most worthy Baron of the Kings Exchequer, whom I acknowledge full gladly in love and courtesie to have favored me, and out of his learning to have furthered this worke.

9. This river Are springing out of the bothom of the hil Pennigent, which among the Westerne hils mounteth aloft above the rest, doth forthwith so sport himselfe winding in and out, as doubtfull whether hee should returne back to his spring head or runne on still to the sea, that my selfe in going directly forward on my way was faine to passe over it seven times in an houres riding. It is so calme and milde, and carrieth so gentle and slow a streame, that it seemeth not to runne at all but to stand still, whence I suppose it tooke the name. For, as I have said before, ara in the British tongue betokeneth Milde, Stil, and Slow , whereupon that slow river in France Araris hath his name. The country lying about the head of this river is called in our tongue Craven, perchance of the British word crage , that is, a Stone. For the whole tract there is rough all over and unpleasant to see to, with craggie stones, hanging rockes, and rugged waies, in the midest whereof, as it were in a lurking hole, not farre from Are standeth Skipton, and lieth hidden and enclosed among steepe hilles, in like manner as Latium in Italie, which Varro supposeth to have beene so called because it lieth close under Apennine and the Alpes. The towne (for the manner of their building among these hilles) is faire enough, and hath a very proper and strong Castle which Robert de Rumeley built, by whose posterity it came by inheritance to the Earles of Aumarle. And when their inheritance for default of heires fell by escheat into the Kings hands, Robert de Clifford, whose heires are now Earles of Cumberland, by way of exchange obtained of King Edward the Second both this Castle and also faire lands round about it every way, delivering into the kings hands in lieu of the same the possessions that he had in the Marches of Wales.

10. When Are is once past Craven, hee spreadeth broader and passeth by more pleasant fields lying on each side of it, and Kigheley among them, which gave name to the worshipfull familie of Kigheley, so surnamed thereof. Of which family, Henry Kigheley obtained of Edward the First for this Mannor of his The liberty of a mercate and faire, and free warren, so that no man might enter into those lands to hunt and chace in them, or to take any thing that pertained to the Warren, without the licence and good will of Henry himselfe and of his successours. Which was counted in that age for a speciall favour, and I note it once for all, that we may see what Free warren was. But the male issue of this family in the right line ended in Henry Kighley of Inskip. Howbeit, the daughters and heires were wedded to Wiliam Cavendish, now Baron Cavendish of Hardwick, and to Thomas Worseley of Boothes. From hence Are passeth beside Kirstall, an Abbay in times past of no small reckoning, founded by Henry Lacy in the yeere 1147, and at length visiteth Leedes, in the Saxon tongue Loytes , which became a house of the Kings when Cambodunum was by the enemy burnt to the ground, now a rich towne by reason of clothing, where Oswy King of Northumberland put flight Penda the Mercian, And , as Bede saith, this was to the great profit of both nations: for he both delivered his owne people from the hostile spoiling of the miscreants, and also converted the Mercians themselves to the grace of Christian faith. The very place wherein they joyned battaile the writers call Winwidfield, which name I suppose was given it of the victory, like as a place in Westphalia where Quintilius Varus with his legions was slaine, is in the Dutch tongue called Winfield , that is, The fields of victory , as that most learned man and my very good friend Abraham Ortelius hath observed. The little region or Territory about it was in times past by an old name called Elmet, which Eadwin King of Northumberland, the sonne of Aella, after he had expelled Cereticus a British King, conquered in the yeere of Christ 620. Herein is digged limestone every where, which is burnt at Brotherton and Knottingley, and at certaine set times, as it were at faires, a mighty quantity thereof is conveied to Wakefield, Sandall, and Sanbridge, and so is sold unto this Westerne Country, which is hilly and somewhat cold, for to manure and enrich their corne fields. But let us leave these things to husbandmen; as for my self, I professe my ignorance therein, and will goe forward as I beganne.

11. At length Are entertaineth Calder aforesaid with his water as his guest, where neere unto the meeting of both rivers standeth Castleford a little village, Marianus nameth it Casterford: who reporteth that the Citizens of Yorke slew many of King Ethelreds armie there, whom in their pursuite they set upon and charged heere and there at advantage, what time as hee invaded and overranne this country for breaking the alleagence they had sworne unto him. But in Antonine this place is called by a more ancient name Legeolium and Lagetium. Wherein, beside expresse and notable tokens of antiquity, a mighty number of Romaine peeces of money (the common people there tearme them Sarisins head) were found at beanfield (a place so called now of Beanes) hard by the Church. The distance also from Dan and Yorke, betweene which he placed it, doth most cleerely confirme as much, to say nothing of the situation thereof hard by the Romans High streat, and last of all for that Roger Hoveden in plaine termes calleth it a City.

