of the severity with which the Church in former times
maintained its authority by compelling notorious delin-
quents to do public penance occurred in Newbury Church
so late as the year 1700, when this punishment was
strictly enforced on a person named Dod ; but his offence
is not recorded. The sum of 2s. 6d. was paid to the
apparitor (an officer of the Bishop's Court) for summon-
ing Dod to appear ; and it is therefore most probable
that this public penance was performed at a visitation of
the Bishop or Archdeacon. The two latest instances of
public penance in England occurred at Bristol in 1812,
and Ditton, Cambridgeshire, in 1849.
The same volume also contains a list of persons sent
from Newbury to London, " to be " totch for yÂ® evil",
between 22nd February 1685-6, and 7th May 1688. As
is well known, this practice of touching by the reigning
sovereign for scrofula, or the disease popularly called
" The King's Evil", was of very ancient origin.
There is a long list of Briefs entered in one of the
Registers, or Letters Patent issued by the Sovereign,
authorising the collection of alms for specific works of
charity, and read in church after the Nicene Creed.
They were abolished by 9 Geo. IV, c. 28, in 1828.
In the Register, 1783-98, the following memorandum
is written :
" Newbury, October 1767, to January 1768. â€” lu an account
taken by the Clerk of the Parish, of the Inhabitants, there appeared
to be 3,732. This was taken from house to house, after the
decline of that ragin<i; distemper, the small-pox, of wliich died 100
in the months of October and November. 1,090 had the small-
pox, of which 120 died."
OF NKWRfTRY. 183
At this point we must draw our somewhat extended
miscellaneous selections from these illustrative and time-
worn old volumes to a close ; and in doing so we may
remark that the Registers of this town, unlike those of
many other [)laces, are almost solely confined to the prac-
tical purpose for wliich they were instituted, viz., to con-
tain entries of baptisms, marriages and burials. There
are in them few records of any notable occurrence, names
of preachers on special occasions, epithets or descriptions
attaching to those whose names are entered, or licences
to persons to eat flesh in Lent, when, if we may trust
the evidence of Taylor the " Water Poet", the trade of
the butchers was at a standstill for six weeks before
Easter. While, however, we regret the absence of such
often amusing notes and comments, there is no desire to
underrate the value of these ancient records, preserved
with such jealous care by our predecessors, which speak
not only in the language of their day, but are indispens-
able to the chronicler of the past, and invaluable to the
biographer and local historian. They have also been for
a long time the only public documents in existence for
determining questions of inheritance ; for the Heralds'
visitations were restricted to the gentry, and discontinued
in the seventeenth century. No one, therefore, will now
dispute the necessity of some stringent enactment to
secure the safe custody and preservation of the existing
Parish Pvegisters throughout the country, many of which
are daily perishing before our eyes almost without
attempt to perpetuate their contents. With an earnest
wish that some well-devised scheme may be formulated
either for printing these national records in extenso,
together with the transcripts or duplicates remaining in
the Bishops' Registries, or that they may be securely
deposited in general Registries of their respective counties,
we take leave of these simple annals, in whose pages
riches and poverty, beauty and deformity, stand side by
"No ilattery here, where to be born and die
Of rich and poor is all the history.
Enough if virtue lilled the space between,
Proved by the ends of being to have been."
SOME HITHERTO LITTLE-NOTICED
EARTHWORKS IN BRITAIN.
BY DR. PHENE, F.S.A.
(Jiead at the Stoke-upon- Trent Congress. August IQth, 1895.)
HE term Britain is adopted instead of
England, to do away with the subse-
quent subdivision of the country into
counties and shires ; as the times in which
the earthworks about to be referred to
were formed were antecedent to such
So long a period had elapsed before notice is recorded
of any of the great works in this country belonging to a
pre-Christian era, which now occupy the minds of archae-
ologists, that some have assumed, from their standpoint
of knowledge, that being unmentioned was evidence of
their not having been in existence in early times ;
forgetting that, if of recent formation, a reason for their
existence, and the resources for and conditions of their
construction would be within the reach of the inquirer :
as, for instance, in the case of the two Roman walls in
the north and, later on, of Offa's Dyke in the south-west.
