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Sewingshields Castle, And The Sunken Treasure Of Broomlee Lough
by [?]

The old castle of Sewingshields is one of which there are many legends. If local tradition might be accepted as a guide, we should find that Arthur the King lived there once on a time. But surely another Arthur than him of whom Tennyson sang. One,

“Not like that Arthur, who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot through the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings,”

but a being even more mythical than that Arthur to whom, with his knights, legend assigns so many last resting-places–in that vast hall beneath the triple peak of Eildon, here in a cavern below the rocks at Sewingshields, and in many a spot besides. This Arthur of Sewingshields in his feats was indeed more akin to the old Norse gods and heroes. And it is told that, as he talked with his Queen one day when they sat on those great rocks to the north of the castle, which still bear as names the King’s and the Queen’s Crag, Guinevere chanced to let fall a remark which angered Arthur; whereupon he, snatching up a rock that lay ready to his hand, hurled it at his royal consort. Now, Guinevere at the moment was combing her long, fair locks; but she saw the stone come hurtling through the air, and, with remarkable presence of mind and dexterity, with her comb she fended off the missile, so that it fell between them, doing no harm. And if anyone should presume to disbelieve this tale, there lies the rock to this day, and the marks of the teeth of the Queen’s comb are on it still for all to see. The distance that the King hurled this missile is not above a quarter of a mile, and the pebble itself may weigh a trifle of twenty tons or so.

Local tradition tells also how once on a time there came to Sewingshields, to visit Arthur, a great chieftain from the wild north, one named Cumin. And when Cumin departed from the castle to go back to his own land, he bore with him a certain gold cup that Arthur, in token of friendship, had given to him. But sundry of the King’s retainers, having learned that the Scot was bearing away with him this cup, greatly desired that they might themselves possess it, and they pursued Cumin, and slew him ere he had gone many miles. Wherefore Arthur caused a cross to be erected there on the spot where the slain man fell; and the place is called Cumming’s Cross to this day.

Of the building of the castle of Sewingshields, or Seven-shields, there is the legend told in Harold the Dauntless:

“The Druid Urien had daughters seven,
Their skill could call the moon from heaven;
So fair their forms and so high their fame,
That seven proud kings for their suitors came.

King Mador and Rhys came from Powis and Wales,
Unshorn was their hair, and unpruned were their nails;
From Strath-Clywd came Ewain, and Ewain was lame,
And the red-bearded Donald from Galloway came.

Lot, King of Lodon, was hunchback’d from youth,
Dunmail of Cumbria had never a tooth;
But Adolph of Bambrough, Northumberland’s heir;
Was gay and was gallant, was young and was fair.

There was strife ‘mongst the sisters, for each one would have
For husband King Adolph, the gallant and brave;
And envy bred hate, and hate urged them to blows,
When the firm earth was cleft, and the Arch-fiend arose!

He swore to the maidens their wish to fulfil–
They swore to the foe they would work by his will,
A spindle and distaff to each hath he given,
‘Now hearken my spell,’ said the Outcast of Heaven.