12. From hence Are, being now bigger, after it hath received Calder unto it, leaveth on the left hand Brotherton a little towne, in which Queene Margaret, turning thither out of the way as she road on hunting, was delivered of child, and brought forth unto her husband King Edward the First Thomas de Brotherton, so named of the place, who was afterward Earle of Norfolke and Mareshall of England. And not farre beneath, Are, after it hath received into it Dan, looseth himselfe in Ouse. On the right hand, where a yellower kind of marle is found, which being cast and spred upon the fields, maketh them beare corne for many yeres together, he passeth by Pontfract, commonly called Pontfret, situate not farre from the river bank, which towne gat life, as it were, by the death of old Legeolium. In the Saxons time it was called Kirkby, but the Normans of a broken bridge named it in French Pontfract. Upon this occasion, as it is commonly thought that the wooden bridge over Are hard by was broken when a mighty multitude of people accompanied William Archbishop of Yorke (King Stephens sisters sonne), newly returned from Rome. Whereby a great number fell into the river, and yet by reason that the Archbishop shed many a teare at this accident and called upon God for helpe, there was not one of them that perished. Seated it is in a very pleasant place, that bringeth forth Liquirice and skirworts [water parsnips] in great plenty, adourned also with faire buildings, and hath to shew a stately Castle as a man shall see, situate upon a rocke no lesse goodly to the eie than safe for the defence, wel fortified with ditches and bulwarkes. Hildebert Lacie a Norman, unto whom King William the First, after that Alricke the Saxon was thrust out, had given this towne with the land about it, first built this Castle. But Henrie Lacy his nephew, came into the field at the battaile of Trenchbrey (I speake out of the Pleas) against King Henrie the First: wherefore he was disseised of the Baronie of Pontfract, and the King gave the Honor to Wido de Lavall, who held it untill King Stephens daies, at which time the said Henrie made an entry into the Baronie, and by mediation of the King compounded with Wido for an hundred and fifty pounds. This Henrie had a sonne named Robert, who, having no issue, left Albreda Lizours his sister by the mothers side, and not by the father, to be his heire, because he had none other so neere in bloud unto him, whereby she, after Roberts death, kept both the inheritances in her hand, namely of her brother Lacies and her father Lizours. And these be the very words of the booke of the Monasterie of Stanlow. This Abreda was married to Richard Fitz Eustach, Constable of Chester, whose heires assumed unto them the names of Lacies, and flourished under the title of Earles of Lincolne. By a daughter of the last of these Lacies, this goodly inheritance by a deede of conveiance was devolved in the end to the Earles of Lancaster, who enlarged the Castle very much, and Queene Elizabeth likewise bestowed great cost in repairing it, and beganne to build a faire Chappell. This place hath beene infamous for the murder and bloud shed of Princes. For Thomas Earle of Lancaster, the first of Lancastrian house that in right of his wife possessed it, stained and embrewed the same with his owne bloud. For King Edward the Second, to free himselfe from rebellion and contempt, shewed upon him a good example of wholsome severity, and beheaded him heere. Whom notwithstanding the common people enrolled in the Beadroll of Saints. Here also was that Richard the Second King of England, whom King Henrie the Fourth deposed from his Kingdome with hunger, cold, and strange kinds of torments, most wickedly made away. And heere King Richard the Third caused Antonie Earle Rivers, King Edward the Fifth his Unkle by the mothers side, and Sir Richard Grey Knight, halfe brother to the same King by the mothers side, both innocent persons, to loose their heads. For the Usurper feared least those courageous and resolute men would stop his passage, aspiring as he did by wicked meanes to the Crowne. As for the Abbay which the Lacies heere founded for religious persons, and the Hospitall which Sir Robert Knolles erected for poore people, I let passe wittingly, seeing there is scarce any rubbish now remaining of those good workes.

13. From Legeolium or Castleford abovesaid, leaving behind us Shirburne a little towne but well inhabited, which tooke name of the cleere bourne or riveret, and which King Athelstane graunted unto the Archbishop of Yorke, by the high ridge or port way raised up of a great height, we came to Aberford, a little village situate upon the said way, famous onely for making of pinnes, which by womens judgement are especially commended as the best. Under this the little river Coc (in bookes named Cokarus) runneth, and in the descent downe thereunto the foundations of an old Castle, which they call Castle Cary, are to be seene. Scarce two miles from hence, at the spring head of Coc, standeth Barwic in Elmet the roiall house or seat, by report, in times past of the Kings of Northumberland, which was environed about with walles, as the very ruins and ruble thereof seeme to testifie. On the other side is placed Hesselwood, the principall seat of that worthy and right ancient family of the Vavasours, who by their office (for the Kings Valvasors [a Court official] in times past they were) tooke to them this name, and in the latter daies of King Edward the First Sir William Vavasor was called among other Barons of the Realme unto the high Court of Parliament, as appeereth in the very writs, as they call them, of Summons. Under this place lieth that most famous delfe or quarry of stone, called Peters Post, for that with the stones hewed out of it, by the liberall grant of the Vavasors, that stately and sumpteous Church of Saint Peters at Yorke was reedified.

14. From Aberford the saide riveret Coc speedeth immediately to the river Wherf, as it were, sad, sorrowfull, and with heavy cheere, in detestation of all civile warres, since time that he ranne all died with English bloud. For upon his banke neere unto Towton a little country Village, was (as I may truly say) that our English Pharsalia. In no place ever saw our England such puissant forces, so much gentry and nobilitie together: a hundred thousand fighting men and no fewer of the one side and the other. Never were their leaders and Captaines of both parts more fierce, hardy, and resolute, never more cheerefull and forward to fight: who upon Palme Sunday in the yeere 1461, in battaile array with banner displaied, entred the field and encountred. And when they had continued a doubtfull and variable fight a great part of the day, at length the Lancastrians, not able to abide any longer the violence of their enimies (the chiefe cause of whose overthrow was the disordered unwealdinesse of their owne armie) turned backe and fled amaine. And those that tooke part with Yorke, being eager upon execution, followed them in chase so hotely that they had the killing of a number of noble men and gentlemen, and thirty thousand Englishmen were that day leaft dead in the field. But I leave this to the Historians. Somwhat lower, neere unto Shirburne, at Huddleston a little village, is a famous Stone quarry, out of which the stones when they are newly heawen be very soft, but after they be seasoned with wind and weather, they become of themselves exceeding solid and hard. ‡But (to returne) Coc, making no long course, sheadeteh himselfe into Wherf.‡

