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There doth the gentle Creature lie
The Poem of the White Doe of Rylstone is founded on a local tradition, and on the Ballad in Percy's Collection, entitled, "The Rising of the North." The tradition is as follows: — "About this time," not long after the Dissolution, "a White Doe, say the aged people of the neighbourhood, long continued to make a weekly pilgrimage from Rylstone over the fells of Bolton, and was constantly found in the Abbey Church-yard during divine service; after the close of which she returned home as regularly as the rest of the congregation." — Dr. Whitaker's History of the Deanery of Craven. — Rylstone was the property and residence of the Nortons, distinguished in that ill-advised and unfortunate Insurrection; which led me to connect with this tradition the principal circumstances of their fate, as recorded in the Ballad.
"Bolton Priory," says Dr. Whitaker in his excellent book, The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, "stands upon a beautiful curvature of the Wharf, on a level sufficiently elevated to protect it from inundations, and low enough for every purpose of picturesque effect.
"Opposite to the East window of the Priory Church, the river washes the foot of a rock nearly perpendicular, and of the richest purple, where several of the mineral beds, which break out, instead of maintaining their usual inclination to the horizon, are twisted by some inconceivable process into undulating and spiral lines. To the South all is soft and delicious; the eye reposes upon a few rich pastures, a moderate reach of the river, sufficiently tranquil to form a mirror to the sun, and the bounding hills beyond, neither too near nor too lofty to exclude, even in winter, any portion of his rays.
"But, after all, the glories of Bolton are on the North. Whatever the most fastidious taste could require to constitute a perfect landscape is not Only found here, but in its proper place. In front, and immediately under the eye, is a smooth expanse of park-like enclosure, spotted with native elm, ash, &c. of the finest growth: on the right a skirting oak wood, with jutting points of grey rock; on the left a rising copse. Still forward, are seen the aged groves of Bolton Park, the growth of centuries; and farther yet, the barren and rocky distances of Simon-seat and Barden Fell contrasted with the warmth, fertility, and luxuriant foliage of the valley below.
"About half a mile above Bolton the valley closes, and either side of the Wharf is overhung by solemn woods, from which huge perpendicular masses of grey rock jut out at intervals.
"This sequestered scene was almost inaccessible till of late, that ridings have been cut on both sides of the River, and the most interesting points laid open by judicious thinnings in the woods. Here a tributary stream rushes from a waterfall, and bursts through a woody glen to mingle its waters with the Wharf: there the Wharf itself is nearly lost in a deep cleft in the rock, and next becomes a horned flood enclosing a woody island — sometimes it reposes for a moment, and then resumes its native character, lively, irregular, and impetuous.
"The cleft mentioned above is the tremendous Strid. This chasm, being incapable of receiving the winter floods, has formed on either side, a broad strand of naked gritstone full of rock-basins, or 'pots of the Linn,' which bear witness to the restless impetuosity of so many Northern torrents. But, if here Wharf is lost to the eye, it amply repays another sense by its deep and solemn roar, like 'the Voice of the angry Spirit of the Waters,' heard far above and beneath, amidst the silence of the surrounding woods.
"The terminating object of the landscape is the remains of Barden Tower, interesting from their form and situation, and still more so from the recollections which they excite."
Page 59. Line 4.
"From Bolton's old monastic Tower"
It is to be regretted that at the present day Bolton Abbey wants this ornament: but the Poem, according to the imagination of the Poet, is composed in Queen Elizabeth's time. *• Formerly," says Dr. Whitaker, "over the Transept was a tower. This is proved not only from the mention of bells at the Dissolution, when they could have had no other place, but from the pointed roof of the choir, which must have terminated westward, in some building of superior height to the ridge."
Page 60. Line 5.
"A rural Chapel, neatly drest."
"The Nave of the Church having been reserved at the Dissolution, for the use of the Saxon Cure, is still a parochial Chapel; and, at this day, is as well kept as the neatest English Cathedral."
Page 60. Line 12.
"Who late in the shade of the Prior s Oak." "At a small distance from the great gateway stood the Prior's Oak, which was felled about the year 1720, and sold for Id, According to the price of wood at that time, it could scarcely have contained less than 1400 feet of timber."
Page 66. Line 10.
"When Lady A'dliza mourned-"
The detail of this tradition may be found in Dr. Whitaker's book, and in a Poem in the Third Volume of this Collection, "The Force of Prayer," &c.
Page 66. Line 26.
"Past, pass who will, yon chantry door."
"At the East end of the North aisle of Bolton Priory Church, is a chantry belonging to Bethmesly Hall, and a vault, where, according to tradition, the Claphams" (who inherited this estate, by the female line from the Mauleverers) "were interred upright." John de Clapham, of whom this ferocious act is recorded, was a man of great note in this time: " he was a vehement partisan of the house of Lancaster, in whom the spirit of his chieftains, the Cliffords, seemed to survive."
Page 67. Line 19.
"Who loved the Shepherd Lord to meet."
In the Second Volume of these Poems, will be found one, entitled, " Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, upon the Restoration of Lord Clifford the Shepherd to the Estates and Honours of bis Ancestors." To that Poem is annexed an account of this personage, chiefly extracted from Burn's and Nicholson's History of Cumberland and Westmoreland. It gives me pleasure to add these further particulars concerning him, from Dr. Whitaker, who says, " he retired to the solitude of Barden, where he seems to have enlarged the tower out of a