The Fause Fable of the Lord Lathom Legends of old England by Edwin Hartland


WHEN the war was 'twixt the Englishmen and the Irishmen the power of the English so sore assaulted the Irishmen that the king of them, being of Ireland, was constrained to take succour by flight into other parts for his safeguard; and the queen, being pregnant and great with child, right near her time of deliverance, for dread of the rudeness of the commonalty, took her flight into the wilderness, where her chance was to suffer travail of child, bringing forth two children, the one a son, the other a daughter; when after by natural compulsion she and such gentlewomen as were with her was constrained to sleep, insomuch that the two children were ravished from the mother; and the daughter, as it is said, is kept in Ireland with the fairies. Insomuch that against the time of death of any of that blood of Stanleys she maketh a certain noise in one quarter of Ireland, where she useth [to stay].

The son was taken and borne away with an eagle, and brought into Lancashire, into a park called Lathom Park, whereas did dwell a certain lord, named the Lord Lathorm the which Lord Lathom, walking in his park, heard a child lament and cry, and perceived the skirts of the mantle lying over the nest side, and made his servants to bring down the child unto him.

And whereas both he and his wife being in far age, and she past conceiving of child, considering they never could have issue, reckoning that God had sent this child by miracle, they condescended to make this child their heir, and so did. At length this Lord Lathom and his wife deceased, and this young man, which was named Oskell of Lathom, reigned and ruled this land as right heir, and he had to issue a daughter which was his heir and child by the Lady Lathom.

It chanced so that one Stanley, being a younger brother of the House of Wolton in Cheshire, was servant to the Abbot of West Chester. This young man Stanley was carver to the Abbot, and he would not break his fast on the Sunday till he had heard the high mass. Insomuch that it chanced one Sunday when the meat was served on the table, he had so great hunger he carved the pig's head, and conveyed one of the ears of the pig and did eat it.

When the Abbot sat down, and perchance missed the pig's ear, he was miscontent and in a great fume, and reviled so extremely and so heinously this young Stanley, that he threw the napkin at his head, and said he would do him no more service, and departed. And he came to the king's court, and obtained his service, and proved so active a fellow that the renown sprang and inflamed upon him, insomuch that the fame and bruit descended from him around this realm.

And when, as the use then was, that noble adventurers would seek their fortune and chance into divers and strange. nations, one renowned gallant came into England, and he called as challenger for death and life, come who list Insomuch that the king commanded this Stanley to cope, with him; and, to make short protestation, his chance was to overthrow the challenger and obtain the victory. Then the king made him knight, and gave him certain lands to live on.

After this foresaid Stanley came for marriage to the daughter of Oskell of Lathom, which was found in the eagle's nest, and obtained her favour, and espoused her. And then after the death of Oskell he was Lord Lathom, and enjoyed it many years. And for such service as he did afterwards the king made him Lord Stanley; and he was the first lord of the name; and so by that reason the Stanleys descended of Lathom give the eagle and the child in their arms.