While it is at least surprising that no record or tradi-
tion, except of the most vague and unstable kind,
attaches even to the vast lithic structure of Stonehenge,
equally impressive monuments of the same vast dimen-
sions in Brittany, the Vosges, Scandinavia, and other
parts of Europe seem to be unaccompanied by any
If, then, such gigantic stone monuments attracted no
attention, it is less surprising that earthworks should
have remained equally unnoticed.
It is now evident that the whole of this wonderful and
beautiful island contains an illustrated, though not a
written, history, of occupation, of production of articles
EARTHWORKS TN BRITAIN. 185
of commerce, of skilful engineering, and of works of art
of an antiquity little anticipated, when inquirers began
to apply the terms Roman and British, Druidic and
'J'eutonic or Belgic, and Danish or Scandinavian, Pictisli,
and Gallic or Keltic, to either the lithic or earthen con-
structions in this country.
An antiquity in some cases intensely remote ; showing,
perhaps one may venture to assume, a civilisation of a
kind, comprehending at least commerce, maritime traffic,
great trade industries, metallurgy, road-making, etc.,
proving the highways of commerce to have existed at a
period as far back as those grand and mysterious civili-
sations of India, Assyria and i^^gypt, which this age is
now only beginning, not to believe in, but to know,
from their writings, arts, and commerce, their mental
aspirations and majestic poems, gradually unfolded to
us by the archaeology of the nineteenth century, revealing-
cultured taste and art, as existing in the hoary past of
six or seven thousand years ago.
When the minds of inquirers turned to the examination
of these mysterious works of ancient art, it was natural
that the largest and most imposing received the readiest
attention : so much so that to the present time works of
no very great extent have been entirely overlooked,
while others are only known locally, and from their
apparent insigniticance are liardly ever referred to.
If indeed these were miniatures of the larger similar
works, there would not be much interest in them beyond
the fact that, as the larger ones were constructed under
some special demand which regulated their dimensions,
the diminutive proportions of the others may have been
due to causes quite as clear to their constructors, and
for purposes quite as special as any which caused the
formation of the larger works of their kind.
But this point involves a great deal, and with the
knowledge of the history and habits of some at least of
the pre-Christian people who occupied certain localities
in Britain, an approach to some of the purposes, other
than those of simple defence, may be attained.
The term " pre-Christian " does not necessarily imply
a very remote date. That is to say, there are liuinan
186 SOME HITHElirO LITTLE-NOTICED
works in this countiy some of which are probably of a
date antecedent to our era, and some of which are
undoubtedly later by centuries ; and yet, so far as the
constructors were concerned, in their purposes, habits and
religion were pre-Christian, i.e., they were constructed
by persons who had not changed their faith nor their
pagan customs, and therefore though within the Christian
period of history, were made by persons of pre-Christian
worship and custom, and as much for pre-Christian
purposes as if constructed decades before their time.
There are other Roman works again, in this country,
which undoubtedly have been constructed by Chris-
It is not intended to treat of Roman matters at all,
but as the popular mind so long looked on everything of
great age in this country as Roman, a distinction in the
dates and purposes oi' Roman works will be more apparent
than in those of other nations; and once recognised, they
will be seen to apply to other nations also, where there
is any reason to suppose that foreign or invading people
were either occasional visitants or permanent settlers
in these islands.
Apart from a general Gallic immigration into South
Britain from the Continent, which Csesar not only shows
had long preceded his time, but also correctly describes
some of the nations so coming here â€” as in the case of the
Belgae, giving their places of settlement and tlieir
occupations â€” there were clearly other nations here, as
shown by the wide distinction now known of their
names and customs from those of the Belgae. Caesar
inquired of the merchants, what were the nations who
inhabited Britain? showing there were other nations;
though the merchants refused, under the plea of ignor-
ance, to give him their names or number. But even as
to the Belgae themselves, there has been a wholesale
conclusion that all the settlers in the south were of this
people ; while in describing some of them Ca3sar simply
states that they cdinefrom the country of the Belgae, so
that they may have been immigrants from distant
countries into Britain, as can now clearly be shown :
such immigrants coming through the territory of the
EAUTHW01U<Â« IN I5RITAIN. 187
Belgae witliout necessarily being- of that nation, nor even
having innnanency witli tliem.
