Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/384

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.



becomes his brother-in-law (not brother), and his sister (his father's daughter) is his own mother. Such cases are alleged in certain villages to-day, and the rural gossips find other interesting relations. Thus : the boy is his own uncle, because he is his mother's brother ; and the father is his own father-in-law, because he is his brother- in-law's father ; the girl is her o"rcn step- mother, through marrying her own father ; and so forth, almost- without end.

H. SNOWDEN WARD. Hadlow, Kent.

CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND HEARTH TAX LISTS, 1660-80 (10 S. xii. 269). I obtained from the Public Record Office recently a Hearth Tax List for Newcastle- upon-Tyne dated 1666. It is headed ' Lay Subsidy Roll, Northumberland, 18 Charles II., Hearth Tax.' I presume that the lists for Cumberland and Westmorland also are to be found there. RICHARD WELFORD.


"BETHERAL" (10 S. xii. 266). It is odd that there should be no reference for this form in the ' N.E.D.' Jamieson duly quotes an example from Gait's * Ayrshire Legatees,' giving from the same work the variants " betherel " and "bedral." He also extracts the familiar passage containing *' bedral " from the thirty - second chapter of ' St. Ronan's Well.' '

Like many other characteristic words, " betheral " has largely dropped out of fashion since the days of the School Board. Previously it was not uncommon in land- ward parishes, and one can recollect its presence in the conversation of venerable speakers whose practice represented the mode of the early nineteenth century. Some of them could recall an ancient functionary whose mysterious night-wrapt habits strongly suggested intromissions with the vile emissaries of Burke and Hare. This was the historical " betheral " of the sphere in which he held sway, and there was no need to distinguish him otherwise, even by giving him such name as might have been accorded him in his father's family Bible. He continued to rule to the close of his career, and there was nothing but strong suspicion to cloud the fair character of his record. He was followed by an upright and aged servitor who had fought at Waterloo, and in the long interval had accumulated a rich and diversified experience. He, too, was " the betheral " for such as liked the

Id ways, and the fragrance of his title and his heroic 1 associations lingered pleasantly

among those who were beginning to look out upon life considerably after the middle of the century.

Afterwards the pristine dignity connected with the ecclesiastical office was gradually forgotten, and there was a steady descent through " bethal " and " minister's man " to the "church officer " of the present day. This is a significant transition, illustrating as it does the sweeping effects of progress on the range and the idiosyncrasies of rural terminology. There is said to be in Scotland at the present time a society of learned men who make it their business to find in the highways and byways such specimens of the native speech of the country as still maintain a spasmodic and uncertain exist- ence. If the report is true, then the enter- prise may be considered high and com- mendable, even if it does seem to have been undertaken too late to warrant the hope of securing substantial results.


In his ' Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character ' (surely one of the most entertaining books ever published) the late Dean Ramsay writes of " the old Scottish beadle, or betheral, as he used to be called," and has an allusion to an " anecdote of the ' Bethrel ' type." The first edition was published in 1859. W. B. H.

JAMES IV. OF SCOTLAND (10 S. xii. 249). Referring to the church of St. Michael in Wood Street, Stow in the ' Survey of London ' writes as follows :

"There is also, but without any outward monu- ment, the head of James, the fourth King of Scots of that name, slain at Flodden Field, and buried here by this occasion : After the battle the body of the said king being found, was enclosed in lead, and conveyed from thence to London, and so to the monastery of Shene in Surrey, where it remained for a time, in what order I am not certain ; but since the dissolution of that house, in the reign of Edw. VI. , Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, being lodged, and keeping house there, I have been shown the same body so lapped in lead, close to the head and body, thrown into a waste room amongst the old timber, lead, and other rubble. Since the which time workmen there, for their foolish pleasure, hewed off his head ; and Launeelot Young, master glazier to her majesty, feeling a sweet savour to- come from thence, and seeing the same dried from all moisture, and yet the form remaining, with the hair of the head, and beard red, brought it to- London to his house in Wood Street, where for a time he kept it for the sweetness, but in the end caused the sexton of that church to bury it amongst other bones taken out of their charnel," &c.

When the church was demolished in 1897 careful search was naturally made for such a relic, but nothing was found to verify the