« PreviousContinue »
BLACKFORD, THE BackswORD PLAYER. ton by the present memorialist, arose
out of the “Coronation of George the To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. Third.” All the festivities of the seasons Sir,-Your correspondent C. T.p. 12075
were concentrated, and May games and having given a description of “Purton Christmas customs, without regard to Fair," my grandmother and father born usage, in full exercise. The belfry was there, the birth-place of Anne Boleyn, I filled day after day; any one that could feel interested in the spot of my progeni- pull a rope might ring, which is no easy
C. T., speaking of old “ Corey task; the bells are deep, and two or three Dyne," the gipsy, says a man named Black men usually raise the tenor. Some of the ford was the most noted Backsword- Blackfords lie in Purton churchyard player of his day. He bore off the prizes
P. ihen played for in London, Bath, Bristol, and Gloucester. When very young, at The autumnal dress of a man in the Lyneham grammar-school, I recollect fourteenth century is introduced, from the this frontispiece despoiler broke fourteen transcript of an illumination, in a manuheads, one after another; in the fifteenth script which supplied the Spring and Sumbout, however, he pretty nearly_found mer dress of that age, before presented. his match in the person of Isaac Bushel, a blacksmith of this place, who could bite a nail asunder, eat a shoulder of mut. ton with appendages, or fight friend or foe for love or money. It was a saying, “ Bushel could take enough to kill a dozen men;" nor was his head unlike his name: he was the village Wat Tyler.
When the Somerset youths played with the Wiltshire on a stage on Calne-green, two years since, one of Blackford's descendants gave a feeling proof of headbreaking with other heads of this bloodletting art, in which stratagem is used to conceal the crimson gush chiefly by sucking. Like fencing, attitude and agility are the great assistants to ensure success in backsword-playing; the basket is also of great service to the receiving of blows, And here as suitable to the season may and protecting the muscles of the wrist. be subjoined some lines by a correspondThe greatest exploits remembered at Pur- ent.
For the Every-Day Book
There he sits like a desolate thing,
S, R. J.
skill equally conspicuous and extraorMean Temperature ....50 . 77. dinary; who, in consequence of these rare
endowments, never led on our fleets to
battle that he did not conquer; and whose October 21.
name was a tower of strength to England,
and a terror to her foes." BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR. In a dreadful engagement off Cape
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. Trafalgar, on the 21st of October, 1805, Mean Temperature ... 50. 62. between the English fleet, consisting of twenty-seven sail of the line and four
October 22. frigates, and the combined fleets of France
CHILD PLAYED FOR. and Spain, consisting of thirty-three sail and seven frigates, which lasted four In October, 1735, a child of James and hours, twenty sail of the enemy were Elizabeth Leesh, of Chester-le-street, in unk or destroyed, and the French com the county of Durham, was played for at mander-in-chief, (admiral Villeneuve,) cards, at the sign of the Salmon, one with two Spanish admirals, were made game, four shillings against the child, by prisoners. The gallant Nelson was Henry and John Trotter, Robert Thomwounded about the middle of the action, son, and Thomas Ellison, which was won and died nearly at its close.—“ Thus ter. by the latter, and delivered to them minated the brilliant career of our peer- accordingly.t less Naval Hero, who was, beyond dispute, preeminent in courage, in a de
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. partment of the British service where all Mean Temperature ... 49 · 97. our countrymen are proverbially courage
* Butler's Chronological Exercises, ous: who, to unrivalled courage, anited
† Sykes's Local Records, ,. 79.
ROMAN REMAINS AT PANCRAS. When I came attentively to consider the A former notice of some antiquities in situation of it, and the circumjacent this vicinity, seems to have occasioned the ground, I easily discerned the traces of subjoined article on similar remains. Its his whole camp. A great many ditches or initials will be recognised as those of a
divisions of the pastures retain footsteps correspondent, whose communications of the plan of the camp, agreeable to their have been acceptable, and read with in- usual form, as in the plate engraved; and terest.
whenever I take a walk thither, I enjoy a
visionary scene of the whole camp of ROMAN REMAINS AT PANCRAS.
Cæsar as described in the plate before us; SIR,_In the ninetieth number of your a scene just as if beheld, and Cæsar Every-Day Book, (the present volume, present. col. 1197-1204,) a very interesting article His army consisted of forty thousand appeared on the subject of the Roman Four legions with his horse. The remains near Pentonville, and thinking camp is in length five hundred paces—the you may be inclined to acquaint your thirty paces beyond, for the way between readers with “ Cæsar's Camp” at St. the tents and vallum, (where a vallum is Pancras, situate near the old church, made,) amounts to five hundred and sixty; which are likely in the course of a short so that the proportion of length to breadth time to be entirely destroyed by the rage is as three to two. for improvement in that neighbourhood, This space of ground was sufficient for I forward you the following particulars. Cæsar's army according to Roman dis
The only part at present visible is the cipline, for if he had forty thousand men, prætorium of Cæsar, which may be seen a third part of them were upon guard. in the drawing that accompanies this, The front of the camp is bounded but the ditch is now nearly filled up. Í by a spring with a little current of water visited the spot about a week ago, and running from the west, across the Brill, can therefore vouch for its existence up into the Fleet brook. This Brill was the to that time, but every thing around it be- occasion of the road directly from the gins to bear a very different aspect to what city, originally going alongside the brook it did about two years back, when my at- by Bagnigge; the way to Highgate being tention was particularly called to the spot at first by Copenhagen-house, which is from having read Dr. Stukeley's remarks straight road thither from Gray's-inn-lane. on the subject. At that time I was able This
has the brook running quite to trace several other vestiges, which are through the middle of it: it arises from entirely destroyed by the ground having seven springs on the south side of the been since dug up for the purpose of hill between Hampstead and Highgate by making bricks.
