Lancashire Sketches Vol. 1 (III.)

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RAMBLE FROM ROCHDALE TO THE TOP OF BLACKSTONE EDGE.


And so by many winding nooks he strays.

  SHAKSPERE.


WELL may Englishmen cherish the memory of their forefathers, and love their native land.  It has risen to its present power among the nations of the earth through the efforts of many generations of heroic people; and the firmament of its biography is illumined by stars of the first magnitude.  What we know of its history previous to the conquest by the Romans is clouded by conjecture and romance; but we have sufficient evidence to show that, even then, this gem "set in the silver sea" was known in distant regions of the earth for its natural riches, and was inhabited by a brave and ingenious race of people.  During the last two thousand years the masters of the world have been fighting to win it, or to keep it.  The woad-stained British savage, ardent, imaginative, and brave, roved through its woods and marshes, hunting the wild beasts of the Island.  He sometimes herded cattle, but was little given to tillage.  He sold tin to the Phœnicians, and knew something about smelting iron ore, and working it into such shapes as were useful in a life of wild insecurity and warfare, such as his.  In his slim coracle he roamed the island's waters, and scoured its plains in battle in his scythed car, a terror to the boldest foe.  He worshipped, too, in an awful way, in sombre old woods, and colossal Stonehenges, under the blue o'erarching sky.  On lone wastes and moorland hills we still have the relics of these ancient temples, frowning at Time, and seeming to say, as they look on Nature's still-returning green,—in the words of their old Druids,


Everything comes out of the ground but the dead.


But destiny had other things in store for these islands.  The legions of imperial Rome came down upon the wild Celt, who retired, fiercely contending, to the mountain fastnesses of the north and west.  Four hundred years the Roman wrought and ruled in Britain; and he left the mark of his way of living stamped upon the face of the country, and upon its institutions, when his empire declined.  The steadfast Saxon followed,—"stubborn, taciturn, sulky, indomitable, rock-made,"—a farmer and a fighter; a man of sense, and spirit, and integrity; an industrious man, and a home-bird.  The Saxon never loosed his hold, even though his wild Scandinavian kinsman, the sea-kings of the north, came rushing to battle, with their piratical multitudes, tossing their swords in the air, and singing heroic ballads, as they slew their foemen, under the banner of the Black Raven.  Then came the military Norman,—a northern pirate, trained in France to the art of war,—led on by the bold Duke William, who landed his warriors at Pevensey, and burnt the fleet that brought them to the shore, in order to bind his soldiers to the necessity of victory or death.  Duke William conquered, and Harold the Saxon fell at Hastings, with an arrow in his brain.  Each of these races has left its peculiarities stamped upon the institutions of the country; but most enduring of all,—the Saxon.  And now, the labours of twenty centuries of valiant men, in peace and war, have achieved a matchless power and freedom for us, and have bestrewn the face of the land with "the charms which follow long history."  The country of Caractacus and Boadicea, where Alfred ruled, and Shakspere and Milton sang, will henceforth always be interesting to men of intelligent minds, wherever they were born.  It is pleasant, also, to the eye, as it is instructive to the mind.  Its history is written all over the soil, not only in strong evidences of its present genius and power, but in thousands of relics of its ancient fame and characteristics.  In a letter written by Lord Jeffrey to his sister-in-law, an American lady, respecting what Old England was like, and in what it differed most from America, he says:—


    It differs mostly, I think, in the visible memorials of antiquity with which it is overspread; the superior beauty of its verdure, and the more tasteful and happy state and distribution of its woods.  Everything around you here is historical, and leads to romantic or interesting recollections.  Grey-grown church towers, cathedrals, ruined abbeys, castles of all sizes and descriptions, in all stages of decay, from those that are inhabited, to those in whose moats ancient trees are growing, and ivy mantling over their mouldering fragments; and massive stone bridges over lazy waters; and churches that look as old as Christianity; and beautiful groups of branchy trees; and a verdure like nothing else in the universe; and all the cottages and lawns fragrant with sweetbrier and violets, and glowing with purple lilacs and white elders; and antique villages scattering round wide bright greens; with old trees and ponds, and a massive pair of oaken stocks preserved from the days of Alfred.  With you everything is new, and glaring, and angular, and withal rather frail, slight, and perishable; nothing soft, and mellow, and venerable, or that looks as if it would ever become so.


    This picture is almost entirely compounded of the rural and antique, and is therefore more applicable to those agricultural parts of England which have been little affected by the events of its modern history than to those districts which have been so much changed by the growth of manufactures in these days.  But even in the manufacturing districts, where forests of chimneys rear their tall shafts upon ground once covered with the woodland shade, or sparsely dotted with quaint hamlets, the venerable monuments of old English life peep out in a beautiful way among crowding evidences of modern power and population; and the influences which have so greatly changed the appearance of the country there, have not passed over the people without effect.  Wherever the genius of commerce may be leading us to, there is no doubt that the old controls of feudalism are breaking up; and in the new state of things the people of South Lancashire have found greater liberty to improve their individual qualities and conditions, fairer chances of increasing their might and asserting their rights, greater power to examine and understand all questions which come before them, and to estimate and influence their rulers, than they had under the domination which is passing away.  The course of events during the last fifty years has been steadily upheaving the people out of the thraldom of those orders which have long striven to conserve such things as tended to their own aggrandisement at the expense of the rights of others.  But even that part of the aristocracy of England which has not yet so far cast the slough of its hereditary prejudices as to see that the days are gone which nurtured such ascendancies, at least perceives that, in the manufacturing districts, it now walks in a world where few are disposed to accept its assumption of superiority without inquiring into the nature of it.  But whatever succeeds the decay of feudalism, the history and the architectural relics of old English life will always be interesting.  May no ruder hand than the hand of time destroy those eloquent footprints of old thought which remain among us!  Some men are like Burns's mouse,—the present only touches them; but any man who has the slightest title to the name of a creature of "large discourse," will be willing, now and then, to look contemplatively over his shoulder into the grass-grown aisles of the past.

    It was in that pleasant season of the year when fresh buds begin to appear upon the thorn, when the daisy, and the celandine, and the early primrose, peep from the ground, that I began to long for another stroll through my native vale up to the top of Blackstone Edge.  Those mountain wastes are familiar to me.  When I was a child, they rose up constantly in sight, with a silent, majestic look.  The sun came from behind them in a morning, pouring its flood of splendour upon the busy valley, the winding river, and its little tributaries; and oft as opportunity would allow I rushed toward them; for they were kindly and congenial to my mind.  And now, in the crowded city, when I think of them and of the country they look down upon, it stirs within me a


Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breaks
Along the pebbled shore of memory.


But at this particular time, an additional motive enticed me to my old wandering ground.  The whole of the road leading to it was lined with interesting places and associations.  But among the railways and other routes of travel which now cover the country with an irregular network, I found, on looking over a recent map, a solitary line running in short broken distances, and on the approach of towns and inhabited spots diving out of sight like a mole.  It looked like a broken thread, here and there, in the mazy web of the map, and it was accompanied by the words "Roman road."  I know there are people who would sneer at the idea of any importance being attached to an impracticable, out-of-the-way road, nearly two thousand years old, and leading to nowhere in particular, except, like the ways of the wicked, into all sorts of sloughs and difficulties.  With them, one passable way, on which a cart could go to market, is worth all the Watling Streets in Britain.  The present generation must be served with market stuff, come what may of our museums.  But still, everything in the world is full of services to man, who is himself full of needs.  And thought can leave the telegraphic message behind, panting for breath upon the railway wires.  The whole is either "cupboard for food" or "cabinet of pleasure;" therefore, let the hungry soul look round upon its estate and turn the universe to nutriment, if it can; for


                                      There's not a breath
Will mingle kindly with the meadow air,
Till it has panted round and stolen a share
Of passion from the heart.


And though the moorland pack-horse and the rambling besom-maker stumble and get entangled in grass, and sloughs, and matted brushwood, upon deserted roads, still that nimble Mercury, Thought, can flit over the silent waste, side by side with the shades of those formidable soldiers who have now slept for sixteen centuries in the cold ground.

    It had not been my lot to see many of the vestiges of Roman life in Britain; yet whatever the historians said about them had interest for me, especially when it related to the connection of the Romans with my native district.  My walks had been wide and frequent in the country about Rochdale; and many a time, when wandering about the slopes of Blackstone Edge, I had crossed the track of the Roman road up there, and noticed a general peculiarity of feature about the place, little thinking that I was floundering upon one of these famous old highways.  But one day, early in the year, happening to call upon a young friend of mine in Rochdale, whose tastes were congenial to my own, we talked of a stroll towards the hills; and he showed me the line of the Roman road on Blackstone Edge, marked in the recent Ordnance map.  We then went forth, bare-headed, into the yard of his father's house at Wardleworth Row, from whence the view of the hills, on the east, is fine.  The air was clear, and the sunshine so favourably subdued, that the objects and tints of the landscape were uncommonly distinct.  He pointed to a regular stripe of land, of greener hue than the rest of the moorland, rising up the dark side of Blackstone Edge.  That green stripe was the line of the Roman road.  He had lately visited it, and traced its uniform width for miles, and the peculiarities of its pavement of native sandstone, overgrown with a thick tanglement of moss and heather and moorland lichens.  He was an old acquaintance, of known integrity and sound judgment, and, withal, more addicted to figures of arithmetic than figures of speech; so, upon his testimony, I eagerly availed myself of his offer to visit the spot.  The prospect of another trip to the "Edge," another sniff of the mountain air, and a little more talk with the old-world folk in the villages upon the road thither, rose up pleasantly in my mind, and the purpose took the shape of action about St. Valentine's-tide.

    Having arranged to be called up at five on the morning of my intended trip, I jumped out of bed when the knock came to my chamber-door, dressed, and started forth to catch the first train from Manchester.  The streets were silent and still, except where a few "early-birds" of the city had gathered round a "saloop" stall; or a solitary policeman sauntered along the pavement; and here and there a workman, with a pipe in his mouth, his echoing steps contrasting strangely with the sleeping city's morning stillness.  The day was ushered in with gusts of wind and rain; but by the time the train reached Rochdale the sky had cleared up, and the breeze had sunk down to a whisper, just cool enough to make the sunshine pleasant.  The birds were twittering about, and raindrops twinkled on the hedges and tufts of grass in the fields.  I wished to have as wide a ramble at the farther end as time would allow; and as moor-tramping is about the most laborious foot exercise that mortal man can bend his instep to, except running through a ploughed field in iron-plated clogs,—an ordeal which Lancashire trainers sometimes put their foot-racers through,—it was considered advisable to hire a conveyance.  We could go farther, stop longer, and return at ease, when we liked, after we had tired ourselves to our heart's content upon the moors.  I went down to the Reed Inn for a vehicle.  Mine host came out to the top of the steps which lead down into the stable-yard, and, leaning over the railings, called his principal ostler from the room below.  That functionary was a broad-set, short-necked man, with a comely face and a staid laconic look.  He told us, with Spartan brevity, that there had been a run upon gigs, but he could find us a "Whitechapel," and "Grey Bobby."  "Grey Bobby" and the "Whitechapel" were agreed to at once, and in ten minutes we were all seated, and away down the slope of Heybrook, on the Littleborough road.

    Heybrook, at the foot of Wardleworth Brow, is one of the pleasantest skirts to Rochdale town.  There is a touch of rural peace and prettiness about it; and the prospect, on all sides, is agreeable to the eye.  The park-like lands of Foxholes and Hamer lie close by the north side of the road.  The lower part of these grounds consists of rich flat meadows, divided by a merry little brook, which flows from the hills on the north, above "Th' Syke."  In its course from the moors to the river Roch it takes the name of each locality it passes through, and is called "Syke Brook," "Buckley Brook," and "Hey Brook;" and on its way it gathers tributary rindles of water from Clough House, Knowl, and Knowl Syke.  As the Foxholes grounds recede from the high-road they undulate, until they rise into an expansive lawny slope, crowned with trees.  Foxholes Hall is situated among its old woods upon the summit of a swelling upland, which rises from the level of Heybrook.  The view across the lawn and meadows, and over a picturesquely-varied country to the blue hills in the south-east, is perhaps not equalled in the neighbourhood.  Pleasant and green as much of the land in this district looks now, still the general character of the soil and the whole of its features show that when nature had it to herself very much of it must have been sterile or swampy.  Looking towards Foxholes, from the road-side at Heybrook, over the tall ancestral trees, we can see the still taller chimneys of John Bright and Brothers' mill peering up significantly behind; and the sound of their factory bell now mingles with the cawing of an ancient colony of rooks in the Foxholes woods.  Foxholes is the seat of the Entwistles, a distinguished old Lancashire family.  In the parish church there is a tablet to the memory of Sir Bertin Entwistle, who fought at Agincourt, on St. Crispin's Day, in the time of Henry V.  When a lad, I used to con over this tablet, and I wove a world of romance around this mysterious "Sir Bertin."  The tablet runs thus:—


    To perpetuate a memorial erected in the church of St. Peter's, St Albans (perished by time), this marble is here placed to the memory of a gallant and loyal man,—Sir Bertin Entwisle, Knt., viscount and baron of Brybeke, in Normandy, and some time bailiff of Constantine, in which office he succeeded his brother-in-law, Sir John Ashton, whose daughter first married Sir Richard le Byron, an ancestor of the Lords Byron of Rochdale, and secondly, Sir Bertin Entwisle, who, after repeated acts of honour in the service of his sovereigns, Henrys the Fifth and Sixth, more particularly at Agincourt, was killed at the first battle of St. Albans, and on his tombstone was recorded in brass the following inscription:—"Here lyeth Sir Bertin Entwisle, Knight, who was born in Lancastershyre, and was viscount and baron of Brybeke, in Normandy, and bailiff of Constantine, who died, fighting on King Henry the Sixth's party, the 28th May, 1455, on whose soul Jesus have mercy."


