Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/303

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Supernatural Change of Site.

(Vol. viii., p. 177.)

I don't know if Mr. Gomme is answerable for the item of cutting the Barn Hall beam and its consequences ; but I have known Barn Hall and its beam tradition from early boyhood, and I never heard of cutting it (the beam). What I used to hear was, that if it was whitewashed ever so carefully and ever so often it became black again forthwith, and that the devil's finger-marks were still to be seen " burnt in in the wood." I never went down to the cellar to see, so little did we who lived there think about it. Some of the lads of the family were schoolfellows of mine, and I was in the habit of going to the house (which was distant from the house in which my father lived about three and a half to four miles) pretty frequently. The rhyme, "Where this beam doth fall," &c., has been familiar to my ears and recollection since about 1825. The "enclosed uncultivated space" was the site of an old moated hall, and was believed to be haunted (like divers other places in the vicinity), each legend being more un- imaginative, and often silly as well as vulgar, than the last. The Barn Hall legend is only the survival of the old well-worn story of building-shifting, of which we have so many instances in these parts of Yorkshire. My church was shifted, according to tradi- tion, and the materials, as they were put together, pulled down nightly, just as in the Barn Hall story, and eventually flung over a ridge of the moorland 900 to 1,000 feet above sea-level. At the Barn Hall site they were flung a mile and better up the hill. It is quite singular how from time to time I come, or have come, on the quasi-prototypes of many of these legends in such books as Hylten Cavallius' Wdrend och Wirdarne. Twice in the course of leisure reading I have (early this year) come on what was beyond doubt the old form of legends current here. There was a mythical Grant Wade here (that is, in this district), who had an equally mythical wife called "Bell," and an equally mythical