Imágenes de páginas

Tweed and its tributaries a decided preponderance of Cymric names and root-forms over Gaelic. We have the marked scarcity or absence of the distinctive Gaelic forms, such as auchen, bal, bally, craigen, magh. We have, further, no trace of the characteristically Pictish forms, pit, auchter, for, and fin, unless the last occurs in Fingland. Of the Gallowegian bar, the top or point, we have no indication ; and ar and arie, a hill-pasture, are awanting. The conclusion is unavoidable, that the earliest dwellers by the Tweed whose names have come down to us belonged to the Cymric branch of the Celtic. Our analysis of the Cymric names even shows that these belonged to the Cornish branch of the language rather than the Welsh.

And, curiously enough, the information we obtain from Ptolemy and other historical sources, confirms the supposition that the original inhabitants of the valleys of the Tweed and the Clyde, when history dawns, were identical with those of Cornwall. In the year 43 A.D., in the time of the Emperor Claudius, a line drawn across the island from the Severn to the Humber would have bounded the Roman province on the north. In a northerly direction beyond this limit lay the Brigantes, a tribe of Britons thought by the Romans to be indigenous; while the tribes further south were regarded as immigrants from Belgic Gaul. The Brigantes stretched as far north as the Firth of Forth. Wales was occupied by the Silures and Ordovices. Beyond these, in what is now England, the Brigantes spread from the Eastern to the Western Sea; on the north-west they passed across the Solway and included Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, and Wig

ton. In Dumfries they were called Selgovæ, or Elgovæ, and in the two latter counties Novanta. On the east coast of the island, south of the Forth, in the counties of Northumberland, Berwick, part of Roxburgh, and Haddington, the Brigantes bore the name of the Otalini or Ottadeni. On the west and north of the Brigantes, and occupying all the country to the estuary of the Tay, were the Damnii or Damnonii. They stretched through Selkirk and Peebles up Tweeddale to Lanark, Renfrew, and Ayr. The Lowthers and the chain of hills which form the watershed between the streams flowing southwards to the Solway and those going northwards to the Firth of Clyde and the Western Sea, separated them from the Brigantes along the shores of the Solway. The Damnonii crossed the Forth and held Stirling, Duinbarton, Menteith, Stratherne, Fothreve or the western part of the peninsula of Fife. Their northern limit was the estuary of the Tay.

The Britons immediately west of the Ottadeni were called Gadeni. The Gadeni seem to have occupied the western part of Northumberland, a portion of Roxburghshire, Selkirk, and Peebles, and probably Linlithgow to the Forth. The evidence is strongly in favour of the supposition that the Gadeni belonged to the Damnonii rather than to the Brigantes. It is with the Damnonii of Lanark, Renfrew, and Ayr that we find the Gadeni socially and politically incorporated, as soon as a union was formed to resist the Angles of Bernicia. If this be so, the probability is that these Gadeni were of Cornish extraction; for the name of the general tribe, Damnonii, is precisely that of the Britons who occupied Cornwall. This, taken in connection with the fact, now for the first time

definitely ascertained, that the original nomenclature of the district is Cornish, points strongly to this general conclusion.

There is still another fact which bears pertinently in the same direction. We have a list of the kings of the Gwyddyl Ffichti, the Caledonians or Picts, whom Mr Skene with great probability holds to be a Gaelic people. The names of the kings of the more northern Pictsthose beyond The Mounth, or the great range of mountains which retch com Ben Nevis across the island to the Eastern Sea—are decidedly of a Gaelic character. The names of the kings of the southern Picts, or those who held the country south of The Mounth to the Firth of Forth, and even to some extent south of it, as in part of Linlithgow, have a British admixture, and this is not Welsh but Cornish, These superadded forms seem thus to have been acquired through intercourse with this Cornish tribe of Damnonii.

There are several forms of words which are written on the face of the country as if in the way of palimpsest. This has arisen from the succession and mingling of various races of people. Culter Fell is obviously a compound of Celtic and Scandinavian. Cultir is either Gaelic or Cornish ; Fell is, of course, Norwegian. Mossfennan was of old Mosspennoc, and as pen means head or hill, and cnoc very much the same, the addition of noc is by a newcomer. Moss is probably Cymric maes, meadow. Gill's Burn is a mere reduplication of the same sort, unless gill be taken to mean simply ravine, apart from a stream flowing through it. Ven Law is obviously made

Skene, Celtic Scotland, i. iv. 211.

[ocr errors]

up of a Saxon superscription upon a Cymric form, as, in ignorance of the meaning of the original word, the new-comer called it hill-hill. Venlaw occurs twice in Peeblesshire, near the town of Peebles, and on the estate Dawyck. Besides adding law to ven, the Saxons first of all changed the pen into ven, in accordance with the general passing of sharp into softer consonants in German, as shown in Grimm's law; p and ph going into f and v. We have a similar reduplication in Penhill and Penlaw in Dumfriesshire. In fact, this doubling of the name occurs every time the word water is added to Avon, Esk, or Dour.

In the twelfth century, when the Cymric people were being merged in the immigrant Angle and Anglo-Norman of England, and their names were being superseded, we have the old British form of word appearing for a moment, like a parting face, in the unfriendly charters of the period which transferred land and nativi to the new lords. Thus Penjacob, the original name of Edulf's town, now Eddleston, or perhaps of the district which contained it, turns up in an early charter alongside the modern name. The lordship passed to the great family of De Moreville, for some generations High Constables of Scotland In a still earlier charter of the twelfth century it appears as Gillemorestun, possibly enough a Saxon rendering of Moreville, with gill, ravine, prefixed. Richard de Moreville gave to Edulphus, the son of Utred, “Gillemorestun, quæ antiquitus vocabatur Peniacob.” This was before 1189.2 Edulphus, a younger son of an Earl of Northumberland, was buried in Jedburgh Abbey about Reg. Epis. Glasg., i. No. 173, between 1214-1249.

Ibid., i. 45.


this period. May he have been the Edulph of Eddleston ?

As a rule, the Anglo-Saxon names are very realistic or matter of fact in their meaning, and they are not musical in sound. They are abrupt, and generally monosyllabic. We have Dun Law, Black Law, Whiteside Hill, Scawd Law, Onweather Hill, and Deid-for-Cauld Hill, and innumerable others of the same sort. These are all faithful to fact and superficial aspect, but they indicate no imaginative feeling about the objects named. Hawkshaw and Stanhope somewhat redeem the character of the Saxon names, and Windlestrae Law may pass for its literalness and suggestiveness of the brown and breezy bent.

The Cymri, who were in the district before the Teutons, must have had a singularly fine musical sense; and although we are not able always to trace the inner significance of their names of hill and stream and glen, they appear to have had a purer, deeper feeling for the nature around them, more communion with it, more syinpathy with it, alike in its softer and in its sterner aspects, than their successors had, or than for long appeared in Saxon or English literature. Perhaps they were, as has been supposed from the evidence of the fragments of poetry which have come down to us, more sensitive, emotional, and quick in perception than the somewhat slow and patient waiter on fact, the AngloSaxon. Possibly also, as I venture to suggest, their dwellings, perched on the tops of the hills, away from the wooded and marshy low grounds, made them familiar with wide prospects and the ever-moving aspects of earth

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »