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1.23. Of the maruels of England. Chap. 24.

Of the maruels of England. Chap. 24.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _SUch as haue written of the woonders of our countrie in old time, haue spoken (no doubt) of manie things, which deserue no credit at all: and therefore in séeking thankes of their posteritie by thier trauell in this behalfe; they haue reaped the reward of iust reproch, and in stéed of fame purchased vnto themselues nought else but méere discredit in their better and more learned trea|tises. The like commonlie happeneth also to such, as in respect of lucre doo publish vnprofitable and perni|cious volumes, wherby they doo consume their times in vaine, and in manifold wise become preiudiciall vnto their common wealths. For my part I will not touch anie man herein particularlie, no not our Demetrius, of whom Plutarch speaketh in his oracles (if those bookes were written by him, for some thinke that Plutarch neuer wrote them, although Eusebius lib. 4. cap. 8. dooth acknowledge them to be his) which Demetrius left sundrie treatises behind him, contei|ning woonderfull things collected of our Iland. But sith that in my time they are found to be false, it should be far vnmeet to remember them anie more: for who is he which will beléeue, that infernall spirits can die and giue vp their ghosts like mortall men? though Saxo séeme to consent vnto him in this be|halfe. In speaking also of the out Iles, he saith thus: Beyond Britaine are manie desolate Ilands, where|of some are dedicated to the Gods, some to the noble Heroes. I sailed (saith he) by the helpe of the king vn|to one that laie néere hand, onelie to see and view the same, in which I found few inhabitants, and yet such as were there, were reputed and taken for men of great pietie and holinesse. During the time also that I remained in the same, it was vexed with great storme and tempest, which caused me not a little to doubt of my safe returne. In the end, demanding of the inhabitants what the cause should be of this so great and sudden mutation of the aire? they answe|red, that either some of the Gods, or at the least of the Heroes were latelie deceased: for as a candle (said they) hurteth none whilest it burneth, but being stenderlie put out annoieth manie with the filthie sa|uour: so these Gods, whilest they liued, were either EEBO page image 129 not hurtfull, or verie beneficiall to mankind; but be|ing once deceassed, they so mooue the heauens and aire, that much mischéefe dooth insue eftsoones vpon the same.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Being also inquisitiue of the state of other Iles not farre off, they told him further, how there was one hard by, wherin Saturne being ouertaken with a dead sléepe, was watched by Briarous as he laie, which Saturne also had manie spirits attending vpon him in sundrie functions and offices. By which reports it is easie to conceiue, with what vaine stuffe that volume of Demetrius is interlaced. But of such writers as we haue too too manie, so among the said rable Geruase of Tilberie is not the least famous, a man as it were euen sold to vtter matters of more admiration than credit to the world. For what a tale telleth he in his De otio imperiali, of Wandleburie hilles, that lie within sight & by south of Cambridge (where the Uandals incamped sometime, when they entered into this Iland) and of a spirit that would of custome in a moone shine night (if he were chalenged and called therevnto) run at tilt and turneie in com|plet armor with anie knight or gentleman whomso|euer, in that place: and how one Osbert of Barne|well, hearing the report thereof, armed himselfe, and being well mounted, rode thither alone with one es|quier, and called for him, who foorthwith appeared in rich armour, and answered his chalenge, so that run|ning togither verie fiercelie, they met with such ri|gor, that the answerer was ouerthrowne and borne downe to the ground. After this they bickered on foot so long, till Osbert ouercame and draue him to flight, who departed, leauing his horsse behind him, which was of huge stature, blacke (as he saith) of co|lour, with his furniture of the same hue, and where|vpon he seized, giuing him vnto his page, who cari|ed him home, and there kept him till it was néere daie, during which space he was seene of manie. But when the daie light began to shew it selfe some|what cléere, the beast stamped and snorted, and foorth|with breaking his raine, he ran awaie, and was no more heard of to his knowledge in that countrie. In the meane season Osbert being verie faint, and wax|ing wearie (for he was sore wounded in the thigh, which either he knew not of, or at the leastwise dis|sembled to know it) caused his leg-harnesse or stéele|bootes to be pulled off, which his fréends saw to be full of bloud spilled in the voiage. But let who so list be|léeue it, sith it is either a fable deuised, or some diue|lish illusion, if anie such thing were doone. And on mine owne behalfe, hauing (I hope) the feare of God before my eies, I purpose here to set downe no more than either I know my selfe to be true, or am credi|blie informed to be so, by such godly men, as to whom nothing is more deare than to speake the truth, and not anie thing more odious than to discredit them|selues by lieng.Foure woon|ders of Eng|land. In writing therefore of the woon|ders of England, I find that there are foure notable things, which for their rarenesse amongst the com|mon sort, are taken for the foure miracles and woon|ders of the land.