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crawl like a snail after the 'man who carried the light. The second gallery
was found to be twenty-seven feet in length, and to communicate with
another grave, unopened. At the end of it a broken pick was found, and a
quantity of charcoal, but no other remains. From certain appearances, it
was expected that other galleries would be discovered leading into other
graves as soon as the debris could be cleared away. There could be no
longer any doubt as to the original purpose of these pits or graves.
Clearly they were made for the purpose of quarrying flint, which is here
of superior quality, and the implements used were the antlers of the red
and the roe deer and stone hatchets.

As there are upwards of 200 of these pits, flint quarrying must have
been carried on to a very great extent at a very early period, no doubt for
the supply of Aveapons used in hunting or war. The flints were so used
for the manufacture of implements at a time when metals were unknown j
and therefore before the appearance of the Komans on the scene, before
the town of Brandon became famous for the production of gun flints, the
old parish of Weeting-cum-Broomhill must have been no less so for the
manufacture of flint weapons used by the Iceni and other ancient Britons.


A market town and parish, and the head of a Union, in the Hundred of
Lackford, "West Division oi the County of Sufi'olk, thirty -eight and a-half
miles (north-west) from Ipswich, and seventy (north-north-east) from
London. The town is situated on a tributary of the river Ouse, called


the Lark^ which is navigable along the south and west borders of the
parish ; and the road from Norwich to London through Newmarket,
bounds a very small part of the east. It includes, besides one principal
and several smaller streets, others of considerable extent, forming
detached portions, reaching towards the fens on the north-west. The
inhabitants are well supplied with water. A small spinning mill for raw
silk affords employment chiefly for children, but the principal branch of
commerce is the exportation of grain and other commodities. A market
is held on Friday, and is well supplied with fish, wild fowl, and provisions
in general, and there is a fair on October 10th for toys, pedlery, &c. The
parish comprises by computation about 16,000 acres. The living is a
vicarage, valued in the King^s books at £22 8s. 2id; net income £869 ;
patron and impropriator Sir H. E. Bunbury, Bart. ; the tithes were
commuted for land and money payments, under an Act of Inclosure in
1807. The Church is a largo handsome structure, with a lofty tower ;
the ceiling is of woodwork, richly carved, and the entrance is through a
highly-finished old English porch ; in the interior are several ancient
monuments, particularly of the family of North. There are places of
worship for Baptists, the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, and
Wesleyans. A National School for girls is supported by subscription
and a small endowment ; and an almshouse for four widows was founded
in 1722 by Sir Thomas Hanmer. In 1567 a great part of the town was
consumed by fire, but then the houses were nearly all timber structures
covered with thatch.

There are only now a very few places so slightly aft'ected by the
" improvements of the age,'' and so little visited by the eager throng of
sightseers, as to be interesting to the student of the curious, the antiquary,
or the traveller. Somehow or other, railways and electric telegraphs,
while they have brought most places nearer to the great throbbing centres
of commerce and civilization, have so destroyed the individuality of others
as to render objects that were at one time both interesting and instructive
mere common-place attractions and every-day sights. Not so, however,
in the case of this town. Thanks to the lack of enterprise of a certain
well-known railway company, this town, containing over 2000 inhabitants,
and the centre of a district with a population of 6000, is without railway
accommodation nearer than seven miles, and rejoices in the primitive
simplicity represented by carrier's carts and other similar modes of con-
veyance. Long may it so remain, for a more beautiful and picturesque
spot does not exist in the whole of the east of England. It is tlio
capital, so to speak, of quite a cluster of villages and hamlets, all of which
rejoice in comparative seclusion from the outer world. It is true that
there are railway stations that bear the name of some of them, but by


