Books, Prehistory, Archaeological Journal Volume 18 The Shap Stones
Archaeological Journal Volume 18 The Shap Stones is in Archaeological Journal Volume 18.
The Antiquities Of Shap [Map] In The County Of Westmorland. By The Rev. James Simpson, Vicar of Shap. Communicated to the Section of Antiquities, at the Meeting of the Institute at Carlisle, July, 1859
The antiquities of Shap and its neighbourhood do not seem to have received that attention which they "well deserve. Remote in situation, and until late years difficult of access, the locality was almost unknown to those early writers from whose pages we gather so many particulars relating to other parts of the country. And yet its situation and difficulty of access ought to have made it the more interesting to antiquaries. Surrounded by mountains and trackless moors, only approachable from the south through the narrow pass at Borough Bridge, it would naturally be the last refuge of the earlier occupants as they fled before more powerful tribes; the numerous traces of embankments on the more elevated and harder ground tell of many a fierce conflict, and show that the invader had no light task to drive out or to destroy those who had possession. We search the records of history in vain for any account of these men or of their deeds; if we are to trace anything of them,—whence they came or when they lived, we must learn it from the mounds which cover their ashes, or from the rocks, the hills and streams to which they have given their names. It is not, however, my object to write a history of the district, but to offer some notices of its antiquities and of their former condition.
Camden relates that, near the source of the Loder, or Lowther, "at Shape, anciently Hepe, a small monastery built by Thomas, son of Gospatric, son of Orme, is a fountain which, like the Euripus, ebbs and flows several times a day, and several huge stones of a pyramidal form, some of them nine feet high and fourteen thick, standing in a row for near a mile at an equal distance, which seems to have been erected in memory of some transaction there which by length of time is lost."1 Blome gives a similar account, with this difference, that he speaks of Shap as a great parish, wherein stood the only Abbey in the county, thus recognising the fact that Shap or Heppe gave its name to the Abbey, not the Abbey to Shap, whereas Camden writes as if the little monastery was Shap. It is important to observe that the huge pyramidal stones ranged in a row for a mile in length are not the stones on Karl Lofts, which formed the avenue, but a row of stones on the west side of Shap, connected with the avenue. If Camden or his informant had seen the stones on the south side of Shap, now commonly called Karl Lofts, he must have noticed the peculiarity of their arrangement, which certainly existed long after he wrote. It is, however, not improbable that in Camden's time these stones on Karl Lofts were concealed by brushwood and scarcely known to exist.2
Note 1. Camden's Brit. edit. Gough, vol. iii. see p. 401; and Gough's additions, p. 414.
Note 2. Thomas Fitz-Gospatric grantedto the Abbey of Byland pasture for 500 sheep in Heppe and "Heppeshow." The laud upon which the avenue stood is now called Shapsey, probably a corruption of Heppeshow, meaning Heppe wood.
In the Itinerarium Curiosum3 Stukeley mentions having seen the beginning of a great Celtic avenue, on a green common on the south side of Shap, "just beyond the horrid and rocky fells where a good country begins." He describes the avenue as 70 feet in breadth, composed of very large stones set at equal intervals: it seemed to be closed at the south end, which is on an eminence, and near a long flattish barrow with stone works upon it; hence it proceeded northward towards Shap, which caused its ruin, the stones having been used in building. It made a large curve, and passed over a brook, near to which was a little round sacellum, of twelve stones of smaller size, set by one great stone belonging to the side of the avenue, the interval being 35 feet, half the breadth of the avenue. He traces the line across the Penrith road, and to some stones on the west of Shap, particularly one called Guggleby Stone. Stukeley does not, however, seem to have examined the remains with much attention, for, as he says, "the rainy weather, which in this country is almost perpetual, hindered me from making at this time a thorough disquisition into it." Burn, who lived within five miles of the place, and must have known it well, says in his History of Westmorland published in 1777, "towards the south end of the village of Shap, near the turnpike road on the east side thereof, there is a remarkable monument of antiquity, which is an area upwards of half a mile in length, and between twenty and thirty yards broad, encompassed with large stones with which that country abounds, many of them 3 or 4 yards in diameter, at 8, 10, or 12 yards' distance, which are of such immense weight, that no carriage now in use could draw them." Assuming that it had been a Druids' temple, he proceeds to say, that "at the high end thereof there is a circle of the like stones, about 18 feet in diameter, which was their sanctum sanctorum as it were, and place of sacrifice."4 This description is evidently the result of personal examination, yet it is unsatisfactory, and also in some respects, incorrect. The reader would suppose that the avenue was perfect for half a mile, that the distance enclosed was a parallelogram, that the smaller circle was at the south end of the area, and, as subsequent writers have assumed, formed the head of the avenue. It is, however, extremely doubtful whether this circle had any connexion originally with the adjacent avenue. The stones were, as I am assured, much smaller than those forming the avenue, and they were placed round a mound somewhat to the south-west of the head of the avenue, with a large stone in the middle. In regard, however, to this stone, some doubt must be admitted; it would hardly have escaped the notice of Burn; with his notions about the sanctum sanctorum, he would have thought it the stone upon or near to which the victims were slain, and would not have omitted to mention it. Be that, however, as it may, there seems to be no doubt in regard to the circle. The stones were removed no long time since; they were described to me as about a horse-load each. The mound or hillock around which they stood still remains, and is probably that mentioned by Stukeley as "a long flattish barrow with stone works upon it."