15. This Wherf or Wharf, in the English Saxons language Guerf , comming downe out of Craven, and for a great while runneth in a parallel distance even with Are. If a man should thinke the name to be wrested from the word guer , which in British signifieth swift and violent , verily, the nature of that river concurrreth with his opinion. For he runneth with a swift and speedy streame, making a great noise as hee goeth, as if he wee froward, stubborne,and angry, and is made more fell and teasty with a number of stones lying in his chanell, which he rolleth and tumbleth before him in such sort that it is a wonder to see the maner of it, but especially when hee swelleth high in winter. And verily it is a troublesome river and dangerous even in summer time also, which I my selfe had experience of, not without some perill of mine owne, when I first travailed over this country. For it hath such slippery stones in it that an horse can have no sure footing on them, or else the violence of the water carrieth them away from under his feete. In all his long course, which from the spring head unto Ouse is almost fifty miles, he passeth onely by little townes of no especiall account, running downe by Kilnesey Cragge, the highest and steepest rocke that ever I saw in a midland Country, by Burnsall, where Sir William Craven, Knight and Alderman of London there borne, is now building of a stone bridge: who also hard by, of a pious minde and beneficiall unto his country, hath of late founded a Grammar schoole. Also by Barden-Towre, a little turret belonging to the Earle of Cumberland, where there is round about good store of game and hunting of fat Deere. By Bolton, where sometime stood a little Abbay. By Bethmelsley, the seat of the notable family of Claphams, out of which came John Clapham a worthy Warriour in the Civile broiles between Lancaster and Yorke. From thence commeth he to Ilekely, which, considering the site in respect of Yorke out of Ptolomee, and the affinity of the name together, I would judge to be Olicana. surely that is an old towne (besides the Columnes engraven with Roman worke lying in the Churchyard and elswere), and was in Severus time reedified by the meanes of Virius Lupus, Lieutenant Generall and Propraetor then of Britaine, this inscription lately digged up hard by the Church doth plainly shew:


That the second Cohort of the Lingones abode heere, an Altar beareth witnesse which I saw there, upholding now the Staires of an house, and having this inscription set upon it by the Captaine of the second Cohort of the Lingones, to Verbeia, haply the Nymph or Goddesse of Wherf, the river running thereby, which river they called Verbeia as I suppose, out of so neere affinity of the names:


For Rivers , as Gildas writeth, in that age had by the blind and ignorant people of Britaine divine honours heaped upon them. And Seneca sheweth that in times past Altars were erected unto them: We worship , saith he, the heads of great rivers, and the sudden breaking forth of an huge river out of an hidden and secret place hath altars consecrated unto it. Againe, All waters , as Servius Honoratus saith, had their severall Nymphs to take the rule and protection of them. Moreover, in a wall of the Church is fastened this broken and unperfect inscription:

AVG. ............

But at the very Church it selfe, whiles I sought diligently for monuments of Romaine antiquity, I found nothing but the image in stone, all armed, of Sir Adam Midleton, who seemeth to have flourished under King Edward the First, and whose posterity remaineth yet in the country heereby, at Stubham.

16. More beneath standeth Otley, a towne of the Archbishops of Yorke, but it hath nothing memorable, unlesse it be one high and and hard craggy cliffe called Chevin, under which it is situate. For the ridge of an hil the Britans terme chevin , whence I may conjecture that that continued ridge of mountaines in France, where in old time they spake the same language that Britans did, was called Gevenna and Gebenna . After this, Wherf runneth hard by, with his bankes on both sides reared up, and consisting of that Limestone which maketh grounds fat and fertile, where I saw Harewood Castle of good strength, which by the alteration of times hath often changed his Lords. Long since it belonged to the Curcies, but by Alice an inheritrice it came to Warin Fitz-Gerold, who had taken her to wife; whose daughter Margerie and one of his heires, being endowed with a very great estate of living, was first married unto Baldwin de Ripariis, the Earles sonne of Devonshire, who died before his father; afterwards to Falque de Brent, by the beneficiall favour of King John, for his approved service in pilling, polling, and spoiling most cruelly. But when at length Isabell de Ripariis Countesse of Devonshire departed this life without issue, this Castle fell unto Robert de L'isle the sonne of Warin, as unto her cousin in bloud and one of her heires; in the end by those of Aldborrough it descended to the Rithers, as I am enformed by Francis Thinn, who very diligently and judiciously hath a long time hunted after Pedigree antiquities. Neither is Gawthorp adjoining heereby to be concealed in silence, whenas the ancient family of Gascoignes, descended out of Gascoigne in France, as it seemeth, had made it famous both with their vertue and antiquitie.

17. From hence runneth Wherf hard by Wetherby, a mercate towne of good note, which hath no antiquity at all to shew, but a place only beneath it (they cal it usually now Saint Helens fourd) where the high Roman street crossed over the river. From thence he passeth downe by Tadcaster, a very little towne, but I cannot but thinke as well by the distance from other places, as by the nature of the soile and by the name, that it was Calcaria. For it is about nine Italian miles from Yorke, according as Antonine hath set Calcaria. Also the limestone, which is the very soader [solder] and binder of all morter, and hardly elsewhere in this tract to be found, heere is digged up in great quantity and vented [distributed] as farre as to Yorke and the whole countrie bordering round about, for use in building. Considering then that the said Lime was by the Britans and Saxons in old time, and is by the Northren Englishmen caled after the Roman name calc (For that imperious citie Rome imposed not their yoke onely, but their language also upon the subdued nations ), seeing also that in the Code of Theodosius those bee tearmed calcarienses who are the burners of limestone, it may not seeme absurd if the Etymologie of the name be fetched from calx , that is, Chalke or Lime , even as Chalcis of χαλκός, that is, brasse , Ammon of ἄμμος, that is, Sand , Pteleon of πτελέαι, that is, Elmes , and Calcaria a Citie of Cliveland haply of calx , that is, Lime , tooke their names, especially seeing that Bede calleth it also Calca-cester , where he reporteth that Heina, the first woman in this country that put on the Vaile and religious habite of a Nunne, retyred herselfe apart to this Citie, and therein made her abode. Moreover, an hill neere to the towne is called Kelc-bar, in which there lieth couched somewhat of the ancient name. Neither are there other arguments wanting to prove the antiquity therof. For, to say nothing how it is situate upon a port highway, there be peeces of the Roman Emperours money oftentimes digged up, and the tokens of the trenches and bankes that compassed about, the plot also where an old castle stood yet remaining, out of the reliques whereof not many yeeres agoe was a bridge built, which when Wherf is once passed under, he becommeth more still, and so gently intermingleth his water with Ouse. And verily a thing it is in my judgement to be wondered at that Wherf, being encreased with so many waters, in summer time runneth so shallow under this bridge that one comming hether about mid sommer, when hee saw it, pretily and merrily versified thus:

Nought hath Tadcaster worth my Muse, and that my verse deserv's,
Unlesse a faire bridge stately built, the which no river serv's.