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The first of these is a vehement and strong wind, which issueth out of the hilles called the Peke, so vio|lent and strong, that at certeine times if a man doo cast his cote or cloake into the caue from whence it issueth, it driueth the same backe againe, hoising it a|loft into the open aire with great force and vehe|mencie. Of this also Giraldus speaketh.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The second is the miraculous standing or rather hanging of certeine stones vpon the plaine of Salis|burie, whereof the place is called Stonehenge. And to saie the truth, they may well be woondered at, not onelie for the manner of position, whereby they be|come verie difficult to be numbred, but also for their greatnesse & strange maner of lieng of some of them one vpon another, which séemeth to be with so tickle hold, that few men go vnder them without feare of their present ruine. How and when these stones were brought thither, as yet I can not read; howbeit it is most likelie, that they were raised there by the Britons, after the slaughter of their nobilitie at the deadlie banket, which Hengist and his Saxons pro|uided for them, where they were also buried, and Uortigerne their king apprehended and led awaie as captiue. I haue heard that the like are to be séene in Ireland; but how true it is as yet I can not learne. The report goeth also, that these were brought from thence, but by what ship on the sea, and cariage by land, I thinke few men can safelie imagine.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The third is an ample and large hole vnder the ground, which some call Carcer Aeoli, but in English Chedderhole, whereinto manie men haue entred & walked verie farre. Howbeit, as the passage is large and nothing no [...]some: so diuerse that haue aduentu|red to go into the same, could neuer as yet find the end of that waie, neither sée anie other thing than pretie riuerets and streames, which they often cros|sed as they went from place to place. This Chedder-hole or Chedder rocke is in Summersetshire, and thence the said waters run till they méet with the second Ax that riseth in Owkie hole.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The fourth is no lesse notable than anie of the o|ther. For westward vpon certeine hilles a man shall sée the clouds gather togither in faire weather vnto a certeine thicknesse, and by and by to spread them|selues abroad and water their fields about them, as it were vpon the sudden. The causes of which disper|sion, as they are vtterlie vnknowne: so manie men coniecture great store of water to be in those hilles, & verie néere at hand, if it were néedfull to be sought for.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Besides these foure maruelles, there is a little rockie Ile in Aber Barrie (a riueret that falleth into the Sauerne sea) called Barrie, which hath a rift or clift next the first shore; wherevnto if a man doo laie his eare, he shall heare such noises as are common|lie made in smiths forges, to wit, clinking of iron barres, beating with hammers, blowing of bellow|ses, and such like: whereof the superstitious sort doo gather manie toies, as the gentiles did in old time of their lame god Uulcans pot. The riuer that run|neth by Chester changeth hir chanell euerie moneth: the cause whereof as yet I can not learne; neither dooth it swell by force of anie land-floud, but by some vehement wind it oft ouer-runneth hir banks. In Snowdonie are two lakes, whereof one beareth a moouable Iland, which is carried to and fro as the wind bloweth. The other hath thrée kinds of fishes in it, as eeles, trowts, and perches: but herein re|steth the woonder, that all those haue but one eie a péece onelie, and the same situate in the right side of their heads. And this I find to be confirmed also by authors: There is a well in the forrest of Gnares|borow, whereof the said forrest dooth take the name; which water, beside that it is cold as Stix, in a cer|teine period of time knowne, conuerteth wood, flesh, leaues of trées, and mosse into hard stone, without alteration or changing of shape. The like also is séene there in frogs, wormes, and such like liuing crea|tures as fall into the same, and find no readie issue. Of this spring also Leland writeth thus; A little a|boue March (but at the further banke of Nide riuer as I came) I saw a well of wonderfull nature called Dropping well, because the water thereof distilleth out of great rockes hard by into it continuallie, which is so cold, and thereto of such nature, that what thing soeuer falleth out of those rocks into this pit, or groweth néere thereto, or be cast into it by mans EEBO page