But, fuither, the various names of the nations or tril)es
who were borderers on the south side of the Channel, and
who were in alliance with, and some of whom were
related to, the nation of the Veneti, an Asiatic people
settled in Western Gaul, the war with whom was the
initiating cause of the invasion of Britain,^ indicate
examples of other than Gallic nationalities.
If, then, this occurs to only a slight extent in the
nations of the South, the certainty that competing
nations (wishing to follow their pursuits without oppo-
sition to or from the numerous Gallic settlers of the
South), visited the east coast, penetrated further inland
than the Belgic settlers, formed settlements, and pursued
So persistent mdeed were these warlike traders (who
were clearly referred to by Caesar when he describes the
south-eastern part of Britain as markedly commercial),
that on the settlement of the Romans becoming per-
manent, they had to establish a distinct military body,
whose functions were to guard the coasts to the south and
east, and that exclusively, from warlike visitants.
The deception practised on Ca3sar by the great congress
of trading merchants summoned by him, in their assump-
tion that the interior of Britain was not known, shows
distinctly a desire to conceal from the world's conqueror
the inner resources of the island, so that their traffic
should not be disturbed or appropriated by the Roman
armies : â€” Csesar himself admitting the mercantile traffic,
and, as just stated, questioning them as to the various
nations who inhabited the island, though unsuccessfully â€”
for his purpose. That he was studiedly deceived appears
from liis statement derived from them, that the tin came
from the Mulland regions, which therefore were known ;
it is probable that some of it did, and from this localify, but
the mass of it came from Cornwall.
The vast territory of the Iceni indicates that the
eastern rivers, the Thames, the Ouse, etc., were trading
1 See my Paper in tlic Journal, March, 1878, p. 37.
188 SOME HITHERTO LlTTLE-NOTlCED
rivers, in their midst, and the Iceni were not a Gallic
people. They dealt largely in metals, were importers of
bronze goods, and had a gold coinage in early Roman
times, if not indeed prior to Csesar's coming. That this
trade of eastern merchants must have been with the
Baltic is apparent, and that it was in later times perpe-
tuated by Scandinavian visitants, equally warlike, and
often commercial, that is, with the settlers in Britain of
their own or allied people, is so powerfully demonstrated,
that to this day the Scandinavian blood is a marked
feature in the Midland and northern counties.
'J'he occupation by some such people seems distinctly
pre- Rom an. There is therefore good ground for con-
cluding that some of the earthworks in central Britain
are not only pre-Christian, but even pre-Roman in date.
This being so, we may look with interest on the habits
and customs of people who settled here, and whose
descendants have maintained their position ; and those
customs may help, in no slight degree, to explain some
of the works which abound in this and the adjoining
The great camps for defence, as well as the oppida,
are â€” except in some rare cases where seckision was a main
object â€” found on elevations, sometimes of great height,
Avhich in many instances has saved them from the plough.
The circular and oval camps, mostly classed as Britisli,
to distinguish them from the more rectangular camps of
the Pvomans, would be more properly distinguished by
bearing the names (where recorded) of the people settled
in their respective localities, not necessarily Gaulic or
From careful inspection of the camps of the Welsh, or
West British people, the fact is clear that they were
much less regularly constructed than such Avoiks as the
great circular embankments in the south of England ;
which latter extend westward to the Severn and the
Bristol Channel. Crossing which, near Cardiff, are stone
structures of grand dimensions, and near these, not on
elevations but at low levels are, ajyparentlif, without
arranged location, several smaller circles of earthen
EARTHWORKS IN BRITAIN. ]S9
Apparently, because they can only be judged of from
what now remains ; but that the sites were systematically
selected at the time of construction can hardly be doubted.
