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of which had been long since exposed by Dr. Latham, was another fiction; that the dates commonly assigned to Robin Hood and the battle of Chevy Chase were clearly erroneous; and concluded his paper by giving some amusing examples of the different portraits drawn by different historians of such kings as William Rufus, Richard III., Henry VIII., and Charles I., quoting also Lord Bacon's observation-that the end of historical study ought to be to reject vain speculations and preserve whatever was solid and fruitful. As instances of historians who largely fulfilled this condition, he named the German Dr. Gieseler, and Professor Stubbs, of Oxford.
THE ANCIENT BATTLE-FIELDS OF LANCASHIRE:
DECEMBER 3.-Mr. CHARLES HARDWICK read the fourth of a series of papers on the Ancient Battle-fields of Lancashire, the subject being the site of Athelstan's great victory at Brunanburh, A.D. 937. At the outset he recapitulated the facts in a preliminary paper read last session, in which he traced the progress of the Scandinavian incursions into England from the first landing of the Danes to the time when Sihtric or Sigtrog, the Danish King of Northumbria, having relapsed into his previous paganism, discarded Editha, the sister of Athelstan, his Christian queen. This brought down the vengeance of the English monarch upon the heads of Sihtric's sons, Anlaf and Godefrid, by a previous marriage. Being defeated, Anlaf fled to Dublin, over the neighbouring district of which he was the most powerful chieftain, and his brother fled to the King of Scots. The growing power of Athelstan alarmed the neighbouring kings and chieftains, and a league was formed, which included "warriors from Norway and the Baltic, the Cambrian Britons, the North and West Welsh, the Scots, and the Danes in Ireland," to place. Anlaf on the Northumbrian throne. This confederacy was signally defeated in the year 937, at Brunanburh, and Athelstan became really the first king of all England, with a nominal lordship over Wales and Scotland. Notwithstanding the vast political and social importance of this victory, the Waterloo of the tenth century, the site of the conflict could not be satisfactorily ascertained. It having been fought near the sea, and the vanquished pursued to their ship, conjecture has located the battle on east, west, and south coasts of England, often on the flimsiest of evidence. Mr. Hardwick attributes the loss of the site to history and tradition,
* Abstracts of the first and second papers appeared in the Club Papers, Vol. ii., pp. 151-5; and the third paper was given in full, in Vol. iii., pp. 53-64.
to the repressive influence of the after Danish conquests by Sweyn and Canute, as well as that of the Normans. One of the Conqueror's barons, Gilbert de Lacy, had so far devastated the lands between the Ribble and the Mersey that the Domesday record furnishes very few of the names of the villages in that district. The name Brunanburh, too, in some corrupted form, was so common in England that it was valueless as evidence of the site unless supported by strong confirmatory evidence. Mr. Hardwick's attention was first called to the subject while preparing for the publication of his History of Preston and its Environs, above twenty years ago. In 1840, a chest containing an enormous amount of treasure, in silver coins, ingots, bracelets, and rings, was found buried in the south bank of the Ribble, near the ford at Cuerdale, opposite Preston. The coins, about ten thousand in number, were all minted before the year 930, hence the probability of their deposit in the earth during the troubles attendant on the disastrous defeat at Brunanburh in 937. The foreign character of many of the coins, and the number of rare ones of Danish mintage, supported this assumption. Mr. Hardwick, after a detailed review of the topographical aspect of the question, contended that the "Pass of the Ribble," near which the treasure was buried, met all its conditions. The ports of Lancashire were opposite Dublin, to which the vanquished Anlaf fled. The Roman road from the Wyre to York passed by Preston, where it was crossed by the great military way running from the north through the county into Cheshire. Here the junction of the confederates could easily have taken place. Mr. Hardwick then summarized the various forms in which Brunburh had been corrupted in various parts of the country, and contended that south of the "Pass of the Ribble," notwithstanding the raid of De Lacy, names yet remained which could be identified with Brunhull, Brunedge, and Brunburgh (Bamber). Mr. Hardwick then referred to Mr. Weddle's contention that the Weordune, of Simeon of Durham, should read Weardune, the Saxon r being very similar in the n, and easily mistaken by a copyist. This place, he contended, was represented by the Worden, Werden, or, as it is still pronounced, Weardon Hall, the ancient seat of the Faringtons. He contended likewise that Cuerden itself was but a corruption of Wearden, the English "w" being sometimes represented in the Norman-French by "cu" as well as "gu." Mr. Hardwick explained several other more obscure etymologies, and called attention to two remarkable tumuli situated near Whittle Springs, one named "Johnson's Hillock," and the other "Pickering Castle." The latter he regarded as originally "Bickering Castle,' which would signify the castle, or the tumulus of the field of battle. He said the opening of these remarkable mounds might throw considerable light on the subject he was investigating, and
especially as a tradition existed, attested by the discovery of remains, that a battle had been fought near Foxholes, in the neighbouring Raddlesworth valley, through which that portion of the invading army defeated near "Pickering Castle" would flee, and suffer severely from the onslaughts of their victorious pursuers. Mr. Hardwick concluded by announcing that Mr. Anyon, the owner of the estate, had intimated to him his' willingness to permit the tumuli to be opened, providing the work was superintended by some competent public association, such as the Literary Club, the Chetham Society, or the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.
