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worth, in the eastern and southern counties^ and twenty-two more in
counties easily accessible through streams^ they were probably the
original seats of the early marks ; and that the settlements distinguiwhed
by the addition of ham, wic, to these original names were filial settlements
or small colonies from them. Hence the names of Rudham, Walsham,
Aylsham^ Dereham, Fakenham, Reepham, Swaffham, Downham in
Norfolk, also Finuingham, Needham, Framlingham, Saxmundham in
Suffolk. This good old Anglo-Saxon word ham is that which has given us
our still dearer word "home ! '' The Angles generally settled in a clannish
form, under a leader, and his " ham " or " home " had his name given to
it. For instance, " VValsham " means the home of Waelses, an East-
Anglian chief. There are more villages in Norfolk and Suffolk whose
names end in ham than in any other counties in England. There are
many others named from their situation near some river.

Teclford, Tefford, and Teford, the Saxon names of Thetford, are
evidently but variations in spelling, meaning alike the ford, or most
frequented passages over the waters before the use of bridges was
generally known. The modern name, Thetford, is but another small
variation from the Saxon, has the same meaning, and no reference to the
town being situated on the Thet, there being no river of that name.

Yarmouth of course derived its name from being at the mouth of the
river Yar or Yare. Norwich was called Nordwic, or North wic, from
its situation. Camden says, so far is the City of Norwich from having
been built either by Caesar or Guiteline the Briton, as some fabulous
authors assert, that the word Norwich is not anywhere to be found before
the "Danish wars. Camden says that Lynn derives its name from the
British word Llyn, which means a lake, pool, or spreading waters; and
that it is not a place of any antiquity. Spelman derives the name from
Len, in Saxon a farm or tenure in fee ; and Len Episcopi, as it was called,
meant the bishop's farm. It is not difficult to discover from many other
village names that another people beside the Angles invaded East Auglia
and even remained long enough to give the names in their own language
to the places they occupied. We can trace the spots along the eastern
coast where the Danes were in the habit of landing, by the great number
of villages which still retain Danish names.

Most of the parishes in the hundreds of East and West Flegg have
names terminating in by; a proof of then* Danish origin— "by" in
Danish signifying a village. Thus we have Ormesby, Rollesby, Filby,
:Mautby, Scratby, Ashby, Thrigby, Billockby, and others. The name
Flegg is probably from the Dutch " vluk," or " flukke," flat. Of twenty-
four parishes in Flegg, fourteen have this " by " termination. Martham



and Runham should probably be Martholm and Runholm^ " mart '' being
the Icelandic " mord/^ or rain, and "run'^ the Icelandic "runn/' or
" hrunn," a bush, " holm " signifying a low flat ground surrounded by
water, like St. Bennets-at-Holm, near Dilham.

A part of Martham is still called "the holms.'' Runhall and Runton,
in Norfolk, may take their names from " runn.'' And perhaps
Runnymede, where Magna Charta was granted, may signify " the bushy
meadow." We cannot always account for the initial syllables of the
names ending in " by." Ashby probably took its name from some large
ash tree, perhaps a remarkable object, swept by the sea breezes, as
Thurn might from a thorn. Thus we have at Norwich St. Michael's-at-
Thorn. Billockby may come from the Danish " bilay," an enclosure, or
from the Anglo-Saxon form " boelg," a bulyinger belly. Rollesby may
be from " Hrolf," or RoUo, the celebrated Norse king.

Thrigby may be from "Triggve," the father or son of King Olave, the
saint whose name is given to St, Olave's Bridge over the Waveney.
Ormesby may be from '' Gorm," the Danish King, the Guthrum of our
English histories ; or from '' Orm," a worm or serpent, a common name
of a Viking's ship. Acle may signify an oak by '^ Ac " and " lea," a field
or plain. Old-fashioned people till recently called it Oakley, and its
woods, with some very fine oaks, have been much reduced within a few
years. Humbleyard from an old word humble or humle (Humerlus) the hop,
a hop garden. There are places called Humble-toft in East Dereham and
South Burlingham.

