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Jacobi de Voragine Lombardica hystoria quæ a plerisque Aurea legenda sanctorum appellatur. Nurnberge, 1496. Legenda lxxxvii.

"Deinde eam deponi fecit et eam in carcerem recludi jussit. Et mira ibi claritas fulsit. Ubi dum esset oravit dominum vt inimicum qui secum pugnat sibi visibiliter monstraret. Et ecce draco immanissimus ibidem apparuit. Qui dum eam devoraturus impeteret signum crucis edidit et ille euanuit. Vel vt alibi legitur os super caput eius ponens et linguam super calcaneum porrigens eam protinus deglutiuit. Sed dum eam absorbere vellet signo crucis se muniuit. Et ideo draco virtute crucis crepuit et virgo illesa exiuit. Istud autem quod dicitur de draconis deuoratione et ipsius crepatione apocrifum et friuolum reputatur."


Acta SS. Boll., Jul. 20, p. 31.

"Et ecce subito de angulo carceris exivit draco horribilis, totus variis coloribus deauratus. Capilli ejus et barba aurea; et videbantur dentes ejus ferrei: oculi ejus velut margaritæ splendebant, et de naribus ejus ignis et fumus exibat: lingua illius anhelabat: super collum ejus erat serpens: gladius candens in manu ejus videbatur: et fætorem faciebat in carcere. Traxit se in medium carceris, et sibilabat fortiter: et factum est lumen in carcere ab igne, qui exibat de ore draconis

draco ore aperto posuit os suum super caput ejus, et linguam suam porrexit super calcaneum ejus, et suspirans deglutivit eam in ventrem suum: sed crux Christi quam sibi fecerat beata Margarita, crevit in ore draconis, et in duas partes eum divisit. Beata autem Margarita exivit de utero draconis, nullum dolorem in se habens."


Acta SS. Boll., Jul. 20, p. 37.

"Hæc et his similia B. Margareta dum mundi Salvatorem laudans exoraret, ecce, caput nequitia cum mille nocendi artibus, variis machinationibus atque phantasticis præstigiis illam terrificare aggressus est. Quippe in draconis specie apparens, se in diversas formas transtulit, atque ex ore simul et naribus ignem teterrimum evomens, Dei famulam vorare nitebatur. Sancta autem Virgo istiusmodi phantasmata cernens,

ad solita orationis arma cucurrit, signumque sanctæ crucis contra hostem depingens, his verbis auxilium deposcebat.” (Then follows her prayer.) "Ad hanc igitur vocem antiquus coluber confusus recessit, nihilque mali contra Virginem exercere valuit." Soon, however, he appeared again in various forms, and each time he was repelled.


Breuiarum De Camera Secundum Consuetudinem Romane Curie. No date or place. Fo. 343.

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Antiquus vero hostis in specie draconis quasi devoraturus eam aggreditur: sed signo crucis apposito evanescit."


Brev. Aberdon. Edinb., 1510; reprinted 1854. P.E. Sanctorale, fo. xxxvjv.

"Et surgens ab oratione vidit draconem terribilem eam faucibus absorbere volentem: sed signo crucis apposito, draco crepuit medius."


Brev. Sarum, 1531. Cambridge ed., 1886. Sanctorale col. 506. Surgens ergo ab oratione draconem terrificum conspexit; qui erecto capite, rictu faucium aperto, sybilis terribilibus et squamarum stridoribus maximum metum virgini incussit. Cumque jam pæne ab ipsis beluæ hyatibus patentibus absorberetur: vexillo Dominicæ crucis apposito, serpens squalidus crepuit medius."



THE Kilton Beck, which flows into the North Sea at Skinningrove, rises some five or six miles inland, in a wild and lonely region of moorland 800 to 900 feet above sea level, and taking, with many windings, a northerly course, and being augmented by the waters of two or three other becks, flows rapidly seawards down a beautiful and picturesque dingle or ravine.

Some four miles from its source, in one of a series of bold and graceful curves, it sweeps round the foot of a precipitous headland projecting outwards some 180 feet above the beck on the left or western side of the ravine. On the summit of this narrow ridge, which seems specially designed by nature for the site of a small mediæval fortress, Pagan Fitz-Walter, the second holder of what subsequently became known as the Fief of Kilton in the Barony of Percy, founded, in the reign of King Stephen, the little-known castle of Kilton.

The promontory on which the castle stands is some 300 feet above sea-level; to the west the ground rises very gently until some 700 yards from the castle it attains a height of about 360 feet; on the north the sides of the promontory fall steeply ; and on the east and south precipitously towards the beck 180 feet below, and perhaps ninety yards distant. The ravine, into which the promontory thus boldly projects, is very narrow; at one point near the castle it is under 300 yards in total width from side to side.

Opposite the promontory, but at a distance beyond the effective range of artillery of the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, the ground rises to greater heights.

