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The man complied, and was tried at York, and condemned to death for murder,- a sentence which was actually carried into effect. The victims in this tragedy, the two children, are simply entered in the parish register as having died, without any particulars as to the cause of their death.
The younger son of Calverley, who, as we have seen, had the good fortune to escape, obtained a baronetage, and continued the family; but the last baronet of that name, having inherited large property in Northumberland from the Blacketts, sold both his old possessions of Calverley and his acquired property of Edshall, where he had always lived till he finally left the country. The family in the direct male line is now extinct. The Vavasours of Weston are also extinct, the last of them having died thirty-six years ago, when Weston passed to a son of his sister. In utter opposition to the pride of most landed proprietors so situated, he forbade his elected heir to take the name of Vavasour, declaring that he would be the last Vavasour of Weston, which estate, he maintained, had been in his family since the time of Henry II.
The tradition above related is the basis of the drama called The Yorkshire Tragedy. In our day it has been adopted by Ainsworth in his romance of Rookwood, who has marred its interest by transferring the date of action from its proper era to the prosaic times of George II., for no other reason, as it would seem, than to introduce the highwayman Turpin. “I remember,' says the venerable informant who communicated this tradition to Sir Bernard Burke, detailing it, with its appended superstitions, to the late Mr. Surtees, our Durham antiquary, expecting him to deliver it to Sir Walter Scott, who, I felt sure, would manufacture it into a clever romance, by keeping it to the true time—the beginning of the reign of James I. He promised to do so, but ere long both he and Sir Walter Scott were called away. The .appended superstitions' are as follow: 'It was currently reported that Mr. Calverley and his men galloped about through the extensive woods at dead of night on headless horses, their cry being, “A pund of more weight-lig on, lig on!” So ran my native vernacular. As you are perhaps a Southron, I give you the English : “A pound of more weight-lay on, lay on !" Their favourite haunt was said to be the Cave, a romantic natural cavern in the midst of the wood. Sometimes the ghosts of the two murdered children were thought to appear,-a remarkable instance of which occurred to my father's old clerk in his younger days, though he admitted that he had sat up drinking and carding to "the Sabbathday morning.” It was said that at one time master and men were wont to ride their infernal horses into the very village, to the great terror of all quiet people. However, a skilful exorcist prohibited them from passing the church so long as hollies grew green in Calverley wood; and there was in my time no lack of hollies in the wood.'
A good deal of the superstition was in existence some twenty years ago, of which here is an instance: 'In going his rounds, a Methodist preacher was hospitably received by a clothier who lived in the old hall. Whether to account for the fact by the goodness of the cheer, we pretend not to say ; but, as the detail ran, the old haunted hall was close to the church, and the window of the room where the gentleman slept looked very awfully into the churchyard. In the dead of the night he felt his bed repeatedly raised from the floor, and then let down again. Whereupon he called up his host; but the bed-mover was provokingly invisible, and nothing could the two worthies find.
“Now, to a native, the amusing part of the story is its topography. The old hall is about a quarter of a mile from the church, with the whole village intervening ; so that if the good man saw into the churchyard from his window, he must have rivalled Lynceus by looking through a dozen good stone walls; for all the houses are built of stone.'
FORTUNES OF THREE EARLS OF KILDARE.
F the Irish Geraldines—whose great ancestor was
a favourite of Edward the Confessor, whose
English possessions were numerous, and whose successor was treated after the Conquest as a fellow-countryman of the Normans, and who, moreover, put the copestone to his prosperity by marrying a daughter of a prince of North Wales, as did his son by wedding the daughter of a prince of South Wales-here are three noteworthy histories.
First is John Thomas Fitzgerald, who nearly lost his life in an accidental conflagration. In his infancy he was in the Castle of Woodstock when there was an alarm of fire. In the confusion that ensued the child was forgotten; and on the servants returning to search for him, the room in which he lay was found in ruins. Soon after a strange voice was heard in one of the castle towers; and upon looking up, they saw an ape, which was usually kept chained, carefully holding the child in its arms. The Earl, afterwards, in gratitude for his preservation, adopted a monkey for his
crest; and some of his descendants, in memory of it, took the additional motto, 'Non immemor beneficii.'
The life of the child thus miraculously preserved abounds in romantic adventures. He was at variance with William de Vesci, lord of Kildare, a baron much esteemed by the reigning monarch, Edward 1.; their disputes arising from the contiguity of their estates. De Vesci, who was Lord Justice of Ireland, openly declared that John Fitzthomas was the cause of the existing disturbances, and that he was in private quarrels as fierce as a lyon, but in publicke injuries as meeke as a lambe.' This having been reported to Fitzgerald, he, in the presence of the Lords of the Council, replied: You would gladly charge me with treason, that by shedding my blood, and by catching my land into. your clouches, that but so neere upon your lands of Kyldare, you might make your sonne a proper gentleman.' 'A gentleman!' quoth the Lord Justice; thou bold baron, I tell thee the Vescis were gentlemen before the Geraldines were barons of Offaly ; yea, and before that Welsh bankrupt, thyne ancestaur, fethered his nest in Leinster;' and then accused him of being a supporter of thieves and upholder of traytours.' As for my ancestor,' replied the baron, 'whom you term a bankrupt, how riche or how poore he was upon his repayre to Ireland, I purpose not at this time to debate; yet this much I may boldly say, that he came hither as a byer, not a beggar. He bought his enen land by spending his blood; but you, lurking like a spider in his cobweb to entrappe flies, endeavour to beg sub