Smithdown Hundred, formerly Smithdun, is from the word smeeth,
still retained in the Norfolk dialect to signify a place or a table land, from
the same root as smooth. It comprises some elevated plains of great
extent. Weyland, is perhaps from the Dutch " weiland," pasture, but
more probably from Weland or Weyland, the Vulcan of Northern
mythology. Aylsham, formerly Eglesham, perhaps from ^gel or Eigil,
the brother of Wieland. Palgrave is derived from Phal, who was the
same as Baldin, the favourite son of Odin, who also may have given his
name to Falling (ing signifying a meadow in Danish) . Horning, Snoring,
Blickling, Seething, Hickling, Honing, Seaming, also denote places near
meadows. Clavering Hundred may be clover meadow. Happing Hun-
dred may take its first syllable from the Swedish " hap," an isolated piece
of land, from whence Happisburg and Hapten. Carbrooke and Carrow
are from the ancient word " car," an osier and alder car or bog where
osiers grow. Car means a small wood, and hoe a hill, hence Carrhoe or
Carrow. Grimshoe is also a place on a hill, so called from a Danish
chieftain -, literally Grimes hill. The syllable '^ Sco " in Sco Ruston and
Haddiscoe is the Danish " Skow, or Skogr," a straw or coppice. In


Runliain and some other villages, there are fields called scow fields, beyond
doubt the sites of former thickets. Haveringland and Havergate are
from '' Haver," the old name for oats. The Rocklands may have taken
their names from bonlders, as between Merton and Threxton a veiy large
one is still to be seen, or from roke vapour which prevails in those wet
lands. The name is spelt Rokeland in the " Rotuli Hundredorum."
Fiiicham may have taken its name from Fin, the Frisian King commemo-
rated in the ancient poem of Beowalf ; while Hildeburg his wife gave her
name to Hilborough.

Thorpe is a Danish village name, meaning an aggregation of houses,
and it is the termination of many names of villages — as Bowthorpe, Ash-
welthorpe. Kirk, as in Kirby Kirstead, meant a temple, and afterwards
a church. Kirstead is equally Danish, and means a swine pasture. Holt
simply means a wood, and has been retained as the name of a town long
after the forest has been cleared. The name Stoke has been a subject of
much discussion ; some think it meant a stockade, while Ihre, the great
Swedish lexicographer, says it signifies a ferry, as Stoke FeiTy, in

There is another name of historical interest, illustrating the political
condition of the East Angles. In certain charters mention is made of
the Dinghowe at Bury in connection with certain dues which King
Edward granted to St. Edmund. This at once brings before us the Ding,
an ancient Scandinavian Court, of which we heard so much during the
Danish wars. The Storthing, the Volkthing is preserved in the name of
Dingwall. Worthing enables us to imagine the ancient inhabitants of
Suffolk, who met at stated times at the Thinghill or Thinghoe to pay
into court the dues of sac or soc to the appointed officer. This Ding-
howe or Thinghoe may be a memorial of the Danish occupation of East
Anglia. Hence the name of the Hundred of Thinghoe.

Woodbrigge, anciently Wodenbrigge, may have been named from the
Anglo-Saxon god, Woden. Stowmarket was formerly called Thorna or
Thorne Market, from the Saxon god Thor, and ea water, alluding to the
river near the place.

The names of towns ending in wic or wich seem to have indicated a
fort or stronghold, as North wic (Norwich), Ipswich, Dun wich, Greenwich,
Sandwich, Nantwich, all of which were fortified places. Stow indicated
some place of burial, as Felixstow, the burial place of St. Felix, the first
bishop of East Anglia, Stowmarket, &c. The meaning of the termination
worth is not so clearly ascertained, as in Ickworth, Horningworth, Hales-
worth, Hepworth, Panxworth, but probably meant the place or land of
some family.

There is another interesting field of historical inquiry opened before Ui


by the numerous moats round mansions in tlie counties of Norfolk and
Suffolk. These moats seem to indicate that^ after the Danish invasions^
the Angles entrenched themselves within moats_, some of which are great
works. There is scarcely a parish in all Suffolk without a moat^ and some
of these are stupendous works, as at Chevington, Burrow, Rushbrooke,
and some of these moats are of great antiquity. In some places there
are moats so extensive that they seem to have been designed for whole
tribes, as at Kenninghall in Norfolk. There are several houses inclosed
within a moat in the immediate neighbourhood of an old Saxon palace
where it is supposed the Kings of East Anglia once resided. There are
few if any remains of any other kind of work of the Angles in the
Eastern Counties. For many centuries there was a constant contest
between the Angles and the Danes in this district, and the incessant
warfare prevented any progress in the arts of peace. The Danes came
over the sea in such large numbers, and bo frequently, that they ultimately
obtained possession of all the land in Norfolk and Suffolk, and became
the parent stock of the people. The Danes, in black armour, spread
themselves in battle array over the entire district, killed all the men,
and burnt all the towns and villages and most of the churches. Hence
there are no remains of Anglo-Saxon buildings. Norfolk and Suffolk
appear to have been colonised by the Danes who kept possession of East
Anglia till the Norman conquest.

