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The most numerous* of these principalities were the BRIGANTES, q. d. Brigyntwyst, or first comers, whose dominion extended over all that region, which is now divided into the five counties of York, Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Lancaster; in which extent, near twenty cities owned their subjection to Iseur*, which, being the capital of the most powerful state in Britain, must, of course, have been then the chief city in the island.
Six miles south-west of the scite of this Brigantian capital, and eighteen miles west by north of York, and in the wapentake of Claro, West-Riding of Yorkshire, and diocese of Chester, stands KNARESBROUGH, evidently deriving its name from its situation on a rocky mountain, I at the foot of which runs the river Nidd. It is one of those ancient burghs that were part of the demesnes of the Crown, found under the title of Terra Regis, in Domesday Book, and other records; all which, and the lands belonging to them, were held by royal grant ||. Littleton observes, that burghs are the most ancient towns in England; such situations were chosen, by the Saxons, as heing already places of strength, to erect their castles upon.
* Tacitus Agric. Vit. C. 17.
+ Warrington's History of Wales. . Itineraries of Antoninus and Richard of Cirencester, + Now a village, called Aldbrough, near Boroughbridge, Yorkshire,
| Knares, (German) a hard knot; which, when applied to situation, signifies a rocky mountain ; as Farleton Knot, in Westmoreland; HardKnot Hill, in Cumberland, &c..
Brady, on Burgs.
The enjoyment of a manumission from slavery, a separate jurisdiction, and other valuable privileges, granted to the communities inhabiting such places, by the payment of a fixed tax or rent, appears not to have taken place in England till about the year 1199, when King John, in order to lessen the power of his barons, erected several of his demesne towns into free burghs; but, we do not find that Knaresbrough enjoyed that privilege, till the year 1311. Before the institution of such communities, 'persóns of noble birth resided at their castles, where each kept his petty court, attend. ed by his vassals, who received from him education in all military exercises ; his hospitality invited them to enjoy society in his hall; their leisure made them perpetual retainers on his person; they partook of his sports and ainusements; and, their greatest ambition was to make a figure in his train: his favor was their greatest honor; his displeasure exposed them to contempt and ignominy; and they felt, every moment, the necessity of his protection. Self-preservation obliging every man to court the protection of some powerful baron, his castle was the place to which all resorted for safety, in times of danger. But towns, guarded by immunities, and surrounded with ramparts, whose inhabitants were bound by interest, as well as the most solemn engageinents, reciprocally to defend each other, afforded a more commodious and secure retreat.
The situation of Knaresbrough exactly agrees with the description given of the towns of the ancient Britons; placed on the bank of a river, for the sake of water; and, on the skirt of a large forest, for the conveniency of hunting, and pasture for their cattle. As these inviting circumstances were more conspicuous in some parts of the country than others, the princes or chiefs made choice of these places for their residence; a number of their followers and dependants built their huts as near them as they could, and also erected stalls, for their cattle, within the same limits. A town or city thus made, they fortified all round with a ditch and rampart of earth; and, if any danger was suspected, they blocked up all the entrances with trees, cut down, and heaped one upon another. The remains of a ditch and rampart, may yet be traced here, which include an area of 900 feet long, by 600 broad.
EVERY part of these ramparts would command an extensive view of distant country; from whence the inhabitants might, with great advantage, watch every motion of an enemy, and stand prepared to repel every hostile approach.
1. The north angle, near Row-gap.
"? IN Román times, this may probably have been one of those forts, formed not only for securing the road just entering the wild region of the forest, but such a one as they usually placed at some little distance from
the larger stations, and fixed them on the most advanťageous scites that the places afforded, and fortified them, not with a rampart of stone, but only with large ditches, and placed a small garrison within them. Several Roman coins have been found here, particu. Jarly some of the Emperors Claudius and Constantine.
The remains of a roman camp were discovered, at Neuwied, on the banks of the Rhine, in the year 1801. The figure was rectangular, 840 feet in length, and 631 in breadth; including a space of very near the same dimensions as that included by the ancient ramparts of Knaresbrough.
For several centuries after the departure of the Romans, this part of the country, in particular, was dreadfully harassed by contending armies. Malmes bury observes, “That it was always exposed to the
fury of the nothern nations, received the barbarous * shocks of the Danes, and groaned under repeated
The Saxons finally prevailed, and rather extermi. nated than subdued the ancient inhabitants; in consequence of which, they preserved, unaltered, all their civil and military institutions. The language was pure
Saxon; even the names of places were almost all af: fixed by the conquerors, whose manners and customs
were wholly German. Veistegan informs us, that,