the oddest and happiest arrangement possible, it so happens that they
are all several miles distant, while in the case of Mildenhall, there is the
exceptionally curious circumstance that the station bearing its name is
not the nearest to it by a couple of miles or more. Mildenhall
Road, on the Great Eastern Railway, is the station so situated, and like
many other stations on the same route, all that can be said of it is that
it is on the road to Mildenhall. It is a cruel jest on the part of the
booking-clerk at Bishopgate to hand you a ticket for "Mildenhall
Road" when you want to go to Mildenhall; but you have the conso-
lation, when you get to the end of your first stage, of finding out
what it is to "Wait for the waggon," and of getting a- "cast" in any
stray vehicle that may be going towards the town. For you must
know that Mildenhall so prides itself at being cut off from the outer
world, that it does not encourage visitors by means of the vulgar
expedient of the hotel omnibus that "meets every train," and of the
night porter who is " always in attendance." Laughable stories are told
with immense gusto of commercial travellers who, set down in the
middle of a desert, as it were, with quite a ton of samples and luggage,
have been constrained to risk the dangerous expedient of " hiring " to
the town, only to return the next day with the cruel answer of the indig-
nant tradesman ringing in their ears, " Nothing wanted to-day, thank
you." It is said that a branch line was once surveyed for ; but the sur-
veyor, either being a man of "Mildenhall" himself, or sympathising
deeply with the exclusiveness of the people, bungled the survey, and the
Bill was thrown out. But who would have a railway to Mildenhall so long
as he is free to enjoy the bracing drive from Newmarket across the " Bury
hills," and through the delightful avenue of elms that encloses the road
for the best part of a couple of miles. Passing the " Half-way House,"
which is half a road-side inn and half a farm-house, and prides itself
upon supplying the best tankard of " home-brewed " in the county, you
diverge from the Norwich Road to the left, and glide through the pretty
little hamlet of Warlington, with its " village smithy," and the quaint old
house of its " oldest residenter." The district is purely agricultural, and
the trim farmyards, with their large, well-built, and gaily decorated
stacks, speak of a season of plenty, as well as of peace. Nothing of
Mildenhall is visible till you have quite entered its sacred precincts, except
its square Church tower, which is seen distinctly quite a couple of miles
away. Rising out of the midst of what appears at a distance a clump of
trees, and with that peculiar glint of sunshine upon it which is only ex-
perienced now and then in the quiet winter afternoon, it is at once a striking
and beautiful object. The town itself, nestled among the trees, and partly
surrounded by what must have been intended for a moat, only that there is a


stone bridge instead of a drawbridge across it, seems to liave been destined
by nature to remain tlie secluded spot it really is. Its old Church, said to be
of the 13th or 14th century, and its ancient churchyard, filled with the
tombstones of many a '^ village Hampden," speaks of a time when it
must have been the great centre of interest, if not of civilization itself,
to the surrountling country. Here are buried the remains of several
generations of the great North family ; while of the lords of the manor
and squires of the county, a goodly number have found a last resting
place within the sacred edifice. The tower, we find on closer inspection,
has been restored within the last eight or ten years, and the striking
effect of the sunlight upon it is accounted for by the glistening and shiny
surface of the flints of which it is built, and on which, indeed, the greater
part of the Church itself is encased. Probably on account of its inac-
cessibility ]\Iildenliall has a now resident vicar — albeit the living is worth
some £700 or £800 a year. This is a circumstance which has evidently
not been lost upon the Nonconformists, of whom we find no fewer than
three different sects represented in the little town, viz., the Wesleyans,
the Calvinists, and the Baptists. True to the general features of ancient
simplicity which characterise this unique little toAvn, Mildenhall has
allowed no display of architecture, as we understand the term, at least in
connection with its more modern religious edifice. The Calvinists we
find in a severely plain, flint-built structure, with the impressive words
'' Jehovah Jirah " over the entrance ; while the Wesleyans and Baptists
have located themselves in bani-like erections, as is their wont.

To the lover of antiquities in architecture, Mildenhall is a perfect store-
house of interest, for nowhere in the same space will he find such n
number of quaint old-fashioned houses as adorn its little market-place,
and constitute what may be called its High Street. Picturesque old gable
ends, projecting almost into the middle of the street, and ornamented with
a sort of scroll-cut boarding; and thatched roofs, with the largest
looking chimneys imaginable, are the leading features of the place. Here
and there is a house standing in its own grounds, and delightfully en-
veloped in the clinging embrace of the Virginia creeper, which lends
additional natural beauty to the already pleasing picture. Nor must we
omit to mention the "Manor House," the ancestral residence of the
Bunbury's — one of the most peculiar conglomerations of buildings of all
sizes and shapes that can be well imagined. But not outwardly alone is
there much to admire in the buildings of Mildenhall houses, most of them
have descended through many generations, and been in the family
from time immemorial. Within their latticed windows the evening fire
burns brightly, revealing to the passer-by just such snug, cosy, welcome
corners as are alone to be found in the good old-fashioned countiy houses


