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She sees a warrior carved in stone,
Among the thick weeds stretched alone.
It was a solitary mound.
These are not topographical allusions. At least no "warrior carved in stone" can now be seen amongst the ruins of Bolton Abbey, whatever may have been the case in 1807. There is no trace of Francis Norton's grave in the Abbey grounds.
The shy recess
Of Burden's lowly quietness.
Barden Tower is about two miles north-west of Bolton Priory, a little beyond the Strid. (See the poem The Force of Prayer, or the Founding of Bolton Priory.) Whitaker writes thus of the district of Upper Wharfedale at Barden. "Grey tower-like projections of rock, stained with the various hues of lichens, and hung with loose and streaming canopies of ling, start out at intervals." Before the restoration of Henry Clifford, "the Shepherd Lord,"-to the estates of his ancestors-on the accession of Henry VII.-there was only a keeper's lodge or tower at Barden-" one of six which existed in different parts of Barden Forest. The Shepherd Lord, whose early life among the Cumberland Fells led him to seek quiet and retirement after his restoration, preferred Barden to his greater castles, and enlarged (or rather rebuilt) it so as to provide accommodation for a moderate train of attendants."
It was the time when England's Queen
Twelve years had reigned, a Sovereign dread;
But now the inly-working North
Was ripe to send its thousands forth,
A potent vassalage, to fight
In Percy's and in Neville's right, &c.
The circumstances which led to The Rising in the North, and the chief incidents of that unfortunate episode in English history are traced in detail by Mr Froude, in the fifty-third chapter of his History of England. They are also summarized, in a lecture on the White Doe of Rylstone, by Principal Shairp, in his Aspects of Poetry, from which the following passage is an extract (pp. 346-8).
"The incidents on which the White Doe is founded belong to the year 1569, the twelfth of Queen Elizabeth.
"It is well known that as soon as Queen Mary of Scotland, was imprisoned in England, she became the centre around which gathered all the intrigues which were then on foot, not only in England but throughout Catholic Europe, to dethrone the Protestant Queen Elizabeth. Abroad, the Catholic world was collecting all its strength to
crush the heretical island. The bigot Pope, Pius V., with the dark intriguer, Philip II. of Spain, and the savage Duke of Alva, were ready to pour their forces on the shores of England.
"At home, a secret negotiation for a marriage between Queen Mary and the Duke of Norfolk had received the approval of many of the chief English nobles. The Queen discovered the plot, threw Norfolk and some of his friends into the Tower, and summoned Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, immediately to appear at court. These two earls were known to be holding secret communications with Mary, and longing to see the old faith restored.
"On receiving the summons, Northumberland at once withdrew to Brancepeth Castle, a stronghold of the Earl of Westmoreland. Straightway all their vassals rose, and gathered round the two great earls. The whole of the North was in arms. A proclamation went forth that they intended to restore the ancient religion, to settle the succession to the crown, and to prevent the destruction of the old nobility. As they marched forward they were joined by all the strength of the Yorkshire dales, and, among others, by a gentleman of ancient name, Richard Norton, accompanied by eight brave sons. He came bearing the common banner, called the Banner of the Five Wounds, because on it was displayed the Cross with the five wounds of our Lord. The insurgents entered Durham, tore the Bible, caused mass to be said in the cathedral, and then set forward as for York. Changing their purpose on the way, they turned aside to lay siege to Barnard Castle, which was held by Sir George Bowes for the Queen. While they lingered there for eleven days, Sussex marched against them from York, and the earls, losing heart, retired towards the Border, and disbanded their forces, which were left to the vengeance of the enemy, while they themselves sought refuge in Scotland. Northumberland, after a confinement of several years in Loch Leven Castle, was betrayed by the Scots to the English, and put to death. Westmoreland died an exile in Flanders, the last of the ancient house of the Nevilles, earls of Westmoreland. Norton, with his eight sons, fell into the hands of Sussex, and all suffered death at York. It is the fate of this ancient family on which Wordsworth's poem is founded."
This statement as to the fate of Norton's sons, however, is not borne out by the historians. Mr Froude says (History of England, chap. 53), "Two sons of old Norton and two of his brothers, after long and close cross-questioning in the Tower, were tried and convicted at Westminster. Two of these Nortons were afterwards pardoned. Two, one of whom was Christopher, the poor youth who had been bewildered by the fair eyes of the Queen of Scots at Bolton, were put to death at Tyburn, with the usual cruelties."
For we must fall, both we and ours—
Little now remains of Rylstone Hall but the site. "Some garden flowers still, as when Whitaker wrote, mark the site of the pleasaunce. The house fell into decay immediately after the attainder of the Nortons; and, with the estates here, remained in the hands of the Crown until the second year of James I., when they were granted to the Earl of Cumberland. Although Wordsworth makes the Nortons raise their famous banner here, they assembled their followers in fact at Ripon (November 18, 1569), but their Rylstone tenants rose with them."
