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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/375

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9t"s.ix.MAYio,i902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


are sometimes found. The farm is about one thousand feet above the sea level, and much exposed to westerly winds. In seeking for the meaning of the word it has occurred to me that the first syllable may be the O.N. draug-r, a dry log, so that Dryhurst would mean "dry log (dead log) copse." A place called Deadshaw Sick, near Dronfield in the same county, lends support to the suggestion which I am making. To the south and west of Dryhurst are two other farms called Brockhurst and Peasunhurst. I may say that Peasunhurst is not at all a likely place for growing peas.

The inhabitants of the district accent the word Columbell on the penultimate, as though it were derived from theLat columna. The Lat. columna is found in O.E. in the forms columne and columbe, so that Columbell may be Columb-well, the w being thrown out by the accent on the penultimate. Accordingly the meaning seems to be " pillar field " or " post field," the termination " well " being, as is often the case, the O.N. voll-r. At Darley, two or three miles to the west of Dryhurst, there was an ancient family called Columbell. Their evidences go back at least to the thirteenth century. S. O. ADDY.

WE must request correspondents desiring infor- mation on family matters of only private interest to affix their names and addresses to their queries, in order that the answers may be addressed to them direct.

DOWNIE'S SLAUGHTER. A legend of Aber- deen University tells of a college servant, by name Downie, who, having rendered himself obnoxious to the undergraduates, was one evening forcibly conducted by a party of students into one of the college rooms, and after a mock trial sentenced to death. He was then led into another room, draped with black, and containing a block and a masked executioner with an axe. Downie was blind- folded and made to kneel at the block. After an interval, the executioner struck his neck with a wet towel. The farce was at an end, but Downie was found to be dead. The terrified students swore a solemn oath of secrecy, and the real circumstances of the death were revealed only after many years by one of the participators on his deathbed. This story, told with much circumstantial and picturesque detail, appears for the first time in print (so far as I have been able to discover) in a curious book, * Things in General' ('N. & Q.,' 4 th S. xi. 156, 510; xii.

19 ; 5 th S. vii. 488 ; yiii. 14), published anony- mously in London in 1824, but now known to have been written by Robert Mudie (2 n<l S. xii. 257 ; 4 th S. xii. 83). It is also dished up in varying forms in Colburn's New Monthly Magazine, for June, 1830, p. 508 (? by Pryse Gordon) ; in Household Words for 24 July, 1852 (? by Andrew Halliday) ; and in ' Life at a Northern University,' by Neil N. Maclean, 1874. Mr. George Walker, in his entertaining volume 'Aberdeen Awa',' 1897, p. 355, suggests that the legend owes its creation to that clever wag Sandy Bannerman [afterwards Sir Alexander Bannerman, M.P. for Aber- deen], and that if it is the poorest history, it is a bit of the richest romance." Banner- man, according to Mr. Walker, invented the story and told it to Mudie, who was not a university man. But, apart from the ques- tion whether Bannerman can be credited with originating so remarkably dramatic an incident, it is not easy to reconcile a first appearance of the story in a some- what obscure book published anonymously in London with the fact that but a very few years later, as Mr. Walker tells me from his own recollection, the legend was such a household word in Aberdeen that students were habitually greeted by school- children with the cry, "Airt an' pairt in Downie's slauchter," or the query, " Fa [Aber- donian for " who "] killed Downie ? " Further, Dr. John Cumming, in his * Millennial Rest,' relates the story (drawing a moral therefrom) as one current when he was an undergraduate. He matriculated at King's College, Aberdeen, in 1822. Again, a correspondent assures me that his father had the story from John Bowman, schoolmaster of St. Vigean's, as a tradition of his university days (1783-7).

Not a hint of the tragic occurrence is to be found in any college record, and it is difficult to understand how there came to be localized in Aberdeen a legend the machinery of which smacks rather of German student life or the Holy Vehm. Can any reader recall, in history or in fiction, the incident of a pretended execution causing actual death ? P. J. ANDERSON.

Aberdeen University Library.

BLACK MALIBRAN. Can any reader give me information concerning a vocalist thus named who sang in London about 1857? desire her true name, date of death, or any biographical data concerning her.


New Bedford, Massachusetts.

REACHES OF THE THAMES. Can any reader give the origin of the names of some of the