JANUARY 21, 1878.--Mr. ELI SOWERBUTTS read a paper on Lincolnshire, in which he described its geographical and physical features, its natural history, ecclesiastical remains, charities, folklore, and dialect, and gave an outline of its history. Of this very interesting and comparatively little-known county there was, he said, no handbook or guide. Lincoln is a shire of churches and charities, and some of the churches were very fine, notably Lincoln, Louth, with its aspiring and beautiful pinnacle, 288 feet high; St. Botolph's at Boston, and St. Mary's at Stamford, whose exquisite tower Sir Walter Scott regarded as "simply perfection." The charities are innumerable, and sadly misused. If they could be used as their pious founders intended, they would keep all the poor and give a sound education to all the people of the shire for ever. At one time Stamford, a town of 8,300 people, had eleven parish churches, two colleges, and several monasteries. There are now five churches, and in place of the other six any quantity of chapels. The Danes have left ineffaceable marks of their presence in the place-names of Lincolnshire, the dialect of which is rapidly being obliterated. In eminent men the county has been rich. Grostete, Tenison, and Wake, the Wesleys, Fox the Martyrologist, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Franklin, the historian Hallam, and the Poet Laureate, were all natives. An air of ancientry dwells about the towns. The inhabitants are a still people, slow to catch, but who can hold fast; queer in manners, dark-haired, square-headed, with thin lips, big heads, and as a rule long legs. They are reserved and shy to strangers, but genial and generous to a fault when once the ice is broken. They take their pleasure sadly, but want a deal of it. A brief account was given in the course of the paper of the reclamation of the fen land from the waters and the sea-one of the finest pieces of engineering of that kind in the country.
PUBLIC TASTE AND THEATRICAL AMUSEMENTS.
In the conversation which followed, Mr. Thomas Worthington (Wythenshawe) gave some interesting particulars concerning the Lincolnshire breed of sheep and the fine agricultural characteristics of the county.
THE PUBLIC TASTE AND THEATRICAL AMUSEMENTS.
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 1878.-Mr. JOHN EVANS read a short communication on the Elevation of the Public Taste in relation to Theatrical Amusements. That the stage had considerably advanced in public esteem, whether for good or evil, especially during the past quarter of a century, was, he said, very evident. He saw from an authority of some weight, in a recent publication, that there were two hundred and thirty licensed theatres in the United Kingdom, forty-eight of which were in London. As further proving the vitality of the stage, no less than two hundred and fifty-five new pieces, including operas, pantomimes, and burlesques, were produced in the twelve months from December, 1876, to December, 1877, one hundred and sixty of which were produced in London, and ninety-five in the provinces. Therefore there was no question of the vitality of the stage at the present moment; whether for good or evil was the question, and it was attracting not merely the attention of clerics and stern moralists, but of men of the world, who would not be likely to "set down aught in malice" respecting the theatre. Mr. G. H. Lewes lamented that the drama "is everywhere in Europe and America rapidly passing from an art into an amusement, just as of old it passed from a religious ceremony into an art." Mr. Dutton Cook, Mr. Godfrey Turner, Mr. Labouchere had all spoken of the deterioration of the stage. It was, indeed, difficult to avoid the conclusion that the stage of the present day was not attaining all its legitimate ends and purposes. Macready had said on a memorable occasion that the preamble of their patent right recited, as a condition of the grant, that theatres should be instituted for the promotion of virtue, and to be instructive to the human race. He (Mr. Evans) produced those utterances to prove that from more than one point of view their theatrical amusements were not elevating public taste. To a great extent the faults might be equally divided between the managers, the actors, and the audience. On those grounds he came to the natural conclusion that if any reformation of the stage was to be accomplished it must come more from within than without; that it must be the united understanding arrived at between those who catered for the public and the public who supported the caterers. In sketching a plan of dramatic reform, he said that the only recognized influence from without seemed to centre in the Lord Chamberlain, the Licenser of Plays, and the
magistrates. It had often been a moot point in his mind whether theatres could not be better regulated under the complete control of the Chamberlain than relegated to the questionable care of a sometimes ignorant and prejudiced unpaid magistracy. Another influence from without which was finding some favour was the subvention of the theatres by the State. He believed a State subvention would be strongly conducive to the end they had in view. In the event of such a convention all large towns should partake in equal ratio with the privileges of the metropolis. In reference to the reformation from within, a good manager was of the first importance. Next he ranked the acquisition of a good "all-round" stock company, and the discouragement of the star system and travelling companies, only in the most exceptional cases. He would suggest, too, considering the immense range of their own dramatic production in tragedy, comedy, and farce, a more frequent selection from their own wares, and a less frequent adaptation from the French or any other source, a process in which they generally gained a lot of gross substance and lost all the geist. Lastly, he would suppress with inflexible hand everything pertaining to "gag." He also advocated lower terms of admission for the masses, a course which he believed would prove a successful commercial speculation.
THE BOLTON STRIKE AND THE CIRCULATION OF POPULAR
[Read February 11, 1878.]
The Bolton strike began in August last, when upwards of 10,000 spinners, minders, and piecers left their work rather than submit to a reduction in their wages of five per cent, which the masters proposed. No doubt a much larger number of operatives than the 10,000 who actually struck would be affected by this course. The strike did not last long, the operatives resuming work on the masters' terms, after two months' idleness, but in that time it is estimated that £100,000 in wages was lost to the wage-earning part of the population; and when we remember, as we are told, and as we shall most of us believe to be true, that in the great majority of cases the weekly wage is only sufficient for the weekly expenditure, we shall agree that the strike lasted long enough, and was sharp enough while it lasted, to compel many a man, and many a family, to cut out of their expenses every item of luxury or superfluity, and left them with enough to do to keep body and soul together on strike pay and soup-kitchen allowance. One would be prepared, therefore, to find that material pabulum being