9*8. XI. MARCH 21, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.
has become so familiar as to displace the true Southern form sloth-hound.
The Normans, disliking the initial si and the final th, turned sloth into the remarkable form esclot, for which see Godefroy's 'Old French Dictionary.' By restoration of the English si, this was later modified to slot Hence the form slot-hound, used by Sir Walter Scott, according to the ' Century Dictionary,' which omits the reference. The quotation is " misfortunes, which track my footsteps like slot-hounds"
WALTER W. SKEAT.
The animal referred to is the glutton (gulo) or wolverine, a carnivorous animal inhabiting the north of Europe and America. It was formerly believed that it leaps from trees upon deer, but the belief was probably ill- founded. The same stories are told of the Tasmanian devil. HERBERT A. STRONG.
University College, Liverpool.
CORNISH WRECKERS (9 th S. xi. 126, 196). For alleged authentic instances of Cornish wrecking see 'Autobiography of a Cornish Rector' (London, 1872', chap, ii., where the story is told how " Uncle Mike Steven's old lame mare, with a great ship's lantern round her neck," was driven on to the cliffs to entice Indiamen ashore. HERBERT A. STRONG.
University College, Liverpool.
THE ORIGIN OF THE TURNBULLS (9 th S. xi. 109). On behalf of a relation of my own bearing this name, I devoted considerable time and research to the subject, with a view to elucidating the point. I may be allowed, therefore, to put on record, in a condensed form, the result of my investigations and my deductions therefrom, for what they are worth. The story of Bruce and his being saved from an attack by a wild bull by a person named Roull, who for this act was named Turn bull, never appealed to me with any impress of truth. Barnes, an Eng- lish historian, recounts the story that Bruce, while hunting in the woods of Callendar, was attacked by a wild bull, when Roull took the bull by the horns, overpowered and killed him. The account referred to by MR. ALEX- ANDER TURNBULL has doubtless the same origin, but is very different in its particulars. The chief actor in this story only "over- threw" and held the bull while others dis- patched him, and the name of the hunter is not mentioned. This is somewhat remark- able, because Boece was a great lover of the legendary. His ' History of Scotland ' demon- strates his credulity as well as his great research. Is it conceivable that a man, no
matter how powerful, unprepared for such a conflict, could single-handed have performed such a feat 1 Yet this fabulous story is said
i be the origin of the family name Turnbull.
Is it unfair to say that the story rests entirely on this incredible narrative? Dr. Leyden, however, refers to the incident, with a poetical licence worthy of a better cause, thus :
His arms robust the hardy hunter flung Around his bending horns, and upward wrung, With writhing force, his neck retorted round, And rolled the panting monster on the ground, Crushed with enormous strength his bony skull, And courtiers hailed the man that turned the bull.
Here we have a most circumstantial account of how the brave act was accomplished, and if allowance is made for the poet's flight of fancy, it might yet be said the bull was not turned, but killed, and Killthebull would have been more significant than Turnbull.
Let us look at the facts as far as traceable. The grant which Bruce made Willielmo dicto Turnbul of lands in Teviotdale is from the Ragman Roll, which originally was a true account of all benefices, so that they might be taxed at Rome. Subsequently the name Ragman Roll was applied to four great rolls of parchment recording acts of homage done by the Scotch nobility to Edward I., 1296. This may be considered worth more than a passing notice, because the gift by Bruce in all probability must have been anterior to 1296. Bruce was crowned in 1306, arid died 1329.
The battle of Halidon Hill was fought in 1333, at which it is stated a man named Turnbull, a Scottish knight of great strength and courage, challenged an Englishman to mortal combat. A young Norfolk knight is said to have accepted the challenge, and the duel took place in view of both armies. It is further recorded that at the beginning of the combat a large black mastiff belonging to Turnbull rushed upon the English knight, who with one blow " cut him in two at the loins," and killed Turnbull. We are informed Turnbull, the challenger, lacked the dexterity and nimbleness of the English knight. This serves a double purpose, to palliate the defeat of the " knight of great strength " and to give a semblance of truth to the further statement that this Turnbull was the same man who figures as the hero of the bull fable in which Bruce's life was saved.
It is somewhat remarkable that authorities differ as to the name of the English knight : Barnes calls him Benhale, Howes says the knight's name was Venal. This apparent un- certainty as to who fought with Turnbull is