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enjoined the penance I shall lay on them for the safeguard of their souls.' The gentlemen being present, bade him save their lives. Then said the hermit: ' Yon and yours shall hold your lands of the abbot of Whitby, and his successors, in this manner: That, upon Ascension-day, you, or some of you, shall come to the wood of the Stray-heads, which is in Eskdale-side, the same day at sun-rising, and there shall the abbot's officer blow his horn, to the intent that you may know where to find liim j and he shall deliver unto you, William de Bruce, ten stakes, eleven strout stowers, and eleven yethers, to be cut by you, or some of you, with a knife of one penny price; and you, Ralph de Percy, shall take twenty-one of each sort, to be cut in the same manner; and you, Allatson, shall take nine of each sort, to be cut as aforesaid; and to be taken on your backs, and carried to the town of Whitby, and to be there before nine of the clock the same day before mentioned. At the same hour of nine of the clock, if it be full sea, your labour and service shall cease; and, if low water, each of you shall set your stakes to the brim, each stake one yard from the other, and so yether them on each side with your yethers; and so stake on each side with your strout stowers, that they may stand three tides, without removing by the force thereof. Each of you shall do, make, and execute, the said service, at that very hour, every year, except it be full sea at that hour; but when it shall so fall out, this service shall cease. You shall faithfully do this, in remembrance that you did most cruelly slay me; and that you may the better call to God for mercy, repent unfeignedly of your sins, and do good works. The officer of Eskdaleside shall blow, Out on you! Out on you! Out on you! for this heinous crime. If you, or your successors, shall refuse this service, so long as it shall not be full sea at the aforesaid hour, you, or yours, shall forfeit your lands to the abbot of Whitby, or his successors. This I entreat, and earnestly beg, that you may have lives and goods preserved for this service; and I request of you to promise, by your parts in heaven, that it shall be done by you, and your successors, as is aforesaid requested; and I will confirm it by the faith of an honest man.' Then the hermit said, 'My soul longeth for the Lord: and I do as freely forgive these men my death, as Christ forgave the thieves on the cross.' And, in the presence of the abbot and the rest, he said moreover these words: 'In manus Uws, Domine, commendo spirit urn ineum, a rincuits enim mortis rtdemisti me, Domine veritatis. Amen.'—So he yielded up the ghost the eighth day of December, anno Domini 1159, whose soul God have mercy upon. Amen.
"This service," it is added, "still continues to be performed with the prescribed ceremonies, though not by the proprietors in person. Part of the lands charged therewith are now held by a gentleman of the name of Herbert."
Note IX. The lovely Edelfied.—P. 91. She was the daughter of King Oswy, who, in gratitude to heaven for the great victory which he won in 655, against Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, dedicated Edelfleda, then but a year old, to the service of God in the monastery of Whitby, of which St Hilda was then abbess. She afterwards adorned the place of her education with great magnificence.
of thousand snakes, each one Was changed into a coil of stone, When holy Hilda prayed.
how sea-fowls' pinions fail, As over Whitby's towers they sail.—P. 91. These two miracles are much insisted upon by all ancient writers, who have occasion to mention either Whitby, or St Hilda. The reliques of the snakes which infested the precincts of the convent, and were, at the abbess's prayer, not only beheaded, but petrified, are still found about the rocks, and are termed by Protestant fossilists Ammanitte.
The other miracle is thus mentioned by Camden: "It is also ascribed to the power of her sanctity, that these wild geese, which, in the winter, fly in great flocks to the lakes and rivers unfrozen in the southern parts, to the great amazement of every one, fall down suddenly upon the ground, when they are in their flight over certain neighbouring fields hereabouts: a relation I should not have made, if I had not received it from several credible men. But those who are less inclined to heed superstition, attribute it to some occult quality in the ground, and to somewhat of antipathy between it and the geese, such as they say is between wolves and scylla-roots: For, that such hidden tendencies and aversions, as we call sympathies and antipathies, are implanted in many things by provident nature for the preservation of them, is a thing so evident, that every body grants it." Mr. Charleton, in his history of Whitby, points out the true origin of the fable, from the number of sea-gulls, that, when flying from a storm, often alight near Whitby; and from the woodcocks, and other birds of passage, who do the same upon their arrival on shore, after a long flight.
Note XI. His body's resting-place of old, How oft their patron changed, they told.—P. 92. St. Cuthbert was, in the choice of his sepulchre, one of the most mutable and unreasonable saints in the Calendar. He died A. D. 686, in a hermitage upon the Farne islands, having resigned the bishopric of Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, about two years before. His body was brought to Lindisfarne, where it remained until a descent of the Danes, about 763, when the monastery was nearly destroyed. The monks fled to Scotland, with what they deemed their chief treasure, the reliques of St Cuthbert. The saint was, however, a most capricious fellowtraveller; which was the more intolerable, as, like Sinbad's Old Man of the Sea, he journeyed upon the shoulders of his companions. They paraded him through Scotland for several years, and came as far west as Whitbern, in Galloway, whence they attempted to sail for Ireland, but were driven back by tempests. He at length made a halt at Norham; from thence he went to Melrose, where he remained stationary for a short time, and then caused himself to be launched upon the Tweed in a stone coffin, which landed him at Tilmouth, in Northumberland. This boat is finely shaped, ten feet long, three feet and a half in diameter, and only four inches thick; so that, with very little assistance, it might certainly have swam: It still lies, or at least did so a few years ago, in two pieces, beside the ruined chapel of Tillmouth. From Tillmouth, Cuthbert wandered into Yorkshire; and at length made a long stay at Chester-le-street, to which the bishop's see was transferred. At length, the Danes continuing to infest the country, the monks removed to Rippon for a season; and it was in return from thence to Chester-le-street, that, passing through a forest called Dunholme, the Saint and his carriage became immoveable at a place named Wardlaw, or Wardilaw. Here the Saint chose his place of residence; and all who have seen Durham must admit, that, if difficult in his choice, he evinced taste in at length fixing it. It is said, that the Northumbrian Catholics still keep secret the precise spot of the Saint's sepulture, which is only entrusted to three persons at a time. When one dies, the survivors associate to them, in his room, a person judged fit to be the depositary of so valuable a secret.