Close by the stone bridge at Heybrook two large old trees stand in the Entwistle grounds, one on each bank of the stream, and partly overhanging the road.  They stand there alone, as if to mark where a forest has been.  The tired country weaver, carrying his piece to the town, lays down his burden on the parapet, wipes his brow, and rests under their shade.  I have gone, sometimes, on bright nights, to lean upon the bridge and look around there, and I have heard many a plaintive trio sung by these two old trees and the brook below, while the moonlight danced upon the rippling stream.

    The whole valley of the Roch is a succession of green knolls, and dingles, and little receding vales, with now and then a barren stripe like "Cronkeyshaw," or a patch of the once large mosses like "Turf Moss," and little holts and holms, no two alike in feature or extent, dotted now and then with tufts of stunted wood, with many a clear brook and silvery rill between.  On the south side of the bridge at Heybrook, the streamlet from the north runs through the meadows a short distance, and empties itself into the Roch.  The confluence of the waters there is known to the neighbour lads by the name of the "Greight Meetin's," where, in past years, I have


        Paidle't through the burn
When simmer days were fine,


in a certain young companionship,—now more scattered than last autumn's leaves,—some in other towns, one or two only still here, and the rest in Australia or in the grave.  We now no longer strip in the field there, and, leaving our clothes and books upon the hedge-side, go frolicking down to the river, to have a water battle and a bathe,—finishing by drying ourselves with our shirts, or by running in the wind on the green bank.  I remember that sometimes, whilst we were in the height of our sport, the sentinel left upon the brink of the river would catch a glimpse of the owner of the fields, coming hastily towards the spot, in wrathful mood; whereupon every naked imp rushed from the water, seized his clothes, and fled from field to field till he reached some nook where he could put them on.  From the southern margin of the Roch the land rises in a green elevation, on which the hamlet of Belfield is seen peeping up.  The tree-tops of Belfield wood are in sight, but the ancient hall is hidden.  A little vale in the west, watered by the Beal, divides Belfield Hall from the Hamlet of Newbold, on the summit of the opposite bank.  So early as the commencement of the twelfth century a family had adopted the local name, and resided in the mansion till about the year 1290, when the estate was transferred to the family of Butterworth, of Butterworth Hall, near Milnrow.  I find the Belfield family mentioned in Gastrel's "Notitia Cestriensis," p.40, under the head "Leases granted by the bishop," where the following lease appears: "An. 1546.  Let by H. Ar. Belfield and Robt. Tatton, for 40 years, exceptis omus vicariis advocationibus ecclesiariu quarumcunque (ing), to find great timber, tiles, and slate, and tenants to repair and find all other materials."  The following note is attached to this lease: "Arthur Belfield, of Clegg Hall, in the parish of Rochdale, gent., son and heir of Adam Belfield, was born in 1508, and succeeded his father in 1544.  He is described in the lease as 'off our sayde sovaraigne lord's houshold, gentylman;' but what office he held is at present unknown.  He was a near relative of the Hopwoods of Hopwood, and Chethams of Nuthurst."  In the year 1274 Geoffry de Butterworth, a descendant of Reginald de Boterworth, first lord of the township of Butterworth in the reign of Stephen (1148), sold or exchanged the family mansion of Butterworth Hall with John Byron, ancestor of Lord Byron the poet, and took possession (by purchase or otherwise) of Belfield, which was part of the original possession of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.  When the monks of Stanlaw, in Cheshire,—disliking their low, swampy situation there, which was subject to inundation at spring tide, [p.137]—removed to the old deanery at Whalley, before entering the abbey there, in the roll of the fraternity four seem to have been natives of Rochdale, among whom was John de Belfield, afterwards Abbot of Whalley, of the ancient stock of Belfield Hall, in Butterworth.  Robert de Butterworth was killed at the battle of Towton, in 1461.  The last of the name at Belfield was Alexander Butterworth, born in 1640, in the reign of Charles the First.  The present occupants of the estate have tastefully preserved the old features of the hall, whilst they have greatly improved its condition and environments.  The stone gateway, leading to the inner courtyard, is still standing, as well as a considerable portion of the old hall.  The antique character of the building is best seen from the quadrangular courtyard in the centre.  The door of the great kitchen formerly opened into this courtyard, and the victuals used to be brought out thence, and handed by the cooks through a square opening in the wall of the great dining-room, on the north side of the yard, to the waiters inside.  The interior of the building still retains many quaint features of the olden time,—heavy oak-beams, low-ceilings, and tortuous corners.  Every effort has been made to line the house with an air of modern comfort; still the house is said to be a cold one, partly from its situation and partly from the porous nature of the walls, producing an effect something like that of a wine-cooler.  That part of the building which now forms the rear used, in old times, to be the main front.  In one of the rooms there are still some relics of the ancient oak-carving which lined the walls of the hall.  Among them there are three figures in carved oak, which formed part of the wainscot of a cornice above one of the fire-places.  These were the figures of a king and two queens, quaintly cut; and the remnants of old painting upon the figures, and the rich gilding upon the crowns, still show traces of their highly-ornamented ancient appearance.  The roads in the neighbourhood of the hall are now good.  The hamlets of Newbold and Belfield are thriving, with substantial healthy dwellings.  Shady walks are laid among the plantations, and the springs of excellent water are gathered into clear terraced pools, and a serpentine lake, glittering among gardens and cultivated grounds.

    Leaving Heybrook, we passed by Hamer Hall, which was the seat of a family of the same name before Henry the Fourth's time.  A large cotton mill now stands close behind the hall.  A few yards through the tollbar, we passed the Entwisle Arms, bearing the motto, "Par se signe à Azincourt."  A traveller seldom needs to ask the names of the old lords of the land in England.  Let him keep an eye to the signboards, and he is sure to find that part of the history of the locality swinging in the wind, or stapled up over the entrance to some neighbouring alehouse.  And in the same balmy atmosphere he may learn, at least, as much heraldry as he will be able to find a market for on the Manchester Exchange.  The public-house signs in our old towns are generally very loyal and heraldic, and sometimes touched with a little jovial devotion,—the arms of kings, queens, and bishops, and angels, chapel-houses, mitres, and "amen corners," mingling with "many a crest that is famous mingling in story,"—the arms of the Stanleys, Byrons, Asshetons, Traffords, Lacys, Wiltons, De-la-Warres, Houghtons, Molyneuxs, Pilkingtons, Radcliffes, and a long roll of old gentry, whose fame is faintly commemorated in these alehouse signs.  Among the mottoes of these emblazonments we now and then meet with an ancient war-cry which makes one's blood start into tumult when we think how it may have sounded on the fields of Cressy, Agincourt, Towton, or Flodden.  Among these are sprinkled spread eagles, dragons, griffins, unicorns, and horses, black, white, bay, and grey, with corresponding mares, and shoes enow for them all;  boars, in every position and state of temper; bulls, some crowned, some with rings in the nose, like our friend "John" of that name; foxes, too, and dogs, presenting their noses with admirable directness of purpose at something in the next street; and innocent-looking partridges, who appear reckless of the intentions of the sanguinary blackguard in green, who is supposed to be lurking behind the bush, with a gun in his hand; talbots, falcons, hawks, hounds and huntsmen, the latter sometimes in "full cry," but almost always considerably "at fault," so far as perspective goes; swans, black and white, with any number of necks that can be reasonably expected; stags, saints, Saracens, jolly millers, boars' heads, blue bells, pack-horses, lambs, rams, and trees of oak and yew; the seven stars, and now and then a great bear; lions of all colours, conditions and positions,—resting, romping, and running; with a number of apocryphal animals not explainable by any natural history extant, nor to be found anywhere, I believe, except in the swamps and jungles of some drunken dauber's brain; also a few jolly wagoners, grinning extensively at foaming flagons of ale, garnished with piles of bread and cheese, and onions as big as cannon-balls, as if to outface the proportions of the burly giant who sits there in a state of stiff, everlasting, clumsy, good-tempered readiness, in front of his never-dwindling feed; and Marlboroughs, Abercrombies, and Wellingtons, Duncans, Rodneys, and Nelsons, by dozens.  I have seen an admiral painted on horseback, somewhere; but I never saw Cromwell on an alehouse sign yet.  In addition to these, there are a few dukes, mostly of York and Clarence.  Such signs as these show the old way of living and thinking.  But in our manufacturing towns, the tone of these old devices is considerably modified by an infusion of railway hotels, commercials, cotton-trees, shuttles, spindles, woolpacks, Bishop Blaizes, and "Old Looms;" and the arms of the ancient feudal gentry are outnumbered by the arms of Shepherds, Foresters, Moulders, Joiners, Printers, Bricklayers, Painters, and several kinds of Oddfellows.  The old "Legs of Man," too, are relieved by a comfortable sprinkling of legs and shoulders of mutton,—considerably overdone by the weather, in some cases.  Even alehouse signs are "signs of the times," if properly interpreted.  But both men and alehouse signs may make up their minds to be misinterpreted a little in this world.  Two country lasses, at Rochdale, one fair-day, walking by the Roebuck Inn, one of them, pointing to the gilded figure of the animal, with its head uplifted to an overhanging bunch of gilded grapes, said, "Sitho, sitho, Mary, at yon brass dog heytin' brass marbles!"

    About half a mile up the high-road from Heybrook, and opposite to Shaw House, the view opens, and we can look across the fields on either side, into a country of green pastures and meadows, varied with fantastic hillocks and dells, though bare of trees.  A short distance to the northwest, Buckley Hall lately stood, on a green eminence in sight from the road.  But the old house of the Buckleys of Buckley recently disappeared from the knoll where it stood for centuries.  Its thick bemossed walls are gone, and all its quaint abundant outhousing that stood about the spacious boulder-paved yard behind.  This old hall gave name and residence to one of the most ancient families in Rochdale parish.  The building was low, but very strongly built of stone of the district, and heavily timbered.  It was not so large as Clegg Hall, nor Stubley Hall, nor as some other old halls in the parish; but for its size it proved a considerable quarry of stone and flag when taken down.  The first occupier was Geoffry de Buckley, nephew to Geoffry, Dean of Whalley, who lived in the time of Henry the Second.  A descendant of this Geoffry de Buckley was slain in the battle of Evesham ("History of Whalley").  The name of John de Buckley appears among the monks of Stanlaw in the year 1296.  The arms of the Buckleys of Buckley are gules, a chevron sable; between three bulls' heads, armed proper; crest, on a wreath, a bull's head armed proper.  Motto, "Nec temere nec timede."  There is a chantry chapel at the south-east corner of Rochdale Parish Church, founded in 1487, by Dr. Adam Marland, of Marland; Sir Randal Butterworth, of Belfield; and Sir James Middleton, 'a brotherhood maide and ordayned in the worship of the glorious Trinity, in the church of Rochdale,' Sir James being appointed Trinity priest during his lyfe; and, among other things, he was requested, when he went to the lavatory, standing at the altar, and twice a week, to pray for the co-founders, with 'De profundis.'  "In this little chantry there is a recumbent stone effigy of a mailed warrior of the Buckley family, placed there by the present lord of the manor, whose property the chapel now is.  I know that some of the country people who have been reared in the neighbourhood of Buckley Hall watched its demolition with grieved hearts.  And when the fine old hall at Radcliffe was taken down, not long since, an agèd man stood by, vigorously denouncing the destroyers as the work went on, and glorying in every difficulty they met with; and they were not few, for it was a tough old place.  "Poo!" said he, "yo wastril devils, poo!  Yo connot rive th' owd hole deawn for th' heart on yo!  Yo'n ha' to blow it up wi' gunpeawdur!  It wur noan bigged eawt o' club brass, that wur not, yo shabby thieves!  Tak th' pattern on't, an' yo'n larn summat!  What mak' o' trash wi'n yo stick up i'th place when it's gwon?  Those wholes 'll bide leynin again better nor yors!  Yo'n never big another heawse like that while yo'n teeth an' een i' yor yeds!  Eh, never, never!  Yo hannut stuff to do it wi'!"  But down came the old hall at Radcliffe; and so did Buckley Hall; and the materials were dressed up to build the substantial row of modern cottages which now stand upon the same site, with pleasant gardens in front, sloping down the knoll, and over the spot where the old fish-pond was at the bottom.  Some of the workpeople at the neighbouring woollen mill find comfortable housing there now.  There is an old tradition respecting the Buckley family, connected with a massive iron ring which was found fastened in the flooring of a deserted chamber of the hall.  A greyhound belonging to this family, whilst in London with its master, took off homeward on being startled by the fall of a heavy package, in Cheapside, and was found dead on the doorstep of Buckley Hall at five next morning, after having run one hundred and ninety-six miles in sixteen hours.  When visiting relatives of mine near Buckley, I met with a story relating to one of the Buckleys of old, who was a dread to the country-side; how he pursued a Rossendale rider, who had crossed the moors from the Forest, to recover a stolen horse from the stables at Buckley Hall by night; and how this Buckley of Buckley overtook and shot him, at a lonely place called "Th' Hillock," between Buckley and Rooley Moor.  There are other floating oral traditions connected with Buckley Hall, especially the tale of "The Gentle Shepherdess," embodying the romantic adventures and unfortunate fate of a lady belonging to the family.  And in this wide parish of Rochdale, in the eastern nook of Lancashire,—once a country fertile in spots of lone and rural prettiness, and thinly inhabited by as quaint, hearty, and primitive a people as any in England,—there are many picturesque and storied dells, many tales of historic interest, and many interesting legends connected with the country, or with the old families of the parish,—the Byrons of Butterworth Hall, barons of Rochdale; the Entwisles of Foxholes; the Crossleys of Scaitcliff; the Holts of Stubley, Grislehurst, and Castleton; the Cleggs of Clegg Hall, the scene of the traditions of "Clegg-Ho' Boggart;" the Buckleys of Buckley; the Marlands of Marland; the Howards of Great Howard, the Chadwicks of Chadwick Hall and Healey Hall; the Bamfords of Bamford; the Schofields of Schofield; the Butterworths; the Belfields; and many other families of ancient note, often bearing the names of their own estates in the old way.