Note 3. Centuria ii. Iter Boreale, p. 42. Stukeley visited Shap in 1725 in company with Roger Gale.
Note 4. History of Westmorland, vol. i. p. 477; see also West's Guide to the Lakes, p. 181.
It is impossible to trace out with certainty the direction of the avenue. Within the last fifty years most of the stones have been broken up; as said by one who assisted in this destruction, "when blasting and improving came up they went fast, and when we found out a way of cutting them with the plug and feather, they made capital yat stoops," or gate-posts. The walls and gateways at the south end of Shap bear ample testimony to this work of destruction; and we can only regret that when the stones were removed no description of the arrangement in which they stood should have been preserved.5 Of the south-end of the avenue, where the stones, though no longer upright, appear to occupy for the most part their original position, we can fortunately form a fairly correct notion. Amongst drawings, at Lowther Castle, of remarkable places in the neighbourhood, such as Long Meg and her seventy-three daughters, and Maybrough, entitled by the artist, "The fort of Union at Maybrough," there is, one of Karl Lofts. At that time the stones forming the avenue, so far as a rivulet called Force Beck, which takes its rise at Anna Well, the ebbing spring mentioned by Camden, seem, though fallen, to have been undisturbed. The south end or head, seems to have been circular, somewhat wider than the avenue. Until the formation of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, in 1844, the stones forming the head of the avenue, though fallen, were left on the spot.6 Unfortunately the line of railway passed over the avenue; the greater part of the stones were blasted and removed, and at the south end there now remain eight only to mark the site of a very remarkable monument of the olden time. Five of these formed part of the circular head, the others being in the line of the west side of the avenue. Of the five it appears to me that every alternate stone stood on its narrow end, and when upright the distance between them might have been regulated on the proportion stated by Stukeley, that the thickness of each stone was to the distance of the next as two to three. The thickness being 6 feet, the interval would be 9 feet.
Note 5. Stukeley, in a letter to Gale, in 1743, Reliquias Galeanie, Nichols, Bibl. Top. Brit. vol. iii. p. 3»7, states that he had got a vast drawing and admeasurement, from Mr. Routh of Carlisle, of the stones at Shap; he found them to be another huge serpentine temple, like that at Abury; the measure of what were left extended to a mile and a half. It is to be regretted that the plan is not now to be found.
Note 6. A view of this circular head prior to the destruction caused by the railway operations, was given in the Gent. Mag. 1844, vol. xx. N. S., p. 381. Thirteen stones, as it is stated, were at that time standing, forming a circle about 40 feet in diameter; the largest stone measuring 8 feet in height. This is incorrect, I have the original drawing, showing twelve stones, and the diameter was upwards of 30 yards.