But had he come in winter time, he should have seene the bridge (so great as it was) scarce able to receive so much water. But Naturall philosophers know full well that both wels and rivers, according to the seasons, and the heat or cold without or within, doe decrease or encrease accordingly. ‡Whereupon in his returne he, finding heere durt for dust, and full current water under the bridge, recanted with these verses:

Quae Tadcaster erat sine flumine, pulvere plena.
Nunc habet immensum fluvium, et pro pulvere lutum.

18. Somewhat higher Nid, a muddy river, runneth downe, well beset with woods on either side, out of the botome of Craven hils, first by Niderdale, a vale unto which it giveth name, and from thence carrieth his streame by Rippley a mercate towne, where the Inglebeys, a family of great antiquity, flourished in good reputation. Afterwards, with his deepe chanell he fenseth Gnaresburg, commonly called Knarsborrow Castle, situate upon a most ragged and rough rocke, whence also it hath the name. Which Serle de Burgh, unkle by the father side to Eustace Vescy, built, as the tradition holdeth. Afterward it became the seate of the Estoteviles, and now it is counted part of the lands belonging to the Dutchy of Lancaster. Under it there is a well, in which the waters spring not up out of the vaines of the earth, but distill and trickle downe dropping from the rockes hanging over it, whence they call it Dropping Well, into which what wood so ever is put will in short space be covered over with a stonie barke and turne into stone, as it hath beene often observed. In the territorie thereby Liquirice groweth in great abundance, and a yellower and softer kind of marle is there found, passing good to make the ground fertile. The Keeper or chiefe ranger of the Forest adjoining was in times past one Gamell: whose posterity of their habitation at Screven assumed the name of Screven, and from them descended the Slingsbeis, who received this forestership of King Edward the First, and to this day live heere in great and good regard. Nid, having passed by these places not farre from Allerton, the seat of a very ancient and signale family of the Malliveries, who in old Deeds and records are caled Mali-leporarii , goeth on a little way, and then meeting Ouse, augmenteth the streame of Ouse by his confluence.

19. As for Ure, he also springing out of these Westerne hilles, but on the other side of the country in North-Riding, when by this name he hath watered the North part of this Shire, a little before he commeth to Ripon serveth for the limite dividing the North and West Ridings one from another. This Rippon, in the Saxon tongue Hrippun , being placed betweene Ure and Skell, a rill, is beholden to religious houses for all the dignity it had, and especially to a Monasterie built in the primitive Church of the English-Saxons by Wilfride Archbishop of Yorke, and that with such arched and embowed Vaults, with such floorings and stories of stone worke, with such turnings and windings in and out of Galleries (so saith William of Malmesbury) that it was wonderfull. Which the Danes afterward, being so violent and outragious that they spared neither God nor man, raced together with the towne. Yet flourished it againe, repaired by meanes of Odo Archbishop of Canterburie: who being a very great maister of Ceremoniall misteries, translated from hence to Canterbury the reliques of Wilfride. But since the Normans arrivall it prospered most, whenas the Castles, as one saith, of Monkes beganne to bee built in greater number. For then both the towne grew famous partly under the chiefe Magistrate, whom they call by an old Saxon word Wakeman , as one would say Watchman , and partly by their industry in clothing, which at this day is much deminished, and the monasterie likewise under the tuition and protection of the Archbishops of Yorke beganne marveilously to reflourish. Besides, a very faire Church was there also built, at the charitable charges of the Noblemen and Gentry dwelling there about, and of their owne Treasurer, which with three high Spire-steeples doth welcome those that come to the towne, and did as it were aemulate in workmanship the wealthy Abbay of Fountaines, built within the sight of it by Thurstin Archbishop of Yorke. On the one side of this Church we saw a little College of singing men, which Henrie Bath Archbishop of Yorke erected; on the other side a very great mount of earth called Hilshow, cast up, as they report, by the Danes. Within the Church, Saint Wilfrides Needle was in our grandfathers remembrance very famous. A narrow hole this was, in the Crowdes or close vaulted roome under the ground, whereby womens honestie was tried. For such as were chast did easily passe through, but as many as had played false were miraculously, I know not how, held fast and could not creepe through. The Abbay Fountaines aforesaid, most pleasantly seated in a right plentifull country and having lead mines neere it, had the originall from twelve praecise Monkes of Yorke, who, fervently zealous to serve God in a more strict kind of life, forsooke their cloistures and addicted themselves to the ordinances of Saint Barnard. For whom, after they had reaped many Harvests of troubles, Thurstine Archbishop of Yorke built this Abbay, which was acknowledged an immediat daughter of Clarefalle, and in a few yeares became a mother to many others, as Kirstall, Salley, Meaux, &. I have made more willingly mention of these, because S. Bernard in his Epistles so highly approved their life and discipline.

