« НазадПродовжити »
formed by the Britons, in conformity to the most ancient usages of mankind Diodorus Siculus expressly tells us, that the Britons did lay up their corn in subterranean repositories, from whence the ancient people used to take a certain portion every day, and having dried and bruised the grains, made a kind of food thereof, for immediate use."'*
Whilst we admit the authority of Diodorus Siculus, and conclude that these caverns were subsequently used as repositories of corn by the agricultural Britons, it appears probable that they were originally constructed as hiding places in time of war; such a mode of secretion being almost invariably adopted by all nations in the infancy of society, and being, indeed, learned from the wild beasts of prey around them, who evaded the hunter by stealing to deep and gloomy caves.
Thus, the towns, and most durable domestic retreats, of a perse ple in the early rudeness of national manners, are connected with stratagems of war, and are illustrative of their proficiency in the art of fortification. Iu the instances of their towns, we chiefly, or entirely, find specimens of British intrenchments, and other military works. Their mode of warfare, until they improved their tactics by a communicatiou with the Romans, was of a predatory and decisive character, that rarely allowed time for the formation of incidental fortified encampments.
Lines of BOUNDARY, AND ROADS.-South Britain is intersected, in many districts, hy extensive lines of ditches and adjacent embankments, which are interesting subjects of enquiry, although they have been rarely favoured with antiquarian inves. tigation. Where these are noticed, they are often attributed to the Romans or Saxons; but it would appear that they are frequently ascribed to those successful invaders, in a loose, inconsiderate, manner. The great Dyke which formed for many ages the line of boundary between England and Wales, is recognised by history, and is known to have been constructed by Ofa, King E 4
of Mercia; but the dykes and embankments which are not acknowledged by regular history, and possess no name but the fanciful epithet bestowed by neighbouring villagers, are more frequent in the less cultivated parts of the island than is gencrally supposed, and may be often ascribed to the ancient Britons, on the most secure ground which probable conjecture has to offer.— The line of embanked dyke in Wiltshire, termed Bokerly ditch, "issues from the site of an extensive British town;'* and Grime's Dyke, in Oxfordshire, is crossed by a Roman road. +
The most stupendous of these ancient boundary lines, is that called Wansdike, which is 80 miles in length, and is still visible for more than three parts of that extent. This deep ditch and lofty vallum, are supposed to have formed the line of demarkation between the Belge and the aboriginal Britons, † although afterwards in part adopted by the Anglo-Saxons.
It is supposed that some further vestiges of the early Britons, connected with durable impressions made on the soil for the purposes of civil polity, may be found in the traces of ancient BriTISH Roads, or TRACKWAYS, still existing. It may certainly be inferred, without an unwarrantable freedom of conjecture, that the people so familiarly acquainted with the use of chariots, and engaged in commercial pursuits, which rendered necessary a correspondence between the interior parts of the couniry and the coast, could not be destitute of roads, so carefully amended as to assume a permanent character. That such indeed existed, and were in many instances adopted by the Romans, is uniformly admitted by those antiquaries who unite the labours of local in. vestigation with the erudite researches of the etymologist.
• Beauties for Wilts, p. 224. • Beauties for Oxfordshire, p. 13. See, also, the instance of a ditch, "hich, towards the middle, has been filled up, for the Ichnield Way to pass over it," in the Beauties for Cambridgeshire, p. 159. .
# Vide Beauties for Wilts, p. 718, and Collinson's Introduction to the History and Antiquities of the county of Somerset.
* These British roads” (to use the words of a writer, who has attentively examined the subjects on which he treats,) “ are so totally distinct from the Roman causeways, which succeeded them, that it is surprising so many persons should confound these works of the rude inhabitants of the island, with those perhaps of the most enlightened military nation that ever appeared in the world; for the British roads were merely driftways, running through the woods, or winding on the sides of the hills, and made only for their petty commerce of cattle and slaves. Unlike the military labours of their successors, they were hardly ever drawn in straight lines; were not regularly attended by tumuli, or barrows; were never raised; and had a peculiar feature, the reason of which is not known, of being divided during their course into several branches, running parallel with the bearing of the original road."* To which it may be added, that they do not lead to Roman towns, or notice such towns, except when placed on the sites of British fortresses.
The course of the Britislı track ways, according to the investigations of the judicious antiquary above quoted, are carefully marked in our map of ancieut Britain ; and such towns of the Britons, as are known to have stood on those roads, are enumerated in the marginal table of contents, by which the map
is ac. companied.+ It may, however, be desirable to notice briefly, in this place, the presumed course of each known British road, or trackway, in relation to the modern political divisions of country, and the present names of places. By the indulgence of the editor of Richard of Cirencester, I am enabled to do this in the
• History of Hertfordshire, p. 8. (from a communication of the Rev. T. Leman.)
