Page images

3 Mile


where is a carefully-executed stone still standing. Some of the distances seem to be customary miles and others guesses at statute miles

To Kighley, 4 Mile [6 statute miles)
To Burley,
2 Mile

To Bingley, 3 Mile


] To Ilkley,


] Note the colloquial " mile" for "miles.' “

” (30) There is a stone near the top of Alma Hill, above East Morton, where the road enters what was formerly unenclosed moorland

JOHRK, 28 M ... [from 32 to 34 statute miles to “ York”] (31) On the Keighley-Ilkley Road, across Rombalds Moor, below “Weary Hill," is a stone with the figures nearly obliteratedKighley, 4

[5 statute miles] Ilkley,


] (32) Crossing the Wharfe by Ilkley Old Bridge, and ascending past Middleton Lodge, we find a rudely-carved stoneKighley,

5 .... [7 statute miles] Rippon, 15

[About 20 statute miles) (33) Following the line of the Roman Road northwards, at the point called Hunger Hill, where we enter Middleton Moor, we cross the old Skipton-Otley track (see No. 24), where is a stone

To Rippon, 12 M [20 statute miles)
To Ilklee, I M

[ 2

] To Skipton, 6 M


To Ottley,
[ 73


(Dr. Villy.) The 6 in. ordnance map shows a track running hence northnorth-east across the moor, but it is practically obliterated, and the following three stones on the line of it are all prostrate(34) Bracken RidgeTo Rippon, 13 M

(18] statute miles) (35) Cliffords BentИ099IЯ ОТ


To Ilklea, M 2


] The designer of this stone appears to have thought that the letters should read in the direction they refer to : rather a Chinese form of reasoning.

There is here a considerable length of track laid with large fiat stones.

1 (?) Altered from 5 to 7.


(36) Gawk Hall Ridge

To Rippon, 12 M (nearly 18 statute miles]
Ilkley, 3 M


] The wayfarer on this track coming from Keighley would travel 3 miles to the High Ash stone—the stone would say he had travelled 2 miles from Keighley.

Thence, after passing the milestones in the Great Allotment and at Weary Hill, the Middleton Lodge stone (7 miles from Keighley) tells him that he has come only 5 miles from his starting point. The Middleton Lodge stone says that it is 15 miles to Ripon (20 statute miles). Thence to the Hunger Hill stone is I mile, the stone says 12 miles to Ripon (20 statute miles). Thence to the Bracken Ridge stone is if miles, the stone says 13 miles to Ripon (18] statute miles). Thence to the Cliffords Bent stone is 1 mile, the stone says II miles to Ripon (181 statute miles), always supposing that the traveller can read the inscription backwards.

Thence he travels mile further to Gawk Hall Ridge, and finds that he has lost ground, for the distance to " Rippon" by milestone is still 12 miles (really 18).

There is nothing to show that these stones were not all in position at one time, and they must have been very puzzling. The wayfaring man, though no fool, might have erred therein. Travellers on the Continent are often surprised at the accuracy with which the peasants will give the distance of any place in hours, while ours are often quite at sea as to the distance in miles. Can we wonder when for five or six generations they have been brought up on a system of milestones like the one described above ?

There must be many other stones like those recorded above, and I shall be grateful for any information about them before they disappear.



UNDOUBTEDLY, Roseberry Topping is the most striking natural feature that Cleveland possesses. Standing like a circular fort at the north-western angle of the Cleveland Hills, and apparently towering above the neighbouring table-land, although, in reality, a few feet lower than the highest point on the Guisborough Moor, it cannot fail to have early impressed itself upon the imaginations of the inhabitants. It is sad to think that recent mining operations have shattered its frame, and that in a few years its glory will have departed. From time to time attempts have been made to delve out as much of its history as is hidden in its name.

The name appears in many forms in ancient documents. Canon Atkinson gives the following list :-“ Otneberch, Ohtnebercg, Othenbruche, Othenbrugh,

Othenbrugh, Othenesbergh, Ornbach Onesbergh, Ohtneberg, Ounsberry, Theuerbrugh, Theuerbrught, Hensberg, and Hogtenburg."1 The list might be considerably increased, but many of these forms are obviously corrupt, and the true readings not very difficult to replace.

It is interesting to note that the form Roseberry does not occur until the seventeenth century, and this fact adds to the difficulties.