The distance, from the stone at the end of the circular head to the first stone now remaining in the line of avenue, is 24 feet; to the next, now forming the foundation of a wall, 40 feet; to the third, also forming part of a wall, 110 feet. These stones have not been far removed from their original positions, though some doubtless have stood between the second and third. We learn from Stukeley that the interval of the stones was 35 feet, half the breadth of the avenue, which he tells us was 70 feet broad, composed of large stones at equal intervals. Pennant states that the space between the lines was 88 feet; that they gradually converged, for near Shap the distance decreased to 59 feet, and he thought it probable that they met in a point in form like a wedge.7 Pennant may have been deceived in the lines nearer Shap. by some of the twelve stones of the little sacellum mentioned by Stukeley. When the railway was made, the head of the avenue was said to be about 30 yards in diameter; and, at Force Beck (the brook mentioned by Stukeley), where the lines of stones may be traced, I found the width about 70 feet. The lines might run still nearer as they approached Shap, but the important feature, if it could be ascertained, was the nature of the termination at the north end. Pennant's supposition that the lines met terminating in form of a wedge seems incapable of proof.
Note 7. North Tour, vol i. p. 297.
My own impression is that at the place called Brackenbyr, now occupied by a farm-house, there was a circle about 400 feet in diameter, with a large stone in the centre.8 The avenue entered this circle on the south side, directly in a line with the stone in its centre, and a single line of stones about 30 or 35 feet distant from each other left the circle on the north, thus forming a structure not unlike the Temple of Classernish in the isle of Lewis.9 The facts from which to deduce this inference are, however, doubtful. There remain at the place called Karl Lofts, about 200 yards north of the Greyhound Inn at Shap, four stones, which I suppose to have formed part of the single line from the north side of the circle. There is, in a field on the west of the road, another stone which I suppose to have formed part of the circle. Another, the position of which tends to prove the existence of a circle, seems to have been buried in the ground. Near the Railway station there are also fragments of a stone well known to have formerly stood there. This I suppose to have been on the east side of the circle. In the yard of the house called Brackenbyr formerly stood a very large stone, out of which, my informant told me, seven pairs of "yat stoops" were made. This stone I suppose to have been the centre of the circle. It would stand in a line with the stones now remaining on Karl Lofts; and, if it was not the centre of a circle, or one of an inner circle, it must have formed part of the west side of the avenue, the width of which at that point must have been 200 feet. I am well aware that I am assuming what may be considered doubtful, that the avenue was not continued further than Brackenbyr. From Stukeley's account we might almost infer that when he visited Shap the avenue extended across the road and into the fields on the other side westward; but Stukeley was there in rainy weather, and a wet day at Shap is not favorable to an accurate examination of its antiquities. In his description of Westmorland, the talented historian of Northumberland, Hodgson, who was born at Swindale in the parish of Shap, writes as if he thought there had been two lines on the west side of the village, though he does not state that he could trace more than one.1 As I said before, I believe the stones on the west of Shap, after crossing the road, to be the huge stones in the form of pyramids which Camden describes, and it may be observed that he says they were ranged directly as it were in a row for a mile in length, with almost equal distance between. Camden or his informant must have seen these stones; many of them may at that time have been standing. If there ever had been two lines, it is improbable that one should at that period have disappeared while the other remained comparatively perfect,—equally improbable that Camden should have omitted to mention the fact had a double row existed. Assuming the fact of a circle at Brackenbyr, we may, I think, be tolerably certain that a single line of stones, commencing at the north side of that circle, proceeded in a straight line for about 100 yards, over the hill called Karl Lofts, then inclined towards the west, and proceeded in a north-westerly direction, gradually leaning more north as it passed near to or over a mound now called Skellali; that it crossed Shap Grange, and terminated near Rosgill, probably not much beyond the three stones still remaining near Rosgill Lane. Of this row of stones there may be seen, exclusive of those on Karl Lofts, seven, or perhaps eight. One near the footpath from Shap to Keld is still upright, and measures about 8 feet in height, and from 16 to 21 feet in circumference; it is known by the name of Goggleby, and is mentioned by Stukeley as "Guggleby Stone." Upon one of the slopes of the next stone, on the north, near its base, Hodgson noticed that there is a hole apparently artificial, and probably used in conveying it; upon the uppermost corner of the stone is a rude circle, 8 inches in diameter, with a hole in its centre, and conjectured to be some symbol of the intention of the monument. These marks may still be seen, but Hodgson I think mistakes in supposing that this stone had stood on its narrow end. The circle, or rather the two circles, appear to me to have been cut upon that part of the stone which rested on the ground, and are probably the handiwork of those who destroyed, not of those who erected, the monument. The hole at the narrow end is about the size of a large teacup, and it is probably the work of nature, such as are by no means unusual on stones of that description.2
Note 8. Braekenbyr may be from Breacan, to vanquish. The term braken, however, usually applied to the fern common in the district, may have given rise to the name. Hills are called bracken-hills from the fern upon them. It is possible that the place may have been so called from the speckled appearance caused by the boulder stones forming the circle. We have breac in the sense of spotted or marked. "I'll breac thee, I'll mark thee, or "I'll lig my lick on thee", i.e., beat a person until he is, as the saying goes, black and blue. A spotted-sheep is called a breact sheep. Brackenbyr is about half a mile from the head of the avenue or Shapsey, and 100 yards north of the Greyhound Inn.
