The Hall of Waltheof/Chapter XXVIII
AS a prophet has no honour in his own country, so, in these days of cheap and fashionable travel, the scenery of one's own neighbourhood is held in much less esteem than the beauties of Devonshire or the Italian lakes. Yet there are scenes in Hallamshire, if we may compare little things to great, or if, indeed, comparisons be admissible at all, which are not less worthy of honour and affection.
But we are only concerned here with the varied tints of the heath, or the glories of the landscape, so far as they illustrate and, as it were, form a background for the figures of the historical painter. Words can hardly convey such scenes to the reader's mental eye, and in attempting verbal descriptions the writer may wholly fail. For my part I shall be content with saying that Hallamshire, in spite of its smoky capital, contains some of the loveliest scenes in England. Such scenes give life and zest even to the "dry" studies of the antiquary.
There are wilder scenes in Hallamshire than that range of cone-shaped hills in Bradfield known as The Canyers or Kenyers. But I think the district contains few things more beautiful. What the name of these hills means I cannot even guess. I thought I had got it once in the Old Norse kengr, a. bend or crook, and I had the Derbyshire Crook Hill before my eyes. But the awful ghost of phonology rose up before me, and said that it might not be.
There are many such hills on the Bradfield moors, where they call them "chests" of hills, "chest" being an old English word for a series or row of things, like a chest of drawers, which does not mean a box of drawers.
The rounded shape of these hills seems to have been caused in primeval times by the grinding action of glaciers, as in North Wales and the English Lake District.
- See an article on "The Ice Age and Its Work," by A. R. Wallace, F.R.S., in the Fortnightly Review, Nov., 1893, p. 616.