Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 1/Dule upo' Dun

Part I: Legends and Traditions; The Dule upo' Dun.


The tradition upon which Mr Roby has founded one of his stories appeared many years ago in the Kaleidoscope, a Liverpool weekly literary publication. Barely three miles from Clitheroe, as you enter a small village on the right of the high road to Gisburne, stood a public-house, having for its sign the above title, which, being translated into plain English, is "The Devil upon Dun" (horse) The story runs that a poor tailor sold himself to Satan for seven years, after which term, according to the contract, signed, as is customary, with the victim's own blood, his soul was to become "the devil's own." He was to have three wishes, and these were expended in a wish for a collop of bacon; in a second, that his wife were "far enough;" and then that she were back home again. At the end of the seven years the Father of Lies appeared and claimed his victim, who tremblingly contended that the contract was won from him by fraud and dishonest pretences, and had not been fulfilled. He ventured to hint at the other party's lack of power to bestow riches or any great gift; on which Satan was goaded into granting him another wish. "Then," said the trembling tailor, "I wish thou wert riding back again to thy quarters, on yonder dun horse, and never able to plague me again, or any other poor wretch whom thou hast gotten into thy clutches!" The demon, with a roar, went away riveted to the back of this dun horse, and the tailor watched his departure almost beside himself for joy. He lived happy to a good old age, leaving behind him at his death good store of this world's gear, which was divided amongst his poorer relatives. One of them, having bought the house where the tailor dwelt, set up the trade of a tapster therein, having for his sign, "The Dule upo' Dun." On it is depicted "Old Hornie," mounted upon a scraggy dun horse, without saddle, bridle, or any sort of equipments whatever—the terrified steed being "off and away" at full gallop from the door, where a small hilarious tailor, with shears and measures, appears to view the departure of him of the cloven foot with anything but grief or disapprobation. The house itself is one of those ancient gabled black-and-white edifices, now fast disappearing under the march of improvement. Many windows of little lozenge-shaped panes set in lead, might be seen here in all the various stages of renovation and decay. Over the door, till lately, swung the old and quaint sign, attesting the truth of the tradition and the excellence of mine host's beer.