Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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THE DRAGON OF WANTLEY.
135
to get still more: for Mr. Nicholas Wortley attempted to take the tithes in kind, but Mr. Francis Bosville opposed him, and there was a decree in favour of the modus in 3fth Eliz. The vicarage of Penniston did not go along with the rectory, but with the copyhold rents, and was part of a large purchase made by Ralph Bosville, Esq., from Queen Elizabeth, in the 2d year of her reign: and that part he sold in 12th Eliz. to his elder brother Godfrey, the father of Francis; who left it, with the rest of his estate, to his wife, for her life, and then to Ralph, third son of his uncle Ralph. The widow married Lyonel Rowlestone, lived eighteen years, and survived Ralph. " This premised, the ballad apparently relates to the law­suit carried on concerning this claim of tithes made by the Wortley family. ' Houses and churches were to him geese and turkeys:' which are titheable things, the Dragon chose to live on. Sir Francis Wortley, the son of Nicholas, at­tempted again to take the tithes in kind: but the parishion­ers subscribed an agreement to defend their modus. And at the head of the agreement was Lyonel Rowlestone, who is supposed to be one of 'the stones, dear Jack, which the Dragon could not crack.1 The agreement is still preserved in a large sheet of parchment, dated 1st of James I., and is full of names and seals, which might be meant by the coat of armour, " with spikes ail about, both within and without." More of More-hall was either the attorney, or counsellor, who conducted the suit. He is not distinctly remembered, but More-hall is still extant at the very bottom of Wantley [Warncliff] Wood, and lies so low, that it might be said to be in a well: as the Dragon's den [Warncliff Lodge] was at the top of the wood ' with Matthew's house hard by it.' The keepers belonging to the Wortley family were named, for many generations, Matthew Northall: the last of them left this lodge, within memory, to be keeper to the Duke of Nor­folk. The present owner of More-hall still attends Mr. Bos­ville's Manor Court at Oxspring, and pays a rose a year. ' More of More-Hall, with nothing at all, slew the Dragon of Wantley.' He gave him, instead of tithes, so small a modus, that it was in effect, nothing at all, and was slaying him with a vengeance. ' The poor children three,' &c, cannot surely







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