    In this part of South Lancashire the traveller never meets any considerable extent of level land; and though the county contains great moors, and some mosses, yet there is not such another expansive tract of level  country to be found in it as "Chat Moss," that lonely grave of old forests.  South-east Lancashire is all picturesque ups and downs, retired nooks, and


Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,


and little winding vales, with endless freaks of hill and hillock, knoll and dell, dingle and shady cleft, laced with numerous small streamlets and clear rindles of babbling water, up to the foot of that wilderness of moorland hills, the "Back-bone of England," which runs across the island from Derbyshire into Scotland, and forms a considerable part of Lancashire on its way.  The parish of Rochdale partly consists of, and is bounded by, this tract of hills on the east and north; and what may be called the lowland part of the parish looks, when seen from some of the hills in the immediate neighbourhood, something like a sea of tempest-tossed meadows and pasture-lands, upon which fleets of cotton mills ride at anchor, their brick masts rising high into the air, and their streamers of smoke waving in the wind.

    Leaving the open part of the high-road, opposite Shaw House, and losing sight of Buckley, we began to rise as we passed through Brickfield up to Smallbridge.  This village is seated on an elevation, sloping gently from the northern bank of the river Roch, which rise continues slightly through the village, and up northward, with many a dip and frolic by the way, till it reaches the hills above Wardle Fold, where nature leaps up in a wild and desolate mood.  Some of the lonely heights thereabouts have been beacon stations in old times, and their names indicate their ancient uses, as "Ward Hill" above the village of Wardle.  "Jack th' Huntsman" used to swear that Brown Wardle was "th' finest hunting-greawnd i' Lancashire."  And then there is "Tooter's Hill," "Hornblower's Hill," and "Hade's Hill."  From the summit of the last, the waters descend on one side to the Irish Sea on the west, on the other to the German Ocean on the east.  The remains of a large beacon are still visible on the top of it.  Looking southward, from the edge of Smallbridge, the dale lies green and fair below, and the quiet Roch winds through it towards Rochdale town.  The view stretches out several miles beyond the opposite bank, over the romantic township of Butterworth up to the Saddleworth hills.  Green and picturesque, a country of dairy farms, producing good milk and butter, yet the soil is evidently too cold and poor for the successful culture of any kind of grain, except the hardy oat,—and that crop mostly thin and light as an old man's hair.  But even this extensive view, over a beautiful scene in other respects, lacks the charm which green woods lend to a landscape; for, except a few diminutive tufts, and scattered patches, where young plantations struggle up, there are scarcely any trees.  From Smallbridge, taking a south-east direction, up by "Tunshill," "Doldrum," "Longden End," and "Booth Dean," and over the Stanedge road, into the ravines of Saddleworth, would be a long flight for the crow; but to anybody who had to foot the road thither, it would prove a rougher piece of work than it looks.  The village of Smallbridge itself consists principally of one street, about half a mile long, lining the high-road from Rochdale to Littleborough.  It will have a dull uninteresting look to a person who knows nothing previously of the place, nor of the curious generation dwelling thereabouts.  Smallbridge has a plain, hard-working, unpolished, every-day look.  No wandering artist, in search of romantic bits of village scenery, would halt enchanted with Smallbridge.  It has no architectural relic of the olden time in it, nor any remarkable modern building,—nothing which would tell a careless eye that it had been the homestead of many generations of Lancashire men.  It consists chiefly of the brick-built cottages, inhabited by weavers, colliers, and factory operatives, relieved by the new Episcopalian church at the eastern end, the little pepper-box bell-turret of which peeps over the houses, as if to remind the rude inhabitants of something higher than bacon-collops and ale.  About half a mile up the road which leads out of the centre of the village, northward, stands a plain-looking stone mansion, apparently about one hundred and fifty years old, called "Great Howarth."  It stands upon a shapely knoll, the site of an older hall of the same name, and has pleasant slopes of green land about it, and a wide prospect over hill and dale.  Extensive alterations, in the course of the last hundred years, have destroyed most of the evidences of this place's age and importance; but its situation, and the ancient outbuildings behind, and the fold of cottages nestling near to the western site of the hall, with peeping bits of stone foundation, of much older date than the building standing upon them, the old wells, and the hue of the lands round about, all show that it has been a place of greater note than it is at present.  This great Howarth, or Howard, is said to be the original settlement of the Howard family, the present Dukes of Norfolk.  Some people in the neighbourhood also seem to believe this, for, as we entered Smallbridge, we passed the Norfolk Arms, a little public-house.  One Osbert Howard was rewarded by Henry I. (Beauclerk) for his faithful services, with lands situate in the township of Honorsfield, or Hundersfield, in the parish of Rochdale; also, with what is called "the dignified title of Master of the Buck Hounds."  Robertus Howard, Abbot of Stanlaw, was one of the four monks from this parish whose names appear among the list of the fraternity at the time of their translation to Whalley.  He died on the l0th of May, 1304.  Dugdale, in his "Baronage of England," says respecting the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk:—


    I do not make any mention thereof above the time of King Edward the First, supposing that their common ancestor, in the Saxon's time, took his original appellation from an eminent office or command; others, afterwards, from the name of a place I shall therefore (after much fruitless search to satisfy myself, as well as others, on this point) begin with William Howard, a learnèd and reverend judge of the Court of Common Pleas for a great part of King Edward the First's and beginning of Edward the Second's time.


    So that there seems to be a possibility of truth in the assertion that Great Howard, or Howarth, near Smallbridge, was the original settlement of the Howards, ancestors of the Dukes of Norfolk.  But I must leave the matter to those who have better and completer evidence than this.  Aiken, in his "History of Manchester," mentions a direful pestilence which severely afflicted that town about the year 1645.  A pestilence called the "Black Plague" raged in the parish of Rochdale about the same time.


    The whole district being filled with dismay, none dared, from the country, to approach the town, for fear of catching the contagion; therefore, to remedy, as much as possible, the inconvenience of non-intercourse between the country and town people, the proprietor of Great Howarth directed a cross to be raised on a certain part of his estate near to Black Lane End, at Smallbridge, for the purpose of holding a temporary market there during the continuance of the plague.


    Thence originated "Howarth Cross," so named to this day; also, the old "Milk Stones," or "Plague Stones," lately standing at about a mile distant from the town of Rochdale, upon the old roads.  I well remember two of these, which were large heavy flag-stones, with one end embedded in the hedge-side, and the other end supported upon rude stone pillars.  One of these two was in Milk Stone Lane, leading towards Oldham, and the other at Sparth, about a mile on the Manchester road.  This last of these old "Milk Stones," or "Plague Stones," was taken down about 1840.  I find that similar stones were erected in the outlets of Manchester, for the same purpose, during the pestilence about 1645.  The village of Smallbridge itself, as I have said before, has not much either of modern grace or antique interest about its outward appearance.  But in the secluded folds and corners of the country around there is many a quaint farmstead of the seventeenth century, or earlier, such as Waterhouse, Ashbrook Hey, Howarth Knowl, Little Howarth, Dearnley, Mabroyd, Wuerdale, Little Clegg, Clegg Hall (the haunt of the famous "Clegg-Ho' Boggart").  Wardle Fold, near Wardle Hall, was fifty years since only a small sequestered cluster of rough stone houses, at the foot of the moorland heights, on the north, and about a mile from Smallbridge.  It has thriven considerably by manufacture since then.  In some of these old settlements there are houses where the door is still opened from without by a "sneck-bans" or "finger-hole."  Some of these old houses have been little changed for two or three centuries; around others a little modern addition has gathered in the course of time; but the old way of living and thinking lingers in these remote corners still, like standing pools, left by the tide of ancient manners which has gone down.  There, and in still more lonely detached dwellings and folds which are scattered among the hills and cloughs of the "Edge," they cling to the speech, and ways, and superstitions of their forefathers.  A tribe of hardy, industrious, old-fashioned, simple-hearted folk, whose principal fear is poverty and "boggarts."  They still gather round the fire in the grey gloaming, and on dark nights in winter, to feed their imaginations with scraps of old legend, and tales of boggarts, fairies, and "feeorin," that haunt their native hills, and dells, and streams; and they look forward with joy to the ancient festivals of the year, as reliefs to their lonely round of toil.  But Smallbridge had other interests for us besides those arising out of its remote surrounding nooks and population.  We had known the village ever since the time when a ramble so far out from Rochdale seemed a great feat for tiny legs; and as we passed each well-remembered spot the flood-gates of memory were thrown open, and a whole tide of early reminiscences came flowing over the mind,—


                               Floating by me seems
My childhood, in this childishness of mine
I care not,—'tis a glimpse of "Auld lung syne."


    The inhabitants of different Lancashire towns and villages have often some generic epithet attached to them, supposed to be expressive of their character; as, for the inhabitants of Oldham and Bolton, "Owdham Roughyeds," and "Bowton Trotters;" and the people of Smallbridge are known throughout the vale by the name of "Smo'bridge Cossacks."  Within the last twenty years the inhabitants of the village have increased in number and improved in education and manners.  Before that time the place was notable for its rugged population, even in a district remarkable for an old-world breed of people.  Their misdemeanours arose more from exuberant vigour of heart and body than from natural moral debasement.  Forty years ago there was no church in Smallbridge, no police to keep its rude people in order, no effective school of any sort.  The weavers and colliers had the place almost to themselves in those days.  They worked hard, and ate and drank as much as their earnings would afford, especially on holidays, or "red-letter days;" and at by-times they clustered together in their cottages, but oftener at the roadside, or in some favourite alehouse, and solaced their fatigue with such scraps of news and politics as reached them, or by pithy idiomatic bursts of country humour, and old songs.  Sometimes these were choice snatches of the ballads of Britain, really beautiful "minstrel memories of times gone by," such as we seldom hear now, and still seldomer hear sung with the feeling and natural taste which the country lasses of Lancashire put into them while chanting at their work.  Some of Burns's songs, and many songs commemorating the wars of England, were great favourites with them.  Passing by a country alehouse, one would often hear a rude ditty like the following sounding loud and clear from the inside:—


You generals all, and champion's bold,
        Who take delight i'th field,
Who knock down palaces and castle walls,
        And never like to yield,
I am an Englishman by birth,
        And Marlbro' is my name;
In Devonshire I first drew breath,
        That place of noble fame.


Or this finishing couplet of another old ballad:—


To hear the drums and the trumpets sound,
        In the wars of high Garmanie!


I well remember that the following were among their favourites: "O, Nanny, wilt thou gang wi' me?" "Jockey to the Fair," "Owd Towler," "The Banks of the Dee," "Black-Eyed Susan," "Highland Mary," "The Dawning of the Day," "The Garden Gate," and "The Woodpecker."  There are, also, a few rough, humorous songs in the Lancashire dialect, which are very common among them.  The best of these is the rudely-characteristic ballad called "Jone o' Greenfelt," and "The Songs of the Wilsons," of which the following, known by the name of "Johnny Green's Wedding," and "Description of Manchester College," by Alexander Wilson, is sufficient to show the manner and characteristics of the remainder of these popular local songs:—


Neaw, lads, wheer are yo beawn so fast?
Yo happun ha' no yerd what's past:
Aw gotten wed sin aw'r here th' last,
        Just three week sin come Sunday!
Aw ax'd th' owd folk, an' aw wur reet,
So Nan an' me agreed tat neet,
At iv we could mak both eends meet
        We'd be wed o' Ayster Monday!

That morn, as prim as pewter quarts,
Aw th' wenches coom, an' browt sweethearts;
Aw fund we're loike to ha' three carts,—
        'Twur thrunk as Eccles Wakes, mon!
We donn'd eawr tits i' ribbons, too,—
One red, one green, an' tone wur blue;
Then hey, lads! hey! away we flew,
        Loike a race for th' Leger Stakes, mon.

Right merrily we drove, full bat;
An' eh! how Duke and Dobbin swat!
Owd Grizzle wur so lawm an' fat,
        Fro soide to soide hoo jow'd um.
Deawn Withy Grove at last we coom,
An' stopt at th' Seven Stars, by gum!
An' drunk as mich warm ale an' rum
        As 'ud dreawn o'th folk i' Owdham.

When th' shot wur paid, an' th' drink wur done,
Up Fennel Street, to' th' church, for fun
We doanced loike morris-dancers dun,
        To th' best o' aw my knowledge.
So th' job wur done i' hauve a crack:
Bob eh! what fun to get th' first smack!
So, neaw, my lads, 'fore we gwon back,"
        Says aw, "we'n look at th' College."

We see'd a clock-case, first, good laws!
Where Deeoth stonds up wi' great lung claws;
His legs, an' wings, an' lantern jaws,
        They really look't quite feorink.
There's snakes an' watchbills, just like pikes,
At Hunt, an' aw th' reformin tikes,
An' thee, an' me, an' Sam o' Mikes,
        Once took a blanketeerink.

Eh, lorjus days! booath far an' wide
There's yards o' books at every stroide,
Fro' top to bothum, eend and soide,
        Sich plecks there's very few so!
Aw axt him iv they wur'n to sell,
For Nan loikes readink vastly well;
Bob th' measter wur eawt, so he couldna tell,
        Or aw'd a bowt her "Robinson Crusoe."

There's a trumpet speyks an' maks a din,
An' a shute a clooas made o' tin,
For folk to go a feightink in,
        Just loike thoose chaps o' Boney's;
An' there's a table carved so queer,
Wi' as mony planks as days i'th year,
An crinkum-crankums here and theer,
        Like th' clooas-press at my gronny's.

