Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant

places mentioned

September 18-23: The Borders and back to Cheshire

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SEPT. 18.

After a few days experience of the same hospitality in Edinburgh that I had met with in the Highlands, I continued my journey South, through a rich corn country, leaving the Pentland hills to the West, whose sides were covered With a fine turf. Before I reached Crook , a small village, the country grew worse: after this it assumed a Highland appearance, the hills were high, the vales narrow, and there was besides a great scarcity of trees, and hardly any corn; instead, was abundance of good pasturage for sheep, there being great numbers in these parts, which supply the North of England . The roads are bad, narrow, and often on the edges of precipices, impending over the river Tweed , here an inconsiderable stream. Reach


MOFFAT, a small neat town, famous for its spaws; one said to be useful in scrophulous cases, the other a chalybeate, which makes this place much resorted to in summer. Doctor Walker , minister of the place, shewed me in manuscript his natural history of the western isles , which will do him much credit whenever he favors the world with it.

Here the unfortunate nobleman Lord Viscount Kenmure set up the Pretender's standard on the 12th of October 1715, in fatal compliance with the importunities of the disasfected Lowlanders.

The country between Moffat and Lockerby is very good, a mixture of downs and corn-land, with a few small woods: the country grows quite flat and very unpleasant: but incessant rains throughout my journey from Edinburgh , rendered this part of my tour both disagreeable and unedifying. Cross a small river called the Sark , which divides the two kingdoms, and enter CUMBERLAND.

About three miles farther cross the Esk over a handsome stone-bridge, and lie at the small village of Longtown . The country is very rich in corn, but quite bare of trees, and very flat. Near this village, at Netherby , are the ruins of a Roman station, where statues, weapons and coins are often dug up.

I had not leisure to remark the several antiquities that Mr. Graham is possessed of: but out of them select the following, engraven in the annexed plate, and in the tail piece to the concluding page.


No . I. is a figure in a dress with close sleeves, not unlike in the body to a carter's frock, or what Montfaucon calls sagum clausum ,259 reaching down to the heels. On one side is a boar, on the other a wheel, and beneath that an altar: in the left hand is part of a cornucopia . The figure is evidently Gaulish , but the history is obscure: the boar is often an emblem of Caledonia : the wheel a known type of Fortune: it is also a concomitant of two Saxon Deities,260 of the idol of the Sun and of Seater ; and I would chuse to derive it from Germany or Gaul rather than from Rome . It seems a Deity of some barbarous nation, but it is a difficult task to assign it to any one in particular. The Gauls and Germans were neighbors; they might in some instances have the same objects of worship. As the Roman armies were latterly composed of disferent Gaulish and foreign nations, their Deities were introduced and intermixed with those of the Romans , a most superstitious people, ready and accustomed to adopt those of every country. We need not wonder at the variety of figures found in this country, for it appears from an inscription,261 that there had been at Cambeck, a Temple of every nation , a latitudinarian Pantheon, so that every religion enjoyed a liberty of conscience.

I conjecture that this figure was the mater Deum , the mother of the gods of some Gaulish or German nation, probably engraven after their intercourse with the Romans , for there appears a mixture of emblem. Cybele or the mother of the gods is often engraven with a cornucopia : and Tacitus 262 mentions a German people that worshipped this goddess, and used the boar as the emblem of their superstition: which was an amulet, a charm against all dangers. They seldom made use of iron weapons, but often of clubs. It appears to me that what rises above the boar is intended for an instrument of that kind. The figure is deprived of its head; I cannot pursue my comparison with this deity any farther.

No . II. is a second headless figure resembling the former, only that a sort of short close mantle covers the shoulders and breast. It has the wheel, altar, and cornucopia ; but beneath the feet appear the crupezia , such as are beneath the feet of the celebrated statue of the dancing Fawn .

No . III. is a figure sitting in a chair (with large elbows), cloathed in garments much plaited and folded: on the lap are apples or fruits. Nehalennia , a Zeland goddess, is represented in this attitude,263 and her lap thus'filled: the habit differs : but this deity might have been adopted by another nation, who dressed her according to its own mode. Nehalennia was the deity of the chalk-diggers, as appears by, an inscription preserved by Reinesius , p. 190.

V S. L M.

The chalk trade was very considerable in this island. Pliny 264 very faithfully describes the manner, in which in some places it is worked at present, and adds, that it was a manure that would last eighty years. As this earth so greatly promoted fertility, it is not without reason that the lap of the goddess is filled with it.

