Charles Isaac Elton.

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But the course laid down for these great streets has but
an incidental connection with the scheme of defences which
the Romans had invented for the province. The planning
of routes between their military stations had nothing to
do with the later ideas which led the English to see in
the Fosse-Way a road '* between Totnes and Caithness,"

" From where rich Cornwall points to the Iberian seas
Till colder Cathnesse tells the scattered Orcades." ^

The Roman plan was based on the requirements of the
provincial government, and on the need for constant com-
munication between the Kentish ports and the outlying

Carlisle. " The way on Watlyngstrete from Borow Bridge to Carlil.
Watlyngestrete lyeths about a myle off from Gillinge and 3 m. from Riche-
mount. From Borow Bridge to Caterike .... Mayden Castle diked
is hard on the est syde of Wathelynge Strete, 5 miles a this side Brough."
Hearne's Leland, Itin. viii. 26. Not far from Wroxeter the Street passes
a place called " Wattlesborough " which seems to preserve the name of
" Waetla," the father of the " Waetlings." Gale's Essay, 129.

■^ Drayton, Polyolb. xvi. 247. The name of Fosse-Way, according to
some accounts, was given to a road from Exeter to Lincoln, thence by
Doncaster to York and so northwards, thus encroaching both on Watling
Street and the western branch of the Ermin Street. This exaggeration is
derived from the Welsh legends already mentioned. The Fosse can
be traced from " Stratton-in-the-Fosseway " near Bath to Cirencester,
to a " Stratton-in-the-Vorse" near Leamington, and a " Stretton- super-
Fosse" in Warwickshire, and so passing near Leicester it proceeds to
Lincoln. See the charters of the reign of Henry IIL permitting alterations
to be made in the royal street at Newark " super Chiminum Fossae."
Gale's Essay, 1 24. The Fosse cut the Watling Street at a place called
" High Cross " in Leicestershire.

328 Origins of English History.

fortresses on the frontiers. We may therefore leave the
task of tracing the mediaeval highways, and confine our
attention to the roads which actually defended the Roman

First then we find three great " meridional lines," which
passed from the Upper Wall to the principal cities in
the south. One of these led through Carlisle by the head
of Windermere and down the coast towards Chester.
Another came due south to York and " Danum " or Don-
caster ; a branch passing towards Carlisle led from Catte-
rick, a little north of York, across the gap upon Stainmoor.^
The third led from " Segedunum," or "Walls-end " on the
Tyne, through Cleveland to the Humber, and thence to
the colony at Lincoln.^

These were all connected by transverse routes passing
east and west, some through York to the coasts on either
side, some from Manchester^ to York and Chester, or
across the dales to Aldborough, or by the devious
" Doctor-gate " to the woodland country round Sheffield.'^

1 " Luguballlum/' now represented by Carlisle, was a station of great
importance. When St. Cuthbert visited the city, the Mayor led his
guest to see the old Roman walls and the " fountain of wonderful
workmanship." Vita Sti. Cuthberti, 37 j Bede's Life of Cuthbert, 26.
A little Temple of Mars long remained standing near the city wall.
Will. Malmesb. Chron. Pontif. Bk. iii. introd. Camden's Britannia (Gibson),
1025. Leland describes its remains in the reign of Henry VIII.
" Pavimentes of streates, old arches of dores, coyne-stones squared,
paynted pottes, money hid yn pottes so hold and muldid that when yt
was strongly towched yt went almost to mowlder." Itin. viii. 57-

^ This road afterwards formed part of the Ermin Street. See Gale's
Essay in Hearne's Leland, vi. 125.

' For a description of this station and the roads leading from it, see
Whitaker's History of Manchester, and Watkins' " Roman Manchester,"
Hist. Soc. Lane. 3rd Series, vii. 12, 32.

* The description of this road will be found in Phillipp's essay on the

Origins of English History. 329

The trunk-lines and crossways were continued so as to
form connections with all the high roads in the south and
west. At Chester, for instance, was a junction of lines to
North Wales, to London, to Caerleon, and to the iron
mines in the Forest of Dean, From the station at Don-
caster a road ran down to the mouth of the Severn.^ The
great Lincoln road, or " Ermin Street," threw branches
across the Fens^ towards Norwich, and round by Col-
chester, and from the " Durobrivian " potteries to the
station of the Thracian cavalry at Cirencester.^

The district of the Saxon Shore was intersected in the
same way by roads leading from the coast to London, and
connected on the other hand with the great trunk roads
which traversed the inland provinces.

relations of Archaeology to History. Archceol. Journ. No. 39. The mines
and hot-baths in Derbyshire were connected by several tracks with the
principal roads on either side.

