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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/199

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tion of Froissart, 1523 ; then seven times by Shakespeare, including the world-wide quo- tation from ' Hamlet * cited by W. H. B. ; and then apparently not till the eighteenth century, the modern use, according to Dr. Murray, being probably due to Shakespeare.*

MR. T. WILSON questions my supposition, which I made on the authority of Bos worth, that Westbourne received its name from its situation on the west bank of the rivulet. "Bourne" is a common termination in East Kent, especially round Canterbury, where we have Littlebourne, Bekesbourne, Patrix- bourne, and Bishopsbourne. There is also Northbqurne (not Norburn), near Deal, which gives its name to a peerage. This is a small hamlet, not a stream, though it is seated near one. Unfortunately I do not know Eastbourne or South Bourne, and cannot say whether they are situated on streams bearing those names, or whether they owe their names to streams called re- spectively the East Bourne and the South Bourne. Further inquiry into the origin of all these names might throw light on the subject.

The earliest mention of the so-called West Bourne occurs in a charter of King yEthel red, A.D. 986, on which Prof. Hales has partly founded an interesting paper in the Transac- tions of the London and Middlesex Archaeo- logical Society, vi. 560. In this charter the stream is called " mser-burne," or boundary- brook, and rightly so, as it marked the bound- ary of the parish of Harnpstead. Thence it meandered down to Kilburn, a very ancient name which is evidently derived from the stream, though I have never met with any indication that the stream itself was so called. And thence to Westbourne, where we will leave it, while awaiting the evidence for which I asked. W. F. PRIDEAUX.

With regard to the word bourne, otherwise burn, brun, in the sense of limit, boundary, may one suggest some further considerations ? Bourne has come to mean in our time pretty generally in England, and (as burn) even still more in Scotland, simply a stream or rivulet. How has this particular and simple meaning come to attach itself so generally to this word ? May it not possibly be because the idea limit, boundary, originally always underlay the thought stream, rivulet? and this perhaps through the fact that the first natural limits and boundaries regarded by men would most frequently be streams and

  • The fact that Shakespeare uses this word seven

times in a sense unemployed by any of his contem- poraries is worthy of notice.

rivulets, which are helpfully common, which run through territories in a clear-cut and continuous dividing line, and which are readily seen from every little eminence. In ancient deeds it is often very noticeable how greatly limits and boundaries are denned even by the smaller water-courses. Webster, under 'Bound, Boundary, n.J gives O. Fr. borne as a root of that word ; and, as said already, he gives borne also as a root of "burn," when that word stands for river, rivulet so that limit, boundary, may clearly be called the original underlying idea in both cases. It might be remarked that where streams and rivers give names to our dales and valleys, what we call their " watersheds " are in effect their limits and boundaries so that we speak of the district within such a watershed as the dale or valley of such and such a river. The fiat of nature which decreed that water falling upon this side of the top of this moorland shall flow, say, to the course of the river Aire, while the water falling upon that other side shall flow to the course of the Wharfe, decreed that the stream name should thus likewise form a boundary name, so that we still say " Airedale " and "Wharfedale" (that is, "Aire's" -dale and " Wharfe's "-dale) the districts so by name apportioned being in effect the boundaries and limits of the basins which they drain, and thus the districts distinctly assigned dealt out to those rivers. In the case of smaller streams that have not been deemed important enough to give names to their watersheds, may they not still have served as limits and boundaries in them selves- inward boundaries only in this case, and not both outward and inward ; and, where bourne or burn is the name received from old time for a stream or river, may not that name point back to that old function of boundary marking? Such a name as Burnley, in Lancashire, on the river Bum or Brwn, occurs to one as an example. W. H. B.

THE FIRST GENTLEMAN OF COLOUR TO RECEIVE KNIGHTHOOD (9 th S. ix. 106). It may be useful to add to the paragraph quoted by N. S. S. the following letter, dated 31 January, which appeared in the Times over the signa- ture of Sir J. W. Carrington :

"The late Sir Conrad Reeves, Chief Justice of Barbados, was so distinguished and striking a per- sonality, and his career was in many respects so remarkable, and, indeed, it may be said, unique, that 1 cannot help thinking the readers of the Times would like to know something more of him than appears in the brief obituary notice which is printed in your columns this morning. Perhaps, therefore, you will allow one who for some years