No . IV. is a curious groupe of three figures standing with their backs to a long seat with elbows. They are habited in a loose sagum , or saic , as the Britons name it, reaching but little below the knees: that in the middle is distinguished by a pointed flap, and a vessel filled, whether with fruits or corn is not very evident. These may perhaps be the Deæ matres of the barbarous nations, and introduced here by some of the German levies; there having been found in Britain three altars dedicated to them by the Tungrian cohort. They were local deities, protectresses of certain towns and villages among the Gauls 265 and Germans , by whom they were transported into Britain , which is acknowledged in two inscriptions, where they are called transmarineæ . If they were rural deities, the contents of the cup is very apt. I may remark that the antients in general were fond of the number THREE; and the Gauls 266 are known to groupe their deities very frequently in triplets; a number the most complete, as it regards Beginning, Middle, , and End .

The Vth figure is a species of shoe in all probability belonging to the natives of this island; and was found in a moor in Cumberland . It is formed of one piece of leather; and nicely adapted to the foot. The cuoranen till very lately worn by the Highlanders was of this nature; the mockasins of the North American nations are not much dissimilar: so exactly does necessity operate in distant countries in producing the same inventions.

The Ist figure in the tail piece is dressed in its sagum . On the right is a vessel standing on two high legs or supports. The figure seems going to fling in what it holds in one hand: the other leans on something that resembles an ear of corn. This probably is a rural deity of some barbarous nation.

No . II. is a victory treading with one foot on a globe: in one hand a mural crown; in the other a palm branch. Beneath the crown, VIC. AUG. or Victoria Augusti . Mr. Horsley , who has engraven this stone, supposes it to belong to the emperor Commodus .

No . III. is also engraven by the same gentleman. The upper figure is that of a Sea Goat , a chimera ; the other he styles a Pegasus , and has given it more exact representation of wings than are found on the sculpture.

SEPT. 20.

Cross the Eden to Carlisle , a pleasant city, surrounded with walls, like Chester , but they are very dirty, and kept in very bad repair. The castle is antient, but makes a good appearance at a distance: the view from it is fine, of rich meadows, at this time covered with thousands of cattle, it being fair-day. The Eden here forms two branches, and insulates the ground; over one is a bridge of four, over the other one of nine arches. There is besides a prospect of a rich country, and a distant view of Cold-fells, Cross-fells, Skiddaw , and other mountains.

The cathedral267 is very imperfect, Cromwell having pulled down part to build barracks with the materials. There remains some portion that was built in the Saxon times, with very massy pillars and round arches. The rest is more modern, said to have been built in the reign of Edward III, who had in one part an apartment to lodge in. The arches in this latter building are sharp pointed: the East window remarkably fine.

The manufactures of Carlisle are chiefly of printed linnens, for which near 3000 l. per annum is paid in duties. It is also noted for a great manufacture of whips, which employs numbers of children.

Salmons appear in the Eden in numbers so early as the months of December and January ; and the London , and even Newcastle markets, are supplied with early fish from this river: but it is remarkable, that they do not visit the Esk in any quantity till April , notwithstanding the mouths of both these waters are at a small distance from each other. I omitted in its proper place an account of the Newcastle fishery, therefore insert here the little I could collect relating to it. The fish seldom appear in the Tyne till February : there are about 24 fisheries on the river, besides a very considerable were, and the whole annual capture amounts to about 36,000 atesheadfish. I was informed that once the fish were brought from Berwick , and cured at Newcastle ; but at present, notwithstanding all goes under the name of Newcastle Salmon, very little is taken there, in comparison of what is caught in the Tweed .

The country near Carlisle consists of small enclosures; but a little farther on, towards Penrith , changes into coarse downs. On the East, at a distance, are ridges of high hills running parallel to the road, with a good inclosed country in the intervening space. Above Penrith is a rich inclosed tract, mixed with hedge-row trees and woods. On the South-West, a prospect of high and craggy mountains. After I left Lockerby , Nature, as if exhausted with her labors, in the lofty hills of Scotland , seemed to have lain down and reposed herself for a considerable space; but here began to rise again, with all the sublimity of alpine majesty.


Penrith is an antient town, seated at the foot of a hill: is a great thoroughfare for travellers; but has little other trade, except tanning and a small manufacture of checks. In the church-yard is a monument or great antiquity, consisting or two stone pillars eleven feet six inches high, and five in circumference in the lower part, which is rounded; the upper is square, and tapers to a point: in the square part is some fret-work, and the relievo of a cross; and on the interior side of one is the faint representation of some animal. Both these stones are mortified at their lower part into a round one: they are about fifteen feet asunder; the space between them is enclosed on each side with two very large but thin semicircular stones; so that there is left a walk between pillar and pillar of two feet in breadth. Two of these lesser stones are plain, the other two have certain figures at present scarce intelligible.