Seven hundred Knights, Retainers all
Of Neville, at their Master's call
Raby Hall is now called Raby Castle, the seat of the Duke of Cleveland, in the county of Durham.
Stood by their Sire, on Clifford-moor.
The village of Clifford is three miles from Wetherby, where the host was mustered.
Until Lord Dacre with his power
From Naworth came; and Howard's aid
Naworth Castle, at the head of the vale of Llanercort, in the Gilsland district of Cumberland, was the seat of the Dacres from the reign of Edward III. George, Lord Dacre, the last heir-male of that family, was killed in 1559; and Lord William Howard (the third son of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk), who was made Warden of the Borders by Queen Elizabeth, and did much to introduce order and good government into the district, married the heiress of the Dacre family, and succeeded to the castle and estate of Naworth. The arms over the entrance of the castle are the Howard's and Dacre's quartered.
The Battle of the Standard was fought in 1137. "One gleam of national glory broke the darkness of the time. King David of Scotland stood first among the partizans of his kinswoman Matilda, and on the accession of Stephen his army crossed the border to enforce her claim. The pillage and cruelties of the wild tribes of Galloway and the Highlands roused the Spirit of the North; baron and freeman gathered at York round Archbishop Thurstan, and marched to the field of Northallerton to await the foe. The sacred banner of S. Cuthbert of Durham, S. Peter of York, S. John of Beverly, and S.
Wilfred of Ripon, hung from a pole fixed in a four-wheeled car, which stood in the centre of the tent. 'I who wear no armour,' shouted the chief of the Galwegians, 'will go as far this day as any one with breastplate of mail.' His men charged with wild shouts of 'Albin, Albin,' and were followed by the Norman knighthood of the Lowlands. The route, however, was complete; the fierce hordes dashed in vain against the close English ranks around the standard, and the whole army fled in confusion to Carlisle." (J. R. Green's Short History of the English People, p. 99.)
A soft and lulling sound is heard
Of streams inaudible by day.
and in The Evening Walk
The song of mountain-streams, unheard by day,
as in the Sonnet
The unremitting voice of mighty streams
That wastes, so oft, we think, its tuneful powers.
Also Gray's Tour in the Lakes, "At distance heard the murmur of many waterfalls, not audible in the day-time."
In Craven's wilds is many a den
To shelter persecuted men,
In the limestone ridges and hills of the Craven district of Yorkshire, there are many caverns and underground recesses, such as the Yordas cave, referred to in The Prelude. (See Vol. III., p. 302.)
Are now besieging Barnard's Towers,
The towers of Barnard Castle on the Tees in Yorkshire.
High on a point of rugged ground
Stands single-Norton Tower its name—
The remains of Norton Tower-four bare, rectangular, roofless walls -are not on the highest point of Rylstone Fells, but on a ridge on the
western side of these Fells. It was, doubtless, originally built both for a watch-tower and a hunting-tower. "Some mounds near the tower are thought to have been used as butts for archers; and there are traces of a strong wall, running from the tower to the edge of a deep glen, whence a ditch runs to another ravine. This was once a pond, used by the Nortons for detaining the red deer within the township of Rylstone, which they asserted was not within the forest of Skipton, and consequently that the Cliffords had no right to hunt therein. The Cliffords eventually became lords of all the Norton lands here." From the old tower of Norton, looking towards Rylstone and Malham, to the north and north-west, the view is exactly as described in the poem. See Wordsworth's own note on Norton Tower.
A hut, by tufted trees defended,
Where Rylstone brook with Wharf is blended. (p. 175.)
There are two small streams which rise near Rylstone. One, called Rylstone beck, flows westwards into the Aire. Another makes its way eastwards towards the Wharfe, joins Linton beck, and so enters Wharfe between Linton Church and Grassington Bridge. It is to the latter that Wordsworth refers, although the former is now called Rylstone beck.
Up to another cottage, hidden
In the deep fork of Amerdale.
See Wordsworth's own note. The valley of Littondale once bore the name of Amerdale. Though the name is not now given to the beck, it survives singularly enough in one pool in the stream, where it joins the Wharfe, which is still called "Amerdale Dub." From this valley of Litton a small lateral one runs up in a south-westerly direction at Arncliffe, making a 66 deep fork," and is called Dernbrook. Dern means seclusion, and two or three miles up this ghyll is a farmhouse bearing the name of Dernbrook House.
By lurking Dernbrook's pathless side.
See last note. "The phrase is so appropriate," says the present incumbent of Arncliffe, the Ven. Archdeacon Boyd, in a letter to the editor, “that it would almost seem that Wordsworth had been there." Mr Boyd adds, "In the illustrated edition of The White Doe, published by Longman a few years ago, there is an illustration by Birket Foster of the Dernbrook House, the original of which I had the honour to supply. It is but a short distance-two or three miles-from Malham Tarn."
When the bells of Rylstone played
Their Sabbath music, "GOD US AYDE,"
May on those holy bells be seen.