button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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  MORBIUM. Hay c.
But none has yet been found that determine it to have been MORBIUM, where the Equites Cataphractarii were stationed, which the name in some sort insinuates. Nor must I forget that in this neighbourhood I saw Hay Castle, respectable for its antiquity, which the people told me once belonged to the noble families of Moresby and Distinton.
  Derwent r. Copper mines. Keswick. Skiddaw, an high mountain. Scruffell in Annandale.
  Derwent, River
  copper mines
  black lead mines
  Derwent Water

Behind this the river Derwent hides itself in the sea. It rises in Borrodale, a valley surrounded with crooked hills, winds among the hills called Derwentfels, in which at Newlands and elsewhere were rich veins of copper with some little gold and silver, opened afresh in our time by Thomas Thurland and Daniel Hotchstetter, a German, being well known before as appears from the Close rolls of Henry III. n. 18. A remarkable suit about them was carried on between the late queen Elizabeth and Thomas Percy earl of Northumberland, on whose estate [c] the land was; but it was determined in favour of the queen, in regard of the royal prerogative and the veins of gold and silver in these mines. So far from truth is that observation of Cicero in his epistle to Atticus [d]: "This is certain, that there is not a grain of silver in the whole island of Britain." Nor would Caesar have said, that the Britans imported all the copper they used, had he known of these mines, these copper works not only being sufficient for all England, but great quantities of the copper exported every year. Here is also found in several places that metallic earth or hard glittering stone, which we call Black Lead, used by painters to draw lines and drawings in black and white [e]. Whether it be Dioscorides' Pnigitis [f], or Melanteria [g], or ochre burnt black by the heat of the earth, or totally unknown to the antients, I cannot determine, but shall leave it to others. The Derwent running among these hills spreads itself in a spacious lake, or as Bede [h] calls it a very large pool, in which are three islands: one of them has the seat of the knightly family of Ratcliffe, another was inhabited by German miners, and the third is supposed to have been that in which Bede [i] relates that St. Herbert led a solitary life. On the edges of this lake in very rich land, surrounded by dewy hills, and defended from the north winds by Skiddaw a very high mountain, lies Keswicke, a small market town, many years famous for the copper works [k] as appears from a charter of king Edward IV. and at present inhabited by miners [l]. Its market was obtained of Edward I. by Thomas de Derwentwater lord of the place, from whom it came by inheritance to the Ratcliffes. Skiddaw the mountain before-mentioned rears its double head so high among the clouds like Parnassus, and looks towards Scruffell, a mountain in Scotland, as if it meant to rival it; by the ascent or descent of the clouds from both which the inhabitants draw presages of the weather, and have this common proverb,

--- If Skiddaw hath a cap
Scruffell wots full well of that.
And that other of the height of these and two other mountains in these parts,

Skiddaw, Lawellin, and Casticand
Are the highest hills in all England.
  Cokar r. Cokarmouth. Pap castle. Guasmoric. St. Ambrose. A font. Bridkirk.

From hence the Derwent sometimes in a narrow, sometimes in a broad channel proceeds with rapidity to the north to meet the Cokar. These two rivers at their confluence almost surround Cokarmouth, a plentiful market town and castle of the earls of Northumberland. The town is handsomely built, but stands low between two hills, on one of which is the church, and on the other overagainst it the strong castle, over whose gate are the arms of Molton, Humfranville, Lucy, and Percy. Opposite to this two miles on the other side the river lies the shell of an old castle called Pap castle, which several monuments prove to have been of Roman antiquity. Whether this was Guasmoric which Nennius says king Vortigern built near Luguballium, and the old Britans called Palmecastle, I do not presume to determine. Among other monuments of antiquity here was found a large vase of greenish stone, handsomely carved with small figures; whether designed for the purpose of washing, or as St. Ambrose calls it sacrarium regenerationis, that laver of regeneration, for which use it now serves at the neighbouring town of Bridkirk, q.d. St. Brigit's church, I shall not pronounce. We find fonts adorned with the figures of saints in order to set forth their example to the imitation of the persons baptized [m]. On this besides figures are these foreign characters: See Pl.VIII. fig.I. What they mean or to what nation they belong I do not take upon me to say. Let the learned determine. The first and eighth are not very unlike the character used by Christians after the time of Constantine for the name of Christ. The rest in form but not in power come nearest those which are to be seen on the tomb of Gormon king of Denmark, at Jelling in Denmark, as published by Petrus Lindenbrogius 1591.
  Arms of the Lucies and Percies.
The towns last-mentioned, together with a 4th part of the barony of Egremont, Wigton, Leusewater, Aspatric, Uldal, &c. the fine estate of Maud Lucy (the heiress of Anthony Molton or de Lucy her brother [n]), were by her given to Henry Percy earl of Northumberland her husband; and though she had no children by him she left the Percy family her heirs, on condition they quartered with their own arms those of the Lucies, 3 fish called Lucies in a field G. or to borrow the words of the original deed, "on condition that they bore for their arms G. 3 Lucies quarterly with the arms of Percy O a lion Az. and the condition enforced by a fine." The Derwent, afterwards in one united
[c] at Derwent fells.
[d] IV. 16.
[e] monochromata.
[f] Lib. v. c.177.
[g] Lib. v. c.118.
[h] Eccl. Hist. IV. 29.
[i] Eccl. H. IV. c.29. Vit. Cuthb. c.28.
[k] aeraria sectura.
[l] Who have their smelting-house by Derwentside, which with his forcible stream and their ingenious inventions serveth them in notable stead for easy bellows works, hammer works, forge works, and sawing of boards, not without admiration of those that behold it. Holland.
[m] As saith Pontius Paulinus. For in the first plantation of Christianity among the Gentiles such only as were of full age after they were instructed in the principles of Christian religion were admitted to baptism, and that but twice a year at Easter and Whitsontide, except upon urgent necessity; at which time those who were to be baptised were attired in white garments, exorcised, and exsuffled with sundry ceremonies, which I leave to the learned in Christian antiquities. Id.
[n] Burn, II. 77.
gazetteer links
button -- (black lead mine, Seathwaite)
button -- "Borrodale" -- Borrowdale
button -- "Cokar, River" -- Cocker, River
button -- Cockermouth Castle
button -- "Cokarmouth" -- Cockermouth
button -- "Derwentfels" -- Derwent Fells
button -- Derwent Water
button -- "Derwent, River" -- Derwent, River
button -- Goldscope Mine
button -- "Hay Castle" -- Hayes Castle
button -- "Keswicke" -- Keswick
button -- Gabrosentum
button -- "Pap Castle" -- (roman fort, Papcastle)
button -- "Skiddaw" -- Skiddaw
button -- "St Brigit's Church" -- St Bridget's Church
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