image 130 hand, it turneth into stone. It may be (saith he) that some sand or other fine ground issueth out with this water from these hard rocks, which cleauing vnto those things, giueth them in time the forme of stones &c. Neere vnto the place where Winburne monaste|rie sometimes stood, also not farre from Bath there is a faire wood whereof if you take anie péece, and pitch it into the ground thereabouts, or throw it into the water, within twelue moneths it will turne into hard stone. In part of the hilles east southeast of Alderleie, a mile from Kingswood, are stones dailie found, perfectlie fashioned like cockles and mightie oisters, which some dreame haue lien there euer since the floud. In the clifts betwéene the Blacke head and Trewardeth baie in Cornwall, is a certeine caue, where things appeare like images guilded, on the sides of the same, which I take to be nothing but the shining of the bright ore of coppar and other mettals readie at hand to be found there, if anie diligence were vsed. Howbeit, because it is much maruelled at as a rare thing, I doo not thinke it to be vnméet to be placed amongst our woonders. Maister Guise had of late, and still hath (for aught that I know) a manor in Glocestershire, where certeine okes doo grow, whose rootes are verie hard stone. And beside this, the ground is so fertile there (as they saie) that if a man hew a stake of anie wood, and pitch it into the earth, it will grow and take rooting beyond all expec|tation. Siluecester towne also is said to conteine fourescore acres of land within the walles, whereof some is corne-ground (as Leland saith) and the graine which is growing therein dooth come to verie good perfection till it be readie to be cut downe: but euen then, or about that time it vanisheth away & be|commeth altogither vnprofitable. Is it any woonder (thinke you) to tell of sundrie causes neere to Brow|ham, on the west side of the riuer Aimote, wherein are halles, chambers, and all offices of houshold cut out of the hard rocke? If it be, then may we increase the number of maruels verie much by a rehearsall of other also. For we haue manie of the like, as one neere saint Assaphs vpon the banke of Elwie, and a|bout the head of Uendrath Uehan in Wales, where|into men haue often entred and walked, and yet found nothing but large roomes, and sandie ground vnder their féet, and other else-where. But sith these things are not strange, I let them alone, and go for|ward with the rest.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In the parish of Landsarnam in Wales, and in the side of a stonie hill, is a place wherein are foure and twentie seats hewen out of the hard rockes; but who did cut them, and to what end, as yet it is not learned. As for the huge stone that lieth at Pem|ber in Guitherie parish, and of the notable carcasse that is affirmed to lie vnder the same, there is no cause to touch it here: yet were it well doone to haue it remoued, though it were but onlie to sée what it is, which the people haue in so great estimation & reue|rence. There is also a poole in Logh Taw, among the blacke mounteins in Brecknockshire, where (as is said) is the head of Taw that commeth to Swan|seie, which hath such a propertie, that it will bréed no fish at all, & if anie be cast into it, they die without re|couerie: but this peraduenture may grow throgh the accidentall corruption of the water, rather than the naturall force of the element it selfe. There is also a lin in Wales, which in the one side beareth trowts so red as samons, and in the other, which is the west|erlie side, verie white and delicate. I heare also of two welles not far from Landien, which stand verie néere togither, and yet are of such diuersitie of na|ture, that the one beareth sope, and is a maruellous fine water; the other altogither of contrarie quali|ties. Which is not a litle to be mused at, considering (I saie) that they participate of one soile, and rise so nigh one to another. I haue notice giuen me more|ouer of a stone not farre from saint Dauids, which is verie great, as a bed, or such like thing: and being raised vp, a man may stirre it with his thumbe; but not with his shoulder or force of his whole bodie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 There is a well not farre from stonie Stratford, which conuerteth manie things into stone; and an other in Wales, which is said to double or triple the force of anie edge toole that is quenched in the same. In Tegenia, a parcell of Wales, there is a noble well (I meane in the parish of Kilken) which is of maruellous nature, and much like to another well at Seuill in Spaine: for although it be six miles from the sea, it ebbeth and floweth twise in one daie, al|waies ebbing when the sea dooth vse to flow, and in flowing likewise when the sea dooth vse to ebbe; wher|of some doo fable, that this well is ladie and mistresse of the ocean. Not farre from thence also is a medi|cinable spring called Schinant of old time, but now Wenefrides well, in the edges whereof dooth breed a verie odoriferous and delectable mosse, wherewith the head of the smeller is maruellouslie refreshed. O|ther