1 This is the road afterwards called " Ryknild Street"; it ran parallel
to the Fosse-Way at a distance of about 60 miles to the northward. The
descriptions in old deeds show its course near Birmingham and in Stafford-
shire (Drayton, Polyolb. 247, 256, and Selden's notes; Dugdale, Mon.
Ang. i. 942. Gale's Essay, 139), and another point in its course is marked
at Thorpe Salvin, formerly Ryknild-Thorpe, in Yorkshire. (See Hunter,
South Yorkshire, i. 309, and Kirby's Quest. Surtees Soc. edit. p. 3.)

^ It passed a station in the Fens called " Camboricum," which seems
to be Grantchester near Cambridge. Bede describes the finding of a coffin
for St. Ethelreda at a little deserted town, " civitatulam quamdam desola-
tam," which the English called " Granta-cestir," probably situated on the
road in question. Bede, Hist. Eccl. iv. 10.

^ For the antiquities at Cirencester, see Camden, Britannia (Gibson),
284; Leland, Itin. v. 6^-^ Lyson's "Romans in Gloucestershire " j
Hubner, Corp. Lat. Inscr. vii. 29. For an account of the Northampton-
shire potteries, extending for about 2c miles on the gravel banks of the
Nen, where the blue or gray "Castor-ware" was made, see Birch,
Ancient Pottery 528.

330 Origins of English History.

A line of forts ran in a curve along the coast-road from
" Branoduniim," or Brancaster on the Wash/ to a camp at
Caistor near Norwich, and round to the military settle-
ment at Colchester ; strong fortresses guarded the channel
of Thanet at Reculver and Richborough, and there were
other posts at Dover and Lymne, and at various places
requiring defence as far west as the Southampton Water.

The extremities of this curve were joined by an inland
road known afterwards as the Ikenild Street.^ Its course
may be traced from the boundary of Norfolk and Suffolk

^ According to the Notitia, "Branodunum" was the station of a troop
of Dalmatian cavalry under the command of the Count of the Saxon
Shore. The coast-road seems to have led to Cromer, where a line led to
the camp near " Venta Icenorum," or Norwich. Either Caistor or
Castleacre may have been the site of the camp. There were stations on both
shores of the great estuary, which then extended to "Venta": and one of
these must have been the station " Ad Taum," marked in the Peutingerian
Map. From Brancaster a Roman road, now called the Pedlars' Way,
passed southwards to Camulodunum, and remains of another road are
found between Cromer and Norwich, leading in the direction of Burgh
Castle, the site of "Garianonum."

' For the course of the Ikenild Street, see Gale's Essay, 141, 148.
" In Buckinghamshire," he says, " I cannot lind it anywhere apparent to
the eye, except between Prince's Risborow and Kemble-in-the-Street
where it is still called " Icknell-way." Mr. Taylor cites a deed, temp.
Henry III., relating to property at Newmarket, " quod se extendit super
Ykenild-weie." Archceologia (Norwich, 1847), ^^^ There are certain
records of the perambulations of the Hampshire forests which throw some
light on the matter, and support Drayton's statement that the road led from
the Chiltern Hills to the Solent. Tower, Misc. Rec. 113. Peramb. Forest,
27 and 29 Edw. I. South. The survey of Buckholt Forest (Apr. i, 28 Edw.
I.), contains passages relating to the road in question. " Begin at the Dene-
way .... and so ahvaies by the divisions of the Counties of Southamp-
ton and Wilts to th'Ikenilde Street, and thence by the same to La PuUe ; "
and " from Pyrpe-mere to th'Ikenilde, and so by the same road to Hole-
waye." Some writers take the Ikenilde Way as passing from Wantage to
Cirencester and Gloucester. See Scarth, Roman Britain, 116.

Origins of English History


to Newmarket, and to a junction with the Ermin Street at
Dunstable, the site of a town called " Forum Dianas."
We meet it again in Oxfordshire, where it leads across the
Thames to the junction of the Roman roads at Silchester.
From this point the road passed southwards to Winchester,
and thence by one branch to the Southampton Water, and
by another to Sarum and the Western districts.