Graves' Cleveland, page 213n, gives us an early etymology which, though impossible to accept, may serve as an introduction. “Rosebury is a word of British origin, denoting a fortified hill ; and was probably used as an exploratory station; it was so named of the British ross, a heath or common; and the Saxon bury or berg, a castrum or fortress. Oonsbury is a word of similar import, from oon, which signifies a hill. The word topping, which is frequently annexed, is evidently Danish, from toppen, an apex or point, as descriptive of the peaked summit of the mountain, which is now used as a beacon to give an alarm to the country in times of public danger. Othenburgh, the name which sometimes occurs in ancient records, is conjectured to be derived from Othan or Odin, the same as Woden, which signifies fire, and by our Saxon ancestors esteemed and honoured for their God of battle as the Romans did their god, Mars. But this conjecture will be considered by some etymologists, perhaps, as more ingenious than conclusive.”

1 Atkinson, Cleveland, i, 95.

On the other hand, it is possible that other etymologists may consider the conjecture in the last paragraph less inconclusive than the authoritative statements in the earlier paragraphs, although these are generally followed by writers of popular local histories.

Let us next turn to a historian of Cleveland, whose word is entitled to more weight, and from whom we cannot differ with a light heart.

At page 96 of his Cleveland, Ancient and Modern, Canon Atkinson shows a decided leaning towards the view taken by Mr. Haigh (Anglo-Saxon Sagas, p. 45), namely, that Roseberry is the Hreosnabeorh of the poem of Beowulf. In particular he calls attention to the fact that the meaning of the AngloSaxon adjective, hreose, is rushing on, violently approaching, and, therefore, that in point of signification“ Hreose beorh," or “Hreoses beorh," would be an exact equivalent of Odinberg or Othenesberg, meaning equally the “hill of the rager, or rusher."

Canon Atkinson suggests the probability of the notion that the name Othenberg or Othenesberg was simply a translation of an old, and Anglian (or English), name, and that the present form is merely a reassertion by that older English name of its ancient rights over its mediæval Danish supplanter.

At page 166n of his Whitby Cartulary (Surtees Society, vol. lxix) he goes a little further. Finding it difficult to account for the change from Othenesbergh, Oonsbergh, etc., to Roseberry on any supposition, he thinks that not the least probable may be that there is in the latter the popularly preserved recollection of the old Anglian name.

The idea that Cleveland is the scene of one of the oldest English poems is no doubt peculiarly fascinating as well as flattering to our local pride. I find it, however, equally difficult to believe that an old Anglian name like Hreosnabeorh, as that a Celtic name like Ros, could have lain hidden for six, seven, or more hundred years, no trace of it during that period ever having come to light, and then suddenly be reproduced, in the seventeenth century, by a people to whom Celtic, Anglian, and Danish were alike sealed languages. It is, therefore, unnecessary to consider Mr. Haigh's theory, which is not followed by modern


commentators on Beowulf. Nor, with great respect to the learned Canon, do I find the transition from Othenesburgh to Roseberry quite so inexplicable as he does. On the contrary, I venture to think that by a close attention to date the transition is fairly apparent.

In arranging any series of names found in ancient documents in order of date, it is true that as most of the documents are known to us by means of copies only, we can be sure whether the form of the name is that existing at the date of the original or of the copy, or what the copyist believed to be the form at the date of the original. On the other hand, unless we assume one or the other, we can have no theory to work upon, and I shall assume that the deed is correctly copied unless the contrary appears.

Now, as a rule, a natural feature such as a mountain or a river is only mentioned in legal documents in connection with boundaries, in other words, is very rarely mentioned. Fortunately for us, the nearest village to Roseberry contains so common a name that it is known either as Newton-underRoseberry or Newton-in-Cleveland, whenever there is the slightest possibility of a misunderstanding otherwise occurring. The full phrase is not used in the common speech of the country; to those living near it, it is Newton, and Newton only.

This is the first record that we have of it; in Domesday it is called Neueton, and we can only identify it and distinguish it from the many other places of the same name by its collocation and by tracing its history. Nor have I been fortunate enough to find the fuller name in any of the Pipe Rolls.

The earliest notice of our subject appears to be contained at pages 2 and 4 of the Guisborough Cartulary (Surtees Society, vol. lxxxvi), and is there attributed to the year 1119. These are the two foundation charters of the Priory. In what is probably the earlier, certainly the less liberal, the form is Othenesberg; in the other it is Ohensberg; the omission of a “t” by the copyist would explain the difference, but the difficulties do not end here. A contemporaneous form of the same date, if we can trust the secital in a fine of 1239, was Outhenesberg.

Possibly the most convenient form in which to consider the gradual change of name is in the list on pages 47 and 48. I have arranged the form of the name in three columns for reasons which will appear later.

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