button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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Page 189:-
notched. This is called the Giant's Grave, and ascribed to sir Ewan Caesarius, who is said to have been as tall as one of the columns, and capable of stretching his arms from one to the other to have destroyed robbers and wild boars in Englewood forest, and to have had an hermitage hereabouts called sir Hugh's parlour [p]. From the latter part of this tradition Dr. Todd describes the four stones as cut in the form of boars, which, unless he saw them less sunk in the ground than at present, can only mean that they were cut round, and perhaps rough on the edge like the back of those animals. The Doctor supposes these pillars were intended to place corpses on at the north or Death's door of the church; but their height contradicts this, and the name of Grave, given to it by uniform tradition, assigns it as the burying-place of some considerable person, whose eminence is expressed by the distance of the stones asunder [q]. Mr. Sandford says the place was opened in his time, and the great long hand-bones of a man, and a broad sword were found [r]. A little to the west of these is a stone called the Giant's Thumb, six feet high, 14 inches at the base contracted to 10, which is no more than a rude cross, such as is at Langtown in this county and elsewhere: the circle of the cross 18 inches diameter [s]. On the north wall of the vestry without is this inscription A.D. 1598, ex gravi peste quae regionibus hisce incubuit obierunt apud Penrith 2260, Kendal 2500, Richmond 2200, Carlisle 1160. Posteri avortite vos & vivite. The parish register says the plague broke out at Carlisle October 3, 1597, and raged here from September 22, 1597, to January 5, 1598, and that only 680 persons were buried here: so that Penrith must have been put for the centre of some district. At the little village of Eden hall the register says 42 person died in this year. The plague raged at Penrith 1380, when the Scots breaking in at the time of a fair, carried it home to their own country, where it made dreadful havoc. The wooden market-house is now gone. The castle is a large square building, on high ground to the west, single trenched, and is as old as Henry III. [t] Here was an house of Grey friars, founded t. Edward II. or before [u].
This town was burnt by the Scots 19 Edward III. and 8 Richard II. Richard III. when duke of Gloucester, lodged in the castle, to check the Scots, and enlarged the works with stones as it is said from Mayboro' before-mentioned [x].
Dr. Todd derives the name of Penrith from Petriana three miles north of it, out of which, he says, it rose [y].
At the Conquest the manor of Penrith and the forest of Englewood, in which it is situate, were in the possession of the Scots, who were soon after dispossessed, but kept up their claim to the three counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Northumberland, to which king John seems to have consented on payment of 15,000 marks by William king of Scotland, and an intermarriage of John with one of his daughters; but these claims were renounced by king Alexander to Henry III. on the latter's granting him 200 librates of land in this county or Northumberland, in any town where there is no castle, or in places in the said counties. Alexander's son and successor married Henry's daughter, and had the said land confirmed to him, and a bond of 5000 marks of silver for her marriage portion. Hence these lands had the name of the queen's haims or desmenes. They were Penrith, with the hamlets of Langwathby, Scotby, Great Salkeld, and Carleton. Baliol held them till Edward I. quarreling with him seized them, and granted them to Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham, from whom the parliament took them, and they remained in the crown. Richard II. gave them to John duke of Bretaign and Richmond, and shortly after to Ralph Neville of Westmorland, whose heir Richard of Warwick, being slain at Barnet 11 Edward IV. the whole estate for want of heirs male reverted to the crown, and continued as part of the royal desmene till William III. gave the honour of Penrith and all its dependances with the appurtenances within the forest of Englewood, whose boundaries may be seen in Burn, III. 522. to William Bentink, afterwards created earl of Portland, and they are still held by his great grandson William Henry duke of Portland [z].
A silver fibula of coarse workmanship and uncommon magnitude and weight was found April 1784, at Huskew pike, an eminence about three miles from Penrith on the Keswick road. The diameter of the circle is seven inches and an half, the length of the tongue 20 inches and ¾, the weight of the whole 25 ounces: the studs or buttons are hollow, and fitted on without solder. It has never been burnished, as appears by the hammer marks remaining [a].
  Englewood forest.
  Inglewood Forest
"Yn the forest of Ynglewood, vi myls from Caerluel, appere ruins of a castel, called Castle Luen [b]."
Englewood forest was disforested by Henry VIII. who allowed the inhabitants greater liberty and freer use of it. Hutton and Edenhall were parishes in it t. Henry I. who gave them to Carlisle church, and Wedderhall, Warwick, Lazonby, Skelton, Sowerby, St. Mary's, St. Cuthbert's, Carlisle, and Dalston, were all included in it, or bordering on it, as early as the Conquest. It was 16 miles long from Penrith to Carlisle; and Edward I. hunting in it is said to have killed 200 bucks in one day [c]. It is now a dreary moor with high distant hills on both sides, and a few stone farm houses and cottages on the road side.
The rev. Mr. Robert Patten of Carlisle or Penrith, who had been in Denmark and at Tunis, writes thus to Mr. Horsley, Jan. 30, 1730/1:
  roman road, Old Penrith
"I measured the Roman causeway which goes close by Old Penrith in several places, and find it answer 21 feet. The old castle, as the country people call it, is 130 yards in front, a visible entry exactly in the middle, with a large foss on all sides, the breadth 80 yards [d]. This is what Camden calls Petriana, from the small river Peterel that runs under it. I find the Roman way runs over Penrith fields to Brougham, where has been a station; and, at two places near the road I observed two tumuli, one of them with two circles of stones, the other on a raised square piece of ground. We have several tumuli which I believe Danish, having seen in Den-
[p] Burn, II. 410.
[q] G. Archaeol. II. 48. Pennant, 1769, 253, 410.
[r] Burn, Ib. 410.
[s] Ib.
[t] Pennant, ib. G.
[u] Tan. p.77.
[x] Burn, Ib. 404.
[y] Burn, Ib. 395.
[z] Ib. 395-402.
[a] Gent. Mag. LV. 1785, p.347. and plate.
[b] Lel. VII.72.
[c] Chron. Lanercost. G.
[d] Compare Horsley, p.111.
gazetteer links
button -- "Castle Luen" -- Petteril Wreay Castle (?)
button -- "Huskew Pike" -- Flusco Pike
button -- (friary, Penrith)
button -- "Sir Hugh's Parlour" -- Giant's Caves
button -- "Giant's Grave" -- Giant's Grave
button -- "Giant's Thumb" -- Giant's Thumb
button -- "Forest of Englewood" -- Inglewood Forest
button -- Penrith Castle
button -- "Penrith" -- Penrith
button -- "Petriana" -- Voreda
button -- (roman road 7e, Cumbria)
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