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ARKWORTH CASTLE in Northumberland, itands very boldly on a neck of land
near the sea-shore, almoft surrounded by the river, COQUET, (called by our old latin historians Coqueda) which runs with a clear rapid stream, but when fsvoln with rains becomes violent and dangerous.
About a mile from the Castle, in a deep romantie valley, are the remains of a HERMITAGE ; of which the Chapel is still intire. This is hollowed with great elegance in a cliff near the river ; as are also two adjoining appartments, which probably served for the Sacristy and Veftry, or were appropriated to some other facred uses for the former of these, which runs parallel with the Chapel
, appears to have had an Altar in it, at which Mass was occafionally celebrated, as well as in the Chapel itself.
Each of these apartments is extremely small; for that which was the principal Chapel does not in length exceed eighteen feet; nor is more than feven feet and a half in breadth and height : it is however very beautitifully designed and executed in the folid rock'; and has all the decorations of a complete Gothic Church or Cathedral in minaturc.
But what principally distinguishes the Chapel, is a fmall Tomb or Monument, on the south side of the altar ; on the top of which lies a Female Figure ex. tended in the manner that effigies are usually exhibited praying on ancient tombs. This figure, which is very delicately designed, sume have ignorantly called an image of the Virgin Mary; though it has not the Icatt resem. blance to the manner in which she is represented in the Romish Churches; who is usually erect, as the object of adoration, and never in a postrate or recumbent pofture. Indeed the real image of the blessed Virgin probably stood in a small nich, ftill visible behind the altar: whereas the figure of a Bull's Head, which is rudely carved at this Lady's feet, the usual place for the Crest in old monuments, plainly proves her to have been a very different personage.
About the tomb are several other Figures ; which, as well as the principal one abovementioned, are cut in the natural rock, in the same manner as the little Chapel it. felf, with all its Ornaments, and the two adjoining Apartments. What flight traditions are scattered through the country, concerning the origin and foundation of this Hermitage, Tomb, &c. are delivered to the Reader in the following rhimes.
It is universally agreed, that the Founder was one of the Bertram family, which had once confiderable posfeffions in Northumberland, and were anciently Lords of Botha! Caftle, situate about ten mile from Wark. worth. He has been thought, to be the same Bertram, that endowed Brinkburn Priory, and built Brenkfhaugh Chapel: which both stand in the same winding valley, higher up the river.
But Brinkburn Priory was founded in the reign of K. Henry 1.* whereas the form of the Gothic win.
* Tanner's Notitia Monaft.
dows in this Chapel, especially of those near the altar, is found rather to resemble the style of architecture that prevailed about the reign of K. Edward III. ind in deed that the sculpture in this Chapel cannot be much older, appears from the Creft which is placed at the Lady's feet on the Tomb; for Camden † inform us, that armorial Crests did not become hereditary till a bout the reign of K. Edward II.
These appearances fill extant, strongly confirm the account given in the following poem, and plainly prove
that the HERMIT of Warkworth was not the same de la person that founded Brinkburn Priory in the twelfih
century, but rather one of the Bertram family who lived at a later period.
† See his Remains.