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moorish land (as he is pleased to represent it). Nevertheless, there is not one ancient record that we have met with, wherein it is not expressly called Westmerland, and not Westmorland, or Westmoreland ; which doth not altogether favour Mr. Camden's supposition: the Latin termination is Westmaria, sometimes Westmeria, which hath still less resemblance of the moor. If the county had bordered upon the western sea, it might have been conjectured that it had received its name from thence; but as Cumberland lies between this county and the sea on the west, it can scarcely admit of that derivation. Therefore we must be content to leave it in the same uncertainty as we found it.
This county is bounded on the East by the counties of Durham and York; on the South, by the counties of York and Lancaster; on the West, by the counties of Lancaster and Cumberland ; and on the North, by the counties of Cumberland and Durham.
The length of this county, from Heron-sike in the parish of Burton on the South, to where it adjoins to the counties of Cumberland and Durham on the North, is about forty miles; and the breadth thereof is nearly the same, from the top of Stanemore on the East, to Great Langdale on the West; according to the English standard of 1760 yards
a mile, and not according to the customary measure of the country, which is after the proportion of about two computed miles to the three measured ones. From what source this difference in the length of miles did arise, we have not been able to discover. It hath no reference to the Roman mile. Theirs was somewhat short of the English statute measure, in the proportion (according to Mr. Horsley) of about 13 to 14. Mr. Horsley further observes, that through the most part of England, three computed miles make four in the Itinerary (that is Roman miles). Near Wales, and in the western as well as northern parts of England, two English computed miles make three Roman. It is nearly the same also in Scotland, and in some cross-roads. About London and twenty miles round, they are near equal, or not above one or two in twenty different. Horsl. 382, 383.
There is also in the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland a mensuration of acres, called customary measure, which varies from the statute measure, and is itself also diverse in different places. The most general customary measure is that of 6760 square yards to the acre, whereas the statute measure is only 4840. In some parts of Westmorland, the customary acre is measured to 7840 yards; as if where the land is bad, they were willing to give so much the greater measure.
And there was good reason for this, inasmuch as they proportioned the military duty according to the number of acres that a man possessed. But this could be no rule as to the miles: there being no reason, where the
road was bad, that therefore they should make the miles so much the longer.
The air in this county (especially in winter) is somewhat sharp and severe, but withal very healthful; and people live commonly to a very great age.
The soil of this county is in many places, as Mr. Camden describes it, barren and unfruitful; there being much uncultivated waste ground, and much of it incapable of cultivation. Yet there are many fruitful and pleasant vallies; and the bottom of Westmorland (as it is called) hath a considerable quantity of level ground, though surrounded on every side with high mountains*.
Lying near the western ocean, it is much exposed to RAIN, brought by the South-west winds, which blow in this part for above two thirds of the year. Hence their crops are later by three, four, and in some places six weeks, than in some other parts of the kingdom.
* Within the last few years the Statesmen and Farmers have been inoculated with an amazing spirit of improvement, and, owing to the Agricultural Societies, the improvement in the breed of cattle and sheep has more than kept pace with more congenial climates; yet, as regards the average annual value of land per acre, the returns for 1843 shew that it is still by far the lowest on the scale of English Counties. The average annual value of land in Westmorland per Statute Acre being by that census only Nine Shillings! By the same the average of all England is Eighteen and Tenpence ; and of all Wales Nine and fivepence : Cumberland ten and twopence; Middlesex thirty-three and ninepence. The recent Act for the Inclosure of Commons may probably have the effect of raising the average. The area of the County is 762 Square Statute Miles, and consequently 487,680 acres.
This county abounds with MOUNTAINS, which in the language of the county are called Fells, this being the genuine Saxon appellation, and the word is yet retained as an epithet in our language, to signify something that is wild and boisterous, as we say a fell tempest, a fell tyrant, or the like.
Yet these mountains are not altogether unprofitable. Besides that they fan the air, and render it salubrious, they feed large flocks of SHEEP, of the wool whereof the farmers make great advantage. And the sheep being very small, and fed for the greater part of the year upon the ling, their mutton is most excellent, especially that which is killed in summer and autumn from off the common. The wool of the sheep is coarse and thick, suitable to the climate; and, which is very remarkable, where larger sheep, with finer and thinner fleeces, have been introduced, the breed gradually diminishes, and the fleece grows thicker, as if nature intended to adapt the animal to its situation. So the same sheep, or other cattle, removed to a more favourable climate, grow larger and finer.
These mountains also produce plenty of GROUSE, or moor-game ; which are nourished in like manner chiefly by the ling*. And when that shrub is in
* On Martindale fells red deer; and on the inland moors and intacks black-game.
flower, about the middle of September, it attracts the industrious BEE ; so that the heath at that season seems to be covered as it were with one large swarm. This shrub in Latin is called bruera, and in Domesday-book brueria.
The said mountains also abound with RIVULETS, which water the vallies beneath : insomuch that in almost every little village there is water sufficient to carry a mill; which renders the precarious help of windmills superfluous : though, if need should be, there are few countries better situate for such like conveniences.
Nor are these mountains inconsiderable in respect of the MINERALS they contain. The Reverend Thomas Robinson, rector of Ousby, who was a connoisseur in that branch of science, in an Essay towards a Natural History of Westmorland and Cumberland, published in the year 1709, treats of the same in the following manner : he first takes notice of the mineral productions along the ridge of mountains on the North, beginning from Stanemore, ascending gradually to the top of Cross-Fell, and from thence descending by the like gradation to Gilsland in Cumberland. “ The first elevation of this ridge (he says) is called Hilton Fell; the mineral productions whereof are lead and coal: which being of a disagreeing nature, the one renders the other of little value. The prospect of lead upon this fell, is only from the appearance of several veins of spar, soil, and vein-stone, breaking out