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Tak’ up the dead man, and lay him ahint the bigging;
That sup'd up the broo', and syne- in the piggin.2
In explanation of this ancient ditty, Mr. Surtees has furnished me with the following local memorandum: Willimoteswick, the chief seat of the ancient family of Ridley, is situated two miles above the confluence of the Allon and Tyne. It was a house of strength, as appears from one oblong tower, still in tolerable preservation. It has been long in possession of the Blacket family. Hardriding Dick is not an epithet referring to horsemanship, but means Richard Ridley, of Hardriding,4 the seat of another family of that name, which, in the time of Charles I., was sold on account of expenses incurred by the loyalty of the proprietor, the immediate ancestor of Sir Matthew Ridley. Will of the Wa' seems to be William Ridley of
1 The Bailiff of Haltwhistle seems to have arrived when the fray was over. This supporter of social order is treated with characteristic irreverence by the moss-trooping poet..
2 An iron pot with two ears.
3 Willimoteswick was, in prior editions, confounded with Ridley Hall, situated two miles lower on the same side of the Tyne, the hereditary seat of William C. Lowes, Esq.
4 Ridley, the bishop and martyr, was, according to some authorities, born at Hardriding, where a chair was preserved, call. ed the Bishop's chair. Others, and particularly his biographer and namesake Dr. Glocester Ridley, assign the honour of the martyr's birth to Willimoteswick.
Walltown, so called from its situation on the great Roman. wall. Thirlwall Castle, whence the clan of Thirlwalls derived their name, is situated on the small river of Tippel, near the western boundary of Northumberland. It is near the wall, and takes its name from the rampart having been thirled, i. e. pierced, or breached, in its vicinity. Featherston Castle lies south of the Tyne, towards Alston-moor. Albany Featherstonhaugh, the chief of that ancient family, made a figure in the reign of Edward VI. A feud did certainly exist between the Ridleys and Featherstones, productive of such consequences as the ballad narrates. 24 Oct. 22do Henrici svi. Inquisitio capt. apud Hautwhistle, sup. visum corpus Alexandri Featherston, Gen. apud Grensilhaugh, felonice interfecti, 22 Oct. per Nicolaum Ridley de Unthanke, Gen. Hugon Ridle, Nicolaum Ridle, et alios ejusdem nominis. Nor were the Featherstones without their revenge: for 36to Henrici 8vi, we have—Utlagatio Nicolui Fetherston, ac Thome Nyxson, &c. &c. pro homicidio Will. Ridle de Morale.
Jumes backed the cause of that mock prince,
What time we razed old Ayton tower.—P. 40. The story of Perkin Warbeck, or Richard, Duke of York, is well known. In 1496, he was received honourably in Scotland;
and James IV., after conferring upon him in marriage his own relation, the Lady Catharine Gordon, made war on England in behalf of his pretensions. To retaliate an invasion of England, Surrey advanced into Berwickshire at the head of considerable forces, but retreated after taking the inconsiderable fortress of Ayton. Ford, in his Dramatic Chronicle of Perkin Warbeck, makes the most of this inroad :
SURREY. Are all our braving enemies shrunk back;
Hid in the fogges of their distempered climate,
And given them light to set their hoods.—P. 41.
Berwick, were, as may be easily supposed, very tronblesome neighbours to Scotland. Sir Richard Maitland of Ledington wrote a poem, called “The Blind Baron's Comfort ;" when his barony of Blythe, in Lauderdale, was haried by Rowland Foster, the English captain of Wark, with his company, to the number of 300 men. They spoiled the poetical knight of 5000 sheep, 200 nolt, 30 horses and mares; the whole furniture of his house of Blythe, worth 100 pounds Scots, (L. 8:6:8,) and every thing else that was portable. “This spoil was committed the 16th day of May, 1570, (and the said Sir Richard was threescore and fourteen years of age, and grown blind,) in time of peace; when nane of that country lippened (expected) such a thing.”— “ The Blind Baron's Comfort” consists in a string of puns on the word Blythe, the name of the lands thus despoiled. Like John Littlewit, he had “ a conceit left him in his misery,—a miserable conceit.” :. The last line of the text contains a phrase, by which the Borderers jocularly intimated the burning a house. When the Maxwells, in 1685, burned the castle of Lochwood, they said they did so to give the Lady Johnstone " light to set her hood :" Nor was the phrase inapplicable; for, in a letter, to which I have mislaid the reference, the Earl of Northumberland writes to the king and council, that he dressed himself, at midnight, at Warkworth, by the blaze of the neighbouring villages, burned by the Scotish marauders. '
The Priest of Shoreswood.-P. 43. This churchman seems to have been a-kin to Welsh, the vi. car of St. Thomas of Exeter, a leader among the Cornish insurgents in 1549. “This man,” says Hollinshed, “ had many good things in him. He was of no great stature, but well set, and mightilie compact: He was a very good wrestler; shot well, both in the long-bow, and also in the cross-bow; he bandled his hand-gun and peece very well; he was a very good woodman, and a hardie, and such a one as would not give his head for the polling, nor his beard for the washing. He was a companion in any exercise of activitie, and of a courteous and gentle behaviour. He descended of a good honest parentage, being borne at Peneverin, in Cornwall; and yet, in this rebellion, an arch-captain, and a principal dooer.”—Vol. IV. p. 958. 4to edition. This model of clerical talents had the misfortune to be hanged upon the steeple of his own church.
And of that Grot where Olives nod,
Saint Rosalie retired to God.-P. 46. “ Sante Rosalia was of Palermo, and born of a very noble family, and when very young, abhorred so much the vanities of this world, and avoided the converse of mankind, resolving