welles and water-courses we haue likewise, which at some times burst out into huge streames, though at other seasons they run but verie softlie, whereby the people gather some alteration of estate to be at hand. And such a one there is at Henleie, & an other at Croidon; & such a one also in the golden dale beside Anderne in Picardie, whereof the common sort imagine manie things. Some of the greater sort also giue ouer to run at all in such times, wherof they conceiue the like opinion. And of the same na|ture, though of no great quantitie, is a pit or well at Langleie parke in Kent, whereof (by good hap) it was my lucke to read a notable historie in an anci|ent chronicle that I saw of late. What the foolish people dreame of the hell Kettles, it is not worthie the rehearsall; yet to the end the lewd opinion con|ceiued of them may grow into contempt, I will saie thus much also of those pits. There are certeine pits, or rather three little pooles, a mile from Darlington, and a quarter of a mile distant from the These banks which the people call the Kettles of hell, or the diuels Kettles, as if he should séeth soules of sinfull men and women in them. They adde also, that the spirits haue oft beene heard to crie and yell about them, with other like talke sauoring altogether of pagan infidelitie. The truth is, and of this opinion also was Cutbert Tunstall late bishop of Durham, a man (notwithstanding the basenesse of his birth, being be|gotten by one Tunstall vpon a daughter of the house of the Commers, as Leland saith) of great learning and iudgement, that the cole-mines in those places are kindled, or if there be no coles, there may a mine of some other vnctuous matter be set on fire, which being here and there consumed, the earth falleth in, and so dooth leaue a pit. Indéed the water is now and then warme (as they saie) and beside that it is not cléere: the people suppose them to be an hundred fadam déepe. The biggest of them also hath an issue into the These, as experience hath confirmed. For doctor Bellowes aliàs Belzis made report, how a ducke marked after the fashion of the duckes of the bishoprike of Durham, was put into the same be|twixt Darlington and These banke, and afterward séene at a bridge not farre from master Clereuar house. If it were woorth the noting, I would also make relation of manie wooden crosses found verie often about Halidon, whereof the old inhabitants conceiued an opinion that they were fallen from hea|uen; whereas in truth, they were made and borne by king Oswald and his men in the battell wherein they preuailed sometimes against the British infidels, EEBO page image 131 vpon a superstitious imagination, that those crosses should be their defense and shield against their ad|uersaries. Beda calleth the place where the said field was fought, Heauen field; it lieth not far from the Pictish wall, and the famous monasterie of Ha|golstad. But more of this elsewhere. Neither will I speake of the little hillets séene in manie pla|ces of our Ile, whereof though the vnskilfull people babble manie things: yet are they nothing else but Tumuli or graues of former times, as appeareth by such tooms & carcasses as be daily found in the same, when they be digged downe. The like fond ima|gination haue they of a kind of lunarie, which is to be found in manie places, although not so well kno|wen by the forme vnto them, as by the effect there|of, because it now and then openeth the lockes hang|ing on the horses féet as hit vpon it where it groweth in their féeding. Roger Bacon our countrieman no|teth it to grow plentiouslie in Tuthill fields about London. I haue heard of it to be within compasse of the parish where I dwell, and doo take it for none other than the Sfera Cauallo, whereof Mathiolus and the herbarists doo write, albeit that it hath not béene my lucke at anie time to behold it. Plinie calleth it Aethiopis: and Aelianus, Oppianus, Kyramis, and Trebius haue written manie superstitious things thereof, but especiallie our Chymists, who make it of farre more vertue than our smiths doo their ferne séed, whereof they babble manie woonders, and prate of such effects as may well be performed indéed when the ferne beareth séed, which is commonly Ad calendas Graecas, for before it will not be found. But to pro|céed. There is a well in Darbieshire called Tides|well (so named of the word tide, or to ebbe and flow) whose water often séemeth to rise and fall, as the sea which is fortie miles from it dooth vsuallie accustome to ebbe and flow. And hereof an opinion is growen that it keepeth an ordinarie course as the sea dooth. Howbeit, sith diuerse are knowne to haue watched the same, it may be that at sometimes it riseth, but not continuallie; and that it so dooth I am fullie per|suaded to beléeue. But euen inough of the woonders of our countrie, least I doo séeme by talking longer of them, woonderouslie to ouershoot my selfe, and forget how much dooth rest behind of the description of my countrie. As for those that are to be touched of Scot|land, the description of that part shall in some part remember them.

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