Lenten Lillies by the Leven

Lenten Lily is a Yorkshire name for the daffodil, the wild English variety, although I guess these are a cultivated variety.

Daffs are poisonous, nevertheless they have been used throughout the centuries for medicinal purposes particularly as a cure for cancer. Hippocrates himself recommended a pessary prepared from daffodils for tumours of the womb. In modern medicine, galantamine, used to control Alzheimer’s disease, is obtained from daffodils grown commercially for the very purpose.

The Leven is one of a surprising large number of rivers which have names of Celtic origin, surviving in spite of the influence of the Saxons and Scandinavians, which tend to dominate the names of villages and hamlets. The Leven derives its name from the Celtic water-nymph, ‘Leuan‘. Elsewhere, the Deira would have known the Esk as ‘isca‘, the Don as ‘dana‘, and the Ouse as ‘usso‘, all these names relate to water. The Calder, Derwent, Dove, Aire, Nidd, Tame, Tees and Ure are other rivers that have names of Celtic origins1Morris, R.W. “Yorkshire through Place Names”. David & Charles. 1982. ISBN 0-7153-8230-6..

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    Morris, R.W. “Yorkshire through Place Names”. David & Charles. 1982. ISBN 0-7153-8230-6.

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