Note 9. The remarkable standing stones at Classernish are described in Mr. M'Kenzies' Memoir on the Antiquities of Lewis, Archaeologia Scot. vol. i. p. 284; Mac-culloch's Highlands, vol. iii. p. 232.
Note 1. Beauties of England and Wales, vol. xv. p. 139.
Note 2. The Rev. J. Bathurst Deane, in his memoir on Dracontia, or serpent temples, Archseologia, vol. xxv., p. 200, gives a short description of the avenue at Shap, from personal examination about 1832. It may deserve mention that the portion of the stones still remaining is indicated in the maps of the Ordnance Survey on the larger scale (Nos. xiv. 14, xxi. 2), it is satisfactory that such a memorial has been preserved.
It is worthy of remark that the old inhabitants of Shap believe that this line extended to Muir Divock, a distance of six or seven miles. "I've always heard it said so," is the common remark of those who have known the place sixty or seventy years, and they say Kop Stone upon Muir Divock ranges in a line with Goggleby and Karl Lofts at Shap. I have made careful inquiries, but can find no one who has seen any traces of this line of stones through Bampton, or further than Rosgill. Could such trace be found, and the line proved to be continuous, we could scarcely avoid the conclusion that these huge stones had been intended for what Kop Stone has long been used—guide marks across the country. It is, however, more probable that the character of Muir Divock, and the curious remains with which it abounds, gave rise to the supposition that it had some connection with Karl Lofts; just as the Stooping Stone on Harkeld, supposed to have been a rocking stone, the Cross Stones at the junction of Shap, Newby, and Crosby Ravensworth, the Bauta Stone in Stoneygill, and the Circle at Gunnerskeld, have originated the notion that a row of monoliths extended from Karl Lofts in that direction. Kop Stone on Muir Divock, near the village of Helton, is a standing stone, very similar in character and appearance to the stone at Shap called Goggleby; and a little beyond Kop Stone there is another originally placed, doubtless, in an erect position. Further on in the same line there is a circle called Standing Stones, about 25 feet in diameter, with an inner circle partly covered with stones and earth. The outer circle has been formed of twelve stones, one of which is removed; in its general appearance it is not unlike the circle at Gunnerskeld, near Shap, which, however, is larger, the diameter of the outer circle being about 35 yards, and that of the inner one about 17 or 18 yards. On this Moor there are also two large heaps of stone, called White Raise and Further Raise; one of these is said to have been star-shaped, and is sometimes called the Druids' Cross.3 On one of these Raises there are four upright stones on the west side of the circle;4 the largest is about 3 feet high and feet wide.
Note 3. Hodgson's Westmorland, ut supra, p. 130. I examined these Raises with Lord Ranelagh, in August, 1860; we found that they had been burial places
Note 4. On Muir Divock.
To the south of the road from Bampton to Pooley there is a remarkable circle, about 100 feet in diameter, surrounded by stones placed close to each other, and many of them set edgeways. This circle is called the Druids' Temple, but is better known by the less dignified title of the Cockpit [Map] [More Divock aka Cockpit Stone Circle [Map]]. Near this were, until very lately, several smaller circles, and at no great distance a large flat stone about 7 feet long. I have here briefly mentioned these vestiges, as I also alluded to the interesting remains in the direction of Gunnerskeld, to show that their existence, and a knowledge of that existence, might induce a belief that there was some connection between this moor and Karl Lofts.
