1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barghest
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BARGHEST, Barguest or Bargest, the name given in the north of England, especially in Yorkshire, to a monstrous goblin-dog with huge teeth and claws. The spectre-hound under various names is familiar in folk-lore. The Demon of Tedworth, the Black Dog of Winchester and the Padfoot of Wakefield all shared the characteristics of the Barghest of York. In Wales its counterpart was Gwyllgi, "the Dog of Darkness," a frightful apparition of a mastiff with baleful breath and blazing red eyes. In Lancashire the spectre-hound is called Trash or Striker. In Cambridgeshire and on the Norfolk coast it is known as Shuck or Shock. In the Isle of Man it is styled Mauthe Doog. It is mentioned by Sir Walter Scott in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"—
|"||For he was speechless, ghastly, wan
Like him of whom the story ran
Who spoke the spectre hound in Man."
A Welsh variant is the Cwn Annwn, or "dogs of hell." The barghest was essentially a nocturnal spectre, and its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. Its Welsh form is confined to the sea-coast parishes, and on the Norfolk coast the creature is supposed to be amphibious, coming out of the sea by night and travelling about the lonely lanes. The derivation of the word barghest is disputed. "Ghost" in the north of England is pronounced "guest," and the name is thought to be burh-ghest, "town-ghost." Others explain it as German Berg-geist, "mountain demon," or Bar-geist, "bear-demon," in allusion to its alleged appearance at times as a bear. The barghest has a kinsman in the Rongeur d'Os of Norman folklore. A belief in the spectre-hound still lingers in the wild parts of the north country of England, and in Nidderdale, Yorkshire, nurses frighten children with its name.
- Wirt Sikes, British Goblins (1880).
- Notes and Queries, first series, ii. 51.
- Joseph Ritson, Fairy Tales (Lond. 1831), p. 58; Lancashire Folklore (1867).
- Joseph Lucas, Studies in Nidderdale (Pateley Bridge, 1882).