There's Oliver Crumill's bombs an' balls,
An' Frenchmen's guns they'd tean i' squalls,
An' swords as lunk as me o'th walls,
        An' bows an' arrows, too, mon:
Aw didno moind his fearfo words,
Nor skeletons o' men an' burds,
Boh aw fair hate th' seet o' greyt lung swords,
        Sin th' feight at Peterloo, mon.

We see'd a wooden cock likewise;
Boh dang it, mon! these college boys,
They tell'n a pack o' starin' loies,
        As sure's as teaw'rt a sinner!
"That cock, when it smells roast beef, 'll crow,"
Says he; but aw said, "Teaw lies, aw know,—
An' aw con prove it plainly so:
        Aw've a peawnd i' my hat for th' dinner!"

Boh th' hairy mon had miss'd my thowt,
An' th' clog fair crackt by th' thunner-bowt,
An' th' woman noather lawmt nor nowt,
        Theaw ne'er see'd loike sin t'ur born, mon.
There's crocodiles an' things, indeed,
Aw colours male, shap, size, an' breed;
An' if aw moot tell toan hauve aw see'd,
        We moot sit an' smook till morn, mon.

Then deawn Lung Millgate we did steer,
To owd Mike Wilson's goods-shop theer,
To buy eawr Nan a rockin' cheer,
        An' pots, an' spoons, an' ladles.
Nan bowt a glass for lookink in;
An' a tin Dutch o'on for cookink in;
Aw bowt a cheer for smookink in;
        An' Nan axed th' price o'th cradles.

Then th' fiddler struck up "Th' Honeymoon,"
An' off we set for Owdham soon:
We made owd Grizzle trot to th' tune,
        Every yard o'th way, mon.
At neet, oytch lad an' bonny lass,
Laws! heaw they doanc'd an' drunk their glass!
So toyrt wur Nan an' me, by th' mass,
        That we lee till twelve th' next day, mon.


    When the horn sounded to gather the harriers, or the "foomart dogs," the weaver lads used to let go their "pickin'-pegs," roll up their aprons, and follow the chase afoot, with all the keen relish of their forefathers, returning hungry, tired, and pleased, at night, to relate the adventures of the day.  Sometimes they sallied from the village, in jovial companies, attended by one or more of their companions, to have a drinking-bout, and challenge "th' cocks o'th clod" in some neighbouring hamlet.  Such expeditions often led to a series of single combats, in which rude bodily strength and pluck were the principal elements of success.  Sometimes a general melée, or "Welsh main," took place, often ending in painful journeys, with broken bones, over the moors, to the "Whitworth Doctors."  As far as rough sports and rough manners went, "the dule" seemed to have "thrut his club" over Smallbridge in those days.  That man was lucky who could walk through the village without being assailed by something more inconvenient than mere looks of ignorant wonder, and a pelting of course jokes, especially if he happened to wear the appearance of a "teawn's buck."  They had a kind of contempt for "teawn's folk," as an inferior race, especially in body.  If town-people had more intelligence than was common in the country, these villagers often affected to consider it a knavish cleverness; and if they seemed externally clean, they looked upon it as an hypocritical concealment of the filth beneath.  If they were well dressed, the old doubt arose as to its being "o' paid for"; and if one appeared among them who had no settled home or connections, and whose demeanour they did not like, he had "done summat wrang somewheer, or else he'd ne'er ha' bin o' that shap."  In fact, it was hardly possible for people bred in a town to be as clean, strong, or honest, as those bred in the country.  Town-folk had nothing wholesome about them,—they were "o' offal an' boylin-pieces."  When they visited Manchester, or any of the great towns about, they generally took a supply of eatables with them for the journey,—"coud frog-i'th-hole puddin'," or "fayberry cake," or "sodden moufin an' cheese," or such-like homely buttery-stuff; for if they had occasion to enter any strange house in such places, to satisfy their hunger, every mouthful went down among painful speculations as to what the quadruped was when alive, and what particular reason it had for departing this life.  Burns alludes affectionately to "the halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food and oatmeal porridge, and oat-cake enter largely into the diet of the country people in this part of Lancashire.  They used to pride themselves in the name of the "Havercake Lads."  A regiment raised in Lancashire during the French war bore this name.  This oat-cake is baked upon a peculiar kind of stone slab, called a "bak-stone," or "bake-stone; " and the cry of "Havercake bak-stones" is a familiar sound in Rochdale, and the villages around it, at this day.  Oatmeal porridge forms an important element of a genuine Lancashire breakfast in the country.  I have often noticed the air of satisfaction with which a Lancashire housewife has filled up the great breakfast bowl with hot oatmeal porridge, and, clapping the pan on the floor, said, "Theer, lads, pultiz yor stomachs wi' thoose!"  And the hungry, hearty youngsters have gathered hastily round their old dish, welcoming it with the joyous ejaculation of "That's th' mak'!"  The thick unleavened oat-cake, called jannock, is scarcely ever seen in south-east Lancashire now; but it used to be highly esteemed.  The common expression, "That's noan jannock," applied to anything which is not what it ought to be, commemorates the fame of this wholesome old cake of theirs.  But they have no inclination to an exclusively vegetarian diet,—in fact, they generally express a decided relish for "summat at's deeod ov a knife;" and, like their ancient progenitors the Saxons, they prefer heavy meals, and long draughts, to any kind of light epicurean dainty.

    There are many old prejudices still cherished by the country people of south-east Lancashire,—as is their old belief in witches, witch-doctors, and "planet-rulers,"—but they are declining, through increasing communion with the rest of the world.  And then these things show only the unfavourable side of their character; for they are hospitable, open-handed, frank, and benevolent by nature.  How oft have I seen them defend the down-cast and the stranger, or shut up ungenerous suspicion, and open all the sluices of their native kindness by the simple expression, "He's somebody's chylt!"

    "Owd Roddle" is a broken-down village fuddler in Smallbridge, perpetually racking his brains about "another gill."  His appearance is more that of an Indian fakir than an English country gentleman.  He is as "concayted as a whisket in some things, but not in eating or drinking; for he will "seawk lamp-hoyle through a bacco-pipe if onybody 'll give him a droight o' ale to wesh it deawn wi'; an' as for heytin', he'll heyt mortal thing,—deeod or alive,—if he con get his teeth into't."  A native of Smallbridge was asked, lately, what Roddle did for his living, and he replied, "Whaw, he wheels coals an' trails abeawt wi' his clogs loce, an' maks a foo' o' hissel for ale."  Yet, utterly lost as Roddle is himself, in person and habits, he is strongly imbued with the old prejudices against town-folk.  To him, the whitest linen worn by a townsman is only what the country-folk call a "French white."  A well-dressed person from Rochdale chanced one day to awaken Roddle's ire, who, eyeing him from head to foot, with a critical sneer, said, "Shap off whoam, as fast as tho can, an' get that buff shirt sceawr't a bit, wilto? an' thy skin an' o', for theaw'rt wick wi' varmin; an' keep o' shy own clod, whol tho con turn eawt some bit like."  "But," continued my informant, "aw'm a bit partial to th' offal crayter, for o' that; he's so mich gam in him, an' aw like a foo i' my heart!  Eh! he used to be as limber as a trout when here young; but neaw he's as wambly an' slamp as a barrowful o' warp-sizin'.  T'other mornin' aw walked up to him for a bit ov a crack, as usal, but th' owd lad had getten his toppin' cut off close to his yed; an' he wacker't an' stare't like a twichel't dog; an' he gran at mo like mad.  Aw're force't to poo back at th' first, he glooart so flaysome.  It're very frosty, an' his een look't white an' wild, an' as geawl't as a whelp's.  If the dule had met Roddle at th' turn ov a lone that mornin' he'd a skriked hissel eawt ov his wits, an' gwon deawn again.  Our maister sauces me sometimes for talkin' to Roddle; but aw olez tell him at aw'st have a word wi' th' poor owd twod when aw meet him, as what onybody says."

    There is a race of hereditary sand-sellers, or "sond-knockers," in Smallbridge,—a rough mountain breed, who live by crushing sandstone rock, for sale in the town of Rochdale, and the villages about it.  The sand is used for strewing upon the flagged house floors, when the floor is clean-washed; and while it is yet damp the sand is ground over it by the motion of a heavy "scouring-stone," to which a long, strong, wooden handle is firmly fixed, by being fastened to an iron claw, which grasps the stone, and is embedded into it by molten lead.  The motion of the "scouring-stone " grinds the sand into smoothness, and leaves an ornamental whiteness on the floor when it gets dry.  It breeds dust, however, and much needless labour.  The people who knock this sand and sell it have been known over the countryside for many years by the name of "Th' Kitters"; and the common local proverb, "We're o' ov a litter, like Kitter pigs," is used in Smallbridge as an expression of friendship or of kinship.  As regular as Saturday morning came, the sand-carts used to come into Rochdale, heavily laden; and I remember that they were often drawn by horses which, like the steed of the crazy gentleman of Spain, were "many-cornered;" and often afflicted by some of the more serious ills which horse-flesh is heir to.  The train of attendants which usually accompanied these sand-carts into the town was of a curious description.  Hardy, bull-necked, brown-faced drivers, generally dressed in strong fustian, which, if heavily-plated wi' patches in particular quarters, was still mostly whole, but almost always well mauled, and soiled with the blended stains of sand and spilt ale, and bacon fat, with clumsily stitched rips visible here and there; the whole being a kind of tapestried chronicle of the wearer's way of living,—his fights, fuddles, and feasts.  Then they were often bare-headed, with their breeches ties flowing loose at the knees, and the shirt neck wide open, displaying a broad, hairy, weather-beaten chest; and the ovial-faced, Dutch-built women, too, in blue tin aprons, blue woollen bedgowns, and clinkered shoon; and with round wooden peck and half-peck measures tucked under their arms, ready for "hawpoths" and "pennoths."  As the cart went slowly along, the women went from house to house, on each side of the road, and, laying one hand upon the door cheek, looked in with the old familiar question, "Dun yo want ony sond this mornin'?"  "Ay; yo may lev a hawpoth.  Put it i' this can."  When they came to an old customer and acquaintance, sometimes a short conversation would follow, in a strain such as this: "Well, an' heaw are yo, owd crayter?"  "Whaw, aw'm noan so weel.  Aw can heyt naught, mon, an' aw connot get my wynt."  "Aw dunnot wonder at tat; yo'n so mich reech abeawt here.  If yo'n up at th' Smo'bridge, yo'dd'n be fit to heyt yirth-bobs an' scaplins, welly.  Mon, th' wynt's clen up theer, an' theer's plenty on't, an' wi' can help irsels to't when we like'n.  Wi'n yo come up o' seein' us?"  "Eh, never name it!  Aw's ne'er get eawt o' this hole till aw'm carried eawt th' feet foremost!"  "Come, wi'n ha' noan o' that mak o' talk!  Aw'd as lief as a keaw-price at yo'dd'n come.  Yo'n be welcome to th' best wi' han, an' wi'n may yo comfortable beside, an' bring yo deawn again i'th cart.  But ir Jem's gwon forrud wi' th' sond.  Let's see; did'n yo gi' mo th' hawp'ny? . . . Oh, ay!  It'll be reet!  Neaw, tak care o' yorsel, an' keep yor heart eawt o' yor clogs!"  When the cart came to a rut or a rise in the road, all hands were summoned to the push, except one who tugged and thumped at the horse, and another who seized the spokes of the wheel, and, with set teeth and strained limbs, lent his aid to the "party of progress" in that way.  Sometimes a sturdy skulker would follow the cart, to help to push, and to serve out sand; but more for a share of the fun, and the pile of boiled brisket an "cheese and moutin" stowed away in the cart-box at starting, to be washed down with "ballydroights of cold fourpenny at some favourite 'co'in-shop' on the road."

    The old custom of distinguishing persons by Christian names alone prevails generally in Smallbridge, as in all country parts of Lancashire, more or less.  It sometimes happens, in small country villages like this, that there are people almost unknown, even among their own neighbours, by their surnames.  Roby gives an instance of this kind in his "Traditions of Lancashire," where he mentions a woman, then living in the village of Whitworth, for whom it would be useless to inquire there by her proper name; but anybody in the village could have instantly directed you to "Susy o' Yem's o' Fairoff's at th' top o'th Rake," by which name she was intimately known.  Persons are often met whose surnames have almost dropped into oblivion by disuse, and who have been principally distinguished through life by the name of their residence, or some epithet descriptive of a remarkable personal peculiarity, or some notable incident in their lives.  Such names as the following, which will be recognised in their locality, are constantly met, and the list of them might be extended to any desirable degree: "Tum o' Charles o' Billy's," or "Red Tum," "Bridfuut," "Corker," "Owd Fourpenny," "Tum o' Meawlo's," "Rantipow," and "Ab o' Pinder's," who fought a battle in the middle of the river Roch, at a great bull-bait in Rochdale, more than thirty years ago; "Bull Robin," "Jone o' Muzden's," "Owd Moreover," and "Bonny Meawth."  This last reminds me of the report of a young villager, near Smallbridge, respecting the size of the people's mouths in a neighbouring district.  "Thi'n th' bigg'st meawths i' yon country," said he, "that ever I seed claps under a lip!  Aw hove one on 'em his yure up, to see if his meawth went o'reawnd; but he knocks mo into th' slutch."  Many of these quaint names rise in my memory as I write: "Owd Dragon," "Paul o' Bill's," "Plunge," "Ben o' Robin's o' Bob's o'th Bird-stuffers o' Buersil Yed," "Collop," "Tolloll," "Pratty Strider," "Lither Dick," and "Reawnt Legs,"—


Reawnt Legs he wur a cunnin' owd twod,
He made a mule draw a four-horse lwod.