The Raises are not uncommon in some other parts of the district. On the west side of Shap the name Raise is given to any large heap of stones, the colour of which has given rise to the prefix white. On the east side of Shap such heaps, whether of stones, or earth and stones, are called Hows or Hurrocks; for example, we find Sillhow, near Odindale, and Pen-hurrock, near the road from Crosby to Orton. Amongst the Raises in the neighbourhood of Shap the most remarkable are High and Low Raise, near High Street; Selsitraise, upon the pike of that name, and Stanirase, mentioned as a boundary mark in the original grant by Thomas Pitz G-ospatrick to the Abbey of Heppe.5 This Raise, commonly known by the name of Whiteraise on Rafland, is a large heap of stones collected with much labour from the surrounding moor. It is circular, measuring about 50 feet across, and may have been elevated from 4 to 5 feet above the adjacent surface. The neighbouring inhabitants assert that hundreds of cartloads of the stones have been taken away from the Raise to build walls with; there still remain about 200 cubic yards. Having caused excavation to be made here, in the centre of the heap were found ashes, portions of calcined bones, and fragments of an urn scored with parallel lines. The urn seemed to have stood 011 the surface of the ground, whether its position when deposited had been inverted or erect there were no means of ascertaining. Small blue cobbles of nearly equal size were carefully placed, round the urn; and outside were cobbles of a larger size, and upon the top lay a flat stone about 2½ feet square. The stones had then been thrown upon the heap, their position showing that the circle had gradually enlarged from the centre. The superincumbent weight seems to have pressed down the stones over the cavity in which the urn was placed, until the flat stone rested upon the ground, and fragments of the urn, ashes, and bones, were forced into the soil. No weapon or ornament was found, and the fragments of the urn alone may serve to guide our conjectures regarding the race by whom this memorial was raised; the ornamentation seems to be British, probably not of the earliest period.
Note 5. "Totam terram que fuit Karl, scilicet per has divisas, de vado de Karlwath, asceudendo per Lowther apud Austrum, usque ad Langeshabec, et sic ascendendo per Langeshabeck usque ad semitam que venitde Kendale, et sic sequendo emitam illam versus aquilonem usque dum veniat ad Stanirase juxta Rafland" (printed Rasland.) Dugdale, Mon. Angl. edit. Caley, vol. vi. p. 869. This land is about a mile west of the church of Shap, and on the west side of the Lowther; the adjacent land to the south was unenclosed until recent times.
Selsitraise has not been so large as Stanirase, but it seems to have been much more carefully constructed, and must, from its situation, have cost much more labour in its accumulation. The circle had been formed by a low wall, the ends of which, instead of meeting on the north side, have been extended 6 or 7 feet, forming an entrance about 4 ft. in width, filled with stones in the same manner as the space within the circle; and this entrance is in appearance not unlike those points which have gained for the Raise on Muir Divock the appellation of star-shaped. With the exception of a bield made upon the top by shepherds, this Raise appears to be in its original condition, and the circle is as well defined as on the day when it was finished.6 This Raise may possibly have served as a beacon.
Note 6. The name Selsitraise is of very doubtful derivation. There is a similar heap of stones near Odindale called Sillhow, and we find Salebottom, near Asby.
The conjectures regarding Heppe, the ancient name of Shap, appear unsatisfactory. Burn thought that Shap owed its name to hip, the fruit of the dog-rose, called in the dialect of the locality, "choup." He will not, however, allow that Rosgill, a hamlet in the same parish, may have derived its name from the flower of which hip is the fruit; but assigns to it a derivation from rhos, or ros, a moist valley,—Raisgill, —moorish, marshy, heathy. May not some chieftain have given his name to Shap, some warrior whose ashes Stanirase may have covered, or whose memory Selsitraise may have been designed to perpetuate \ Eoppa occurs among the Saxon princes of Bernicia; in a genealogy given on the authority of a MS. chronicle by the Abbot of Rievaulx, in the King's Library, cited by Sammes (Brit. Ant. p. 427), the name Eppa occurs, followed by Offa, Alchmund, &c. Eppa may not have held his court among the wild moors of Shap, nor dispensed justice at Karl Lofts, but some personage of that name may have dwelt in that locality and given his name to the place.7
Note 7. Ida, from whom descended the royal race of Bernicia, was son, according to the Saxon chronicle, of Eoppa, called by Nennius Eobba; Hist. Brit s. 61.