+ In noticing the towns of the Britons, it will be recollected that ninetyiwo of their capital towns are commemorated by historians, but the names of only eighty-eight bave been preserved.
Mr. Hatcher, to whom the antiquarian world is greatly indebted for bis excellent edition of the Description of Britain, &c. by Richard of Cirences. ter, with“ a Commentary on the Itinerary.”
words of a recent commentary on that work, enlarged, in one particular, by the learned contributor of that portion of the commentary.
“ The WATLING STREET, or Irish road, consisted of two branches, northern and southern
“ The south-eastern branch of the Watling Street, proceeded from Richborough, on the coast of Kent, to Canterbury, and from thence, nearly in the line of the present turnpike, towards Rochester. It left that city to the right, passed the Medway by a ford, and ran almost straight, through Lord Darnley's park, to Southfleet. It bent to the left to avoid the marshes near London, continued along a road, now lost, to Holwood Hill, the capital of the Rheni, and then followed the course of the present road to London.-Having crossed the Thames, it ran by Edgeware to Verulam; and from thence, with the present great Irish road, through Dunstable and Towcester to Weedon. Hence, instead of bending to the left, with the present turnpike, it proceeded straight by Dovebridge, High Cross, Fazeley, Wall, and Wellington, to Wroxeter. It then passed the Severn, and continued by Rowton, Pen y Pont, and Bala, to Tommen y Mawr, where it divided into two branches. One ran by Bath-Kellert to Caernarvon and Anglesea; the other by Dolwyddelan, through the mountains to the banks of the Menai, wliere it joined the north-eastern branch (which will be presently described,) and ended at Holy Head, the great port of the Irish.
“ The north-eastern branch of the Watling Street, coming from the interior of Scotland, by Cramond and Jedburgh, enters England at Chew Green, and continues by Riechester to Cor. bridge. There, crossing the Tyne, it ran through Ebchester, Lanchester, and Binchester, and passed the Tees by a ford, near Pierce Bridge. Hence it went by Catterick, Newton, Masham, and Kirby Malside to Ilkley, and near Halifax to Manchester. Over the moors, between these two last places, it is called the Devil's Causeway. From Manchester, where it passed the Mersey, it proceeded by Street, Northwich, Chester,
Caerhun, Caerhun, and over the mouutains to Aber, where it fell into the south-western branch, in its course to Holy Head.
“ The ICKNIELD STREET, or road of the Iceni, proceeds from the coast near Great Yarmouth. Passing through Taesborough, it runs by Icklingham and Newmarket, and, skirting the chain of hills which stretches through Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, continues by Bournbridge to Icoldon and Royston, (where it intersects the Ermyn Street.) Thence it proceeds by Baldock, over Wilbury Hill, to Dunstable (where it crosses the Watling Street,) Tring, Wendover, Els. borough, near Richborough, Chinnor, Watlingtou, Woodcote, and Goring; and, passing the Tbames at Streatly, throws off a collateral branch, which will be noticed under the name of the Ridgeway. Froin hence it proceeded, as Stukeley imagined, by Aldworth, Newbury Street, Ashmansworth, Tangley, and Tidworth, to Old Sarum. Thence by the two Stratfords, across Vernditch Chase, Woodyates lup, the Gussages, Badbury, Shapwick, Woodhay Castle, Maiden Castle, Eggardon, Arminster, Honiton, Exeter, Totness, &c. to the Land's End.
• The collateral branch called the RIDGEWAY, ran from Streatly along the hills, by Cuckhamsley Hill, Whitehorse Hill, and Ashbury, towards Abury; from whence its course is unknown. Possibly it ran towards Glastonbury. From Elworthy barrows, above Taunton, it passes south-westerly into Devonshire; and from Stretton into Cornwall, it kept along the ridge of hills to Redruth and the Land's End.
“ RYKNIELD STREET, or street of the Upper Iceni, said to begin at the mouth of the Tyne, ran by Chester le Street to Binchester, where it joined the Watling Street, and continued with it to Catterick. Then, bearing more easterly, it ran with the present great northern road to within two miles of Borough Bridge, where it left the turnpike to the right, and crossed the Eure to Aldborough. From thence it went by Coptgrave, Ribston, Spofforth, through Stokeld Park, to Thorner, Medley, Poleby, Bolton, Graesborough, Holme, Great Brook near Tre.