A reference to the Antonine Itinerary will show how
these roads were used to connect the frontiers with the
southern ports, the outlying fortresses, and the central
seats of government. The Itinerary contains fifteen
routes, of which seven coincide for the whole or the
greater part of their course with the various branches of
the Watling Street ; three more diverge from that "lusty
straggling street " towards Carnarvon, to Carlisle, and
downwards to Caerleon and South Wales ; four lead from
the junction at Silchester to London, to the south coast, and,
to Caerleon by an upper and a lower route ; the remaining
road connects London with Colchester and passes upwards
along the circumference of the Saxon Shore. ^

^ The direction of the routes is as follows: — i. From the frontier due
south, along the Watling Street to York, and on to Flamborough Head.
2. From Netherby and Carlisle across Stainmoor to York, across to Man-
chester and Chester, down to Wroxeter-on -Severn and so to London and
the fort at Richborough, never leaving the Watling Street. 3 and 4.
Branches to Dover and Lymne. 5- From London to Colchester, and across
the Fens into the Ermin Street, taking (after passing York) the western
branch of the Watling Street as far as Carlisle. 6. London to Lincoln, by
the Watling Street and Fosse-Way, turning at High Cross. 7. Chichester
to London, avoiding the forest and passing round by the Ikenild Street as far
as Silchester. 8. York to London, as in No. 6. 9. From Caistor, or " Venta
Icenorum " round the coast to Colchester and London. 10. From Medio-
lanum," a station north of Wroxeter, by Manchester and the west coast,
and past the head of Windermere to Carlisle, it. From Carnarvon to
Chester. 12. From " Muridunum," or Carmarthen, to Caerleon (Isca

332 Origins of English History.

Several of these routes are illustrated by the fragment
of the " Peutingerian Table" (Map VII.), the only copy
remaining of any part of the official road-chart for Britain.
"Tables " of this kind were not maps in the proper sense
of the term, but were rather diagrams drawn purposely out
of proportion, on which the public roads were projected in
a panoramic view. The latitude and longitude, and the
positions of rivers and mountains, were disregarded so far
as they might interfere with the display of the provinces,
the outlines being flattened out to suit the shape of a roll
of parchment ; but the distances between the stations were
inserted in numerals, so that an extract from the record
might be used as a supplement to the table of mileage in
the road-book. The copy now remaining derives its name
from Conrad Peutinger of Augsburg in whose library it
was found on his death in 1547. It is supposed to have
been brought to Europe from a monastery in the Latin
kingdom of Jerusalem, and to have been a copy taken by
some thirteenth-century scribe from an original assigned to
the beginning of the fourth century or the end of the
third. The greater part of the diagram relating to Britain
has been destroyed, having unfortunately been inscribed
on the last or outside sheet of the roll, the part most likely
to suffer by time and accident. But the remaining frag-

Silurum), and thence by Abergavenny (Gobannio) to Wroxeter on the
Wathng Street. 13. From Caerleon by Bath to Silchesterj this is some
times by mistake called " Ermin Street." 14. From Caerleon, by Ciren-
cester to the same junction j and 15. From Silchester (by the Ikenild
Way) to Winchester, and westwards to Sarum, Dorchester, and Exeter.
The occurrence of the names " Moridunum " and " Isca " on this route,
and of similar names in the 12th route, has led to a clerical error in the
MSS., the line being made first to run from Silchester to Exeter, and then
on from Carmarthen, as if it were part of the 12th route.

Origins of English History. 333

ment includes the greater part of the Saxon Shore, from
the station "Ad Taiim," a few miles from Norwich, to the
harbour at Lymne on the coast of Kent. The course of
the Watling Street is shown, with three lines leading from
the three naval stations to Canterbury, thence by one
united road to " Durolevum," an uncertain site, and
thence to Rochester and another station on the Medway,
and so onwards in the direction of London.^

Another road is marked as running from London along
the north coast of Kent, the Thames being crossed at
a point due south of " Caesaromagus," or Chelmsford,
the route being continued to Colchester, and northwards
round the "Saxon Shore" to the immediate vicinity of

A memorandum in the left-hand margin of the fragment
marks the distance between " Moridunum" and the Dam-
nonian "Isca," and shows besides a main road passing from
the latter station towards Cornwall.^

^ Compare the second route in the Antonine Itinerary from "Noviomagus"
to Richborough. "Rotibis" in the Peutingerian Table will be found to
correspond to " Durobrivis," now Rochester, and is probably meant for the
same word.

^ Compare the ninth route in the Itinerary. The " Sinomagus " of the
Table is identified with " Sitomagus," which seems to be Dunwich. The
names in the Table are ill-spelt: but they correspond in the main with the
stations on the Antonine route. It will be observed that in the Peutingerian
map a road leads from "Ad Ansam " to the coast, which is not mentioned
in the Itinerary.