The following Peers, Barons, Baronets, and Knights have seats in Suf-
folk : — The Duke of Grafton, Euston Hall ; the Duke of Hamilton, Easton
Park ; the Duke of Rutland, Oheveley Park ; the Marquis of Bristol, Ick-
worth Park ; the Earl of Guildford, Glemham Hall ; the Earl of Stradbroke,
Henham Hall ; Baron Gwydyr, Stoke Park ; Baron Henniker, Thornham
Hall ; Baron Huntingfield, Heveningham Hall ; Baron Rendlesham,
Rendlesham Hall ; Baron Thurlow, Ashfield House j Lord A. W. Beau-'*
clerk, Leiston ; Sir R. A. Shafto Adair, Bart,, Flixton Hall ; Sir Robert
Affleck, Bart., Dalham Hall; Sir H. E. Blake, Bart., Ashfield Lodge;
Sir G. N. B. Middleton, Shrubland Park ; Sir Charles J. F. Bunbury,
Bart., Barton Hall ; Sir Charles Clarke, Bart., Worlingham Hall ; Sir E.
C. Kerrison, Bart., Oakley Park ; Sir William Parker, Bart., Melford Hall ;
Sir E. R. Gage, Hengrave Hall ; Sir Robert Pigot, Bart., Branches Park ;
Sir Charles Robert Rowley, Tendring Hall ; Sir Baldwin Wake Walker,
Bart., Oakley House ; Sir Thomas B. Western, Bart., Tattingston Place,
Ipswich; Sir William Rose, K.C.B., Leiston Old Abbey; Sir John
Ralph Blois, Cockfield Hall, Yoxford.



^M; O coiinectecl narrative of events in the Eastern Counties has ever

^Q) been published before the present work. The so-called county
histories contain only topographical descriptions of places and genealogies
of families. We might almost suppose that no annals of East Anglia
ever existed, and, indeed, the sources of information respecting the early
period are very scanty as regards the whole island, and more so in
reference to this Eastern part of the country. Still there are materials for
a brief summary of the general course of events.

The origin of the earliest inhabitants of this island is open to many
doubts, but we have good evidence that at a very remote period the
descendants of the ancient Cimmerii or Cymry dwelt in this country, and
that from the same great family sprang the Celtic tribes, a portion of
which at least inhabited the opposite coast of France. At what time the
Cymry and Celts first peopled England we have no record, though there
is no lack of proof that they were well known to the early Phoenician
voyagers, and that the ancient Greeks were acquainted with the British
islands by the name of Cassiterides or the Islands of Tin.

By the aid of the few hints which are scattered over the works of the
Greek and Roman writers, the existence of a few remaining monuments,
and the discoveries which have been made through numberless excavations
all over the land, we can just make out enough of the dim forms of the
ancient Britons to see their mode of life, and their habits in peace and
war. We have the authority of the Roman authors to prove that the
Britons were a tall, large-limbed, and muscular race, that they wore their
hair long and thrown back over their shoulders, which must have given
them a wild appearance in battle.

The Roman authors all assert that the ancient Britons were a tribe of
Gauls or Celts, who came over the sea from the Continent, and it is
evident that the district on the Essex side of the Thames was one of their


earliest settlements, tlie inhabitants there being called Trinobantes or
TrinovanteSj names which etymologists have traced to mean " the country
beyond the stream/' That this tribe was numerous and powerful is proved
by the fact that its chief or king Cassibellanus was selected as the com-
mander-in-Chief of the united British forces assembled to repel the
invasion of Julius Caesar.

Before that event the natives were free and independent. They were
divided into states and principalities, and had a military form of govern-
ment ; but they enjoyed a large share of liberty. Indeed that stubborn
character of independence which has manifested itself though ages appears
to be indigenous to the soil. "They were at times fond of liberty almost to
a degree of madness, and were then so tenacious of it, as to yield up their
lives a voluntary sacrifice, rather than submit to what had to them only
the appearance of slavery, which they so abhorred and detested.''

