Throughout history, three castles in Yorkshire England shared the name Mulgrave. The most ancient is accredited to a “giant” named Wade. A giant? Yes, that’s what the legend says. I set out to see if I could make sense of it all.
Wade, The Duke of England – King of the Finns and Mulgrave Castle
There is a connection with legends and folklore when it comes to Wade, or Wada – it’s hard to determine whether this person and his family were real or fiction. Yet, there are generations of people from the Yorkshire area who have taken this last name as their own and passed it down to their children. In fact, the surname Wade is one of the oldest English names in existence. Some derivatives of the surname Wade are Wadsworth, Waddington, Widitun, Wadsley, Wadelei, Wadesleia, Wheatley, Wadles, Watelag, Watelei, Wadeswurde, Wadworth, Wadeworde, Wadewurde, and Wadesrde.
Accredited with building the very first Mulgrave Castle, as well as Pickering Castle, Wade is also said to have built a road called Wade’s Causeway for his wife to travel through the Moors with her cow, later used by the Romans. Several large stone monuments erected in the area came from him and his grave is supposed to be located by Mulgrave Castle as well.
There are many references to the Anglo-Saxon Wade in ancient literature and poems. In Old Norse he is called Vadi and in Old High German, Wado. To the Danish he was Wate, and is also mentioned in an old Anglo-Saxon poem called Widsith. This ancient poem written in 443-440 AD is the oldest mention of the name in literature. It refers to Wade as ruler of the Helsings. It is interesting that in a time where information was slow to travel, that all these cultures knew who he was, or at least of his legend.
Hälsingland Coat of Arms by Vladimir Sagerlund/Riksarkivet Sverige
Ruler of The Helsings
Helsing is a Swedish surname that refers to the Hälsingland province. Someone from Hälsingland is called a “Hällsing” today, but the old spelling of the word is “Hellsing” or “Helsing”. Hälsingland is located in central Sweden and it borders Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and the Gulf of Bothnia. It is part of the land of Norrland.
This tells us that Wade was a ruler in Sweden back in ancient days. Digging a little further into Norrland, I found that back in ancient times it was one of the four lands of Sweden, and to the east it represented the northern half of Finland – which back then was a part of Sweden. The change occurred when the eastern half of Sweden (Finland) was lost to Russia in 1809.
This is good news because in other historical accounts Wade was said to be the King of Finland. We now know that both were correct depending on the time period that the information was written.
While looking around the area of the Mulgrave Castle on various maps, I noticed an area called Goatland. Now take a look at the Hälsingland Coat of Arms, which features an image of a goat. There is also a road called Smithsroad in that same area, and stories say that Volund, one of Wades sons, was a legendary metal smith – he was called Wayland the Smith. Are these little clues neatly fitting together, or is it all just coincidence?
Around the time period when Wade ruled as King of Finland (present day Sweden), in the southern area of Norrland, Swedish and Norwegian settlers lived together among the Sami peoples. It is noted in the History of the Norwegian People in America that “physically, the Norwegians are the most typical of the Teutons. Anthropological investigations have been made of all the principal nationalities. It has been shown that physically the Norwegians are the tallest of all Europeans, and in breadth of chest they are excelled by none.”
Could this have accounted for the so called “giant” status given to Wade? Or was he a mythological religious creation whom the Wades merely took their name from?
I found quite a lot of information about mythology stories including Wade, his father and mother, as well as his sons. Here’s just one of those extracts taken from the book Teutonic Myth and Legend :
Who Really Built the Original Mulgrave Castle?
One can only make an educated guess as to who really built the first Mulgrave Castle since written records from that time period do not exist, or if they do, haven’t been made available yet. Obviously, it could not have been built by a mythological person. I do think however, that the man who originally built it could have been named Wade. In the days when people worshiped false gods as part of their religious practices, I can imagine places, lands, and monuments being named after these false gods.
It could be that Wade, Duke of ancient England and King of the Finns, simply got his name from his religion or the place which he lived; this place being named after the myth of Wade. Since there are other landmarks in the same area as the Mulgrave Castle with mythological names that tie together with Wade, I conclude that this land was at one time deeply ingrained in the pagan worship of false gods and that the Wade family name may have originated from that.
What do you think? Who really built the ancient Mulgrave Castle?