I mention Eppa because, curiously enough, the name Ineh, immediately preceding that of Eppa in the list referred to, is associated with a popular tradition in the neighbourhood of Shap. Ineh, said to have been a king, and his daughter Agatha, when walking upon the moors, were surprised by a cruel chieftain, named Bo, who was encamped in Bannisdale Bottom near Boroughbridge. Agatha persuaded her father to surrender; and Bo, anxious to take possession of his prize, began to climb the crag on which they stood. Agatha, watching an opportunity, sought to push him down before he had gained a footing, but failed in her purpose. A tame goat, by which she was accompanied, came to the rescue, and pushed Bo down the crag. The chieftain was disabled by the fall; the followers of Ineh, who had meanwhile come up, finished the work which the goat had begun, and in memory of the deed the crag is called Bo's Crag to this day. These traditions are sometimes curious, though they may appear absurd, They are, however, not without value, and may deserve to be preserved. Whether Ineh had a son called Eppa, who gave his name to Shap, may be as doubtful as the authority of Sammes's list of kings; but it appears to me more probable that Heppe owed its appellation to a proper name than to a fruit with the flower of which Shap is seldom if ever graced.
If philologists have been unsuccessful with Heppe, they have been equally so with Karl Lofts. If the word Karl had any reference to the avenue of stones now so called, it probably described the tenure of the land upon which they stood, not their supposed origin or intention. Karl occurs in the grant to Shap Abbey, given by Dugdale, and unless it can be recognised as a proper name, the term seems to denote some quality or character which the land there described once had, but had ceased to have. Thomas, son of Gospatrick, granted the site on which the abbey was built, in the following terms:—"Noverit universitas vestra me dedisse, concessisse,—totam terram, que fuit Karl, scilicet per has divisas," - and so describing the boundaries of the land, beginning and ending at a ford then and now called Karlwath.8 This portion of land called Karl may have been, as I suppose, similar to what we call common, that is, land upon which tenants of a manor have common rights.9 It is worthy of consideration however whether Karl Lofts and The Carles near Keswick, may not be corruptions of the same word, the first syllable of which may possibly be derived from Caer. Mr. Sullivan suggests that the name Karl Lofts should be referred for its traditional name to the second period of the giants, i. e., the time when their former existence was believed in.1 He says that the great boulders of the South of Ireland are accounted for as the giants' finger-stones; and at Shap an old man of the neighbourhood once explained to an inquirer that the giants of old used to loft there; lofting being understood to mean throwing stones by heaving. There seems, as Sullivan observes, decidedly to be a connexion between this explanation of the boulders and the Carl Lofts (Carl's Lofts) in Westmorland.
Note 8. Ang. Sax. Carl-man, a rustic. Compare the Danish and Icelandic Karl.
Note 9. Monast. Angl. vol. vi. Caley's edit., P- 869. The grant of Thomas Fitz Gospatrie, who lived at the close of the reign of Henry II., gave the monks rights "in territorio villse de Hepp," and makes mention of lands which were the property "Mathsside Hepp." In the Patent Rolls 31 and 37 Edw. III., the name is written, Shap; in the latter is "lieentia imparcandi boscum de Shap." The Cartulary of the Abbey of Hepp, formerly at Naworth, is no longer to be found.
Note 1. Cumberland and Westmorland, ancient and modern; by J. Sullivan, 1857, p. 124. The frequent occurrence of such names as Carlbury, Carleby, Carleton, &c., is worthy of observation. In Derbyshire we find The Carl's Work [Map], near Hathersage. Carel Street, or Gate, an ancient way near the Roman Wall in Northumberland, probably owes its name to its course towards Carlisle. In North Britain we have also Carlinwark; Jamieson, in his Dictionary, mentions certain rocks haunted by a witch, called Carling's Loups.
Kemphow, not far from the avenue of stones, suggests that a belief in giants existed in the district, and the curious rectangular mounds on the common called Burnbanks, near the foot of Hawes Water, known as Giants' Graves, may lead us to conclude that such popular tradition is not wholly extinct. They may be described as oblong truncated pyramids, five in number; three are 18 yards long, 5 in width, and about 4 ft. in height; the fourth measures in length 26" yards; the fifth, from which a portion has been taken away, about 13 yards, and it is of the same width and height as those first mentioned. The stones and earth of which they are composed seem to have been taken from the fosses around them. The place called Byrn Banks probably owes its name to the existence of these mounds, commonly called Giants' Graves. The word byrn is not unusual in the district; it occurs in the name Harbyrnrigg, a moor on the east side of Shap, which formerly abounded in barrows. One of these barrows, called Iron Hill, a corruption doubtless, was opened a few years since without that care which its prominence and position well deserved. Placed on the highest point of the moor, the prospect from it commanded the whole surrounding district, bounded on the east by Stainmore and Crossfell, on the south by Mallerstang Edge and Wildboar Fell, on the west by Kidsty Pike, High Street, Skiddaw, and Saddleback, and on the north by the dusky outline of the Cheviots,—a fitting resting-place for a noble warrior. It may have been the tomb of him who gave his name to Harkeld, Hardendale, and Harbyrn. Within this barrow were found the bones of a man of great stature, a portion of the ntler of a deer, much larger than those of our days, and bones of other animals. Not far from this barrow was afterwards found a bronze weapon, now in my possession.