of a hundred years ago. The outward appearance of Mildenhall is
suggestive more of comfort than of wealthy and yet of that comfort —
steady,, sohd^ enduring — that can hardly be attained without more or less
of wealth. The shops are of a character with the houses ; and if it may
be taken as an indication of the wealth of the place, it may be mentioned
that there are two jeweller's shops. In one of these there is an attempt
at attraction, which might do credit to the resources of a much more
ambitious establishment. Some of the more showy articles are fixed on a
revolving frame under a glass case — the power being communicated by a
miniature steam engine, also shown in the window ; and the effect on a
stranger, who may not even expect to find a jeweller, much less a steam
engine, in Mildenhall, is somewhat curious.

We finish our description of the towns of Suffolk at this western ex-
tremity of the county. We have now surveyed each county and every
town in Eastern England, showing the rise and progress of every place.
How and where the towns arose is a necessary part of a provincial history.
We have followed the footsteps of the Romans from Essex through
Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. They built camps, forts, and
towns, and established colonies and introduced useful arts.

If we consider the rise and progress of our towns in East Anglia, we
shall find that the process of their growth was very simple. They grew
up around castles and abbeys for the sake of protection, round ports for
the sake of trade, or near rivers for the sake of water transit. In former
ages people were compelled to live together as close as possible in order
to work together, and by their union they discovered their power. The
history of any one town is very similar to the history of any other town
in the Eastern Counties, at least during the middle ages.

All the towns of East Anglia were originally of small size, mere
clusters of huts, built of timber, but they increased in size as population
slowly increased. Most of the houses, even of the rich, had thatched
roofs till the last century. Fires have done more towards beautifying
many of the towns in Norfolk and Suffolk than any other cause. But for
this calamitous element, neither Norwich, Dereham, Watton, Hingham,
Wymondham, Southwold, and other places would have been noted for
their handsome buildings. As a sudden inundation of water sometimes
carries away bridges that were perilous to travellers, so an accidental
conflagration levels old buildings which would otherwise long remain
obstacles to improvement.



In any inquiry respecting the early colonization of the Eastern
Counties, the names of places should be carefully considered ; but
hitherto the subject has been imperfectly investigated. The Rev. F.
Blomefield and the Rev. C. Parkin, in their History of Norfolk, give many
fanciful derivations of the names of towns and villages. The late Mr.
jMundford was more successful in his treatment of the subject, which bo
fully elucidated as far as regards places in Norfolk.

We must keep in mind the fact that England has been overrun by
Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Normans, to say nothing of
occasional visits from other people. Hence the original language has
been almost expelled, except in the extreme solitudes of Wales, or in the
far Northern Highlands of Scotland. When we carefully study the
names of places, we are first of all met by the fact that only some of those
of rivers, mountains, or other natural objects are ancient British or Celtic ;
all other names of places, towns, or villages are either Anglo-Saxon,
Danish, or Norman.

There is a remarkable distinction between the remains left in this
country by the Romans and those left by their Teutonic successors, the
Angles and kindred tribes. The altars, inscriptions, coins, and buried
ruins of cities and towns of the former people are scattered in all direc-
tions, but these are almost the only witnesses, independent of history,
that the Roman standard ever waved over our soil ; and our local
nomenclature bears but slight traces of the fact that the Romans were
masters of our island for 400 years. We might almost suppose that they
named few of the towns which they built. Very few places indeed retain
either the original or the Roman names. In Essex, Camulodunum was
changed into Colchester from the Latin Galonia and Castrum or Chester,
a fort or camp. Caesaromagus was changed into Chelmsford ; Camboricum
into Cambridge. There are two Caistors in Norfolk, from the Latin
Castrmn ; Caistor near Yarmouth and Caistor near Norwich, the sites of
Roman camps; also two Strattons and Stradset, from the Latin Stvatum
or Street.

After the departure of the Romans from this island, the Angles,
Saxons, and other Northern tribes took possession of the country, and
gave their own names to places.

The Angles in this eastern district seemed to have expelled, or almost
exterminated, the male descendants of the native Icenic race, but to have
kept the women, so that a Celtic element was preserved in the nation.


