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

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Page xi:-
[en]tirely on spoils, to plunder each side, and, having allured partners to share their irregularities, to do all manner of mischief. To finish therefore this evil, the foregoing boundary was drawn by the consent of both, and pyramids of hewn stone erected, that the laws of each country might more precisely and effectually reach these villains: however, their old habits were not thus eradicated, even after the kingdoms had both one King, (though one may reasonably conjecture that this disposition would then gradually have fallen away of itself,) till James I. whether or no to facilitate the journeys of his dun-cow is not recorded, made some sort of a transportation or dispersion of this set of inhabitants, and since that time the mischief has ceased.
Such were some of the insignificant causes, which have either given birth to great wars, or have been alleged as the reason of them, to cover the real one; or when excited indeed by other motives, and avowed as such, have fed their malignity with continual and pernicious materials; insomuch, that, what was said by Vellius Paterculus to have been the case for 115 years in the contest between Rome and Carthage, has, by their means, been much more properly applied here, and that for a length of time prodigiously greater, viz. Between these people, there was either war, or preparation for war, or a peace that was never observed, for several centuries. However, as oft as I think of these destructive trifles, I cannot help calling to mind a sentence of Pope Sixtus Quintus, which I have somewhere read. A friar, who had formerly been an intimate of this Pope, came to visit him after his exaltation, and being encouraged to use his former familiarity, told him, he wondered how he, a plain man, had acquired the triple crown, which so many subtle spirits wished for in vain! To this the Pope answered, "Hadst thou been abroad as I have been, and seen by what folly the world is governed, thou wouldst wonder at nothing."
I cannot quit this subject, without taking notice of that superiority in archery which the English have always boasted, and which has had so material an effect in almost all the battles which they formerly fought, against different modes of discipline, and different nations. Whatever effect political regulations might have had in preserving this superiority, or whatever the consequent practice of it as an amusement may have done, I think I may safely aver, that the custom of poaching occasioned by the severity of the game-laws established by the conqueror, had no small effect in preserving it. It was this that produced so many noted archers and outlaws in the forest of Englewood as well as that of Sherwood. For, not to mention Adam Bell and his partners, tradition still preserves the name of Watty of Croglin, Woodhead Andrew, Robin Oth'moors, Gruff Elleck (Alexander,) and of several others, as of persons distinguished in that line, even amongst a people who were almost to a man of the same stamp. Besides, as their squabbles and the subsequent marodings made the skill thus acquired at times absolutely necessary to the inhabitants on each side of the boundary, we may easily conclude, that a necessity of this kind, continually kept alive, must produce no small degree of dexterity. In addition to the motives which might induce the inferior countries of England to exercise themselves in archery, in the borders, was self-defence, and the provision of sustenance: two motives always powerful, and in those parts unremittingly urgent. Thus the trifles which continued its use, and the trifles which made that use needful, when combined together, and directed by particular contingencies, affected, by their number and collected force, the history of the times in a very distinguished manner. Whoever will consider the circumstances of the battles which were then fought, will find, that wherever the ground or circumstances favoured the archers for a number of regular discharges, they generally produced such a confusion, particularly among the enemy's horse, as gave the men at arms of their own party an opportunity of easily compleating it. I need cite no further particulars of this than the battle of Homeldon, when the forces of the Northern Marches encountered the gallant Archibald Earl of Douglas; the men at arms stood still that day, and the bowmen had the whole business upon their hands. It is recorded, that no armour could resist their arrows, though that of Earl Douglas and his associates had been three years in making.
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