And then there was "Johnny Baa Lamb," a noted character in Rochdale twelve years ago.  He was low in stature, rather stout, and very knock-kneed; and his face was one paradise of never-fading ale-blossoms.  Johnny's life was spent in helping about the slaughter-houses, and roaming from alehouse to alehouse, where, between his comical appearance, his drunken humour, his imitations of the tones of sheep, lambs, and other animals, and his old song,


        The mon and the mare,
        Flew up in the air,
An' I think I see 'em yet, yet, yet,—


the chorus of which he assisted by clattering a poker on the hearth,—he was a general favourite, and kept himself afloat in ale,—the staple of his ambition,—by being the butt of every taproom,—where his memory remains "embalmed."  There was "Barfuut Sam," a carter, who never would wear any foot-gear; "Ab o' Slender's," "Broth," "Steeom," "Scutcher," "Peawch," and "Dick-in-a-Minnit."  Most of these were as well known as the church clock.  And then there was "Daunt o' Peggy's," "Brunner," "Shin 'em," "Ayli o' Joe's o' Bet's o' Owd Bullfuut's," and "Fiddler Bill," who is mentioned in the Lancashire song, "Hopper hop't eawt, an' Limper limp't in,"


Then aw went to Peel's Arms to taste of their ale;
They sup'n it so fast it never gwos stale!
An' when aw'd set deawn, an' getten a gill,
Who should come in boh Fiddler Bill.


He rambles abeawt through boroughs and teawns,
A' sellin' folk up as boh ow'n a few peawnds.


And then there were "Jone o' Isaac's," the mower; "Peyswad," and "Bedflock," who sowed blend-spice in his garden for parsley seed; and "Owd Tet i' Crook," an amiable and agèd countrywoman, who lived in a remote corner of the moors above Smallbridge, and whose intended husband dying when she was very young, she took it deeply to heart.  On being pressed to accept the hand of a neighbour who knew her excellent qualities she at last consented, assuring him, however, that her heart was gone, and all that she could promise him was that she could "spin an' be gradely," which saying has become a local proverb.  In the Forest of Rossendale I have met with a few names of more curious structure than even any of the previous ones, such as "Eb o' Peg's o' Puddin' Jane's," "Bet o' Owd Harry's o' Nathan's at th' Change," "Enoch o' Jem's o' Rutchot's up at th' Nook," "Harry o' Mon John's," "Ormerod o' Jem's o' Bob's," and "Henry o' Ann's o' Harry's o' Milley's o' Rutchots o' John's o' Dick's, through th' ginnel, an' up th' steps, an' o'er Joseph's o' John's o' Steep's," which rather extraordinary cognomen was given to me by a gentleman, living near Newchurch, as authentic, and well known in a neighbouring dale.  In a village near Bolton there was, a few years since, a letter-carrier who had so long been known by a nick-name that he had almost forgotten his proper name.  By an uncommon chance, however, he once received a letter directed to himself, but not remembering the owner, or anybody of that name, he carried the letter in his pocket for several days, till he happened to meet with a shrewd old villager, whom his neighbours looked upon as "larn't up," and able to explain everything,—from ale, bulldogs, and politics, to the geography of the moon and the mysteries of theology.  The postman showed his letter to this cunning villager, inquiring whether he knew anybody of that name.  The old man looked an instant, then, giving the other a thump, he said, "Thea foo', it's thysel!"  I have heard of many an instance, in different parts of Lancashire, where some generic "John Smith," after being sought for in vain for awhile, has been at last discovered concealed under some such guise as "Iron Jack," "Plunge," "Nukkin," or "Bumper."  I remember an old religious student, in Rochdale, who used to take considerable pains in drilling poor lads into a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.  The early part of the Bible was his favourite theme; and he interlarded his conversation with it to such a degree that he won for himself the distinguished title of "Th' Five Books o' Moses."

    In Collier's tale of "Tummus and Meary," he illustrates the personal nomenclature of these parts, in his own time, by the following passage, which, though it may appear strange in the eyes of people dwelling in the great cities in the south of England, yet does not exaggerate the custom at present prevailing in the remoter parts of the county of Lancaster:—


    Meary.    True, Tummus; no marvel at o' wur so flayed; it wur so fearfo dark.

    Tummus.    Heawe'er, aw resolv't mayth best on't, an up speek aw,— "Whooas tat?"  A lad's voyce answer't, in a cryin' din, "Eh, law! dunnah tah meh!"  "Naw," said aw, "aw'll na tay the, belady!  Whooas lad art to?"  "Whau," said he, "aw'm Jone o' Lall's o' Simmy's o' Mariom's o' Dick's o' Nathan's o' Lall's o' Simmy's i'th Hooms, an aw'm gooin' whoam."  "Odd," thinks aw t' mysel, "theaws a dree-er name ti'n me."  An here, Meary, aw couldn't boh think what lung names some on us han; for thine and mine are meeterly; boh this lad's were so mich dree-er, 'at aw thowt it dockt mine tone hawve.

    Meary.    Preo, na, tell meh ha these lung names leet'n?

    Tummus.    Um—m; lemme see.  Aw conno tell tho greadly; boh aw think it's to tell folk by.

    Meary.    Well, an hea did'n he go on with him?

    Tummus.    Then (as aw thowt he talkt so awkertly) aw'd ash him, for th' wonst, what uncuths he yerd stirrin'.  "Aw yer noan," said he, "but 'at Jack o' Ned's towed me, 'at Sam o' Jack's o' Yed's Marley has wed Mall o' Nan's o' Sal's o' Peg's, 'at gos abeawt o' beggin' churn milk, with a pitcher, with a lid on."  Then aw asht him wheer Jack o' Ned's wooant.  Says he, "He's 'prentice weh Isaac o' Tim's o' Nick's o'th Hough Lone, an he'd bin at Jammy's o' George's o' Peter's i'th Dingles, for hawve a peawnd o' traycle, to seaws'n a beest-puddin' weh; an' his feyther an' moother wooan at Rossenda; boh his gronny's alive, an' wooans weh his noant Marjery, eh Grinfilt, at pleck wheer his noan moother coom fro'."  "Good lad!" says aw; boh heaw far's tis Littlebrough off, for aw aim't see it to-neet iv he con hit."  Says t' lad, "It's abeawt a mile; an yo mun keep straight forrud o' yor lift hond, an yoan happen do."  So a-this'n we parted; boh aw markint, an lost my gate again, snap.


    A curious instance of the prevalence of nicknames in this district occurred, a few years since, about a mile from Smallbridge.  A country lass had got married out of a certain fold in that part, and going down to Rochdale soon after, a female acquaintance said to her, "Why, Sally, thews getten wed, hasn't to?"  "Yigh," said Sally, "aw have."  "Well, an' what's thi felly code?" replied the other.  "Why," said Sally, "some folk co's him 'Jone o' Nancy's lad at th' Pleawm Heawse; ' but his gradely name is 'Clog Bant.'"  We sometimes hear of a son who bears the same Christian name as his father, as "Jamie o' James's," and "Sol ov Owd Sol's o'th Hout Broo;" and I have often heard a witless nursery rhyme, which runs,—


Owd Tum an' yung Tum,
        An' owd Tum's son;
Yung Tum'll be a Tum
        When owd Tum's done;


but the poor people of Lancashire sometimes have a superstitious fear of giving the son the same Christian name as the father.

    The ancient rural festival of "Rushbearing," in the month of August, used to make a great stir in Smallbridge; but the observance of it seems to decline, or, at least, assumes a soberer form.  A great number of local proverbs and quaint sayings are continually being thrown up by the population there, which, in spite of their rude garb, show, like nuggets of mental gold, what undeveloped riches lie hidden in the human mind, even in Smallbridge.  The people are wonderfully apt at the discernment and at the delineation of character.  It is very common for them to utter graphic sentences like the following: "He's one o' thoose at'll lend onybody a shillin' if they'n give him fourteen-pence to stick to."  One of them said, on receiving a present of game from his son in Yorkshire, "It isn't oft at th' kittlin' brings th' owd cat a meawse, but it has done this time."  There are two or three out of a whole troop of anecdotes, told of the natives of this quarter, which have the air of nature about them sufficiently to indicate what some of the characteristics of these villagers were in past years.  Two young men were slowly taking their road, late one night, out at the town end, after the fair, when one of them lingering behind the other, his comrade shouted to him to "Come on!"  "Stop an rosin," said the loiterer; "aw hannot foughten yet!"  "Well," replied the other, with cool indifference, "Get foughten, an' let's go whoam!"  In the Rev. W. Gaskell's lectures on the Lancashire dialect he says, "The following dialogue is reported to have taken place between two individuals on meeting: 'Han yo bin to Bowton?'  'Yigh.' 'Han yo foughton?'  'Yigh.'  'Han yo lick't?'  'Yigh; an' aw browt a bit'n him whoam i' my pocket!"  "Owd Bun" was a collier, and a comical country blade, dwelling near Smallbridge.  He was illiterate and rough as a hedgehog.  Bun had often heard of cucumbers, but had never tasted one.  Out of curiosity he bought a large one, curved like a scimitar; and, reckless of all culinary guidance, he cut it into slices lengthwise, and then fried the cold green slabs altogether, in bacon fat.  He ate his fill of them, too; for nothing which mortal stomach would hold came amiss to Bun.  When he had finished, and wiped the grease from his mouth with the back of his hand, he said, "By th' mon, fine folk'll heyt aught!  Aw'd raither ha' had a potito!"  They tell a tale, too, of the difficulties of a poor factory lass who had been newly married, which is not without its hints.  Her husband told her to boil him some eggs, and to "boyle 'em soft."  He went out a while, and on his return they were boiling, but not ready.  He waited long, and then shouted, "Are thoose eggs noan ready yet?"  "Nawe," said she, "they are not; for, litho, aw've boyled 'em aboon an hour, an' they're no softer yet!"  Now he did not care much for this; but when he saw her take the child's nightcap off its head to boil his dumpling in, he declared that he "couldn't ston it."

    Leaving Smallbridge, we rattled out at the end of the village, past the Red Lion, and up to the top of the slope, where, after a run of about two hundred yards, we descended into the hollow where the sign of the old Green Gate stands.  In the season of the year, people passing that way in a morning will often see the door-way crowded with hunting dogs, and a rout of sturdy rabble waiting to follow the chase afoot through the neighbouring hills.  Rising again immediately, we crossed another knoll, and down again we came to the foot of the brow, where four roads meet, close by the Green Man Inn, opposite to the deserted hamlet of Wuerdale, which perches upon a little ridge near the roadside, like an old beggar craving charity.  On we went, enjoying the romantic variety of the scene, as the green ups and downs of the valley opened out to view, with its scattered farms and mills, all clipped in by the hills which began to cluster near.

    About half a mile further on, where the road begins to slant suddenly towards Featherstall, Stubley Hall stands, not more than twenty yards from the road-side.  A much older hall than the present one must have stood here prior to the 13th century, for in 1322 and 1323 mention is made of Nicholas and John de Stubley ("His. Whalley.")  It subsequently came into the possession of the Holt family, of Grislehurst and Castleton, a branch of the Holts of Sale, Ashton, Cheshire.  Some of this family fought in the Scottish wars, and also in favour of the royal cause at Edgehill, Newbury, Marston Moor, &c., and were named in Charles's projected order of the Royal Oak.  There was a Judge Holt, of the Holts of Sale; and a James Holt, whose mother was co-heiress to Sir James de Sutton; he was killed on Flodden Field.  Mary, the daughter of James Holt, the last of the family who resided at Castleton, in this parish, married Samuel, brother of the famous Humphrey Chetham.  The Castleton estate came into Humphrey's hands in 1744.  The manor of Spotland was granted by Henry VIII. to Thomas Holt, who was knighted in Scotland by Edward, Earl of Hertford, in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of that king.  The Holts were the principal landowners in the parish of Rochdale at the close of the sixteenth century.  John Holt held the manor of Spotland, with its appurtenances; also fourscore messuages, three mills, one thousand acres of inclosed land, three hundred acres of meadow, one thousand acres of pasture, and forty acres of woods, in Hundersfield, Spotland, and Butterworth; besides a claim to hold of his Majesty, as of his Duchy of Lancaster, one-third of the manor of Rochdale.  The arms of the Holts are described as "Argent on a band engrailed sable, three fleurs-de-lis of the first.  Crest, a spear head proper.  Motto, 'Ut sanem vulnera.'"  The present hall at Stubley was built by Robert Holt, about the year 1528.  Dr. Whitaker notices this house, which is of considerable size, forming three sides of a square.  It is now inhabited by several families; and much of the rich old carved oak, and other relics of its former importance, has been removed from the interior.

    From the top of the slope near Stubley we now saw the spire of Littleborough Church, and the village itself, prettily situated at the head of the vale, and close to the foot of the hills which divide Lancashire and Yorkshire.  On the top of Blackstone, and about half a mile to the south of "Joe Faulkner's,"—the well-known old sheltering spot for travellers over that bleak region,—we could now more distinctly see the streak of green which marks the line of the Roman road till it disappears from the summit of the Edge.