The writer desires to thank Lord Scarbrough, the present representative of the ancient lords of Kilton; the Rev. Canon Greenwell, of Durham; the Rev. Dr. Hodgson, of Witton-le-Wear; and Mr. Edward Wooler, F.S.A., of Darlington, for kind advice and assistance in the preparation of this paper; and Mr. W. H. A. Wharton, the owner of the ruin, for access to it at all times. is also indirectly indebted to various books in his possession, including Mr. J. G. Clark's Medieval Fortress Archi


tecture, Mr. J. H. Round's Geoffrey. de Mandeville, Sir J. Mackenzie's The Castles of England, the Percy Chartulary, and to recent works by Mrs. E. Armitage, Mr. Alfred Harvey, and Mr. Charles H. Ashdown, and especially to the admirable Chartulary of Guisborough Priory for valuable hints utilised in the putting together of this paper. A personal acquaintance with some 120 castles of various dates in England, Wales, France, Scotland, and Ireland has also been of great use to the writer.

Right opposite the castle, across the ravine, and less than 200 yards distant, picturesque rocks tower above the beck, and are some fifty feet higher than the promontory on which the castle stands. Immediately behind these rocks the ground rises until at a point some 300 yards from the ruin it attains a height of some 400 feet.

The view from the eastern end of the castle is a very beautiful combination of wood and moorland scenery. Southward winds the deep well-wooded ravine; beyond the purple moorlands in long smooth billows rise to a height of 900 feet, with the curious conical mound of Freebrough conspicuous in the foreground. A few scattered moorside farmsteads are the only signs of human habitation.

The situation of the castle is wonderfully picturesque. Even now, ruined as it is, when the trees are leafless and a comprehensive view may be obtained, the long northern front. is singularly imposing, and it requires but little imagination to realise how impressive in its gloomy grandeur must have been this long stately façade when complete.

No history of this picturesque but little-known ruin, perched on its rocky promontory in one of the wildest of the many beautiful Cleveland ravines 'twixt the heather and the Northern Sea," has hitherto been written. So little, indeed, is generally known of the castle, that Mr. Alfred Harvey, in the appendix of his "Castles and Walled Towns of England," includes it among the ruins where no masonry now exists.

During the last few years the writer has collected a mass of interesting information respecting the history of the occupiers of the castle, the greater part of which, owing to lack of space, it is impossible to put on record in the compass of such an article as the present one.

The accounts given of the castle by the three Cleveland historians-Graves, writing in 1808; Ord, writing in 1846; and Atkinson, writing in 1875-are of little or no value either from an historical or archæological point of view. The two former state that it was built by Robert de Brus in the reign of Stephen, and that it descended to Marmaduke de Thweng on the Brus partition of 1271. Both statements are quite inaccurate.

Atkinson makes no attempt to give a history of the fortalice, but points out that as the Thwengs were undoubtedly in possession of the castle and fief as far back as 1257, "holding them

indisputably of a de Percy," they could not, as Graves and Ord state, have descended to the Thwengs from the Brus family.

The descriptions given by these historians of the ruins are only interesting in that they would all tend to prove that apart from natural decay, the ruins have been for over a century in pretty much the same condition as that in which we see them to-day.

Unfortunately, however, Messrs. Bell Brothers, Ltd.-the mining lessees of Mr. W. H. A. Wharton, of Skelton Castle, the owner of Kilton-are now working the ironstone beneath the castle, and it is probable that within the next few years the damage done to the ruin will far exceed in magnitude anything that has occurred within the last two centuries. It may be taken for granted that every reasonable effort will be made by the owner to preserve the ruins as they now exist ; but the effects of mining operations on a building constructed on a promontory such as that on which the remains of the castle stand are almost certain to be disastrous.

It is this fact which has induced the Yorkshire Archæological Society to place on record in its Journal the history and description of the castle, together with appropriate photographic views.


William de Percy, first feudal baron of the most historic of our great English houses, "the founder of a great name, whose genuine bearers soon passed away," says Freeman (iv, p. 297), "but which has been, like that of the Cæsars, artificially handed on to later times," was one of the smaller tenants-in-capite in Cleveland at the time of the Survey.

Alan de Percy, second feudal baron, received considerable additions to the Percy estates in Cleveland, partly out of royal property, partly by grant from the Earl of Chester, but principally from lands which had belonged to the unfortunate Earl of Mortain. The augmentation of the Percy estates in Cleveland led Alan to found, apparently about 1106, what subsequently became known as the Fief of Kilton in the Barony of Percy.

This fief Alan granted in subinfeudation to a certain Walter, who, if not actually a member of the Percy family, was probably closely allied to them.1

1 William de Percy, first feudal baron, the founder of the abbey of Saint Hilda, at Whitby, died 1096, and was buried at Monsgaudium, in the Holy Land.


appears to have been accompanied to England by two brothers, Serlo, first Prior of Whitby, and William (?), the father of William de Percy, first Abbot

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