20. Not farre beneath there standeth by Ure a little towne called Burrowbridge, of the bridge that is made over the river: which is now built very high and faire of stone worke, but in King Edward the Second his time it seemeth to have beene of wood. For wee read that when the Nobles of England disquieted this king and troubled the state, Humfrey Bohun Earle of Hereford in his going over it was at a chinke thereof thrust through the body about his groine by a souldiour lying close under the bridge. Neere unto this bridge Westward wee saw in three divers little fields foure huge stones of pyramidall forme, but very rudely wrought, set as it were in a streight and direct line. The two Pyramides in the middest, whereof the one was lately pulled downe by some that hoped, though in vaine, to finde treasure, did almost touch one another. The uttermore stand not far off, yet almost in equall distance from these on both sides. Of these I have nothing else to say but that I am of opinion with some that they were monuments of victorie erected by the Romans hard by the high street that went this way. For I willingly overpasse the fables of the common people, who call them the Devills Bolts, which they shot at ancient cities and therewith overthrew them. Yet will not I passe over this, that very many, and those learned men, thinke they are not made of naturall stone in deed, but compounded of pure sand, lime, vitriol (whereof also they say there bee certaine small graines within), and some unctuous matter. Of such a kinde there were Rome cisterns, so firmely compact of very strong lime and sand, as Pliny writeth, that they seemed to be naturall stones.

21. A little Eastward from this bridge, Is-urium Brigantum, an ancient city so-called of the river Ure running by it, flourished in ancient times, but was rased to the very ground many ages past. Neverthelesse the village risen up neare the place giveth testimony to the antiquity thereof, for it is called Ealdburg and Aldborrow. But in that very plot of ground where the said citie stood are now arable grounds and pastures, so that scarce any footing [vestige] thereof doth appeare. Surely the verie credite of writers should have had much adoe to make us beleeve that this had become Is-urium, but that Ure the rivers name, the Romane coine daylie digged up, and the distance according to Antonines account betwixt this and Yorke warranted it. For by that Ure (which the Saxons afterward named Ouse because it hath entertained Ousburne a little river) is gone sixteene italian miles form hence, hee runneth through the city Eboracum or Eburacum, which Ptolomee in the second Booke of his Great Construction calleth Brigantium (if the said booke bee not corrupted), because it was the chiefe city of the Brigantes. Ninnius calleth it Caer Ebrauc , the Britans Caer Effroc , the Saxons Evorric and Eoforric , and wee at this day Yorke. The British history reporteth that it tooke name of King Ebrauc the founder, yet give mee leave to deeme conjecturally, without the prejudice to others, that the name Eburacum is derived from nothing else but from the river Ure, so that it soundeth as much as by Ure , or along the side of Ure . For even so the Eburovices in France were seated by the river Eure neere unto Eureux in Normandy. Sembably the Eburones in the Netherlands, neere unto the river Oure in the Dioecese of Lhuick, and Eblana in Ireland standeth hard by the river Lefny. This is the second city of England, the fairest in all this country, and a singular safegard and ornament both to all the North-parts. A pleasant place, large and stately, well fortified, beautifully adorned as well with private as publike buildings, rich, populous, and to the greater dignity thereto it hath an Archiepiscopall See. Ure, which now is called Ouse, flowing with a gentle streame from the North part Southward, cutteth it, as I said, in twaine, and divideth it, as it were, into two cities, which are conjoined with a stone bridge, having the mightiest arch of them that ever I saw. The West part, nothing so populous, is compassed in with a verie faire wall and the river together, fouresquarewise, and giveth entrance to those that come thither at one onely gate, named Milel Barre , as one would say, The great gate. From which a long street and a broade reacheth to the very bridge, and the same streete beset with proper houses having gardens and orchards planted on the back-side on either hand, and behinde them fieldes even hard to the walles for exercise and disports. In the South angle whereof which they and the river make betweene them, I saw a mount, raised, as it seemeth, for some castle to be built upon, called The Old Bale, which William Melton Archbishop, as wee read in the Archbishops lives, strongly enclosed, first with thicke planckes eighteene foot long, afterward with a stone-wall, yet there is nothing of all that now to be seene.

22. The East side, wherein the houses stand very thicke and the streetes bee narrower, in forme resembleth as it were a lentill, and is fortified also with very strong walles, and on the South-east defended with the deepe chanell of Fosse a muddy river, which, entring into the heart of the citie by a blinde way, hath a bridge over it, with houses standing upon it so close ranged one by another that any man would judge to bee not a bridge but a continued streete, and so a little lower runneth into Ouse, where at their confluence and meeting together, right over against the mount that I spake of, King William the Conquerour in a very convenient place raised a most strong castle to awe the Citizens. Upon which time hath now a great while without empeachment wrought his will, ever since that Englishmen fell to neglect strong holds as receptacles for those whose hearts would not serve to fight in open field. On this side also, toward the North-east standeth the Cathedrall church dedicated to Saint Peter, an excellent faire fabrique and a stately: neere unto which, without the walles of the city, but yet enclosed within walles and by the river, flourished a renowned Abbay called Saint Maries, which Alan the Third, Earle of Little Britain in Armorica and of Richmond, built and endowed with rich livings, but now it is converted into the Princes house, and is commonly called The Manour.