These stones seem to have been monumental, and are evidently christian, as appears by the cross on the capital: fable says that they were to perpetuate the memory of Cesarius , a hero of gigantic stature, whose body extended from stone to stone: but it is probable, that the space marked by these columns contained several bodies, or might have been a family sepulchre. I must here observe that since the publication of the former editions of this book I have had opportunity of re-examining these stones, and comparing them with Doctor Todd's figures engraven in my XIIth plate; and am convinced that they are entirely fictitious; and such is the opinion of some gentlemen of the place whom I consulted on the occasion.

Not far from these pillars is another called the Giant's thumb , five feet eight inches high, with an expanded head perforated on both sides; from the middle the stone rises again into a lesser head rounded at top, but no part has a tendency to the figure of a cross, being in no part mutilated ; so that it is difficult to judge of the use or design of this pillar.268


The church is very neat: the galleries supported by twenty stones, each ten feet four inches high, and four feet two in circumference. On one of the walls is this melancholy record of a pestilence that wasted the country in the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth :

A. D. M.DXCVIII ex gravi peste quæ regionibus hisce incubuit, obierunt apud Penrith 2260. Kendal 2500. Richmond 2200. Carlisle 1196.269

avortite vos et vivite.

On consulting a very old register kept in this parish it appears that the plague raged here for fifteen months; from the 22d Sept 1597 to 5th Jan . 1598. and that only 680 persons were buried in the parish during that time. It seems therefore probable that Penrith must have been the centre of some particular district, and that the numbers recorded on the wall must comprehend all that died within that space. Penrith now contains about 2000 souls. At a medium, 63 have died annually the last ten years, or 630 in the whole. In the ten years preceding the pestilence there were only 686 funerals; so that there was no great difference between the number of inhabitants at that and the present time. Some centuries previous to this Penrith had another visitation of the same nature. When the Scots under the Earl of Douglas in 1380 made an inroad into Cumberland , they surprized this place at the time of the fair,270 and returned with immense booty; but suffered severely in consequence, for they introduced into their country the plague contracted in this town, which swept away one third of the inhabitants of Scotland .271


The castle is at the skirts of the town, and now very ruinous. It appears not to have been of a high antiquity; for in a compromise of certain differences between Henry III. and Alexander King of Scotland , it was stipulated that Henry should grant to Alexander 200 librates of land in Northumberland or Cumberland , if so much of Henry's land could be found in any of the places where no castle was situated; and Penrith was part of this grant. Richard Duke of Gloucester , afterwards Richard III. resided frequently at this castle, and either was the founder, or repaired it greatly, for there is no mention of it before his time. The seignory of Penrith 272 was part of the great estate he had with his Dutchess: by his residence here and his magnificent mode of living he gained great popularity in the North, and he seemed to depend greatly on the troops from that part, for he caused five thousand to march from thence to London to support his coronation.

The castle was dismantled by Cromwel , but it does not appear in any history to have sustained a siege.

In this town lives Miss Calvin of exquisite skill and accuracy in painting of plants and flowers: a heaven-born genius obscure and unknown!

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desert air.

SEPT. 21.

Cross over the Eimot at Eamont bridge, and enter WESTMORELAND. At a small distance beyond the bridge, near the road side is the circle called Arthur's round table, consisting of Arthur's round a high dike of earth, and a deep foss within, surrounding an area twenty-nine yards in diameter. There are two entrances exactly opposite to each other; which interrupt the ditch, in those parts filled to a level with the middle. Some suppose this to have been designed for tilting matches, and that the champions entered at each opening. Perhaps that might have been the purpose of it; for the size forbids one to suppose it to be an encampment.

[Plate XXXVII appears near here in the 1800 edition.]


A little to the North of this, on the summit of a small hill, is Mayborough , a vast circular dike of loose stones: the height and the diameter at the bottom is stupendous: it slopes on both sides, and is entirely formed of pebbles, such as are collected out of rivers. There is an entrance on the East side leading into an area eighty-eight yards in diameter. Near the middle is an upright stone nine feet eight inches high, and seventeen in circumference in the thickest part. There had been three more placed so as to form (with the other) a square. Four again stood on the sides of the entrance, viz. one on each exterior corner; and one on each interior; but, excepting that at present remaining, all the others have long since been blasted to clear the ground.