    Featherstall is a little hamlet of comfortable cottages at the bottom of the brow in the high-road near Stubley Hall, warmed by the Rising Sun, and another old-fashioned public-house, apparently as old as the present Stubley Hall.  The inhabitants are principally employed at the mills and collieries in the neighbourhood.  The open space in the centre of the village is generally strewn with scattered hay, and the lights from the public-houses gleam forth into the watering troughs in front, as the traveller goes through at night.  A rough old road leads out of the centre of the place, northward, over Calder Moor and the hills towards Todmorden.  From Featherstall the approach to Littleborough is lined with mills, meadows, and tenter-fields, on the north side; and on the south, two or three green fields divide the highway from the railway; and a few yards on the other side of the railway the line of the Rochdale Canal runs parallel with both.  And thus these three roads run nearly close together past Littleborough, and all through the Vale of Todmorden, up to Sowerby Bridge, a distance of twelve miles; and for a considerable part of the way the river forms a fourth companion to the three roads, the four together filling the entire bottom of the valley in some places; and in addition to these may be seen, in other parts, the old pack-horse roads leading down from the moorland steeps into the hollow.  Carts, boats, railway trains, and sometimes pack-horses, seem to comment upon one another as they pass and re-pass, and form a continual and palpable lecture on modes of transit such as is not often met with in such distinct shape.  Littleborough consists principally of one irregular street, winding over a slight elevation, and down to its centre near the railway station, at the water-side, and thence across the bridge, up towards Blackstone Edge.  It is a substantial, healthy-looking village, prettily situated in a romantic spot.  There are many poor working people in the village, but there is hardly anything like dirt or squalor to be seen there, except, perhaps, a little of that migratory kind which is unavoidable in all great thoroughfares, and which remains here for a night, on its way, at a road-side receptacle which I noticed at the western end of the village, where I saw on a little board certain ominous hieroglyphics about "Loggins for travlurs."  The lands in the valley round Littleborough have the appearance of fine meadow and pasture; and, taken with the still better cultivated grounds, and woods, and gardens, about the mansions of the opulent people of the neighbourhood, the whole looks beautifully verdant, compared with the bleak hills which overlook the vale.  The old Royal Oak Inn, in the middle of the village, is pointed out as a house which John Collier used to frequent, when he visited the neighbourhood, and where he fixed the scene of Tummus's misadventure in the inn, where he so unadvisedly "Eet like a Yorsharmon, an' clear't th' stoo," after he had been to the justice with his dog Nip, and where the encounter took place between "Mezzilt Face " and "Wythen Kibbo:"—


    Aw went in, an fund at two fat throddy folk wooant theer; an theyd'n some o'th warst fratchingst company at e'er eh saigh; for they'n warrying, banning, an co'in one another "leawsy eawls" as thick as leet.  Heawe'er, aw poo'd a cricket, an keawr't meh deawn i'th nook o'th hob.  Aw'd no soyner done so, boh a feaw, seawer-lookt felley, with wythen kibbo he had in his hont, slapt a sort of a wither, mezzilt-face't mon sich a thwang o'th skawp, at he varry reecht again with it, an deawn he coom o'th harstone, an his heeod i'th esshole.  His scrunt wig fell off, an a hontle o' whot corks feel into't, an brunt an frizzlt it so, at when he awst don it, an unlucky carron gen it a poo, an it slipt o'er his pow, an it lee like a howmbark on his shilders.  Aw glendurt like a stickt tup, for fear ov a dust mysel, an crope fur into th' chimbley.  Oytch body thowt at mezzil-face would meh a flittin' on't, an dee in a crack; so some on um cried eawt, "A doctor, a doctor!" whol others made'n th'londlort go saddle th' tit to fotch one.  While this wur eh doin', some on um had leet ov a kin doctor, at wooant a bit off, an shew'd him th' mon o'th harstone.  He laid howd on his arm,—to feel his pulse, a geawse,—an poo'd as if he'd sin deeoth poo'in' at th' tother arm, an wur resolv't o'er-poo him.  After lookin' dawkingly-wise a bit, he geet fro his whirly booans, an said to um aw, "Whol his heart bhyets and his blood sarkilates, theer's hopes, boh whop that stops, it's whoo-up with him, i'faith."  Mezzil-face hearin' summot o' "whoo-up," started to his feet, flote noan, boh gran like a foomart-dog, an seet at t' black swarffy tyke weh bwoth neaves, an wawtud him o'er into th' galker, full o' new drink, wortchin.'  He begun o' pawsin an peylin him into't so, at aw wur blendud together, snap.  'Sflesh, Meary; theaw'd ha' weet teh, to sin heaw th' gobbin wur awtert, when at fey pood'n him eawt; an what a hobthurst he look't weh aw that berm abeawt him.  He kept dryin' his een, boh he moot as weel ha' sowt um in his hinder-end, till th' londlady had made an heawer's labber on um at th' pump.   When he coom in again, he glooart awvishly at mezzil-face, an mezzil-face glendurt as wrythenly at him again; boh noather warrit, nor thrap.  So they seet um deawn, an then th' londlady coom in, an would mey um't pay for th' lumber at tey'd done hur.  "Mey drink's war be a creawn," said hoo.  "Beside, there's two tumblers, three quiftin pots, and four pipes masht, an a whol papper o' bacco shed."  This made um t' glendur at tone tother again; boh black tyke's passion wur coolt at th' pump, an th' wythen kibbo had quiet'nt tother, so at teh camm'd little or noan,—boh agreed t' pay, aw meeon; then seet'n um deawn, an wur friends again in a sniff.


    This house used to be a great resort on Saturday nights, and fair days and holidays, and it was often crammed with the villagers and their neighbours from the surrounding hillsides, and no small addition from Rochdale and Todmorden.  The windows were generally thrown open at such times; and, standing at some distance from the place, one might perhaps be able, in some degree, to sort the roar of revelry going on inside; but if he wished to know what were the component parts of the wild medley of melodies, all gushing out from the house in one tremendous discord, he would have to draw under the windows, where he might hear,—


Our hounds they were staunch, and our horses were good,
As ever broke cover or dashed in a wood;
        Tally-ho! hark forward! huzza! tally-ho!


Whilst, in another corner of the same room, a knot of strong-lunged roysterers joined, at the top of their voices, in the following chorus, beating time to it with fists and feet, and anything else which was heavy and handy:—


       "Then heigho, heigho!
        Sing heigho" cried he.
"Does my wife's first husband remember me?"
        Fal de ral, de ral, de ral, de rido!


In another room he would probably hear "Boyne Water," trolled out in a loud voice,—


The horse was the first that ventured o'er
        The foot soon followed after;
But brave Duke Schomberg was no more,
        At the crossing o' Boyne water.


Whilst another musical tippler, in an opposite corner, sang, for his own special amusement, the following quaint fragment,—


Owd shoon an' stockin's!
An' slippers at's made o' red leather!


In another quarter you might hear the fiddler playing the animated strains of the "Liverpool Hornpipe," or "Th' Devil Rips his Shirt," while a lot of hearty youngsters, in wooden clogs, battered the hearthstone to the tune.  In a large room above, the lights flared in the wind, as the lads and lasses flitted to and fro in the "Haymaker," "Sir Roger de Coverley," or "The Triumph," or threaded through a reel and set till the whole house shook; whilst from other parts of the place you would be sure to hear, louder than all else, the clatter of pots and hunting cries, the thundering hurly-burly of drunken anger, or the crash of furniture, mingling with the boisterous tones of drunken fun.  Whoever entered this house at such a time, in the hope of finding a quiet corner, where he could be still and look round upon the curious mixture of quaint, rough character, might probably find that he had planted himself near the retreat chosen by a drunken, maudlin fellow, who, with one eye closed, sat uttering, by fits, noisy salutations of affection to the pitcher of ale before him; or with one leg over the other, his arms folded, and his head reeling lazily with drunken languor, first to one side and then to the other, poured forth a stream of unconnected jargon in this style: "Neaw then, yello chops!  What's to do wi' thee?  Arto findin' things eawt?  Whether wilto have a pipe o' bacco or a bat o'th ribs?  Aw've summat i'th inside o' my box; but it looks like a brunt ratton, bi Guy!  Help thysel, an' poo' up, whol aw hearken to thi catechism. . . . Con to tell mo what Natur belungs to?—that's the poynt!  Come, oppen eawt!  Aw'm ready for tho! . . . An' if thae's nought to say, turn thi yed aw dunnot like to be stare't at wi' a bigger foo nor mysel. . . Sup, an' gi' me hond! . . . Theer's a lot o' nice, level lads i' this cote, isn't there? . . . Aw'll tell tho what, owd dog —th' world swarms wi' foos, donna i' o' maks o' clooas; an' aw deawt it olez will do, for as fast as th' owd uns dee'n off fresh uns comes.  An' by th' mass, th' latter lot dunnot mend choose at's gwon, for o' at they're brawsen wi' wit.  It'd mend it a bit iv oytch body'd wortch for their own livin'.  Ay; thae may look as fause as to likes; but thae'rt one o'th rook; an' thae'll dee in a bit, owd craytur.  Thae'rt too white abeawt th' ear-roots to carry a grey toppin' whoam.  Grey yure's heavy, mon,—it brings 'em o' to th' floor.  But thir't to leet for heavy wark, my lad. . . . Behave thysel, an' fill thi bally when thou's a chance, for thae looks clemmed.  Arto leet gi'n?  'Cose, i' thou art, thae'd betthur awter, or else thae'll be lyin' o' thi back between two bworts, wi' thi meawth full o' sond, afore thi time's up. . . . Look at yon bletherin', keaw-lipp't slotch, wi' th' quart in his hond!  He's a breet-lookin' brid, isn't he?  Aw dar say thae thinks thysel bwoth hon'somer an' fauser nor him.  Thae may think so, but, —aw know.  Thae'rt no betthur nor porritch,— i' tho're look't, up, for o' at thou's sich a pratty waiscut on!  What breed arto?  Theer's summat i' that!  But it doesn't matter,—yor o' alike at th' bottom!  Theer's our Jammy; he's as big a wastril as ever stare't up a lone.  He ax't me to lend him one of our lads, yesterday.  'Lend te a lad o' mine aw said.  'Naw, bi th' heart!  Aw wouldn't lend tho a dog to catch a ratton wi'!' . . . Hello! my ale's done!


Then he doffed his shoon,
An' he looked i'th oon.


Aw'll go toawrd our Mally, aw think.  Hey, Blossom!  Beauty!  Beawncer!  Bluebell!  For shame o' thysel, Bluebell!  By, dogs, by!  Yo-ho!  Come back, yo thieves!  Come back, aw tell yo!"  And so on, for hours together.

    Littleborough is the last village the traveller leaves on the Lancashire side of the "Edge;" and the old high-road from Manchester to Leeds passes over the top of these moorland hills, gently ascending all the way from Littleborough, by a circuitous route, to the summit,—nearly three miles.  A substantial hostelry stands upon the brow of the hill, called the White House, and sometimes "Joe Faulkner's," from the name of an eccentric landlord who kept the house in the old coaching time.  This house can be seen from the valleys on the Lancashire side for many miles.  It was a celebrated baiting-place for the great stream of travellers which went over these hills before the railway drew it through the vale of Todmorden.  The division stone of the counties of York and Lancaster stands about half a mile beyond this old inn.  Littleborough itself is prettily situated in the hollow of the valley, at the foot of this range of hills, and at the entrance to the Todmorden valley.  It is surrounded by scenery which is often highly picturesque.  Dark moorlands, lofty and lonesome; woody cloughs; and green valleys full of busy life; with picturesque lakes, and little streams which tumble from the hills.  The village has many advantages of situation, both for pleasure and manufacture.  Stone and coal, and good water, are abundant all round it; and it is fast thriving by the increase of woollen and cotton manufacture.  It is still a great thoroughfare for Lancashire and Yorkshire; and a favourite resort for botanists, geologists, and sportsmen.  Northward from the village there are many romantic cloughs, but perhaps the finest of these is the one called "Long Clough," at the head of which is a remarkably fine spring, called "Blue Pots Spring."  The lake of Hollingworth is about half a mile from the village, on the south side; and there is a beautiful walk leading up to it, through a shady dough called "Cleggswood."  This lake, when full, is three miles round.  It supplies the Rochdale Canal, and is well stocked with fish.  Its elevation places it far above the bustle of the valley below, where the highways and byways, the iron-ways and water-ways, interweaving thickly about the scene, are alive with the traffic of the district.  The valley is throng with the river, the railway, the canal, and excellent high-roads; and a hardy and industrious population, which finds abundant employment at the woollen and cotton mills, in the coal-mines and stone delphs, or on the dairy and sheep farms of this border region of South Lancashire.  The shelvy banks of Hollingworth consist of irregular tiers and slopes of pasture, meadow, and moorlands.  The latter are, in some directions, lofty and vast, especially on the eastern side, where the bleak mass of Blackstone Edge shuts out the view; whilst a wild brotherhood of heathery hills belonging to the same range winds about the scene in a semicircle, which stretches far away, out of sight, in the north-west.  But the landscape upon the immediate borders of the lake is of a rural and serene character, though touched here and there with moorland sterility; and there is hardly a thing in sight to remind a spectator that he is surrounded by the most populous manufacturing district in the world.  But the distant rumble of train after train, thundering through the neighbouring valley, and the railway whistle, rising up clear over the green hill north of the water, are sufficient to dispel any reverie which the sight of the lake and its surrounding scenery may awake.  On holidays, in summer time, the green country around the margin of this water is animated by companies of visitors from the hill-sides, and the villages and towns of the neighbouring valleys.  A little steamer plies upon it; and boats may be hired at the Fisherman's Inn, and other places around the banks.  The scattered farmhouses of the vicinity, and the two or three country inns on the borders of the lake, are merry with pleasure parties.  In winter, the landscape about Hollingworth is wild and lonesome; and the water is sometimes so completely frozen over that a horse and light vehicle may be driven across it from bank to bank, a mile distant.  It is a favourite resort of skaters from the surrounding districts, though the ice is often dangerously uneven in some places, by reason of strong springs, and other causes.  Many accidents have happened through skating upon insecure parts of the ice of this water.  Going home late one night, in the depth of winter, to my residence by the side of this lake, I found the midnight scene dimly illuminated in the distance by a gleam of lights upon the lake, and the sound of pick-axes breaking up the ice fell with a startling significance upon the ear.  Our dog Captain did not come out to meet me, when I whistled, as usual; and I hurried, by a short cut over the fields and through the wood, towards the spot where the lights were visible.  There I found a company of farmers and weavers standing upon the bank, with one or two of the wealthy employers from the village of Littleborough, who had drags in their hands, and were giving directions to a number of workmen who were breaking a channel for the passage of a boat to a spot where the ice had broken in with the weight of three young men belonging to the neighbourhood.  This melancholy midnight gathering were working by lantern- light to recover the bodies from the water.  I remained upon the spot until two of the corpses were brought to the bank, and removed in a cart to the farmhouse where I resided, previous to being conveyed to their homes in the distant town later on in the morning, and while it was yet dark.  I shall never forget the appearance of those fresh-looking youths, as they lay stretched side by side, in their skating gear, upon a table, in the long passage which led up to my bed-chamber.