23. Whence I should fetch the originall of York but from the Romans I cannot tell, seeing the Britans before the Romans comming had no other townes than woods fensed with trenches and rampier, as Caesar and Strabo unreprovable authors doe testifie. To say nothing therefore of King Ebrauk, whom some men both curious and credulous, as it should seeme, have imagined out of the name of Eboracum (for so is Yorke in Latin termed) to have beene the founder thereof, most certaine it is that the Sixt Legion Victrix, which Hadrian the Emperor brought out of Germany over into Britaine, was placed here in garizon. And that it was a Colonie of the Romans, it appeereth both by the authority of Ptolomee and Antonine, and also by an ancient Inscription which I saw in a certaine Aldermans house there in these words:


As also by a peece of money coined by the Emperor Severus, in the reverse whereof we read:


Buhow it is that Victor in Historie of the Caesars hath called Yorke municipium of free towne of Britaine, being as it was a Colony, I require farther time to deliberat thereupon, unlesse it were that the inhabitants of Yorke, like as sometime the Prenestines did, chose rather from a Colonie to be brought unto the state of a free-Burgh. For Colonies, having, as A. Gellius writeth, lawes, customes and rights at the will of the people Rome and not at their owne pleasure, seemed more obnoxious, and their condition not so free, whereas free Cities, such as in Latin are named municipia , used rights, lawes, and orders of their owne, and the Citizens or burgesses thereof were partakers with the people of Rome in their honorable offices onely, and bound of necessity to nothing else. No mervaile therefore if Colonies were changed into Free burroughs. But to what end stand I upon this point? This difference of the name is not in the history of the Emperors so exactly observed but that one and the selfe same place is called both a Colony and a municipium or free city. Howbeit out of that peece of mony I dare not constantly affirme that Severus first conducted and planted this Colonie, seeing that Ptolomee and Antonine himselfe writeth it was the seat of the Sixth Legion in the Antonines time. But we read that Severus had his palace in this City, and here at the houre of death gave up his last breath with these words, I entred upon a state everywhere troublesome, and I leave it peaceable even to the Britains. His bodie was carried forth here to the funerall fire by the soldiors, after the military fashion, and committed to the flames, honoured with Justs and Turneaments of his soldiours and his owne sonnes, in a place beneath this City Westward nere to Ackham, where is to bee seene a great mount of earth raised up, which, as Raulph Niger hath recorded, was in his time of Severus called Sivers. His ashes, being bestowed in a little golden pot or vessel of the Porphyrite stone, were carried to Rome and shrined there in the monument of the Antonines. At which time there was in this city the temple of Goddess Bellona. For Spartianus, speaking of Severus and this very city, saith thus: When Severus returned and came into the City, purposing to offer sacrifice, he was led first of all to the Temple of Bellona by the errour of a rusticall Augur or Soothsaying pries. At which time the Tribunall or Justice Haul of his city was in this respect most happy, because therein sat to minister justice that Oracle of the law Aemilius Paulus Papinianus, as Forcatulus witnesseth. And from this place it was, for certaine, that Severus and Antoninus Emperours, beeing consulted in a case or question of Right, gave forth their Imperiall constitution De rei Vindictione. An hundred yeeres or thereabout after the death of Severus, Flavius Valerius Constantius surnamed Chlorus, an Emperour surpassing in all vertue and Christian piety, who came hether when the Gods , as the Panegyrist saith, called him now to the inmost entry and dore of the earth , ended his life also in this city and was deified, as we may see by ancient coines. And albeit Florilegus recordeth that his tombe was found in Wales, as I have said, yet men of credite have enformed me that in our fathers remembrance, when Abbaies were suppressed and pulled downe, in a certaine vault or crowdes or a little chappell under the ground, wherein Constantius was supposed to have beene buried, there was found a lampe burning. For Lazius writeth that in ancient time they preserved light in Sepulchres by resolving gold artificially into a liquid and fatty substance which should continue burning a long time and for many ages together. This Emperour begat of his former wife Helena CONSTANTINE THE GREAT, THE DELIVERER OF ROME CITY, as ancient inscriptions give testimony, THE FOUNDER OF PEACE, AND THE REPAIRER OF THE COMMONWEALTH. Who was present in Yorke at his fathers last gaspe, and forthwith proclaimed Emperour. The soldiours , as the Panegyricall oratour saith, regarding rather the good of the state than private affections, cast the purple robe upon him whiles he wept and put spurs to his horse, to avoide the importunity of the army attempting and requiring so instantly to make him Emperour. But the happiness of that state overcame his modesty. Whence it is that the Author of the Panegyrical oration crieth out in these words, O fortunate Britaine and now blessed above al lands, which first sawest Constantine Emperor!

24. Hence it may be gathered in what and how great estimation Yorke was in those daies, seeing the Roman Emperours Court was there held. For our owne country writers record that this City was by Constantius adorned and graced with an Episcopall See. But yet that Taurinus the Martyr Bishop of Eureux sat heere and governed I will not say, as others doe. For Vincentius, out of whom they sucked this error, would by his own words convince me of untruth. But when the Romans were departed and had left Britaine for a prey to Barbarous nations, this City, sore afflicted with many calamities, suffered her part also of miseries, and was little or nothing better about the end of the Scotish and Saxons warres than a poore small shadow of a great name. For when Paulinus preached Christian religion to the English Saxons in this country, it lay so desolate that there remained not so much as a chappell in it for King Edwin to be baptized in. Who in the yeere after Christs birth 627 built a little oratorie of woode, and whenas afterward hee went in hand with building a greater Church of stone, scarce had hee laied the foundation thereof when he was prevented by death and left it to be finished by his successour Oswald. Ever since that time the Ecclesiasticall dignity in this Church encreased, and, by a Pall sent unto it from Honorius the Pope, became a Metropolitane City; which beside twelve Bishoprickes in England, exercised the powre of a Primate over all the Bishops of Scotland. But many yeeres since Scotland withdrew it selfe from this her Metropolitane, and the Metropolitane City it selfe hath so devoured other Bishoprickes adjoyning, beeing but little to say truth and of small account, that it hath now but foure with in the owne Dioecese, namely the Bishoprickes of Durham, of Chester, of Carlile, and of Man or Sodorensis in the Isle of Man. And the Archbishop Egbert, who flourished about the yeere of our salvation 740, erected at Yorke, a most famous Library, the Cabinet as I may so terme it (these bee the words of William of Malmesbury) and closet of all liberall Artes. Touching which Librarie, Alcwin of Yorke scholemaster to Charles the Great, first founder of the University of Paris, and the onely [unique] Honour of this City, in an Epistle to the said Charles wrote thus: Give me the bookes of deeper and more exquisite scholasticall learning, such as I had in mine owne Country by the good and most devout industry of the Archbishop Egbert. And if it please your wisdome, I will send backe some of your owne servants, who may exemplifie out of them all those things that bee necessary, and bring the floures of Britaine into France, that there may not bee a garden of learning enclosed onelie within Yorke walles, but that streames of Paradise may bee also at Towrs. Then also it was that Princes bestowed many and great livings and lands upon the Church of Yorke, especially Ulphus the sonne of Toral (I note so much out of an old booke, that there may plainly appeere a custome of our ancestours in endowing Churches with livings). This Ulphus aforesaid ruled in the West part of Deira, and by reason of the debate that was like to arise betweene his sonnes the elder and the younger about their Lordships and Seignories after his death, forthwith hee made them all alike. For without delay hee went to Yorke, tooke the horne with him out of which hee was wont to drinke, filled it with wine, and before the Altar of God and blessed Saint Peter Prince of the Apostles, kneeling upon his knees he dranke, and thereby enfeoffed them in all his lands and revenewes. Which horne was there kept as a monument (as I have heard) until our fathers daies.

