10 s. xii. JULY 31, 1909.] NOTES AND QUERIES.
LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY SI, 1909.
NOTES: "Plains," Timber-denuded Lands, 81 Oxford Civil War Leaders, 82 Illustrations of Shakespeare, 84 Dr. Johnson and Strahan's ' Virgil,' 85 Happisburgh or Haisborough " Aviation "Robin's Alive Macaulay on Olive Trees, 86 Monuments to American Indians Carlyle on the Peneus " Dynamometer," 87.
QUERIES :" Pyrrhic victory " Farnese Arms "Bier- Right": Ordeal by Touch, 87 T. L. Peacock: George Meredith Bridgewater Borough" Coherer " ' The Oera Linda Book' Goethe on "Ignorance in Motion" Hollow Loaf foretelling Death Authors of Quotations Wanted Poem on a Boy and his Curls Black Notley Parish Register Kendal House, Isleworth, 88 Dor- chester: Birrell's Engraving Hotel Moras or Biron Morlais Castle-Noah Hickey of Dublin 'The Black- heathen 'Slip of the Tongue a Bad Omen Walking in Two Parishes, 89 Chaucer : " Strothir " Portrait by Lawrence Essex fatal to Women Charles II. 's Mock Marriage Pigott's ' Jockey Club 'Pilgrim Fathers, 90.
REPLIES : Walt Whitman on Alamo, 90 Infanta Maria of Spain Bacon on Tasting Paul Braddon Butter- worth, 91 Pig Grass Holt Castle Beezely, 92 " Rollick " " All the world and his wife" "What the Devil said to Noah "Thimbles Eel-Pie Shop Welsh Judges Gainsborough, Architect, 93 "Seecatchie" "I had three sisters "Hannah Lightfoot " Hen and Chickens" J. Isaacson John Hus Col. Pestall, 94 "Matthew, Mark," &c. Nuns as Chaplains DeQuincey, 95 Births and Deaths Mechanical Road Carriages tfhoreditch Family Arms of Married Women Sneezing Superstition, 97 Suffragan Bishops Hamlet Healen Penny Clarionett, 98.
NOTES ON BOOKS : Lord Broughton's Recollections ' The Faerie Queen ' 4 The Inns ofCourt.'
Notices to Correspondents.
" PLAINS "-= TIMBER-DENUDED LANDS.
ON the outskirts of Nottingham partly within, but mainly without, the present city boundaries is an ancient road travers- ing a narrow ridge of hill-top land, three or four miles in length, once a part of Sher- wood Forest. This is called the Plains Road, and the adjacent land on either side is called the Plains otherwise Mapperley Plains, from a suburb at the Nottingham end. The road, however, limits several parishes, the villages whereof lie in flanking valleys, whence arose the names Arnold Plains, Sneinton Plains, Gedling Plains, and Nottingham Plains. The strange thing is that this narrow hill-top tract scarcely approachable by vehicular traffic before modern improvements differs totally from the orthodox conception of what " plains " should be, and has consequently often given rise to puzzled inquiries that nobody could answer.
From the limited historical evidence available, while compiling a history of Mapperley in 1902, I directed some attention
to the question of the signification of these particular "plains," the earliest known allusions to which are little more than three centuries old. Historical evidence shows that, in mediaeval times, the same tracts of land were occupied by ancient parochial woodlands, and that the term " plains " only arose when and where the woodlands were cleared. Hence there seemed no escape from the conclusion that "plain," in this case at least, signified land that was "plain." in the sense of being bared of timber. I did not find this obsolete sense noted in any dictionary then accessible to me, and could only regret that the ' N.E.D.' had not in 1902 progressed so far as P never doubting that the latter work would, in due time, fully illustrate the point. The greater, then, was my disappointment, on a recent examination, to find that this old-time signification of " plain " had not been recognized by the editors. This incidental reference, however, occurs : 1375, Barbour, 'Bruce,' vii. 613, "Thai in full gret hy agane out of the woud ran to the plane." Moreover, illustrative extracts of the nineteenth century go to show that, in Colonial and U.S. use, " plains " chiefly plural is a term " applied to level treeless tracts of country," which looks like a survival.
However, since 1902 I have found ample confirmation of the view then adopted, viz., that " plain " was a term once used in con- tradistinction from " woodland " ; and hence it may fairly be presumed that the question whether the land agreed with the modern sense, or whether it was hilly, was im- material. No doubt further illustrations could readily be found, but the following, taken (with one exception) from Notts lite- rature, will probably suffice.
William Peveril's foundation charter to Lenton Priory, 1103-8, grants "the towns of Radford, Morton, and Keighton, with all their appurtenances, and whatsoever he had in Newthorpe and Papplewick, in wood, plain," &c.
By a later charter William Peveril the younger granted to Lenton Priory " the town of Linby, and whatsoever he held in it, viz., lands tilled and untilled, in wood and in plain," &c.
A similar passage occurs in the foundation charter of Rufford Abbey, as also in one of the early Osberton charters (vide * Dukery Records,' 1904). I have not access to the original text in connexion with these passages, but the continued recurrence of the phrase leaves little room for doubt.