button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 34:-
We will now return, and failing (sic) under Pless-Fell take a view into Martindale. The first thing worth notice is the wall, almost opposite to Householm island, where Pless-Fell changes its name to Birk-Fell, (which it preserves as far as Sandwich Fields,) and where Martindale begins. At the end of Birk-Fell is Sandwich Force, the Niagara of our northern brooks. The fall is higher than that at Airey, but wants that obscure gloom which renders the other awfully grand. Here the fall is visible at a distance, and reflects a light too strong for the eyes easily to bear: why it should dazzle the eyes more at the distance of three or four miles than at the distance of as many hundred yards, is a problem not unworthy the contemplation of philosophers; I shall only say that this is literally the case. Its chief beauty is during either a flood or a frost. During a flood its beauties as a cascade are much lightened; but during a frost, the rocks are all encrusted with a sheet of ice pellucid as chrystal; the reflection of the suns rays, from which is a truly brilliant object, and must give us the liveliest ideas of those almost magical beauties related to the glaciers in Switzerland.
Martindale was a separate and independent manor, till it was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Sussex as parcel of the barony of Barton; she reserving to herself and her successors grass for her pad when she came to hunt there; under this tenure it was bought by Sir Christopher Musgrave, along with the rest of the barony of Barton. The manor consists of small tenements, lying in different little glens, (such as Fuesdale, Boardale, Sandwich, &c.) those lands called the Forest excepted. The forest lands are held on the common forest tenure; the tenants having what grass they can take with the sythe. They likewise covenant * not to drive the lord's deer out of it at any time of the year: In Summer, however, the deer seldom come there, they being mostly red deer, which always frequent the tops of the mountains in that season. Whenever the lord goes to hunt the stag, the Bailiff summons all the tenants, before sun-set the preceding night, to attend their strones or stations: these stations are at two places, viz. Bampskin [Rampskin] and Bannerdale, where the deer chiefly lye, and where the tenants stand with their dogs to prevent the deer from escaping into the mountains. This service, which they are to render once a year, is called a Boon Day, and for this every tenant has his dinner and a quart of ale: it is also a custom here, that the person who first seizes the hunted deer shall have his head for his trouble. It is remarkable that the first buck taken here was seized by a woman: she, for the sake of his head, laid hold upon him as he stood at bay upon a dunghill, threw him down, and getting upon his neck, held him fast. The late Mr Hassel frequently called upon the tenants for this service, and held upon these occasions a brilliant company of both sexes: his hunting was not, however, very successful; for I was told by one of the tenants, who had frequently attended his stand, that he never saw a stag either taken by the hounds, or by them driven to Ulswater, as one of our authors in a most pompous manner informs us. I have myself seen deer take the water; but they were, I think, always either such as had been wounded by shot, and afterwards pursued by the Bailiff's hounds, or such as had strayed from Barton or Patterdale, and had lain among the farmer's corn. A red deer swims the quickest and strongest of any animal except a swine: one of the latter I once pursued upon this Lake in a boat, which run remarkably quickly with oars; notwithstanding, the animal was only ten weeks
* Copy of the Jurors Inquisition, March 25th, 1702.
"We do also find, that the respective tenants of the manor and of the forest of Martindale, have for time out of mind been bound, and yet are bound by the custom of the said manor and forest, to assist the said Earl and his several officers to keep the said Earl's deer from ranging abroad upon any hunting, if notice be given to the said several tenants so to do; and that the said several tenants shall, during such hunting, keep their several stands, according to notice to be given them by the said Earl, or any of his officers or servants. And furthermore, do find that the said Earl's several deer have still, from time out of mind, used to depasture, feed, and lye at all times of the year at pleasure upon all or any part of the several forest grounds aforesaid, or any of the wastes within the said manor aforesaid, without any molestation, hounding, or disturbance whatever, by any tenant or tenants of the said manor or forest aforesaid." - From the Court-Book at Dalemain.
erratum from p.194
for Bampskin, read Rampskin.
gazetteer links
button -- "Birk Fell" -- Birk Fell
button -- Martindale Common
button -- "Martindale" -- Martindale
button -- "Pless Fell" -- Place Fell
button -- "Sandwich Force" -- Scalehow Force
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