The use of this accumulation seems to have been the same with that called Bryn-gwyn at Trer Dryw in Anglesea ,273 a supreme consistory of druidical administration, as the British names import. That in Anglesea is constructed in the same manner with this: but at present there are no remains of columns in the interior part. Tradition is entirely silent about the origin of this place: nothing can be collected from the name, which is Saxon , and given long after its construction.

Almost opposite to Mayborough on the Cumberland side of the Eimot is a vast cairn or tumulus, composed of round stones, and surrounded with large grit stones of different sizes, some a yard square; which ail-together form a circle sixty feet in diameter.


Cross the Lowther or Loder , and in about three or four miles distance pass CliftonMoor , where the Rebels in 1745 sacrificed a few men to save the rest of their army. Reach


Shap or Heppe , a long village with the ruins of the priory of Premonstrensian canons and its beautiful tower placed in a sequestered bottom to the North-West of the road. The religious of this house were originally placed at Preston in Kendal by Thomas son of Gospatric ; and afterwards removed to this valley, which in old times was called the valley of Mary Magdalene , and was granted to them by Robert de Veteripont in the thirteenth year of King John .



On the common near the road side about half a mile beyond the village are certain large circles, and ovals formed of small stones: and parallel to the road commences a double row of granites of immense sizes, crossed at the end by another row, all placed at some distance from each other. This alley I may call it, extended once above a mile; passing quite through the village: persons now living remember to have seen some stones that formed part of the lines, but now blasted in order to clear the ground. The space between the lines at the South end is eighty-eight feet: they converge towards each other, for near Shap the distance decreases to fifty-nine feet; and it is probable that they met and concluded in a point forming a wedge. That this monument was Danish may be inferred from the custom of the Northern nation of arranging their recording stones in forms that they seemed to determine should be expressive of certain events: those that were placed in a strait and long order commemorated the emulations of champions: squares shewed equestrian conflicts: circles, the interments of families: wedge-shaped, a fortunate victory.274 Success might have attended the Northern invaders in this place, which gave rise to their long arrangement: the fall of some consanguineous heroes in the action caused the grateful tribute of the stoney circles.

Pass over Shap fells, more black, dreary and melancholy than any of the Highland hills, being not only barren, but destitute of every picturesque beauty. This gloomy scene continues for several miles: leave on the right the narrow valley of Long Sladale , and at a distance the mountain of Kenmere fell, famous for its slate quarries. The prospect grows more chearful within a small distance of


Kendal, a large town, seated in a beautiful valley prettily cultivated, and watered by the river Kent . The principal street is above a mile long, running North and South: the houses old and irregular, mostly plaistered. Yet the whole has an air of neatness and industry without the lest ostentation of wealth; none appear meanly poor, or insultingly rich. The number of inhabitants is about seven thousand; chiefly engaged in manufactures of linsies, worsted stockings woven and knit, and a coarse sort of woollen cloth called cottons , sent to Glasgow , and from thence to Virginia for the use of the Negroes . The carding and the frizing mills, the rasping and cutting of logwood by different machines are well worth seeing: and the tenter fells all round the town, where the cloth is stretched, shew the extent of the manufactures, which employ great quantities of wool from Scotland and Durham .

Yet the place labors under great disadvantages: the country near it yields no corn except oats: the fuel is in general peat; for the coals being brought from Wigan and other distant places, cost nineteen shillings per tun: yet notwithstanding, it has flourished in manufactures from the time of Richard the Second to the present: Camden honors it with this encomium, Lanificii Gloria, et Industria præcellens .


The church is large, divided into five isles. The most remarkable tomb is one in the altar form of black marble, with various arms on the side and end, supposed to be that of William Parr , ancestor of William Parr Marquiss of Northampton , and his sister Queen Catherine , wife to Henry VIII.