About 350 years before our era, the Belgic, a tribe of the Celtic, race
landed on the north side of the Thames with hostile views and intentions
of conquest. They occvipied a part of the Eastern district, and are said
to have lain the original foundation of Camulodunnm (Colchester) . They
had a senate and council ; factions and parties prevailed in their villages,
the effect even then as now of freedom. Industry and commerce were to
some extent developed, and foreign merchants had stations in several
parts of the coast.

If any ancient Briton ever took his stand on Laindon or Danbury hills
in Essex, a woodland scene would have appeared extended before him of
which he could see no limit and through which he could scarcely force his
way. The district was, however, well peopled. Their dwelhngs were
mere huts, formed of poles cut from the forest, and covered with skins,
thick boughs or turf which might be seen in the thickets. Clustered to-
gether as the shelter or surface of the ground suited, without order or
arrangement, these collections of hovels formed villages.

According to the Roman authors, the Trinobantes were the aborigines of
the county now called Essex when it was all one vast forest ; but we have
few remains of their roads, buildings, or productions. The native names
of some places have been traced to their ancient British origin, which
names generally designated some natural features, as in the name Cmnu-
lodunmn, where the Romans established their first colony, and where
Colchester now stands surrounded by the ruins of a Roman fortress.

The ancient British name is said to have been Oam-a-lmm-indam,
signifying a town on a hill, at the winding of a river, afterwards Latinized
into Camulodunnm which Dion Cassius expressly mentions as the residence
of the King Cunobeline and the capital of the Trinobantes. This is con-
firmed by the number of gold and silver coins found at Colchester, show-


ing the letters C. V. N. 0.^ or C. N. 0. B.^ on one side for Cunobeline,
and Cam on tlie other side for the name of the town.


A district nearly corresponding with the Counties of Norfolk and
Snffolk was occupied by the Iceni, a war-like tribe, whose ancestors
emigrated from Gaul. The exact limits of their country is very difficult
to settle, and as the point is of some importance, it has caused a great
deal of controversy. The only way of escaping from the difficult}"- is to
suppose that the Iceni or kindred tribes occupied a considerably larger
surface of country than is usually assigned to them, and extended thoir
frontiers to the borders of Essex, Hertfordshire, and Cambridgeshire.

What was the state of the Eastern district before the Christian era,
what sort of people lived in it, and how they lived, has not yet been well
ascertained. There is extant a legendary account of a long succession of
chiefs or kings, who reigned during a thousand years after the siege of
Troy. This account was probably the invention of the ancient chroniclers,
who draw a good deal on their imaginations for facts. The Eoman
historians gave only brief notices of the natives of this island at the
time of the Eoman invasions, but it appears that the Iceni in this district
made desperate struggles for their independence.

Traces of the history of the aborigines have been found in the names
of roads and places. Some Iconic names are supposed to remain in
several towns of Norfolk and SuffiDlk. The Icknield street, said to be a
Celtic road, passes through those counties. Remains have been discovered
of ancient British trackways, of fortresses in the woods, of towns in the
forests, of the foundations of huts or houses, of pottery, coins, imple-
ments, and weapons of war, dug out of many burial-places of the dead.

The researches of late years -svith regard to pre-historic races of men
inhabiting this Eastern district, have led to the conclusion that East
Anglia was inhabited by ti-ibes even before the invasion of the Celts, who
are the earHest people mentioned in history. Thetford is surrounded b}'
ancient burial mounds of a very early period ; and remains of human
productions have been found associated with extinct mammaha. These
burial mounds are of two kinds, and belong to two distinct periods of
human history. They consist of elongated and circular burrows, but the
circular burrows or tumuli are by far the most common, for while Thetford
is surrounded by the latter, th.e former are only known to exist on Burn-
ham Cross Common.

Among the early Celtic or Icenic remains in Thetford and its vicinity,
in addition to the earthworks on the east side of the town, should be
mentioned the elongated tumuli on the south side, the site of Eedhill,


in the valley of tlie Onse, Santon Downliam, Broomliill, and Weeting.
Of the former of these no sufficient examination has yet been made.
Eedhill has produced evidence of the existence of man at a very early
period. Weeting is remarkable for '^ Grimes Graves/^ which are the
remains of ancient British flint quarries.