Tbis group is referred to, far as it is from this district,
because it is rare to find several, indeed, more than one,
of such small circles in any particular locality ; and also
because I prefer to select ground traversed by the Asso-
ciation. It is clear they were not formed for defence.
Were they, one camp of the necessary size would, as is
more commonly the case, have been made, and made
according to the usual rule, on an elevation.
So far from that, they are not only on comparatively
low ground, but are not even on level ground ; but some
are more or less on sloping ground, an additional evidence
that they were not camps for defence ; that they were not
places for secretion, as the interiors can be seen from
adjacent land ; and their height is too slight to secure
even the smaller kinds of cattle.
The positions ; size, which is about uniform ; symmetry,
which exhibits care ; and other features, indicate a settled
purpose and a pre-considered intention ; their localisation
near the great lithic structures speaks plainly of the
constructors of the one class of monuments having been
the constructors of the other.
If these people can in any way be identified, a reference
to their customs, if attainable, would greatly assist in
showing their purpose in forming such works; and if
there is no record of their customs, a careful studv of
the monuments and their surroundings might indicate
some of them, so far as they refer to these earthworks.
But indications are not wanting. The symmetrical
construction of the large earthen encampments, which
extend all along the South of England from east to west,
has been referred to. They indicate a systematic purpose,
similar constructors, care and ability. They are not
hastily thrown-up works, as some of those \\\\\c\\ must
have been formed by the West British, or Welsh, appear
to have been.
The constructors were people of no slight engineering
practice for their age, and considering the means within
their reach. They were constructors of stone and earthen
190 SOME HITHERTO LlTTLE-NOTICfiD
monuments alike. This does not always follow, and is,
in some cases of course, governed by the materials afforded
by different localities.
Notwithstanding the destruction of both classes of
monuments, of earth and stone â€” from necessity, as in
agricultural pursuits ; from adaptibility to more modern
structures, in building, drain and road making, and
other purposes â€” enough of both classes of these works
still remains to indicate a special people, extending,
either by settlement, road traffic, or probably by both,
from Kent to Cardiff : the stone monuments in Kent,
and at or near Cardiff, being identical in dimension and
It is surprising how very few antiquaries know any-
thing of the lithic monuments of Kent beyond the one
familiar to so many, viz., " Kits Koity House." But
for a long distance, from Maidstone to Ightham, these
stone monuments still exist, in a more or less perfect
condition, accompanied by tumuli, camps, truncated hills
and other earthworks, some of the latter being of the
class of the small circular works already mentioned.
There are strong indications that these are only fragments
of a continuous course of monuments like those from
Brest to Marseilles, and perhaps by the same people.
These works are, year by year, fading away. Here
and there, a cultivator encroaches a little and a little
each year. I am thankful that my investigations were
made many years ago, and have been continued since,
but for which I should have increased difficulty in tracing
these very interesting relics of the past.
Winchester has both kinds of these monuments : the
stone structures illustrated by Dr. Milner, in his History
of WincJiester, being now carefully preserved on the
premises of the Roman Catholic clergyman, where the
fidelity of tlie illustrations can be seen from the originals.
I was fortunate enough, when there at the Congress, to
be taken by one of the Cathedral clergy to an enclosure
of part of a former common, now, as I understood,
happily preserved, in consequence of the existence of
one of the small circular earthworks identical with
those near the stone structures near Cardiff ; and so
EARTHWORKS IN BRITAIN. 191
through Wiltshire and Somersetshire to the Bristol
But, along this highway of traffic in pre-Roman times,
a special people can be traced by the names they bore,
varied a little by the dialects of some districts.
Upon this point, so far as their descendants ivent, there
is ancient literary testimony ; and even were this not
within our reach, the great highway of this people is still
existing, and is known all along its course by the same
name, which, unlike that of the people themselves, has
not even changed its phonetic character.
I am strongly convinced that many words now con-
sidered Welsh are really from the language of these
people. They may be classed as '* British", but not Welsh,
nor Keltic, nor Gaelic â€” British, as found in Britain, but
early Scandinavian, to use a modern term: which words
have their variants as the route along this road is
pursued, and are traceable by their variants.
