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word occurs in Alfred's version of Beda besides that already quoted." After such an admission, it is perhaps scarcely necessary to add that we have paid considerable attention to the Anglo-Saxon paraphrase, and in upwards of one hundred instances our venerable author uses the words " province or provinces," which the royal translator has rendered "miegth, maigthe, magith, msegtha, or msegthum"; in eight or ten instances Alfred has translated the same words "land, lande, or landes." Twice only, we believe, does Beda use the word " territories," in each instance along with possessions: thus, in book 3, chap. 3,' 'possessiones et territoria," which the royal translator has rendered, not by "possessions and sundorlandes," but simply by the word "lande"; and again in book 3, chap. 26, "territoria ac possessiones,"—unfortunately the latter chapter has not been translated by Alfred.
Here it may not be amiss to observe, that in ancient manuscripts, little or no distinction is made with respect to the initials of proper names, either of places or persons, not even excepting royalty; a capital at the commencement of a book or chapter, and very rarely at a sentence, being frequently thought sufficient, so that the fact of the word " sundorlande" in the celebrated passage under discussion, being printed with a small initial is of little consequence. Wheloc seems to have given it just as he found it,* without troubling himself any farther about the matter, and Smith has simply added Lye's de
• We perceive that the Rev. James Raine, the accomplished historian of North Dnrham, has committed a similar editorial error (if we raaycall it so). In a carious document, dated 1459, respectng a chaplain of Hylton (" App. to the Jarroir and Weatmouth Acfinition of the word, which, however, is not literally cor rect, so lar as our town is concerned; for wliat privileges had Sunderland in the time of Beda? and a comparison of the two quotations from that eminent historian is a sufficient refutation of the theory of its being freehold land.
Taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, it seems evident that Alfred, who flourished in an age not long subsequent to the time of Beda, and doubtless had access to the best of copies—probably our venerable author's own copy,—uses the word "Sundorlande" not as a close rendering of the Latin "territorium," but as the proper name of a place: of the " terram trium familiarum," or three hides of land on the southern bank of the Wear (now represented by the modern parish of Sunderland) which Benedict obtained from Aldfrid King of Northumbria—a donation that appears tc have been quite overlooked by all the editors of Beda's works, and which has even eluded the sagacity of Mr Stevenson.
Dr. Lingard, alluding to the birth-place of Bed?» which in his well-known "History of England" he fixes at Sunderland, says, "We are told that 'sunderland' means land set apart for some particular monastery or proprietor. It may be so; but in its original signification it means land sundered or cut off; and I cannot find any place in England, retaining that name, which does not
count Rolls," p. 244), Mr. Raine uses a small initial in the name of such an important place as "newcastell vppon Tyne," and yet surely no one will attempt to affirm that that gentleman (the facilepr inceps of northern antiquaries) meant any other fortalice upon the Tyne than the sea-port town of that name.
evidently show that it was so called from its situation; being cut off, or sundered from other land, by the inter, position of water. Hence," adds the historian, " I suggested the sunderland opposite to the monastery [at Wearmouth], but sundered from it by the river, as likely to be the place alluded to by Alfred."*
These are the only notices of Sunderland as a separate and distinct place from the two Wearmouths we have met with during the Anglo-Saxon period: brief though they be, they are valuable as pointing out the time when it became the property of the church, over which the Bishops of Durham during many centuries held and exercised such unlimited sway.
Camden tells us that "most townes have borrowed their names from their situations,"! "and, M With regard to the meaning of the name ' Sunderland,' " says a writer in a popular periodical, "it seems to have originated in the fact that the rocky coast southwards from it is broken into deep gaps and caverns, just as a district in Yorkshire is denominated ' Cleveland' from its cleft or cliffy aspect. Now, these indentations or ruptures at this part of the coast do not present the appearance of having been brought about by the gradual tear and wear of time, and the ceaseless operation of the weather and the waters in calm and in storm, as is the case in other interruptions of the contiguity of the line of coast, where the sea seems rather to have insinuated than forced an entrance, to have undermined rather than stormed. It exhibits the
* "History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church,'' ii., 189, ed. 1845.
t "Remaines concerning Britaine," p- 124, ed. 1637.
appearance rather of being the effect of some dread volcanic shock, or awful Neptunian convulsion, suddenly rending the rocks asunder.* And this appearance of violence it is which has given the name to the district, quasi, 1 sundered-land'—such being its grand leading feature, or most striking characteristic : which just shows that untutored minds, as well as poets and rhetoricians, indulge in the figure synedoche, and, setting at defiance the axioms of mathematicians, often make a part—especially a prominent part—equivalent to a whole. As somewhat confirmatory of this derivation, it may be mentioned that at Oxen-hall, not far from Darlington, there are three pits or chasms of great depth. The inhabitants term them, from their sinister look and shape, 'Hellkettles'; and the tradition is still rife among them that these Avernian rifts were caused by the shock of an earthquake. It was this aspect of a change, effected not so much by the gradual process of a long succession of ages as by some sudden violent cause, which induced the ancient Greeks—those astute observers—to give the synonymous name of 'Rhegium,' the modern 'Reggio,' to that town, which is situate on the great toe of the boot of Italy. The import of ' Rhegium" is ' breach, separation, rent,' from the Greek 'regnumi,' that is, 'to break,' because at that place, or thereabouts, Sicily was 'broken off,' or, at all events, at that remote period the appearance suggested the idea that Sicily was 'severed'
• The singular contortion of the lime-stone strata near Spotty's Hole afford a striking corroboration of the theory advanced in the text. The rocks there exhibit the agency of some " dread volcanic shook," or other convulsion of nature.—See "Holmes's Treatise on the Coal Mines of Durham and Northumberland," p. 22.
from Italy by the force of the waters, or some other violent agency. Virgil's graphic lines evince that such was the idea entertained by himself and his contemporaries:
"Haoe loca 'vi' quondam et' vasta oonvulsa ruina
The words placed within inverted commas pourtray the ageffcy of a vast, tremendous, and instantaneous power. The word ' abscidit' does not denote destruction or demolition, but only such a ' fissure' or ' splitting into two parts,' as is caused by the descent of a ponderous sledge on a wedge inserted in a log of wood. There can, indeed, be little doubt that the face of this terraqueous globe has been changed, not only by that great general deluge, recorded on the best authority, and by the slow and imperceptible corrosions of a series of ages ; but also by the shock of earthquakes, partial inundations, and the sudden incursion and retreat of marine waters. Plinv
thus informs us, that there can be little doubt that Cyprus was in this manner disrupted from Syria,' Euboea' from 'Boetia' (the very names indicate as much), and Besbicus, the modern Pocokio, from Bithynia, all of which before were integral part and parcel of their respective continents; to which catalogue may not improbably be added the disruption of Europe from Africa at the Straits of Gibraltar, and Britain from France at those of Dover. But, to borrow the words of the poet Waller, into whose fanciful lucubrations this same grave speculation seems to have intruded itself—