The ancient Britons seem to have been remarkable for the construction
of military earthworks raised for security against the assaults of enemies.
There are remains of such earthworks on a large scale at Norwich,
Thetford, Castle Acre, and Castle Rising. The original mound or hill at
Norwich was probably partly the work of nature, and partly of human
labour, gradually improved in the course of ages to its present from.

The northern part of Norfolk appears to have been densely peopled by
the Iceni, as indicated by the burrows, pits, and remains of dwellings or
villages near Cromer. There is the site of a large British village, consist-
ing of remains of several thousand inhabitants. It begins at Felbrigg
and runs up to Beeston. It is divided across the middle by a bank, the
base of which is from twelve to twenty feet in width. At each end of
this encampment are two large burial grounds where have . been found
quantities of pottery. At Weybourne there are above a thousand pits,
supposed to have been Icenic dwellings or hiding places.

There are many other remains of the Iceni in the Eastern district, some
hundreds of mounds, which seem to have been the burial places of the
dead, and of thousands who fell fighting on many a field, on many a hill,
in many a vale, when all Norfolk was a vast common like Roudhara
Heath. Numerous specimens of pottery have been found in the tumuli in
Norfolk, and as in every respect they present a great contrast to the
pottery of the Roman colonists, we need have no hesitation in assigning
them to the native manufacturer.

There are many memorials of the Celtic period in Norfolk and Suffolk,
as at Grimes Graves, on the border near Brandon. There may be seen
vestiges of ancient villages, which throw a very melancholy light upon
the social state of the earliest-known people of this island, who took
shelter in pits and lived by hunting or fishing, when all East Anglia was
a howling v>dlderness, covered with bogs and swamps, meres, and heaths ;
when the wolf lurked in thickets and caves, when the bison and wild boar
roamed through the wastes, when the valleys of the Yare and the
Waveney and all the low lands were covered with sea water.

There are no remains in the Eastern Counties of caverns, cromlechs,
and Druidical circles, as in other districts, nature having interposed an
absolute veto from the absence of materials for such erections. But there
are remains of earthworks and tumuli, burrows or artificial mounds, in
which were deposited the remains or ashes of the dead. There are thou-


sands of pits in many places, and these arc supposed to have been the foun-
dations of Icenian huts, but more probably they were hiding-places fi'om
the enemy, or places of shelter in bad weather. Kemarkable excavations
are thickly clustered all over Weybourne heath, varying from eight to
twenty feet in diameter, and from two to six feet in depth. On Mouse-
hold heath, near Norwich, and at various places in Norfolk, there are
hollows supposed to have been made by the Iceni for the foundation of
huts, or of houses of wicker work, or some other perishable material, with
a conical thatching at the top. Externally they must have looked like
very low bastions having doorways, but apparently neither chimneys nor
windows. In this district there are many huts no better constructed at
the present time.

At Santon Downham, near Thetford, discoveries have been made of beds
of flint implements, and flint abounds in the neighbourhood. These flint
implements were believed to be of great age by some of the advanced
geologists of the day, who are always going back long before Adam was
created. But they were probably the primitive implements of the Iceni,
for urns of the same period have been found in the same locality, near the
implements. Ancient British coins of silver and copper have been found
in the same places. About 1844 or 1845 some very interesting discoveries
were made of gold torques and coins of the Iceni in Norfolk. Ten years
after, at Weston in Norfolk, 300 coins of the Iceni were found. The
most ordinary type is the rude figure of a horse on each side, and on some
there is a rude profile of a human head, while on a few others there is a
figure of a wild boar. Ccesar expressly says the Britons in his time used
metal rings instead of money, the value being determined by their

We find, therefore, that the Iceni of this district built huts or houses in
which they lived, that they wore clothes and woven garments, that they
made arms or implements, that they fought in chariots, that they were
brave warriors and defied the Eomans in arms. The remains of the
aborigines prove that they were not savages, but that they made some
advances in the useful arts. Generally speaking these remains are articles
of the most urgent necessity and of the rudest possible form ; but a long
interval of tranquility under the Roman sway brought even luxuries in
its train; and very little change has beeu made in some useful articles in
the course of 1800 years.

Among the objects which have been found at different places in Nor-
folk may be mentioned sepulchral vases, varying of course in style and
taste, but in some instances most beautifully formed ; also funeral lamps,
lachrymatories (or phials supposed to have contained the tears of sorrow-
ing relations), Jihvla (or brooches), gold rings, gold seals, steelyards,

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 45 of 70)