But the same highway of traffic had its oii-shoots, its
bifurcations, and its junctions with other pre-Roman
highways of traffic, of foreign settlers, and foreign
traders ; some of which passed northwards and westwards,
and traversed the districts now known as the Midland
Counties. Several of these roads are described in my
Paper read at the Congress at Manchester last August.
Along these roads these small circles are to be found ;
there is one very central one in particular, not far over
the Staffordshire border ; and this one, which I was able
to trace many years ago (although I did not then under-
stand its or their historical value), was situated amidst
large lithic arrangements which have, at different periods
and by different persons, been ascribed, sometimes to arti-
ficial, sometimes to natural causes, sometimes to both,
which is very probable ; but in any case the small earthen
circle was, like those already mentioned, in the neigh-
bourhood of grand stone surroundings, and its location
was clearly intimately connected with such impressive
Again, in this case it could neither have been a camp
from its size, nor from its position, as the natural rocks
of the locality would afford more security and defence
192 SOME HITHERTO LITTLE-NOTICED
than a simple earthwork, and its interior could easily
have been commanded.
Perhaps this solitary relic, amidst these impressive
natural surroundings, conveys more than the group of
similar constructions near Cardiff.
It is at least nearer to this locality, and must have
been produced for very special reasons ; the selection of
its position was clearly a studied one. It is unaffected
by the great camps in this locality.
Before stating the conclusions to which my careful
examination has led, it may be well to note some of the
features accompanying the courses of these ancient ways.
The traditions are curious and very similar.^ T^^^Y
probably refer to antagonism of beliefs, or to the insignia
used by dominant people.
The nomenclature indicates matters connected with
routes of traffic, including the use of the horse, and
sometimes the chariot, and distinguishing places of rest
and of exchange. At greater or less distances froni the
route are vast camps and military earthworks, sometimes
accompanied by signs and objects visible at great
distances, and capable of being used as signals, or, in
other words, for telegraphic communication.
Eelics of art and occupation have been found at
intervals along the routes, and bearing similar features.
Certain names indicate the importance of the routes.
Thus, in one case is found "The Devil's Highway", in
another " The King's Highway": modern phrases clearly
conveying to us ancient traditionary titles.
(The term " Devil's", as applied to such works, having
been pretty generally used by an illiterate population,
to cover anything beyond the usual conception in the one
case; and by more informed persons to indicate the works
of pagans by those who had embraced Christianity in
To give an example of the change of names by local
peasantry and Saxon populations, while retaining similar
phonetic features, reference may be made to a very
remarkable district near the great East and West road
already referred to, which district I re-surveyed after
commencing this paper, for corroboration of former
EARTHWORKS IN BRITAIX. 193
observations published by me in the Oxford University
Herald in 1890.
First, as regards the term " Highway". This term
has become familiar in recent times from its being
generally applied to main public thoroughfares. But in
ancient times it implied a royal road, or, at least, a
roadway for knightly progress, cavalry, and pageant
processions. Such ways were, moreover, sacred, as being
dedicated to the deities of the people who made them,
and were undoubtedly used for religious as well as
military processions and other purposes, as " The King's
Way", " The King's Highway".
That they were such is seen from the highest sources
of literature ; and that they referred to elevated ways as
liigh ivays, i.e., ways which, from their lofty positions,
would exhibit such processions and military spectacles,
is clear from the following : â€”
" I wdll make all my mountains a way, and my high-
ivays shall be exalted.'' " Cast ye up, cast ye wp, pre-
pare the way." " Cast iqj, cast up., the highway.'' " Lift
up a standard for the people."
There is a marked distinction between the " highway"
and the " way of the people", as though the " standard
for the people" would be carried processionally on the
" highway" to be seen by the people. This is strongly
expressed in " an highway shall be there, and a ivay,
and it shall be called the way of holiness ; the unclean
(the ordinary person) shall not pass over it". " The
wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (/.e.,