The ruins of the castle are on the summit of a round hill on the East side of the town. It is of great antiquity; but the founder is not known. It appears to me to have been built on an artificial mount raised on the top of the hill, with a deep fosse round the base. The barony of Kendal was granted by William the Conqueror to Ivo de Talebois , one of his followers, whose descendants frequently resided in the castle. From them it passed by marriage to the Rosses , and from them to the Parrs : and when in their possession Catherine afterwards Queen of England was born here; a lady who had the good fortune to descend to the grave with her head, in all probability merely by outliving her tyrant. It does not appear that this castle sustained any siege: but in 1174 the Scots , under Duncan Earl of Fife , entered and plundered the town, broke open the churches, put all the inhabitants to the sword sparing neither age nor sex.275


Take a very pleasant walk to Water-Crook , a mile distant, along the sides of the Ken . This had been the Concangium of the Notitia , a station on the East side of the river, whose vestiges are almost worn away by the plough. Altars, coins, and other antiquities have been found here. I saw in the walls of the barn of the farm house, the monumental inscription preserved by Mr. Horsely , p. 300. supposed by him to have been in memory of two freed-men; and that there was added the penalty of a fine on any who presumed to bury in that sepulchre. Here is preserved an altar un-inscribed, but ornamented with beautiful festoons: and I also saw the remains of the statue supposed of Bacchus or Silenus .

Cross the river, and walk over some fine meadows. Pass by some large round hillocks, one appearing artificial: ascend to gain the heights above the town: leave below me near the skirts a well called the Anchorite's , probably from some hermitage once in its neighborhood. Reach Castlehow hill, a great artificial mount above the town, and opposite to the castle. The summit is flat: just within its verge is a circular ditch; and another transverse, probably the place of the foundation of a tower. Round the base is a deep foss and high dike, and on the East side of the dike two bastions to give it additional strength. Immediately below is a spot called battle place , but tradition does not preserve the reason of the name.


Cross the Ken , and in an hour and a half, South of Burton , enter LANCASHIRE. Reach its capital, Lancaster , a large and well-built town, seated on the Lune , a river navigable for ships of 250 tuns as high as the bridge. The custom-house is a small but most elegant building, with a portico supported by four ionic pillars, on a beautiful plain pediment. There is a double flight of steps, a rustic surbase and coins; a work that does much credit to Mr. Gillow , the architect, an inhabitant of this town.

The church is seated on an eminence, and commands an extensive but not a pleasing view. The castle is entire, the courts of justice are held in it, and it is also the county jail. The front is very handsome, consists of two large angular towers, with a handsome gateway between.

Eleven miles farther is the village of Garstang , seated on a fertile plain, bounded on the East by the fells , on the West by Pelling moss, which formerly made an eruption like that of Solway . The adjacent country is famous for producing the finest cattle in all the county. A gentleman in that neighborhood has refused 30 guineas for a three year old cow: calves of a month old have been fold for 10: and bulls from 70 to 100 guineas, which have afterwards been hired out for the season for 30; so notwithstanding his misfortune, well might honest Barnaby celebrate the cattle of this place.

Veni Garstang ubi nata
Sunt Armenia fronte lata.
Veni Garsyang , ubi male
Intrans forum bestiale,
Forte vaccillando vico
Huc et illuc cum amico.
In Juvencse dorsum rui
Cujus cornu læsus sui.

A little to the East is a ruined tower, the remains of Grenehaugh castle, built, as Camden supposes, by Thomas Stanley first Earl of Derby , to protect himself from the outlawed nobility, whose estates had been granted him by Henry VII.

SEPT. 23.

Hastened through Preston, Wigan, Warrington , and Chester , and finished my journey with a rapture of which no fond parent can be ignorant, that of being again restored to two innocent prattlers after an absence equally regretted by all parties.

259 III. part. 1. tab. xlvii.

260 Verstegan . 69. 78. Wormii Mon. Dan . p. 16.

261 The inscription runs thus — B. V. omnium Gentium Templum olim vetustate conlabsum JUL. PITIANUS P. P. restituit.

262 De moribus Germanorum , c. 45.

263 Montfaucon . II. Part ii p. 443. Keysler Antiq. Celt. 236.

264 Lib. XVII. c. 8.

265 Archælogia , Vol. III.

266 Gordon , tab. xxxvi, xxxix. and xl. Keysler Antiq. Celt . tab. xv.

267 Begun by Walter , deputy of these parts, under William Rufus ; but the new choir was not founded till about 1354.

268 Vide tab. iii. of the 1st and 2d editions.

269 It broke out in Carlisle Oct . 3d. That city in all probability was much more populous than Penrith , but being on the borders of Scotland , no notice of any deaths was taken, except those in the city and places quite adjacent.

270 Hollinshed . 428.

271 Guthrie's Hist. Scotl. III. 123.

272 Buck's Life of Richard III.

273 Mona Antiqua , 2d ed. 90.

274 Olaus Magnus de Gent. Septentr. lib. I. c. 18.

275 Holinshed's Chron . 91.

Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland 1769 (London: Benjamin White, 1776)

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