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This practice has, however, of late years fallen altogether into disuse ; but I have known many people relieved by bathing in this spring, in complaints for which cold bathing is generally beneficial, though probably the waters contained no sanative powers beyond those which belong to purity and frigidity.
The spring now appears in a dirty and neglected state, as if the owner of the soil little regarded the treasure he possessed, in such an abundant supply of good water, although it may now have lost the fame of those healing powers which were attributed to it in former times. Nay, I have been informed that this person, a true descendant of the antient Gervii, begrudging the trivial injury which he received from the occasional trespass of a soli. tary bather, with wisdom like that of the wise men of Gotham, who built a hedge to enclose a cuckoo, endeavoured to stop up the spring with some strong planks. I hardly need assure the reader that it flowed through this miserable barricado in as copious a stream as ever. What a contrast does such an action. afford between the goodness of God and the selfishness of man. Miserably short-sighted and blind, he does not perceive how greatly his own interest might have been served by promoting the good of his fellow.creatures, but in his attempt to exclude them would render this precious gift of the Crea, tor even useless to himself.
houses of some of the parishioners, for the purposes of confession and penance; and the other which is held at the Holy-wells, dedicated to some saint or angel, to which thousands of the peasantry resort at stated times. Thus at the Holy-wells at Struel, near Down-patrick, the sacred fountain is supposed to possess extraordinary virtues both in cleansing the pollutions of the soul, as well as the diseases of the body. A sacred stream supplied from one of these wells, flows until it empties itself into three other basins, one of which is appropriated to curing the blind, another for select company; one for general and promiscuous use, and one is reserved for drinking. Wonderful are the cures said to be performed at these wells,—the blind are enabled to see, and the lame to walk. Those who are not cured, eagerly enquire, Who has got the blessing? The virtues of these springs are supposed to be the greatest on Midsummer Day, when about one thousand persons resort to them, for whose accommodation a number of tents are erected on the plain, where whiskey is sold, and entertainment of every kind provided. The ceremonies commence upon the Sunday preceding, and commonly end on the Sunday succeeding Midsummer Day. As it is not necessary, however, that each penitent should continue here during all that period, few remain longer than one half the week. The latter half seems to be regarded as more holy: for the place is during that time more frequented, particularly on the last day, which for that reason is called big Sunday. The following is a description of a Patron's Day, from Hardy's History of Holy-wells, in Ireland. About half way up Mamturk mountain we overtook a party of lads and lasses beguiling the time of the ascent by the help of a piper who went before. Some few we met coming down, sober people, who had performed their station at the Holy-well, and had no desire to be partakers in the sort of amusement which generally follows. When I reached the summit and came in sight of the ground, it was about four in the afternoon, and the pattern was at its height; and truly in this wild mountain spot the scene was most striking and picturesque. There were a score tents or more, some open at sides and some closed, hundreds in groups were seated on the grass, or on the stones' which lie abundantly there apart and half screened by the masses of rocks which lay about; girls of the better order which had finished their pastimes, were putting off their shoes and stockings to trot homeward.
The name Holy-well, which has been bestowed upon this spring, is of Saxon origin, which shews that its reputed virtue had attracted notice previous to the conquest; and sanctity attached to it by some legendary story which is now. lost.
The worship of fountains is indeed a remnant of heathen superstition. It is hardly necessary to remind the classic reader that the countries of antient Greece and Italy abounded with trees and springs, consecrated to their imaginary deities, who were supposed to delight in groves and fountains of water, and who resorted there to desport and enjoy themselves, and rendered the locality sacred by their presence; and that such persons as wished to ensure the favour and protection of these deities resorted to the spot, and brought offerings of wine, milk, and honey. In England the Druids * had appropriated wells and fountains for the purposes of lustration connected with their bloody rites. When these heathen superstitions were superseded on the introduction of christianity, the saints took possession of these places. Thus at St. Michael's well in Ireland, the festival day on the twenty-ninth of September, which concurs with the autumnal equinox, and consequently with the autumnal sacrifices and Baal times of the Druids; and other places, such as Penzance in Cornwall, formerly celebrated for Druidic sacrifices of human beings to the devil, and wells of Druidic worship, have been by the foundation of monasteries and other religious institutions, dedicated to St. Michael, for the purpose of more easily abolishing pagan rites and the ideas which they recalled.
