Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

a highway, as in the Roman road, High Street. We have also Plumpton back-street and front-street, which are nothing but the old and new roads to Carlisle.

Tarn (N. tiörn), a small lake. Tarn Wadling, the lake on the Roman road, Wadling.

For Talkin Tarn, cf. Talk o'th' Hill, Staffordshire.

Of the other terminations, beck (D. bäk), a brook, biggin, (D. bygning), a building, cot (N. kot), a hut, rig (D. ryg), a ridge, scar (N. sker), a rock, and slack (N. slakr), marshy ground, etc., some at least are doubtful.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

HAVING pointed out the groundwork on which an approximation to the elements of the modern people may be made, it is still difficult to convey an impression of what must be considered the true proportions. The investigator who has gone over the ground, examined the original settlements and their probable extent, forming an idea of the manner in which subsequent colonists pressed in between, and finally obliterated the traces that they found before them, will necessarily make allowances, though he may find it impossible to impress his views on the reader. To an ordinary observer, the Danish name of a town stands as the representative of some hundreds of a Danish population; but this view, as has been shown in the preceding pages, must be utterly erroneous.

The Mixed people of Cumbria,' there is hardly a doubt, outnumbered the Celtic, as the Danes and Norwegians exceeded in number the Angles and Saxons. And hence arose the preponderance of the Danish dialect. It is probable the Danes originally took exclusive possession of certain districts, for the simple reason that they found them unoccupied. In the same way the Angles visibly spread themselves by means of the Roman roads. But this would by no means justify us in saying that we have here, at the present day, an Angle population, any more than we have in another place a Danish one. Settling side by side, and mixing from the first, it can scarcely be otherwise than that the eleme of the population are as thoroughly blended in Cumbria, as in other parts of England.

[blocks in formation]

Yet it may be said, that in the various parts of Cumbria certain differences of dialect and manners are observable; but this is only what might reasonably be expected, as the district is mountainous and difficult of access, and the population could only for a long period hold intercourse and mix according to the natural divisions of the country. Cumbria has, moreover, been always open to the influence of the rest of England. Scottish intercourse has unceasingly acted on the north, as Lancashire influence on the south. And as it is along the high roads, the arteries of traffic, that foreign influence makes itself felt, these localities are exactly the places that will be found to differ most from the secluded dales and fell. sides. On these districts foreign influence can only act indirectly, or through the market-towns, and this it is doing effectually of late years, fast removing all traces and relics of the olden time.

Various essays have been made to find a resemblance between the people of Cumbria and the Scandinavians of the continent, but especially of Norway, the latter being presumptively unmixed. As regards the appearance of the men, quite as striking a likeness may be traced in the people of some parts of Ireland, where, in all probability, the population is mixed. The diet of this district approaches very nearly that of North Wales, the reason being obvious,-the produce of the mountains is in both places the same.* The stature of the people, with perhaps some exceptions, may. easily be paralleled in other parts of the British Isles; and the prevailing fairness of complexion observable in certain districts, is an argument that cannot well be used in the present case, as this characteristic of races is no longer the same as it was known to the ancients. Wherever a similarity of complexion at present exists, it may be traced to local causes. On this subject Prichard observes :

“The ancient Germans are said to have had universally yellow or red hair, and blue eyes. This, says Niebuhr, has now in most parts of Germany become uncommon.

The Chevalier Bunsen has assured me, that he has often looked in vain

• Kohl, the German traveller, observed a great similarity between the Welsh and Tyrolese.

for the auburn or golden locks, and the light cerulean eyes of the old Germans, and never verified the picture given by the ancients of his countrymen, till he visited Scandinavia; there he found himself surrounded by the Germans of Tacitus.

The climate of Germany has in fact changed since the country was cleared of forests.” And the difference between the two races, as he shows by ample evidence, was that the Germans were more red. haired, and the Celts more flaxen-haired. *

The clan system, which prevailed amongst the Scandinavians and Celts, must have continued to a late period in Cumbria, and to this we owe the numerous names ending in son, which is an exact equivalent to the prefixed Mac, 0 or Ap of the Celtic peoples. This class of names appears to have come generally into use with the final spread of Christianity, and of course wherever the clan system then prevailed, the termination son was adopted. The class of names mentioned was preceded by a very extensive stock more especially belonging to heathen times. Some part of these were no doubt derived from qualities, but that a large proportion were local names is equally certain. The custom of taking names from the dwellings, observes W. von Humboldt, must prevail wherever the people have given up the nomade life, without yet uniting to form cities. He cites the case of the Old Prussians, amongst whom every dwelling is said to have given its name to its possessor.

The Angles appear to have adopted the termination son to some extent; Hanson and Ianson are Angle, and both equivalent to Johnson. But it is especially under the class of local names that Angle names of persons are to be looked for. With these modern Saxon names form a remarkable contrast, being, generally speaking, taken from trades, occupations, colours, and all sorts of peculiarities.

The Celtic and Scandinavian names have been enriched by a very considerable interchange. An example or two must suffice to show the manner in which this has taken place. The English

* Natural History of Man.

[blocks in formation]

name Nelson (common in some parts of Ireland) is generally explained from Nicholas, the correct form of which must therefore be Nicholson. How was the name converted into Nelson ? There is no doubt it is identical with the Irish O'Neill, a genitive form, the nominative of which is Niall, a word that may be found in Irish dictionaries explained as a

“ hero." If, then, we are not willing to take the name as of Celtic origin, we are driven to the conclusion, that some Christian Northman so signalised himself in Ireland that his name became a synonyme for a hero, and that from him are descended the O'Neills of Ireland, which genitive passing back into Scandinavia, made out the equivalent Nelson. Again, the Cumbrian name so long spelt Grame, is of course correctly Graham, for in the same way Brougham is pronounced very plainly broom.

Graham is a local name in ham, the first part being found in M'Grath (pr. magrah); and Grath is the Scandinavian garth, a field, Celticised.*

The extensive stock of names claimed as exclusively belonging to the heathen Northmen, numerous enough to overrun the etymology of all England, must have received many additions of the kind described. It is possible, too, that many of them are Tartar. But at least one thing is certain, that the native etymology of the Norse names is quite unreliable. Some of the mixed kind have found their way into Cumbria, but for the most part it is now difficult to recognise them. It may be objected that we have no pure Celtic names remaining in Cumbria, but their absence is still less surprising here than in Wales.t

The clan names of the north continued long unbroken, especially on the Border. Scott tells a story corroborative of this, concerning a certain beggar woman who, one evening in a Border village,

[ocr errors]

. Cf. the Russ. gorad, grad.

† Names of persons ending in stone are of doubtful origin. Ton is a much more probable termination, as such words should first become names of places. Johnstone and Edmonstone, the most usual of this class, seem to have originated in euphony. Yet it would be difficult to account in any other way for the names Robespierre, Robert's stone, Shakspeare (Jacques pierre) James's stone, Breakspeare, etc., all of which are Norman French.

« ForrigeFortsæt »