Caen wood, where it forms several large The following extracts are taken from ponds, passes by here by the name of the second volume of Dr. Stukeley's Fleet, washes the west side of the city of
Itinerary.” The plan of the camp is London, and gives name to Fleet-street. taken from the same work. I shall feel This brook was formerly called the river pleasure if you will call attention to it, as of wells, from the many springs above, you have already to the Roman remains which our ancestors called wells; and it at Pentonville.
may be thought to have been more conI am, Sir, yours respectfully,
siderable in former times than at present,
S. G. for now the major part of its water is carOctober 9, 1826.
ried off in pipes to furnish Kentish-town, Pancras, and Tottenham-court; but even
now in great rains the valley is covered over DR. STUKELEY'S ACCOUNT OF Cæsar's
with water. Go a quarter of a mile higher CAMP.
towards Kentish-town and you may have
October, 1758. a just notion of its appearance at that Cæsar's camp was situate where Pan- place, only with this difference, that it is cras church is—his prætorium is still very there broader and deeper from the current plain-over against the church, in the of so many years. It must further be confootpath on the west side of the brook; sidered that the channel of this brook the vallum and the ditch visible; its through so many centuries, and by its breadth from east to west forty paces, its being made the public north road from length from north to south sixty paces. London to Highgate, is very much lowered
and widened since Cæsar's time. It was ticle may draw attention to the subject, then no sort of embarrassment to the the editor defers remark till he has been camp, but an admirable convenience for favoured with communications from other watering, being contained in narrow hands. banks not deep. The breadth and length are made by long tract of time. The ancient road by Copenhagen wanting repair,
THE ANTIQUARY. induced passengers to make this gravelly The following lines were written by an valley become much larger than in old and particular friend of the erudite Cæsar's time. The old division runs individual who received them : along that road between Finsbury and Holborn division, going in a straight line
To RICHARD Gough, Esq. from Gray's-inn-lane to Highgate: its an O tu severi Religio loci ! tiquity is shown in its name—Madan- Hail, genius of this littered study! lane.
Or tell what name you most delight in The recovery of this noble antiquity For sure where all the ink is muddy, will give pleasure to a British antiquary; And no clean margin left to write in, especially an inhabitant of London, No common deity resides. whereof it is a singular glory. It renders We see, we feel thy power divine, the walk over the beautiful fields to the In every tattered folio's dust, Brill doubly agreeable, when at half a mile Each mangled manuscript is thine, distance we can tread in the very steps
And thine the antique helmet's rust. of the Roman camp master, and of the
Nor less observed thy power presides greatest of the Roman generals.
Where plundered brasses crowd the floor, We need not wonder that the traces of
Or dog's-eared drawings burst their binding
Hid by Confusion's puzzling door this camp so near the metropolis are so
Beyond the reach of mortal finding. nearly worn out; we may rather wonder Than if beneath a costly roof that so inuch is left, when a proper saga Each moulding edged by golden fillet, city in these matters may discern them, The Russian binding, insect proof, and be assured that somewhat more than Blushed at the foppery of three or four sorry houses are commemor Give me, when tired by dust and sun, ated under the name of the Brill, (now If rightly I thy name invoke, called Brill-place-Terrace ;) nor is it un
The bustle of the town to shun, worthy of remark, as an evident confirma And breathe unvext by city smoke. tion of our system, that all the ditches But, ah! if from these cobwebbed walls,
And from this moth-embroidered cushion, and fences now upon the ground, have a
Too fretful Fortune rudely calls, manifest respect to the principal members
Resolved the cares of life to push onof the original plan of the camp.
Give me at least to pass my ago In this camp Cæsar made the two
At ease in some book-tapestried cell, British kings friends--Casselham and his Where I may turn the pictured page, nephew Mandubrace.
Nor start at visitants' loud bell." I judge I have performed my promise in giving an account of this greatest curiosity, so illustrious a monument of
October 23. the greatest of the Roman generals, which has withstood the waste of time for more
St. SURIN. than eighteen centuries, and passed un St. Surin, or St. Severin, which is his noticed but half a mile off the metropolis. proper name, is a saint held in great I shall only add this observation, that veneration at Bordeaux; he is considered when I came to survey this plot of ground as one of the great patrons of the town. to make a map of it by pacing, I found It was his native place, but he deserted every where even and great numbers, and it for a time to go and preach the gospel what I have often formerly observed in at Cologne. When he returned, St. Roman works; whence we may safely Amand, then bishop of Bordeaux, went affirm the Roman camp master laid out out with a solemn procession of the clergy his works by pacing. *
to meet him, and, as he had been warned
to do in a vision, resigned his bishopric With the hope that the preceding ar to him, which St. Surin continued to enjoy
• Dr. Foreter's Perennial Calendar.
• Dr. Stukeley's Itinerary.