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placename:- Giant's Caves
locality:- Eamont, River
locality:- Bramery Bank
parish Langwathby parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
cave
coordinates:- NY56103027
10Km square:- NY53

1Km square NY5630

old map:- OS County Series (Cmd 59 2)

County Series maps of Great Britain, scales 6 and 25 inches to 1 mile, published by the Ordnance Survey, Southampton, Hampshire, from about 1863 to 1948.
Giant's Cave

placename:- Giant's Cave
date:- 1890=1899
period:- 19th century, late; 1890s

old text:- Camden 1789

Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by William Camden, 1586, translated from the 1607 Latin edition by Richard Gough, published London, 1789.
Page 149:-
... Isanparles, a rock well known in the neighbourhood, formed by Nature difficult of access, with many caverns and detours as a retreat to the distressed in troublesome times, ...

placename:- Isanparles
date:- 1789
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Camden 1789 (Gough Additions)

Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by William Camden, 1586, translated from the 1607 Latin edition by Richard Gough, published London, 1789.
Page 162:-
...
Isa parlis is also called Giant's cave, an odd rock, and consists of two caverns, one circular, hollowed in a rock, the roof supported by a central pillar of rough masonry. Its iron gates are pretended to have been carried to Hornby hall. ...

placename:- Isa Parlis
other name:- Giant's Cave
date:- 1789
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Camden 1789 (Gough Additions) -- possibly relevant

Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by William Camden, 1586, translated from the 1607 Latin edition by Richard Gough, published London, 1789.
Page 189:-
... sir Ewan Caesarius, who is said ... to have had an hermitage hereabouts called sir Hugh's parlour.

placename:- Sir Hugh's Parlour
hermitage
person:- : Caesarius, Ewan, Sir
date:- 1789
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Clarke 1787

Guide book, A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire, by James Clarke, Penrith, Cumberland, and in London etc, 1787 and 1789; and Plans of the Lakes ... 1793.
page 16:-
...
Dr Burn tells us, upon the authority of Mr Sandford's manuscript history, that Sir Hugh Caesario had an hermitage in that neighbourhood called Sir Hugh's Parlour: of this he, Mr Sandford, was informed by a Mr Page, Schoolmaster at Penrith from the year 1581 to 1591; and this intelligence Mr Page had from a stranger, who came so early
Page 17:-
as that period to visit the antiquities and curiosities of that country. ...
... an old tradition and song, which informs us that one Torquin, a man of gigantic stature, but addicted to all kinds of rapine and brutality, lived in a cave in this neighbourhood, on the banks of the river Emont. This den, which yet retains the name of the Giant's Cave, is about two miles from Penrith, and is, on some account, (the foundation of which is now forgotten,) much resorted to on the third Sunday in May by the country people, who carry with them tea, liquors, &c. and there make merry. It consists of several caverns in the rocks, the road to which leads down a frightful precipice, quite to the water's edge: this makes many decline the journey, but when down, the road is more tolerable. Many strange and incredible stories are told of this cave; one, which seems not so absurd as the rest, and to have had some real foundation is as follows:
Torquin, or Torquinas, (as some call him,) having stolen several virgins, conveyed them to this dismal mansion, where he kept them close prisoners. One of them, however, found means to escape along the side of the rock: in her road she was obliged to step over a hideous gap a yard and a half wide; a rugged, craggy rock over-hanging her head, so as scarcely to allow room to stand upright, and a perpendicular descent of 48 feet underneath: the sides of the rock are such as could afford no hold to her hand, and the boiling and rapidity of the impetuous torrent which roars beneath, are enough to confuse the calmest and most intrepid. Notwithstanding these horrors and difficulties, she preserved and effected her escape, and to this day the place has retained the name of the Maiden's Step.
Tradition further says, that the ravages of this Torquin coming to the ears of King Arthur, he sent Sir Lancelot du Lake to bring him to Court: Torquin refusing, a battle ensued, in which Torquin fell, and was buried in Penrith church-yard, and these pillars erected at his head and feet [Giant's Grave].
The engagement between Sir Lancelot and Torquin is celebrated in many of the ballads of the ancient rustic poets: One of them I shall insert, which has certainly been in great esteem formerly, as Shakespeare puts the first line of it into the mouth of the facetious fat Sir John and it should likewise seem even then to be an old song, as Sir John is represented singing it in the height of mirth, in a style that may appear to be one of the songs of his youth.
(the ballad is quoted in full)

placename:- Sir Hugh's Parlour
other name:- Giant's Cave
person:- : Torquin
person:- : Lancelot, Sir
person:- : Arthur, King
date:- 1787
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

descriptive text:- Simpson 1746

The three volumes of maps and descriptive text published as 'The Agreeable Historian, or the Compleat English Traveller ...', by Samuel Simpson, 1746.
image SMP4P190, button   goto source.
...
After the Eden has received the Eimont, it hastens towards the N. and within half a Mile passes by a Grotto of two Rooms dug out of a Rock, called Isis Parlish; which Mr. Camden's Continuator says, was a Place of Strength and Security; but it seems now only to have been a Lurking-Place for Robbers, and its Security to have been its Secrecy, the Entry to it being long and dark, and the Passage, at present, block'd up with Earth. ...

placename:- Isis Parlish
date:- 1746
period:- 18th century, early; 1740s

descriptive text:- Defoe 1724-26

Travel book, Tour through England and Wales, by Daniel Defoe, published in parts, London, 1724-26.
... We did not go into the grotto on the bank of the River Eden [by Penrith], of which mention is made by Mr. Cambden's continuator; the people telling us, the passage is block'd up with earth, so I must be content with telling you, that it seems to have been a lurking place, or retreat of some robbers in old time; as to its being a place of strength, I do not see any possibility of that; but its strength seems to be chiefly in its being secret and concealed; it had certainly been worth seeing, if it had been passable, the entry is long and dark, but whether strait or crooked, I cannot say, the iron gates leading to it are gone, nor is there any sign of them, or what they were hung to.
date:- 1724=1726
period:- 18th century, early; 1720s

old print:-
thumbnail PR1553, button to large image
Print, uncoloured lithograph, Giant's Caves near Brougham called Isis Parlis, by P Morton Rigg, published by Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, Kendal, Westmorland, 1914.
With an article about the caves by Rev Arthur John Heelis.
printed at upper right:-
GIANT'S CAVES near BROUGHAM. / called 'ISIS PARLIS'.

placename:- Giant's Caves
other name:- Isis Parlis
date:- 1913
period:- 1910s

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

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