25. I might seeme to speake in derogation of the Clergie, if I should report what secret heart-burnings, or rather open enmities, flashed out betweene the Archbishops of Yorke and of Canterbury upon worldly ambition, whiles with great wast of their wealth, but more losse of their credite and reputation, they bickered most eagerly about the Primacie. For the Church of Yorke , as he writeth, inferiour though it were unto that of Canterbury in riches, yet being equall in dignity, albeit of later time founded, and advanced on high with the same powre that Canterbury hath, confirmed also with the like authority of Apostolical priviledges, tooke it ill to be subject unto that of Canterbury by vertue of a Decree of Alexander of Rome, who ordained that the Church of Yorke ought to be subject unto Canterbury, and in al things to obey the constitutions of the Archbishop thereof, as Primate of al Britain, in such matters as appertaine to Christian religion. Concerning the Archbishops of Yorke, it not part verily of my purpose to write anything here, although there be very many of them who deserve for their vertue and piety to be renowned. Let it suffice to note in a word that from Paulinus the first Archbishop, consecrated in the yeere of our redemption 625, there have sitten in that See three score and five Archbishops, unto the yeere 1606, in which Dominus Tobie Matthew, a most reverent Prelate for the ornaments of vertue and piety, for learned eloquence, and continuall exercise of teaching, was translated hether from the Bishoprick of Durham.

26. This Citie for a time flourished very notably under the English Saxons dominion, untill the Danes, like a mighty storme thundring from out of the North-east, defaced it againe with merveilous great ruines, and by killing and slaying disteined it with bloud, which that Alcuine aforesaid in his Epistle to Egelred King of Northumberland may seem to have presaged before. What signifieth (saith he) that raining of cloud which in Lent we saw at Yorke, the head City of the whole Kingdome, in Saint Peters Church, to fall downe violently in threatning wise from the top of the roufe in the North part of the house, and that in a faire day? May it not be thought that bloud is comming upon the Land from the North parts? Verily soone after it was embrued with bloud, and did pine away with most miserable calamities when the Danes spoiled, wasted and murthered all where ever they came. And verily in the yeere 867 the wals were so battered and shaken by reason of continuall warres that Osbright and Ella Kings of Northumberland, whiles they pursewed the Danes, easily brake into the City: who being both of them slaine in a most bloudy battaile in the very midest of the City, left the victory unto the Danes. Whereupon William of Malmesbury writeth in this manner: Yorke, always exposed first to the rage of the Northren Nations, susteined the Barbarous assaults of the Danes, and groaned, beeing piteously shaken with manifold ruines. But as the very same Author witnesseth, King Athelstone wonne it perforce out of the Danes hands, and overthrew the Castle quite which they had here fortified. Neither for all of this was it altogether free from warres in the times next ensuing, whiles that age ranne fatall for the destruction of cities.

27. But the Normans, as they ended these miseries, so they made almost a finall hand of Yorke also. For when the sonnes of Sueno the Dane had landed in these parts with a Danish fleete of 240 saile, the Normans lying in garrizon, who kept two forts within the City, fearing least the houses in the suburbes might stand the enemy in steed to fill up the ditches withall, set them on fire. But by reason the winde rose highly, the fire was so carried and spred throughout the City that now it was set a-burning, when the Danes, breaking in upon them, made pitifull slaughter in every place, having putten the Normans to the sword, and keeping alive William Malle and Gilbert Gant, two principall persons, that they might be tithed [decimated] with the soldiors. For every tenth man of the Normans they chose out by lot to be executed. Whereupon King William the Conqueror was so incensed with desire of revenge that he shewed his cruelty upon the citizens by putting them all to death as if they had taken part with the Danes, and upon the citie it selfe by setting it on fire afresh. And, as William of Malmesbury said, he so depopulated and defaced the villages adjoyning, and the sinews of that fertile region were so cut by the spoiles there committed and booties raised, and the ground for the space of three score miles lay so untilled, that if a stranger had then seene the Cities in that in times were of high account, the towres which with their lofty tops threatned the skie, and the fields that were rich in pastures hee could not but sigh and lament, yea and if an ancient inhabitant had beheld the same, hee could not have knowne them. How great Yorke had beene afore-time, Domesday boke shall tel you in these words: In King Edward the Confessours time there were in Yorke City sixe Divisions or Shires, besides that of the Archbishops. One was layd waste for the Castles or forts. In the five Divisions were 1428 dwelling mansions to give entertainement. And in the Archbishops shire or Division 200 dwelling Mansions likewise. After these wofull overthrowes our Countryman Necham thus versified of it:

The City that great Ebrauk built, I come now for to view,
Whereof the See pontificall is to Saint Peter due.
This many times laid desolate, and peopled new hath beene,
Her wals cast downe and ruinate ful often hath it seene.
What micheife hostile hands could worke, not once nor twice it found.
What then? Since now long time of peace doth keepe it safe and sound.