Barrows are not the only remains of antiquity found on this moor. On the east side, near Wickerslack, there are certain remarkable traces of what has been designated a British village. A rampart of earth and stones surrounds a number of small enclosures. In one of the small circles examined there was a large slab of sandstone, and around it vestiges of a rude pavement; in another a sandstone slab about 2½ ft. square was carefully fixed in its place with smaller stones. In both instances the large stone was found near the entrance of the enclosure, and it showed marks of fire. Somewhat to the south, and at no great distance, there is the outer rampart of another settlement, and some traces of the inner circles.
On the opposite side of the dale, in a field called Longdales, the property of the Earl of Lonsdale, there are also traces of a large fortified village. The field in which these may still be seen slopes considerably towards the north, and the ascent is rapid from a rivulet which runs from Odindale to Crosby. About half-way up the bank, and at its steepest part, there is an embankment of earth from 3 to 4 feet high, with a fosse on the inside of the vallum. About 200 yards further up the field there is another embankment, forming a portion of a large square enclosure, within which are the circles elsewhere noticed, and the irregular squares with passages from one to another. In one portion of the enclosure there is a boulder stone, around this a space is left which does not seem to have been occupied, and on the south of that space another boulder. The earth seems to have been taken from this space to form the embankments.2
Note 2. The site of this village, and also the portion of other ancient remains, stone circles, &c,, described in this memoir, may be seen in the Ordnance Survey of Westmorland, on the larger scale, 6 inches to the mile.
It is difficult to form any opinion as to the age or origin of this village, but there is one fact which "would lead us to infer that it must have been inhabited and fortified after the Roman period. On the west side, and closely adjoining, there is a road which appears undoubtedly Roman. It may be traced for a mile and a half over Wicker Street, in the direction of Boroughbridge on the south, and down to Dalebanks on the north. Its width is from 30 to 40 feet; its course in a straight line being for the most part over dry ground. The only place at which any traces of pavement can be seen is where it approaches the rivulet at Dalebanks. The embankment in the ascent to the village traverses this road; and another embankment running from the west side of the village until it reaches the rivulet, a distance of 450 yards, cuts it, as. does also the bank on the south side. These banks have, therefore, been made after the road, and the village must have been fortified at a later period than the formation of this Roman way, which is also well worthy of attention. It crosses Wicker Street on the south, but there is some doubt of its direction after passing Dalebanks on the north. Did it lead to Kirbythore, or to Brougham? My own impression is that it passed Harbyrn, where there are large square enclosures—that its course was not far from Wickerslack, and in the direction of Borwens, near Reagill Grange—that it crossed the Lyvennett, not far from Lankaber, passed on the east side of King's Meaburn, over or near to a place called Lofterens, between King's Meaburn and Bolton, and so on to Kirbythore. This is the probable course, but a branch may have also taken the direction of Brougham.
I must now conclude these notices, the results of personal observation in a locality unusually replete with curious vestiges, to many of which I have not here even alluded. There is many a fact unrecorded that might throw light upon the eriod and the races of which we have such slight knowledge. The Raises scattered over our fells,—to what people and period do they belong? The Hows and Hurrocks that stud our hills,—whose ashes do they cover—the memory of what tribe do they perpetuate? Who dwelt in the villages the traces of which yet remain? Who defended the entrenchments, the plan and lines of which are yet to be discerned on the unenclosed or uncultivated moor? Are there none who have the leisure and the ability to examine this interesting district,—none to spell out its story, or to gather instruction from those scattered vestiges which here present to the archgeologist so many subjects of fruitful investigation?