Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/198

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. ix. MARCH s, 1902.

THE WEST BOURNE. (9 th S. viii. 517 ; ix. 51, 92.)

IN my former note I produced evidence to show that the stream which we convention ally call the Westbourne passed under severa other names, and I asked for evidence to prove that it was ever called the " West Bourne " previous to the nineteenth century. The weapons of deduction, inference, and analogy nave been employed to assail my position, but the irrefragable arm of evidence has not yet been produced.

My note has, however, been fortunate in eliciting the valuable and suggestive article of SIR HERBERT MAXWELL. I quite agree with SIR HERBERT that the absence of the name of West Bourne as the designation of a stream in early maps is no proof that the stream had no specific name. To my mind it affords a probability, but certainly no proof. On the other hand, the illustrations given by SIR H. MAXWELL seem to show that, to his mind, the absence of a name at the present time affords a probability that in early times the stream had a specific name. Where there is room for such varying opinions the safest course to pursue is to accept nothing except on the clearest evi- dence.*

SIR H. MAXWELL alludes to the case of Avon and Esk, and adds. " The specific is for- gotten, the generic remains." In the case of the Gade in Hertfordshire, he is doubtless right ;t and if the Thames were not so big its name might be forgotten too, for no one talks of rowing on the "Thames"; one has an afternoon on " the river." But the numerous Avons and Usks, Ouses and Axes, certainly

  • By a curious coincidence, I had written thus

far (1 February) when the Morning Post was brought into my room, and on opening' it I found a most admirable article by Mr. Andrew Lang entitled 'Belief and Disbelief,' which should be read and inwardly digested like all Mr. Lang's writings it contains its own pepsin by every correspondent of 'N. & Q.'

t Norden has some quaint remarks on this river tie says : ' Caishoo should import a water, called Lais or Goep the name, it may bee, of the riuer that passeth through this hundred, called Caishoo orGaegeshoo hundred, called of Hollmshed Gades and giues name to the Gadesdens, where the riuer Sm ?f ' n-i ^ y ^"Ption of pronunciation they ? a] l ^ Caishoo for Gadeshoo, Gades river, or else is Gades mistaken for Cais or Caegs, and so for Cbfefen or Caegsden pronounced Gadesden, for doubtless, the riuer giueth name to Caishoo or Caegshoc > or ^Woo-berye" ('Speculum Britan-

p< ] * very conclusive >

afford a probability that in early times specific names were not so commonly used as generic ones. People did not travel much put of their own districts, and it was not until com- munications were developed that any neces- sity was felt for a specific name. No one made any mistake as to what was meant by the " stream " or the " river."

As I have just shown in the case of the Thames, this habit is not entirely lost at the present day. I may perhaps be allowed to give a further illustration from my own personal experience. On iny occasional visits to London or " town," as it is called by an analogous process I usually occupy rooms in a house on the east side of Welbeck Street, One morning, in the course of a talk with the landlord a very intelligent man, who has lived many years in the dis- trict on the geology of that part of London, he said that from excavations made when old houses were pulled down, as was just then happening in Bentinck Street, he observed that the gravel practically ended in the middle of Welbeck Street, and that onwards to the " river " the soil consisted of gravel mixed largely with mud. I said, " The 'river'? What river?" "Oh !" he replied, " the bourne." " Ah," I rejoined, " I suppose you mean the Tyburn." " Well, sir," he said, "I suppose you would call it the Tyburn." Now, I may observe en passant, I never would call it the Tyburn, except in a conventional way, for, with the exception of a doubtful passage in a charter of uncertain date, there is as little evidence to show that the King's Scholars' Pond Sewer was ever known as the Tyburn as there is that the Ranelagh Sewer was ever known as the Westbourne. But this, of course, is another question.

The term " bourne " applied by my land- lord to this stream shows that this word has not entirely dropped out of the Southern English vernacular, and if SIR H. MAXWELL will turn to Dr. Murray's dictionary, s.v.

  • Bourne,' he will find stronger evidence on

this point in the shape of a quotation from Richard Jefferies's 'Wild Life in a Southern County,' 1879, p. 22 :

' The villages on the downs are generally on a

bourne, or winter water-course In summer it is

a broad winding trench along whose bed you

nay stroll dryshod In winter the bourne often

ms the appearance of a broad brook."

The same invaluable dictionary will also show SIR H. MAXWELL and W. H. B. that he second constituent of Westbourne can- not be "bourn," a boundary, French borne, as the word in that sense was first employed "n English by Lord J3erners in Jris transja-