Some genuine Celtic words still remain in our language, and these words
apply to feminine occupations and articles of feminine use, such as haslcet,
harrow, button, bran, clout, crock, crooh, gusset, Mln, dainty, darn, tenter
(in tenter hooJiJ, fleam, flan, flannel, gyve, gnddel (gridiron), gruel, welt,
ivichet, gown, wire, mesh, mattocJc, imp, rail, rasher, rug, solder, tacMe, &c.
The physical aspect of the country during the Anglo-Saxon period
is indicated by the names of places. The rank and reedy marsh was
spread over a vast extent of its surface. Miles and miles of jungle then
existed where teeming populations now live, and where all the appliances
of civilisation are at work. Small portions of land were almost always
insulated, and immense marshes and fens and broad outspread heaths in
all parts of the island occupied the greater portion of its surface. This
was not the state of districts only, but of the whole country. In twenty
counties we still find places whose names tell that they were the sites of
ancient marshes, suggesting that the wild sea mew cried and the wild
fowl shrieked where trade now thrives amid happy British homes.
Eushall, Eushbury, Rushbrooke, Rushford, and many other names tell
that those places were once overspread by rushes. No written record is
required to tell the condition of Fen Ditton, Fen Stanton, &c. ; while even
in the heart of the great metropolis, the state of the place is still preserved
in the names of Fensbury or Finsbury. The situation of a place near
meadows also served to originate its name, as in the case of Meadhamp-
stead, now Peterborough, and Castle Meadow in Norwich.

The vicinity of places to meres or small lakes is indicated by the names
Hazelmere, Livermere, Mereston, &c., and Westmoreland (West-raere-
land) was the land to the west of the meres or lakes. Many other names
prove that the country was nearly all covered by water meres, lakes,
l)ogs, marshes, and streams. Many places derived their names from being
the sources of rivers, and great numbers from the places where they
were forded, as Deptford (Deepford), Chelmsford, Thetford, and
Larlingford. The names of trees gave rise to much of the nomencla-
ture of places. "Ac" was Saxon for oak, and from the number of
names in which this name occurs oaks appear to have been abundant, and
the principal trees of the forest. Forty names of places indicate the pre-
valence of the beech tree formerly, and from the number of names in
which '' sel " or seal is found, it is clear that the sallow or willow was
abundant, and lovers might often sing, " meet me in the willow glen,"
but now a willow glen is rare indeed. The prevalence of the ash gave
rise to the names of 120 places, and the tangled and shaggy appearance
of the country is attested by fifty places that preserve the name of ^^ thorn."
The situation of places in reference to each other suggested an obvious
mode of naming them. Thus a large tract of land, north of the river

NAMES OF PLACi-'S. • 385

Iluniber was North llumbor land, now Nortlmiiibc'rlaud ; then Westmore-
land was Westmere land^ or the land west of the meres or lakes. The
same rule applies to Northfolk and vSouthfolk, now Norfolk and Suffolk,
also Sudburgh or Sudbury, the most southern borough in Suffolk. About
230 towns and villages were thus named from their geographical position.

The names of nearly all places in Essex are of Anglo-Saxon origin,
denoting cither names of the early settlers or the nature of the place, or
both. Thus Ma3lo, Stoena, Boca, gave their names to Mailing, Steyning,
J3ocking ; and other settlers to Barking, Tendring, Messing, Manning,
Hailing, Epping, all in Essex, the termination " ing '^ signifying a meadow.
The termination " ham " in hundreds of instances denotes a village ;
" ley '' denotes a pasture, as in Bromley, Oakley, Weeley, Takely, all in
Essex j " field " and '^ ford '' plainly intimate places near a field or ford,
in all counties.

Blackmore is named from the colour of the soil or moor ; Broomfield,
from the fields of broom ; Harmingfield, from '' harm " and " ing," rich
pasture field ; Leighs or Leys, from pasture or unfilled land ; Koxwell,
from the rocky soil and its wells ; Runwell, from a running well ; Spring-
field, from field of springs ; Waltham, from ^^llages in a wood ; Wedford,
the river "Wed and its ford ; Hallingbur}^, from " hal," healthy, " ing,^^ a
meadow, and '^ bury,^' a dwelling ; Neatswell, from the Saxon " neat,"
for cattle, and "well,'^ cattle well ; Sheering, the shire or county meadow ;
South Weald means south wood ; Fairstead, a fair place.

Layer Marney, Layer Breton, and Layer-de-la-Hay, so named from the
brook running through them, anciently called La re, and the names of
their respective owners. Fingringhoe and Laugenhoe, each name com-
posed of three Saxon words — Lau

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 44 of 70)