^ " Ridumo " appears to be meant for "Moridunum," which was about
15 miles from Exeter, according to the Itinerary. But the scribe seems to
have reversed their relative situations. The only evidence of the existence
of a Roman road through Cornwall, besides this entry, is the discovery
made in 1853 of a milestone in the wall of the church of St. Hilary, near
St. Ives, which was inscribed with the titles of Constantine II. Hiibncr,
Corp. Lat. Inscr, vii. 13, 207.

334 Origins of English History.

The completion of this system of defence, and the estab-
lishment of the Diocletian constitution, cost the British
provinces as much in freedom and importance as they
seemed to gain in security. The country suffered in many
different ways. It had come to be a mere department
under the Court at Treves, one of several Atlantic regions
regarded as having the same political interests and a
common stock of resources. The defence of Britain was
sacrificed to some sudden call for soldiers in Spain or on
the Alpine passes, and the shrunken legions left behind
could barely man the fortresses upon the frontier. The
provinces which might have stood safely by their own
resources were becoming involved in a general bank-
ruptcy. The troops were ill-paid and plundered by their
commanders, the labourers had sunk into serfdom, and
the property of the rich was so heavily charged by the
State that the owners would have gladly escaped by
resigning their apparent wealth. The burdens of taxation
were constantly multiplied by the complexity of the system
of government and the increase of departments and
offices. The visit of the imperial tax-gatherers was com-
pared to the horrors of a successful assault in war. A
writer of that time describes the scene in a provincial
town where every head of cattle in the neighbourhood
had been numbered and marked for a tax. All the popu-
lation of the district was assembled, and the place was
crowded with the landowners bringing in their labourers
and slaves. " One heard nothing but the sounds of flog-
ging and all kinds of torture ; the son was forced to inform
against his father, the wife against her husband ; failing
everything else the men were compelled to give
evidence against themselves, and were taxed according

Origins of English History. 335

to the confessions which they made to escape from

These evils pressed upon the world from the age of
Constantine until the Empire was finally dismembered,
and the general ruin completed, of which they were a
principal cause. The history of Britain during this period,
so far as it can properly be said to have had a history at
all, is concerned with the establishment of the Christian
Church, by which the general misery was alleviated, with
several attempts at separating the three Atlantic countries
from the crumbling Empire of the West, and finally with
the growth of the barbarian kingdoms by which all those
countries were overwhelmed in turn.

Christianity was not recognised as the religion of the
State until the proclamation in a.d. 324, by which Con-
stantine exhorted his subjects to follow their Emperor's
example in abandoning the errors of paganism ; but it had
been tolerated, with few intermissions, from the time
when Hadrian had found a kindly excuse for the Christians
by confusing them with the worshippers of his favourite
Serapis.^ The persecution of Diocletian seems hardly to
have much affected this country, where the Caesar Con-
stantius had been able to protect the Christians, though he
could not prevent the destruction of the sacred buildings.^

^ Lactantius, De Mort. Persecut. 23.

^ " Illi qui Serapim colunt Christian! suntj et devoti sunt Serapi qui se
Christi episcopos dicunt." Vopiscus, Ad Saturnin. c. 8. For the nature of
the worship of Serapis, see Tac. Hist. iv. 83 ; Macrob. Saturnal. i. 20 ;
Apuleius, Metamorph. xi. 27, 28, and Pierret, Mythologic Egi/ptienne (1879).
For an account of the " Serapeum " at York, and British inscriptions in
honour of Serapis, see Wellbeloved, "Eburacum," 75, 77, 78, and Hiibner,
Corp. Lat. Inscr. vii. 64, 74.

® Lactantius, De Mort. Persecut. i,^, 16. As to the deaths of St. Alban

336 Origins of English History.

The old Latin paganism had long ceased to satisfy the
minds of educated men, though its visible emblems were
respected until the destruction of the temples about
the end of the fourth century. The high places were still
reserved for the greater gods to whom men trusted the
keeping of cities : the merchants' god still guarded the
market-place, and the parade was adorned with its Victory
and its shrine for the standards and eagles ; beyond the
walls were the homes of more awful powers and more dis-
turbing influences, the temples of Bellona and the Furies
of War, the chapel of Venus and the field of Mars.^ But
the altars and images were used indifferently by worshippers
under many creeds ; the titles of Jupiter covered worships
as far apart as those of Tanarus the Thunderer and Osiris
" the nocturnal sun," the ruler in the w^orld of the dead.^
Diana's name was given as well to the Syrian Astarte as
to the Moon-goddess worshipped at Carthage and the
Huntress to whom the farmers prayed that the beasts
might be scared from their flocks. Apollo represented all
bright and healing influences, and under the name of Mars
the soldiers from every province could recognise their
local war-god.^

and other British martyrs, see Gildas, Hist. 10, 11 ; Bede, Hist. Eccles. i.
c, 7 ; Haddan and Stubbs, "Councils," i. 5.

