Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/249

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11 8. XL MAR. 20, 1915.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



County Folk- Lore. Vol. VII. Fife. (Sidgwick

& Jackson, 15s. net.)

THIS volume of the Folk- Lore Society is a valuable addition to their publications ; it is devoted to examples of printed folk-lore concerning Fife, with some notes on Clackmannan and Kinross- shires. Four experts have been engaged upon it. First of all the compilation is due to Mr. John E. Simpkins, who has devoted nineteen years to the work, the completion of which causes him " some- thing of the regret felt in parting with an old friend." Dr. Maclagan writes the Introduction, and recommends " this very complete collection of the local lore to the attention of every Fifer " ; Dr. David Rorie contributes an appendix on ' The Mining Folk of Fife and Leechcraft ' ; while Miss Charlotte S. Burne, the able general editor of the series, has seen the volume through the press. The classification is excellent, and any subject sought can easily be found.

In Fife there are twenty wells dedicated to special saints, and some of these are still believed by the superstitious to possess their marvellous qualities. There is a legend in relation to the singular natural phenomenon connected with the double tides in the Firth of Forth, to be observed in the neighbourhood of Kincardine, and adjacent places in the upper reach of the Forth from Culross to Alloa. The so-called " lakies," or double tides, have long been a subject of remark, but no explanation has hitherto been devised to account for them. When the tide has been flowing for three hours, it recedes for the space of two feet or a little more, and then returns to its regular course till it has reached the limit of high water. The legendary account is that when St. Mungo was sailing up the Firth to Stirling, the vessel went aground and could not be floated. The saint exercised his miraculous powers, and the tide in consequence returned so as to enable him and his companions to proceed on their journey ; and there has ever since been a double tide in this region of the Forth.

The traditions about fairies, brownies, and kelpies are almost endless. Under ' Legal Cus- toms ' we learn that in the north of Scotland it is believed by the common people that a widow is relieved of her husband's debts if she follows his corpse to the door, and in the presence of the assembled mourners openly calls upon him to return and pay his debts, as she is unable to do so. The editor of the volume recollects an instance in which the custom was practised " by the widow of a man in good society."

Space permits us to make only one more quotation. Under ' Alloa Prophecies ' it is recorded that, " the grave of St. Mungo being opened some centuries ago, the body was found entire, along with a copy of Thomas the Rhymer's prophecies containing this singular prediction : When Alloa town twa bailies has

Or nine comisinaers, A flude neir hand the fayrie's burn

Will fricht baith bores and bears." This prediction was "verified" in 1865, a water tub at the head of the town having burst, and nearly frightened a magistrate and a commis- sioner to death.

We note, for those interested in folk etymology,, that Beveridge gives the following account of the origin of the name of Alloa. A meeting to deter- mine the name was held shortly after the building of the town had begun. A long discussion arose r and, nothing satisfactory having been agreed upon, one of the company rose in high dudgeon,, exclaiming, " A' 11 awa' then," i.e., Alloa.

A Register of the Members of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford. New Series. Fellows. Vol. VIII.- Indexes. By William Dunn Macray. (Oxford University Press, 10s. 6d. net). WITH this volume is brought to an end one of the- most interesting of recent academic works of piety -of the kind which is both grateful to the memories of many hundreds of persons, andl of solid utility. Our heartiest congratulations- are offered to Dr. Macray upon it.

He gives us five Indexes: the first that of Fellows and Presidents; the second, of other members of the College, and servants ; the third,, an index of persons incidentally mentioned, and books cited. A short list of Addenda is subjoined to the Index of Fellows and Presidents, giving valuable particulars chiefly testamentary con- cerning fifteen persons. The second and third Indexes are worth some close examination, par- ticularly for the details they contain as to the names and callings of the more obscure people connected with the College. The fourth Index, Dr. Macray tells us, was added in consequence of a " felt want " : it gives the places and countries- mentioned in the work, and there is no need to- remark upon the convenience of possessing it.- Lastly, under the heading ' Miscellanea : Words and Things,' we have two pages of curious words,, mostly relating to domestic objects, with one or- two notes of references to customs.

Appended to the Indexes is Mr. R. T. Giin- ther's ' Description of Brasses and Other Funeral Monuments in the Chapel of Magdalen College,' notice at 11 S. x. 159. It was a happy idea to> include this scholarly piece of work, which; contains illustrations of the brasses, with care- ful descriptive notes, reproductions of inscrip- tions, and particulars of lost brasses and the vicissitudes of others which have been moved from their original 'site. Mr. Gunther quotes in his Preface an exceedingly useful note by Mr. Brightman on the details of aca- demical costume as shown in the earlier brasses, to which it might be well for writers on brasses to- pay attention. We can but hope, too, that this description will render the care of these memo- rials more vigilant than it seems hitherto to have been, for, gratifying as the rediscovery of some of them is, it is also grievous to think it had not been made before ; and, moreover, we note that of the fine brass of Ralph Vawdrey (earliest, too,, of the brasses) it is said that a portion now lost (part of a scroll issuing from the mouth) was in existence so late as 1904. We cannot but believe that the labours of Dr. Macray and Mr. Gunther will stimulate the College to do whatever is- feasible for the preservation of the rest. We may be thankful that the time is gone by when. College authorities would order the disturbance of monuments of the dead merely to cover a chapel floor with a white-and-black marble pavement, as was done at Magdalen in the first half of the seventeenth century. If the installa-