    The margin of the lake is adorned with patches of wood in some places; and the hills stand around the scene in picturesque disorder.  At certain seasons of the year flocks of wild-fowl may be seen resting upon its waters.  There are other lakes farther up in the hills; but the position and beauty of Hollingworth make it a favourite with visitors to the district.


When westling winds and slaughtering guns
        Bring autumn's pleasant weather,


the Littleborough inns are throng with sportsmen, equipped for the grouse shooting, for which sport the moors of the neighbourhood are famous.  Littleborough has a modern look from the railway station, near to which the new church stands, on a slight elevation, about the centre of the place, and upon the site of the old one.  Yet, though the village has a modern appearance, everything known of its history shows that it is a settlement of considerable antiquity.

    The old chapel at Littleborough, which was a primitive building in appearance, was licensed for mass by the Abbot of Whalley, A.D. 1476.  It remained in its original architectural state until it became dangerously ruinous in some parts, and was taken down to make way for the present church.  In the immediate vicinity of Littleborough there are several interesting old houses, now standing upon sites where families of importance in past times settled very early.  Some of these families have become extinct in the male line; the property of others has changed hands, like Scholefield Hall, Stubley Hall, Lightowlers, and Windy Bank.  In the window of Littleborough Chapel are placed the arms of several of the old families of this neighbourhood,—Kyrkeshagh, of Town House; Litholres, of Litholres; Newall, of Town House; Buckley, of Howarth Parva; Holt, of Stubley; Belfield, of Cleggswood; Bamford, of Shore; Halliwell, of Pike House; Ingham, of Cleggswood , and several others.

    As we left Littleborough I began once more to speculate upon the claims set up for it as having been a Roman station; but my thoughts had no firmer footing than the probabilities put forth by Dr. Whitaker, and some other writers, who have perhaps followed him.  Yet, the fact that the silver arm of a small Roman statute of Victory, with an inscription thereon, was dug up in the neighbourhood some time ago, together with the direction of the Roman road as marked in the late Ordnance map, and the visible remains of a small, triangular-shaped entrenchment, on each side of the road, on the summit of Blackstone Edge, seem to support the probabilities which give rise to the opinion, and may yet enable the antiquarians of Lancashire to give us something more certain about the matter than I can pretend to.

    Passing under the railway arch near the church, and leaving the woody glen of Cleggswood on the right hand, we began to ascend the hills by the winding road which crosses the canal and leads through a little hamlet called "Th' Durn," consisting of an old substantial house or two by the road-side, and a compact body of plain cottages, with a foundry in the middle.  "Th' Durn " is situated on one of the shelves of land which the high-road crosses in the ascent of Blackstone Edge, and overlooks the vale in the direction of Todmorden.  It is shaded on the south by a steep hill, clothed with fir and stunted oaks.  Over that hill-top, on the summit of a wild eminence, above the din and travail of mankind, stand three remarkable old folds, called "Th' Whittaker," "Th' Turner," and "Th' Sheep Bonk," like eagles' nests, overlooking, on the east, the heathery solitudes lying between there and Blackstone Edge, the silent domain of moorfowl and black-faced sheep, seldom trodden by human feet, except those of a wandering gamekeeper, or a few sportsmen in August.  Looking forth from this natural observatory, about where "Th' Whittaker" stands, the view to westward takes in an extensive landscape.  The Vale of the Roch is under the eye in that direction, with its pretty sinuosities, its receding dells, and indescribable varieties of undulations, nearly surrounded by hills, of different height and aspect.  Distance lends some "enchantment to the view" as the eye wanders over the array of Nature spread out below,—green dells, waving patches of wood, broad, pleasant pastures; the clear lake of Hollingworth rippling below; old farmhouses, scattered above the knolls and cloughs, by the side of brooklets that shine silvery in the distance; the blue smoke curling up distinctly from each little hamlet and village; mills, collieries, tenter-folds, and manifold evidences of the native industry and manufacturing vigour of the district.  In these valleys all Nature seems to yield tribute to the energy of the inhabitants, and rural life and manufacture work into each other's hands with advantage.  Standing on this spot, with these things spread out before me, I have been struck with the belief that this unfavourable region for agriculture would not have been so well cultivated even as it is now but for the manufacturing system.  Far west, the eye rests upon the town of Rochdale, with its clusters of chimneys, and hovering canopy of smoke, the small square tower of its old church, and the steeples of St. Stephen's and St. James's, with the town-clad ridges of Wardleworth and Castleton, clearly seen, if the day be fine.  On a still Sunday afternoon, in summer time, I have sat upon the hill-top at Whittaker, listening to the distant sound of Rochdale bells, that notable peal of eight, the music of which I shall never forget.  And at such a time, as evening came on, when


Lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea,


I have almost fancied that I could hear the Sunday chime of Rochdale Old Church,


My soul, praise the Lord,


come floating up the vale, in the twilight, with a wonderful charm of peace and solemnity in the sound.  Immediately above "Th' Durn," the high-road leading up to Blackstone Edge rises again as we pass by the old public-house called "Th' Wet Rake," or "Weet Rake."  This house stands at the foot of a steep path leading to Windy Bank, an old stone hall, once inhabited by an ancient family of the neighbourhood.  Windy Bank stands upon the edge of a rocky eminence, rising almost perpendicularly from the road-side by which we had to go.  There used to be a carter in Rochdale, known by the name of Old Woggy, who upset his cart in the craggy road called Windy Bonk Steele.  He returned to his master in the town with the tidings.  "Woggy" always stammered in his speech, but in this case he was worse than usual; and his looks told more than his tongue.  His master watched in vain for "Woggy's" painful delivery, in the usual way; but tired at last, he said, "Sing it, mom!" when "Wog" immediately sang out, with a fluent voice,—


Aw've wanted (upset) wi' th' cart at th' Windy Bonk Steele,
        An' aw've broken tone (the one) wheel.


As we wound round the foot of the rock on the top of which Windy Bank stands, we found the road rutty and uneven, being covered with the perishable sandstone from the hill, broken up and ploughed into slushy gutters, by stone waggons from the quarries thereabouts.  Pike House, the seat of the old local family of Halliwell,—one of whom endowed the Free School at Littleborough,—stands near the north side of the road here; and at a short distance behind there is an interesting house, formerly of some importance, with a quaint fold attached, called Lightowlers.  Driving on close by the edge of the deep Clough called Sladen Hollow, a hundred yards more brought us to the Moorcock Inn, formerly a much more lively place than now, when this mountain road was the great thoroughfare between Lancashire and Yorkshire.  The Moorcock was the last house but one on the Lancashire side of Blackstone Edge.  The house has a rude, wholesome look still, but is little frequented.  Few folk go up that road now, except stone-getters, sand-knockers, shepherds, sportsmen, and a few curious wanderers.  We agreed to leave the drag at the Moorcock, and walk up Blackstone Edge on foot.  "Grey Bobby" was pleased with the prospect of a feed and rest, for it is tough work upon these hill-sides.  He seemed to look round with a thoughtful eye, and pricked his ears to the tread of the brisk young mountaineer,—albeit he had a lame leg and a crutch,—who came forth to loose his traces and lead him to the stable.  In the house we found a few hardy-looking men,—brown-faced, broad-shouldered, moor-farmers or shepherds, apparently, who did a little weaving.  Their sagacious dogs lounged about the floor.  Such men, in such places, generally receive strangers as if they were "fain to see aught that's wick."  They happened to have a Liberal newspaper amongst them, and free trade was the topic of their talk, as it was almost everywhere at that time.  Their conversation showed, by its sensible earnestness, that there were men, even up there, who knew who paid for the great protection delusion.  I have often been amused by the blunt, shrewd discourse of country people in the manufacturing districts, respecting the difference in the condition and feelings of the people in the reigns of "George o' owd George's," and his brother, "Bill o' George's," and the condition of the people now, in the reign of the "little woman at coom a-seein' us lately."  In previous reigns, the tone of their loyalty might have been summed up in what Jone o' Greenfelt says of his wife Margit:—


        Hoo's nought ogen th' king,
        But hoo likes a fair thing,
An' hoo says hoo can tell when hoo's hurt.


I have heard them talk of kings and statesmen "wi' kindlin' fury i' their breasts;" and in their "brews" and clubs, which meet for the spread of information, they discuss the merits of political men and measures, and "ferlie at the folk in Lunnon," in a shrewd, trenchant style, which would astonish some members of the collective wisdom of the nation could they but conveniently overhear it.  The people of Lancashire generally are industrious collectors of political information, from such sources as they can command.  They are an honest and a decent people, and would be governed by such; and they evince some sparks of perception of what is naturally due to themselves as well as to their masters.

    When the lame ostler had attended to his charge he came into the house and sat down with the rest.  Somehow, the conversation glided in the direction of Robert Burns, and we were exchanging quotations from his poems and songs, when one of us came to a halt in reciting a passage.  To our surprise, the young limper who had rubbed down "Grey Bobby" took up the broken thread, and finished the lines correctly, with good discretion and evident relish.  I fancied that we were having it all to ourselves; but the kind-hearted poet who "mourned the daisy's fate" had been at the Moorcock before us, and touched a respondent chord in the heart of our ostler.  I forget who it is that says, "It is the heart which makes the life," but it is true; and it is the heart which sings in Robert Burns, and the heart will stir to the sound all the world over.  How many political essays, and lectures, and election struggles, would it take to produce the humanising effect which the song, "A man's a man for a' that," has awakened?  It would sound well in the British Houses of Parliament, sung in chorus, occasionally, between the speeches.

    After resting ourselves about three-quarters of an hour in the Moorcock, we started up the hill-side, to a point of the road a little past the toll-bar and the old oil mill in the hollow, at the right hand.  Here we struck across the moor, now wading through the heather, now leaping over ruts and holes, where blocks of stone had been got out; then squashing through a patch of mossy swamp, and sinking into the wet turf at every step, till we reached the moss-covered pavement, which the Ordinance surveyors have called a "Roman road."  It is entirely out of any way of travel,—a clearly-defined and regular line of road, about forty feet wide, and which we traced and walked upon up to the summit of the Edge and down to the Yorkshire side, a distance of nearly two miles from our starting place upon the track.  We could distinguish it clearly more than a mile beyond the place we stopped at, to a point where it crossed the road to Ripponden, and over the moor beyond, in a north-westerly direction, preserving the same general features as it exhibited in those parts where it was naked to the eye.  Here and there we met with a hole in the road, where the stones of the pavement had been taken out and carried away.  While we were resting on a bank at this old road-side, one of the keepers of the moor came up with his dogs, and begged that we would be careful not to use any lights whilst upon the moor, for fear of setting fire to the heath, which was inflammably dry.  I took occasion to ask him what was the name of the path we were upon.  He said he did not know, but he had often heard it called "Th' Roman Road."  At a commanding point, where this old pavement reaches the edge of Blackstone, from the Lancashire side, the rocky borders of the road rise equally and abruptly, in two slight elevations, opposite each other, upon which we found certain weather-worn blocks of stone, half buried in the growth of the moor.  There was a similarity in the general appearance, and a certain kind of order visible in the arrangement, of these remains, which looked not unlikely to be the relics of some ancient masonry once standing upon these elevations, and upon the spot which is marked as the line of the "Roman road," in the Ordnance maps, is an "entrenchment."

    The view along the summits of these vast moors looks wild and grand towards the north and south, where dark solitudes stretch away as far as the eye can see.  In every other direction the landscape takes in some cultivated land upon the hill-sides, and the bustle and beauty of many a green vale, lying low down among the mountains, with many a picturesque and cultivated dingle and green ravine higher up, in spots where farmhouses have stood for centuries, sometimes with quaint groups of cottages gathered round them, and clumps of trees spreading about, shading the currents of moorland streams.  In the valleys, the river winding through green meadows, mansions and mills, villages and churches, and scattered cottages, whose little windows wink cheerfully through their screen of leaves,—


Old farms remote, and far apart, with intervening space
Of black'ning rock, and barren down, and pasture's pleasant face:
The white and winding road, that crept through village, glade, and glen,
And o'er the dreary moorlands, far beyond the homes of men.


