Page images
PDF
EPUB

Note XX. Ancient Riddel's fair domain.—P. 35. The family of Riddel have been very long in possession of the barony called Riddell, or Ryedale, part of which still bears the latter name. Tradition carries their antiquity to a point extremely remote; and is, in some degree, sanctioned by the discovery of two stone coffins, one containing an earthen pot filled with ashes and arms, bearing a legible date, A. D. 727; the other dated 936, and filled with the bones of a man of gigantic size. These coffins were discovered in the foundations of what was, but has long ceased to be, the chapel of Riddell; and as it was argued, with plausibility, that they contained the remains of some ancestors of the family, they were deposited in the modern place of sepulture, comparatively so termed, though built in 1110. But the following curious and authentic documents warrant most conclusively the epithet of " ancient Riddell:" 1st, A charter by David I. to Walter Rydale, sheriff of Roxburgh, confirming all the estates of Liliesclive, &c. of which his father, Gervasius de Rydale, died possessed.— 2dly, A bull of Pope Adrian IV., confirming the will of Walter de Ridale, knight, in favour of his brother Anschittil de Ridale, dated 8th April, 1155. Sdly, A bull of Pope Alexander III., confirming the said will of Walter de Ridale, bequeathing to his brother Anschittil the lands of Liliesclive, Whettunes, &c. and ratifying the bargain betwixt Anschittil and Huctredus, concerning the church of Liliesclive, in conQ

sequence of the mediation of Malcolm II., and confirmed by a charter from that monarch. This bull is dated 17th June, 1160. 4thly, A bull of the same Pope, confirming the will of Sir Anschittil de Ridale, in favour of his son Walter, conveying the said lands of Liliesclive and others, dated 10th March, 1120. It is remarkable, that Liliesclive, otherwise Rydale, or Riddel, and the Whittunes, have descended, through a long train of ancestors, without ever passing into a collateral line, to the person of Sir John Buchanan Riddell, Bart. of Riddell; the lineal descendant and representative of Sir Anschittil.— These circumstances appeared worthy of notice in a border work.

Note XXI. As glanced his eye o'er Halidon.—P. 36. Halidon was an ancient seat of the Kerrs of Cessford, now demolished. About a quarter of a mile to the northward lay the field of battle betwixt Buccleuch and Angus, which is called to this day the Skirmish Field.—See the 4th note on this Canto.

Note XXII. Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran.—P. 37. The ancient and beautiful monastery of Melrose was founded by King David I. Its ruins afford the finest specimen of Gothic architecture and Gothic sculpture which Scotland can boast. The stone of which it is built, though it has resisted the weather for so many ages, retains perfect sharpness, so that even the most minute ornaments seem as entire as when newly wrought. In some of the cloisters, as is hinted in the next Canto, there are representations of flowers, vegetables, &c. carved in stone, with accuracy and precision so delicate, that we almost distrust our senses, when we consider the difficulty of subjecting so hard a substance to such intricate and exquisite modulation. This superb convent was dedicated to St Mary, and the monks were of the Cistertian order. At the time of the Reformation, they shared in the general reproach of sensuality and irregularity, thrown upon the Roman churchmen. The old words of Galashiels, a favourite Scottish air, ran thus:

O the monks of Melrose made gude kale*

On Fridays when they fasted;
They wanted neither beef nor ale,

As long as their neighbour's lasted.

* Kale, Broth.

NOTES TO CANTO II.

Note I.

When silver edges the imagery,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die.—P. 44. The buttresses, ranged along the sides of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, are, according to the Gothic style, richly carved and fretted, containing niches for the statues of saints, and labelled with scrolls, bearing appropriate texts of scripture. Most of these statues have been demolished.

Note II.

—. St David's ruined pile.—P. 44.

David I. of Scotland purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others, which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.

« PreviousContinue »