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Gentleman's Magazine 1795 p.985

  Dacre Bears
Dacre Bears

Sproxton, July 30.
THE Editors of the History of Cumberland, rather to my surprize,have not favoured the publick with drawings of the four pillars in Dacre church-yard; I therefore send you sketches of them taken in the summer of 1795. (see Plate I. fig. 2, 3, 4, 5.) My own remarks nearly agree with the following description they give us:
"In Dacre church-yard are four remarkable monuments, being the figures of bears, about five feet in height, sitting on their haunches, and clasping a rude pillar, or ragged staff, on which two of the figures rest their heads; the other two carry on their backs the figures of a lynx; one is in the attitude of attempting to rid himself of the animal on his shoulders, with his head twisted, and paw cast behind him. They are placed on a square, two to the East of the church, and two to the West."
Afterwards follows a quotation from Bishop Nicolson, the same as copied by Burn in 1777.
"That these look like some of the achievements of the honourable family that so long resided at the neighbouring castle, which has since been illustrated by a very worthy descendant of the family, on account of their claim to the hereditary forestership of Inglewood forest: and the more so as one sees these jagged branches over and over introduced in the chapel of Naworth castle, which is so rich with arms and cognizances; and where this jagged branch is, in some places, even thrown across the Dacre's arms fess-wise. Ranulph de Meschines, lord of Cumberland, granted this office of Forester to Robert D'Estrivers, lord of Burgh upon Sands, in fee; his arms were Argent, three bears Sable. The heiress D'Estrivers married Engain; the heiress of Engain married Morvil; the heiress of Morvil married Multon; and Dacre married the heiress of Multon, and by her had the same right as the others to the forestership of Inglewood; which was so honourable, and gave so great command, that there is no wonder the family should wish, by every means, to set forth their claim to it, and, amongst others, by cognizances taken in allusion thereto, especially as the Crown, about this time, seems to have interfered with them, in regard to this right. Surely nothing could be more naturally adapted to this idea than this Bear, which was the arms of their ancestor, the first grantee of office. The branch of a tree, which seems so very allusive to forests and woods, agrees with the same notion: and it is not improbable but this might be originally a badge used by Robert D'Estrivers himself, and that he chose the bears in his arms, because they were inhabitants of forests."
The Editors remark, that in the old town-house walls at Penrith (burnt down, I think, in 1770) bears and ragged staves were represented.
Dacre according to Burn, is noted for having given name to, or rather received its name from, the Barons of Dacre, who continued there for many ages. It is mentioned by Bede, as having a monastery there in his time; as also by Malmesbury, for being the place where Constantine, king of the Scots, and Eugenius, king of Cum-
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