28. For in his time, when after these troublesome stormes a most pleasant calme of peace presently ensewed, it rose of it selfe againe and flourished afresh, although the Scots and Rebels both did often times make full account to destroy it. But under the reigne of King Stephen it caught exceeding great harme by casualty of fire, wherein were consumed the Cathedrall church, the Abby of S. Mary and other religious houses, yea and that noble and most furnished library (as it is thought) which Alcuin hath recorded to have bin founded by Archbishop Egeldred his Praeceptour. As for the Abbay of S. Mary, it quickly recovred the former dignity by new buildings, but the Cathedral Church lay longer ere it held up head againe, and not before King Edward the First his time. For then John Roman, Treasurer of the Church, laid the foundation of a new worke, which his son John, William Melton, and John Thoresby, all of them Archbishops, brought by little and little to that perfection and beauty which now it sheweth, yet not without the helping hand of the nobility and gentry thereabout, especially of the Percies and the Vavasours, which the Armes of their houses standing in the very Church, and their images at the West gate of the Church, doe shew, Percies pourtraied with a peece of timber, and Vavasours with a stone in their hands, for that the one supplied the stone, the other the timber for this new building. This Church, as he reporteth who wrote the life of Aeneas Sylvius, who was Pope Pius the Second, and that upon the Popes own relation, for workmanship and greatnese is memorable over all the world, and the Chapell most lightsome, the glasse windowes whereof are fast bound betweene pillers that bee most slender in the mids. This chapell is that most dainty and beautifull Chapter house, in which this verse stands painted in golden letters:

The floure of floures a Rose men call:
So is this house of housen all.

29. About the same time also the Citizens fensed the city round about with new walles and many towres and bulwarkes set orderly in divers places, yea and ordeined very good and holsome lawes for the government thereof. King Richard the Second granted it to be a County incorporate by it selfe, and King Richard the Third began to repaire the castle. And that nothing might be wanting, King Henry the Eighth within the memory of our fathers appointed here a Councell not unlike to the Parliaments in France, for to decide and determine the causes and controversies of these North parts according to equity and conscience, which consisteth of a Lord President, certaine counsellers at the Princes pleasure, a Secretarie and under officers. As touching the Longitude of Yorke, our Mathematicians have described it to be two and twenty degrees and twenty five scruples, the Latitude 43 degrees and 10 scruples. Hitherto have we treated of the West part of this shire and of Yorke Citie, which is reckoned neither in the one part nor the other, but enjoyeth peculiar liberties, and hath jurisdiction over the territorie adjoining on the West side. Which they call the Libertie of Ansty, others the Ancienty of the Antiquitie, but others have derived it very probably from the Dutch word anstossen , which betokeneth limits. And now for a conclusion have heere what Master John Jonston of Aberden hath but a while since written in verse of York:

In parts remote of Northern tract there stands as soveraigne
A Citie old, but yet of old eftsoones made new againe.
Whilom of Romaine legions and Captaines proud it was,
But since by forces barbarous sacked and spoiled, alasse.
The Picts so fierce, the Scots and Danes, Normans and Englishmen
Gainst it their bolts of dreadfull warre have thundred now and then.
Yet after sundry bitter blasts, and many a cursed clap,
A milder gale of peaceful daies hath brought it better hap.
Of British kingdome London is chiefe seat and principall,
And unto it there goes by right Yorke Citie next of all.

30. Ouse on leaving York, being other whiles disquieted and troubled with that whirling encounter of contrary waters and forceable eddies which some call Higra, runneth downe through Bishops Thorpe, called Saint Andrews Thorpe before that Walter Grey Archbishop of Yorke purchased it with ready money, and to prevent the Kings Officers, who are wont rigorously to seize upon Bishops Temporalities when the See is vacant, gave it to the Deane and Chapter of Yorke with this condition, that they should alwaies yeeld it to his Successours. Of whom, Richard Le Scrope Archbishop of Yorke, a man of a firie spirit and ready to entertaine rebellion, was condemned in this very place of high treason by King Henry the Fourth, against whom he had raised an insurrection. Afterward Cawood a castle of the Archbishops standeth upon the same river, which King Athelstan, as I have read, gave unto the Church. Just against which on the other side of the river lieth Ricall, where Harald Haardread arrived with a great fleet of Danes. Then Ouse passeth hard by Selby a little towne, well peopled and of good resort, where King Henrie the First was borne, and where his father King William the First built a faire Abbay in memorie of Saint German, who happily confuted that venemous Pelagian haeresie, which often times (as the serpent Hydra) grew to an head againe in Britaine. The Abbats of this Church, as also of Saint Maries in Yorke, were the only Abbats in the North-parts that had place in the Parliament house. And so Ouse at length speedeth away to Humber, ‡leaving first Escricke a seat of the Lascelles, sometimes to be remembred for that King James advaunced Sir Thomas Knivet thereof Lord Knivet to the honor of Baron Knivet of Escrick in the yere 1607.‡ And afterward passing by Drax, a religious house of Chanons founded there by Sir William Painell, and whereas William of Newbourgh writeth, Philip of Tollevilla had a castle most strongly fensed with rivers, wods, and marishes about it, which he, confident upon the courage of his folowers and his provision of victuals and armour, defended against King Stephen untill it was won by assault.

William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610) Copyright 2004 by Dana F. Sutton. This text was transcribed by Professor Sutton, of the University of California, Irvine, from Philemon Holland's 1610 translation [British Library Short Title Catalogue 4509, Early English Books reel 911:1]. For a full critical edition presenting Camden's original Latin text in parallel with Holland's translation, visit Professor Sutton's site at:


Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall.

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