* Stanley thinks that the worship of fountains may be traced to the Chaldeans; and a passage from Hanway's Travels, leads directly to the oriental origin of these Druidical superstitions. “We arrived at a desolate caravanserai, where we found nothing but water. I observed a tree with a number of rags hung to the branches. These were so many charms, which passengers coming from Ghileau, a province remarkable for agues, had left there, in a fund expectation of leaving their diseases there also." Rozet, in his Account of Algiers, has given us the following interesting narrative of this worship of fountains both by Jews and Mussulmen in that country. “A little further from the town, on the sea coast, is a Marabout or Hermitage, not less famous among the people, particularly the Jews, than that of Syde Yakoub; it stands under the shade of a magnificent olive tree, which spreads out its branches like a cedar. Below it on the west side of a rock is a great fountain, covered by a circular vault, to which we are assured that Syde Yakoub gave the property of curing all kinds of diseases.
“Every Wednesday pilgrims repair to the fountain, and sometimes in such numbers that they block up the road. One Wednesday, as I walked out of the town on this road, about six o'clock in the
morning, I saw some negroes and a great number of Jews proceeding in this direction ; totally ignorant of their design, I followed them, not doubting that some very interesting ceremony was to be performed. I joined two whole Jewish families, men, women, and children. When we reached the fountain the men stopped; but the women took off their shoes, and taking the baskets which their husbands had placed on the ground, they very devoutly approached the fountain. Each drew from her basket an earthen pot, in which she made a fire with tinder and a little coal; they then lighted small yellow tapers, and placed them on a stone beside a little hole, whence issued a jet d'eau, crying you, you. After this they returned, threw some grains of incense into their fires, and carried the pots in their hands several times about the fountains, They then returned to their baskets, some of them took eggs, boiled beans and bread; others the feathers and blood of a chicken, which they threw into the basin, crying you, you ; after which they placed themselves on the step nearest to the water, washed their face and hands, drank the water, made their children drink it, and then returned to their husbands, who were waiting for them at the place where they first halted.
“Taking a turn round the fountain, I found sitting on a stone an old Moor covered with dirt, who presented to me a bit of paper which he held in his hand. It was a billet signed by the general-in-chief of the French army, which authorised him, a marabout, to post himself on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the holy fountain of Syde Yakoub, to receive the offerings of the pilgrims. I returned him his paper, and asked him if the offerings he received were numerous. "No,' said he, I scarcely receive any thing, this place is more visited by Jews than Mussulmen.'
“ As I was going away I heard a great noise on the sea shore; I went to see what it might be, and was not a little surprised to find there many Jewish families drinking and eating, uttering from time to time cries of joy, and singing at the utmost extent of their voice. I learnt that after coming to seek the protection of Syde Yakoub, it was proper to pass the whole day in drinking, eating, and amusing themselves with their friends in the open air. In the evening I returned to see if my companions of the morning had punctually fulfilled their duty, and I found in the fields, all along the
From Low Burnham to Epworth the high grounds of the Isle form a beautiful curve, which when the waters covered the surface, must have been a warm sunny bay, the favourite resort both of fish and fowl. The naturalist and the sportsman can never look on the scene but with feelings of peculiar interest, and regret that ever Vermuyden was born.
IN the southern extremity of this parish the river Idle commenced its meanderings through the Isle of Axholme, until its waters were carried off by Vermuyden into the Trent at Stockwith. This place has since been called, for very obvious reasons, Idle Stop. A strong bank at some distance from the stream prevents the water from flowing in its old channel, and which is continued all the way to the river Trent. The deluge of water which takes place over the level of the low grounds when this bank breaks, has been already narrated from an entry made by the late Mr. Dunderdale, in the old Church Bible of Sandtoft. At this time Gringley Carr was a complete marsh, but since that fine tract of land was drained and cultivated another bank was erected on the Nottinghamshire side, leaving a considerable space for the overflowing of this river during floods. The old channel may be discovered close to the place where the river was turned off. Some one
road conducting to Syde Yakoub, numerous assemblies of several families in which every body was drunk. Several musicians had come to increase the uproar, and the guests accompanied them by singing or rather howling all at once. Men, women, and children unable to support themselves any longer, rolled one over another without any regard to modesty, and we may thank the drawers which the Jewesses wear that this was not altogether violated.
“ Salomon, to whom I related all I had seen, told me 'Syde Yakoub is a very powerful Marabout, whom we worship as well as the Mussulmen. He cures all manner of diseases, and drives the devit out of the body of him who seeks his aid."
has planted an orchard, and the fruit trees which delight to grow in warp, have attained a large size. One or two small houses have been built here, but they are hardly sufficient to constitute a hamlet or vill.
Near this place formerly stood Perteney Cross, vulgarly called Parson's Cross, but in the old parchment copy of Arelebout’s map, now lying before me, Parting Cross, which was erected by one of the family of Evers on