Standing upon these proud and rugged desolations, which look down upon the changeful life of man in the valleys at their feet with such an air of strength and serenity, whilst the toiling swarms of Lancashire and Yorkshire are scattered over the landscape beyond, in populous hives, the contrast is peculiarly strong; and I have wondered whether these old hills, which have seen the painted Celt tracking his prey through the woods and marshes below, and worshipping "in the eye of light" among wild fanes of rock, upon these mountain wildernesses, which have heard the tread of the legions of old Rome, and have watched the brave Saxon swinging his axe among the forest trees, and, with patient labour, slowly making these valleys into green and homely pasturages,—and which still behold the iron horses of modern days rushing along the valley every hour, snorting fire and steam,—I have wondered whether the hills, at whose feet so many generations of brave men have come and gone, like swathes of grass, might not yet again see these native valleys of mine as desolate and stirless as themselves.  These moorland hills, the bleak companions of mist, and cloud, and tempest, rise up one after another upon the scene, till they grow dim upon the distant edge of the sky.  Lying upon my back, among the heather, I looked along the surface of the moors, and I shall long remember the peculiar loneliness of the landscape seen in that way.  Nothing was in sight but a wild infinity of moors and mountain tops, succeeding each other like heaving waves of varied form.  Not a sign of life was visible over all the scene, except immediately around us, where, now and then a black-faced sheep lifted his head above the heather, and stared, with a mingled expression of wonder and fear, at the new intruders upon its solitary pasturage.  Occasionally, a predatory bird might be seen upon these hills, flitting across the lone expanse,—a prowler of the skies; and here and there the moorfowl sprang up from the cover, in whirring flight, and with that wild clucking cry which, in the stillness of the scene, came upon the ears with a clearness that made the solitude more evident to the senses.  A rude shepherd's hut, too, could he seen sheltering near a cluster of crags upon the hill-side, and hardly distinguishable from the heathery mounds which lay scattered over the surface of the moor.  But in the distance all seemed one wilderness of untrodden sterility,—as silent as death.  The sky was cloudless whilst we wandered upon those barren heights; and the blue dome looked down grandly-calm upon the landscape, which was covered with a glorious sunshine.


                           No stir of air was there;
Not so much life as on a summer day
Robs not one light seed from the feathered grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.


Heaven and earth were two magnificent stillnesses, which appeared to gaze serenely and steadily at each other, with the calm dignity and perfect understanding of ancient friends whose affinities can never be unsettled.  Looking horizontally along the moors, in this manner, nothing was visible of those picturesque creases which lie deep between these mountain ridges and teem with the industrious multitudes of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

    These hills form part of a continuous range, running across the island, in different elevations, and familiarly known as the "Backbone of England."  Looking southward and south-east, in the direction of the rocky waste called Stanedge,—which is crossed by the high-road from Manchester to Huddersfield,—and Buckstones, which, according to local tradition, was formerly a highwayman's haunt,—the whole country is one moorland wild; and the romantic hills of Saddleworth, with the dim summits of the Derbyshire mountains, bound the view.  Northward, the landscape has the same general appearance.  In this direction, Studley Pike lately occupied the summit of a lofty moorland, overlooking the valley between Hebden Bridge and the town of Todmorden, which is part of a district famous for its comely breed of people, and for the charms of its scenery.  Studley Pike was a tall stone tower, erected to commemorate the restoration of peace at the end of our wars with Napoleon.  Singularly, it came thundering to the ground on the day of the declaration of war against Russia.

    On the west, the Valley of the Roch, with its towns and villages, stretches away out from this group of hills.  Littleborough nestles immediately at the foot of the mountain; and the eye wanders along the vale, from hamlet to hamlet, till it reaches the towns of Rochdale, Bury, Heywood, Middleton, and the smoky canopy of Manchester in the distance.  On a favourable day, many other large and more distant Lancashire towns may be seen.  On the east, or Yorkshire side, looking towards Halifax, the hills appear to be endless.  The valleys are smaller and more numerous, often lying in narrow gorges and woody ravines between the hills, hardly discernible from the distance.  The mountain sides have a more cultivated look, and hovering clouds of smoke, rising up from the mountain hollows, with sometimes the tops of factory chimneys peering out from the vales, show where villages like Ripponden and Sowerby are situated.  On the distant edge of the horizon, a grey cloud hanging steadily beyond the green hill called King Cross marks the locality of the town of Halifax.  Green plots of cultivated land are creeping up the steep moors; and comfortable farmhouses, with folds of cottages, built of the stone of the district, are strewn about the lesser hills, giving life and beauty to the scene.

    For native men, the moors of this neighbourhood, as well as the country seen from them, contain many objects of interest.  The hills standing irregularly around; the rivers and streams; the lakes and pools below, and in the fissures of the mountains,—we knew their names.  The lakes or reservoirs about Blackstone Edge form remarkable features in its scenery.  One of these (Blackstone Edge Reservoir) takes its name from the mountain upon whose summit it fills an extensive hollow.  The lake is upwards of two miles in circumference.  The scenery around it is a table-land, covered with heather, and rocks, and turfy swamps.  The other two, White Lees and Hollingworth, lie lower, about half-way down the moors.  White Lees is a retired little glen, about a mile north-west of the White House, on the top of Blackstone Edge; and Hollingworth, the largest and most picturesque of the three, is situated about two miles south-west of the same spot.  Close by the side of the high road from Lancaster, over these hills into Yorkshire, this old hostelry, known as "Th' White House," is situated near the top of Blackstone Edge, looking towards Lancashire.  The division-stone of the two counties stands by the road-side, and about half a mile eastward of this public-house.  The northern bank of the road, upon which the division-stone stands, shuts out from view the lake called Blackstone Edge Reservoir,—a scene which "skylark never warbles o'er."  A solitary cart-road leads off the road, at the corner of the reservoir, and, crossing the moor in a north-easterly direction, goes down into a picturesque glen, called Crag Valley, or the Vale of Turvin, for it is known by both names.  This valley winds through the heart of the moors, nearly four miles, emptying itself at Mytholmroyd, in the Vale of Todmorden.  Fifty years ago Crag Valley was an unfrequented region, little known and much feared.  Now there are thriving clusters of population in it, and pretty homesteads, in isolated situations about the sides of the clough.  Manufacture has crept up the stream.  Turvin is becoming a resort of ramblers from the border towns and villages of the two counties, on account of the picturesque wildness of its scenery.  In some places the stream dashes through deep gorges of rock, overhung with wood, peeping through which one might be startled by the sight of a precipitous steep, shrouded with trees, and the foaming water rushing wildly below over its fantastic channel.  There are several mills in the length of the valley now; and in level holms down in the hollow, the land is beautifully green.  The vale is prettily wooded in many parts; but the barren hills overlook the whole length of Turvin.  In former times, the clough was notable among the people of the surrounding districts as a rendezvous of coiners and robbers; and the phrase, "a Turvin shilling," grew out of the dexterity of these outlaws, who are said to have lurked a long time in the seclusion of this moorland glen.

    Approaching Turvin by the rough road across the moor, from the top of Blackstone Edge, it leads into a deep corner of the valley, in which stands the Church of St. John's in the Wilderness, built a few years ago for the behoof of the inhabitants of the neighbouring moors, and for a little community of factory people in this remote nook of the land.

    Upon the summit of one of the neighbouring mountains there is a great platform of desolation, distinguished, even among this stony waste, as the Wilderness; and I think that whoever has visited the spot will be inclined to say that the roughest prophet that ever brooded over his visions in solitary places of the earth could not well wish for a wilder Patmos than this moor-top.  On the right hand of the public-house, near St. John's Church, several rough roads lead in different directions.  The centre one goes up through a thick wood which clothes the mountain-side, and on by winding routes to this "cloud-capped" Wilderness.  On a distant part of this bleak tract stand two remarkable Druidical remains, called "Th' Alder Stones," or the Altar Stones,—sombre masses of rock, upon which, it is said, the Druid priests of our island performed their sacrificial rites before the wild Celts of the district.  The position and formation of these stones, which have each a sloping top, with a hollow in the middle, and a channel thence downward, seem to confirm the character attributed to them.

    Returning from St. John's in the Wilderness towards Blackstone Edge, a quaint stone building called Crag Hall occupies a shady situation upon the hill-side, at the right hand of the vale, and at the edge of the wild tract called Erringdale Moor.  This ancient hall contains many specimens of carved oak furniture, which have been preserved with the building from the time of its old owners.  A few years ago the keeper of Erringdale Moor dwelt in it, and kept the place in trim as a lodge, for the entertainment of the owners of the moor, and their sporting friends, in the grouse season.

    Between the moor-side, on which Crag Hall is situated, and the road up to the top of Blackstone Edge, a moorland stream runs along its rocky channel, in the deep gut of the hills.  I remember that many years ago I wandered for hours, one summer day, up this lonely water, in company with a young friend of mine.  In the course of our ramble upon the banks of the stream, little dreaming of any vestiges of human creation in that region, we came almost upon the roof of a cottage, rudely but firmly built of stone.  We descended the bank by a sloping path leading to the door.  There was no smoke, no stir, nor sound, either inside or out; but through the clean windows we saw a pair of hand-looms, with an unfinished piece upon them.  We knocked repeatedly, hoping to obtain some refreshment after our stroll; but there was no answer; and just as we were about to leave the lonely tenement, and take our way homewards,—for the twilight was coming on, and we had nearly ten miles to go,—we heard the sound of a pair of clogs in the inside of the cottage, and the door was opened by a tall, strong man, apparently about thirty-five years of age.  His clear-complexioned face was full of frankness and simplicity.  His head was large and well-formed, and covered with bristling brown hair, cut short.  Yawning, and stretching his arms out, he accosted us at once, as if we were old friends, for whom he had been looking some time,—with, "Well, heaw are yo, to-day?"  We asked him for a drink of water.  He invited us in, and set two chairs for us in a little kitchen, where the furniture was rudely-simple and sound, and everything in good order, and cleaned to its height.  He brought forth pitchers full of buttermilk, plenty of thick oat-cakes, and the sweet butter for which these hills are famous,—and we feasted.  The cool of the evening was coming on, and there was no fire in his grate, so he fetched a great armful of dry heather from an inner room, and, cramming it into the fire-place, put a light to it.  Up blazed the inflammable eilding, with a crackling sound, making the room look cheerful as himself.  A few books lay upon the window-sill, which we asked leave to look at.  He handed them to us, commenting on them, in a shrewd and simple way, as he did so.  They were chiefly books on mathematics, a science which he began to discourse upon with considerable enthusiasm.  Now, my young companion happened to have a passion for that science; and he no sooner discovered this affinity between himself and our host than to it they went pell-mell, with books and chalk, upon the clean flags, and I was bowled out of the conversation at once.  Leaving them to their problems, and circles, and triangles, I walked out upon the moor, and, sitting upon a knoll above the house, wrote a little rhyme in my note-book, which some years after appeared in the corner of a Manchester newspaper.  When I returned they were still at it, ding-dong, about something or another in differential calculus; and I had great difficulty in impressing upon the mind of my companion the important area lying between us and our homes.  This lonely mathematician, it seemed, was a bachelor, and he got his living partly by weaving, and partly by watching the moor for the owners; and as I looked upon him I almost envied the man his strong frame, his sound judgment, his happy, unsophisticated mind, and his serene and simple way of life.  He walked over the moor with us nearly two miles, without hat, conversing about his books, and the lonely manner of his life, with which he appeared to be perfectly contented.  At our parting, he pressed us to come over the moors again the first opportunity, and spend a day with him at his cottage.  I have hardly ever met with another man who seemed so strong and sound in body, and so frank, and sensible, and simple-hearted, as this mathematical eremite of the mountains. [p.199]  That enthusiastic attachment to science which so strongly distinguishes him in my remembrance is a common characteristic of the native working people of Lancashire, among whom in proportion to the population, there is an extraordinary number of well-read and practised mechanics, botanists, musicians, and mathematicians; and the booksellers in the towns of the county know that any standard works upon these subjects, and some upon divinity, are sure to find a large and ready sale among the operative classes.

    We wore the afternoon far away in rambling about the high and open part of Blackstone Edge, between the group of rocks called Robin Hood's Bed and the solitary inn called White House, upon the Yorkshire road.  Wading through fern and heather, and turfy swamps, climbing rocks, and jumping over deep gutters and lodgments of peaty water, had made us so hungry and weary that we made the best of our way to this inn, while the sun was yet up above the hills.  Here the appetite we had awakened was amply satisfied; and we refreshed and rested ourselves awhile, conversing about the country around us, and exchanging anecdotes of its remarkable local characters, and reminiscences of our past adventures in the neighbourhood.  Many of these related to "Old Joe," the quaint gamekeeper at Hollingworth, a kind of local "Leather-Stocking," who has many a time rowed us about the lake in his fishing-boat.

    When we came out of the inn the sun had gone down upon the opposite side of the scene.  Night's shadows were climbing the broad steeps; but the summit-lines of the hills still showed in clear relief against the western sky, where the sunset's glory lingered.  In every other direction the skirts of the landscape were fading from view.  Rochdale town, with its church tower and stacks of tall chimneys, had disappeared in the distance; the mountainous wastes, stretching away on the north, south, and east, were melting into indistinct masses; and below the hills the dreamy shades of evening were falling softly down, and folding away for the night the hamleted valleys between Blackstone Edge and the boundary of the scene.  Day's curtains were closing to; the watchers of night were beginning their golden vigil; and all the air seemed thick with dreams.  We descended from the moor-top by a steep path, which diverges, on the right-hand side of the highway, a little below the White House, and cuts off a mile of the distance between that point and the Moorcock.  Far down, from scattered cots and folds, little lights were beginning to glimmer.  That frontlet jewel of mild Evening's forehead,—"the star that bids the shepherd fold,"—was glowing above us, and here and there twinklings of golden fire were stealing out from the blue expanse.  As we picked our way down the moor, the stillness of the tract around us seemed to deepen as the light declined; and there was no distinguishable sound in the neighbourhood of our path except the silvery tricklings of indiscernible rills.  From the farms below, the far-off bark of dogs and lowing of cattle came floating up, mingled with the subdued rush and rattle of railway trains in the valley.  Half an hour's walk down the hill brought us back to the Moorcock.  Limper, the ostler, got "Grey Bobby" from the stable, and put him into the harness.  Out came the folk of the house, to see us off.  Our frisky tit treated us to another romp; after which we drove down the road in the gloaming, and on through Littleborough and Smallbridge to Rochdale, by the light of the stars.


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