1 Vitruvius, Architect, i. c. 7. ^ Pierret, Myth. Egypt, 60.

^ For a list of Roman temples of which the remains have been found in
this country, see Hiibner, Corp. Lat. Inscr. vii. 332. Many of the epithets
used in the British inscriptions are of unknown origin, but they appear
in general to refer to the native country of the worshipper. Jupiter
" Dolichenus," whose title appears in so many inscriptions, was a god
from Heliopolis in Syria, and his attributes appear to have had some con-
nection with iron-mining. An altar inscribed to " Jupiter Tanarus," found at
Chester in a.d. 1653, is supposed to have been intended for Thor or Thunar:
the date of its erection is fixed by its mention of the Consuls of a.d. 154.

Origins of English History. 337

Many of the outward forms, and even some of the
doctrines of Christianity, were imitated by the pantheistic
religions which spread from Egypt and the East and over-
laid the old rites with the worship of a World-goddess
w^ith a thousand names, of the Sun-god Osiris, or of
Mithras " the unconquered lord of ages." We learn from
sculptured tablets, and from inscriptions and symbols on
tombs, that Mithraism at one time prevailed extensively
in this country : and its influence was doubtless strength-
ened by the artifice of its professors in imitating the
orthodox ceremonies and festivals. We have no record
of its final overthrow, and some have supposed that the
faith in "Median Mithras" survived into comparatively
modern times in heretical and semi-pagan forms of Gnos-
ticism ; but, be this as it may, we must assume that its
authority was destroyed or confined to the country districts
when the pagan worships were finally forbidden by law.^
After the year 386 we find records of an established
Christian Church in Britain, " holding the Catholic faith,
and keeping up an intercourse with Rome and Palestine."^

^ For an account of the spread of Mithraism in Britain and the inscrip-
tions to ' Sol Socius,' Sol Invictus Mithras, and the like, and of the Mithraic
" caves " and sculptures found near Hadrian's "Wall, and at York and Chester,
see Gent. Mag. 175X, 102, and 1832, pt. 2,545. Wellbeloved, "Eburacum,"
79, 81, and more than twenty inscriptions recorded by Hubner, Corp. Lat.
Inscr. vol. vii. With respect to the general character of the religion, its
connection with Magism and the worship of the Syrian Venus on the one
side, and with the purer doctrines of the Zend-Avesta on the other, see
Herod, i. 131 j De Hammer's " Mithriaca," 9, 31, 40, 83, 92 ; Lenormant,
Chald. Magic, 195, 234, 2,3^ ; Lobeck, Aglaophamus, 1260. For its imita-
tion of the ceremonies of the Church, see Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 66, Dial.
70, 78 ; Origan, contra Celsum,vi. 22. St. Jerome describes the destruction
of a cave of Mithras at Rome in the year 378, and the symbols used in
initiation. Opera, i. 15.

^ Haddan and Stubbs, " Councils," i. 10. "The statements respecting

338 Origins of English History.

As early as the middle of the fourth century the British
provinces were already persistently attacked by sea and
land. The Picts and Scots, and the warlike nation of the
" Attacotti " from whom the Empire was accustomed to
recruit its choicest soldiers/ the fleets of Irish pirates in
the north, the Franks and Saxons on the southern shores,
combined together whenever a chance presented itself to
burn and devastate the country, to cut off an outlying
garrison, to carry off women and children like cattle
captured in a foray and to offer the bodies of Roman
citizens as sacrifices. Along the north-western coast and
on the line of the Lower Wall we still find traces of these
marauding frays in the marks of burning, and the layers of
ashes sometimes two or three deep, as if the stations had

British Christians at Rome or in Britain, and respecting apostles or apostoHc
men preaching in Britain in the first century, rest upon guess, mistake, or
fable." Ihld. \. 22. The evidence for British Christianity in the second
century, inckiding the Letter of Pope Eleutherius and the well-known
story of King Lucius, is also pronounced to be unhistorical. Ih'ul. p. 25.
Mello, a British Christian, was Bishop of Rouen between the years 256
and 314, and in the latter year bishops from York, London, and Caerleon,
were present at the Council of Aries. In the year 325 the British Church
assented to the conclusions of the Council of Nicaea. Ih'id. p. 7.

^ The " Notitia Dignitatum " mentions several regiments of Attacotti
ser\Mng for the most part in Gaul and Spain. Two of their regiments
were enrolled among the " Honorians," the most distinguished troops in
the Imperial armies. Though their country is not certainly known, it

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