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Cissanbeorg (v. 179), besides Kissantun in Alfred's will
(v. 130), which is there coupled with places in our own shire,
but which does not appear in the English copy of the will in
ii. 114. Some of the these places may possibly be called from
the Under-King Cissa, though there is always at least an equal
chance of any name of the kind being really that of some
legendary person.

VOL. XVI II, J 1872, PART II. H



58 PAPERS, ETC.

An account of Ine at least as mythical as the Somerton story
is to be found in the Liber Custumarum of the City of London,
(vol. ii. pt. 2, page 638, of Mr. Riley's edition). For once he
keeps his proper vowel. The passage comes in a strange addi-
tion to the so-called laws of Eadward the Confessor, which is put
into the mouth of William the Conqueror himself. Amongst
other things, there is an account of the privileges which, on
the strength of ancient kindred, are to be given in England
to the Jutes, (Guti) and to the continental Saxons, and these
privileges, we are told, were granted by Ine, who was elected
King over England, and who was the first to hold monarchy
of English and Britons throughout the island. He was twice
married, and his second wife was called Wala, after whom
Cambria changed its name to "Wallia. With her he received
Cambria and Cornwall, and the blessed crown of Britain which
had belonged to Cadwallader the last King of Britain. From
his time Englishmen and Britons and Scots began to inter-
marry with one another, so that the two nations became one
flesh. Also Ine practised every virtue in war and peace which
became a King, and he was specially famous for being the first
founder of what we suppose we may call the United Kingdom.
I give the passage at length with some omissions : —

' ' Ita constituit optimus Yne, Eex Anglorum, qui electus fuit
in regem per Angliam, et qui primo obtinuit monarchiam
totius regni hujus post adventum Anglorum in Britanniam.
Fuit enim primus rex ooronatus Anglorum et Britonum
simul in Britannia, post adventum Saxonum Germanniae in
Britannia, scilicet post aceeptam fidem a Beato Gregorio per
Sanctum Augustinum. Cepit enim praedictus Ina uxorem
suam demum, ' Walam ' nomine ; propter quam vocata est
' Wallia,' quae quondam vocabatur ' Cambria.' Bigamus enim
fuit.

Cepit enim cum ista, ultima sua usore, Cambriam et Cor-
nubiam, et coronam benedictam Britanniae, quae fuit ultimo
Cadwalladrio, Eegi Britanniae ; et universi Angli, qui tunc
temporis in Britanniam extiterunt, uxores suas ceperunt do
Britonum genere, et Britones uxores suas de illustri sanguine
et genere Anglorum, scilicet de genere Saxonum. Hoc enim
factum fuit per commune consilium et assensum omnium Epi-
scoporum et Priucipum, Procerum, Comitum, et omnium



KING INE. 59

sapientum, seniorum, et populorum totius regui, et per prse-
ceptum Regis prsedicti."

He tlien goes on to speak of the intermarriages of the
different nations, and adds : —

'*Et tali modo effecti fuerunt gens una et populus iinus, per
universum regnum Britanniae, miseratione divina. Deinde uni-
versi vocaverunt ' Regnum Anglorum ' quod ante vocatum fuit
' Regnum Britanniae.' "

He then goes on to say how the united nations withstood
the invasions of Danes and Norwegians, and winds up with a
panegyric on Ine : —

* ' Erat enim praedictus rex Ine optimus, largus, sapiens,
et prudens et moderatus, strenuus, Justus et animosus,
beliicosus, pro loco et tempore ; et in divinis legibus et scecu-
laribus institutis, scrijptis et bonorum operum exhibitionibus
irradiat. Gloriosus rexit, quia regnum et confoederavit et
consoHdavit, et in unum pacificavit, sapientia et prudentia
magna, et, ubi locus adiuit, vi et manu armata."

Strange as all this stuff is, it has its value, as showing the
abiding belief that Ine stood in some special relation to the
British portion of his subjects, as well as the memory of Ine's
general merits as a ruler. The imaginary British wife may
possibly spring from some confused tradition of a real British
mother.

I ought to mention that the passage in the Abingdon
History was suggested to me by some unpublished remarks of
Professor Stubbs, and the reference to the Liber Custumarum
by Mr. Haddan's reference. Councils and Ecclesiastical Docu-
ments, i. 202.



iCauntan Q|iidi|:



WITH SOME REMARKS UPON ANCIENT
MILITARY EARTHWORKS.



BY GEORGE T. CLARK.



TAUNTON Castle possesses an interest in the eyes
of Archgeologists which its present appearance and its
unimportant Norman history may not seem to justify, but
which depends upon the fact that it is of English and not
Norman foundation, that it dates from a period nearly two
centuries earlier than any other fortress mentioned in the
Saxon Chronicle, and not only is the date of its construc-
tion approximatlvely known, but its existing earthworks,
though mutilated, are beyond question original.

The earthworks of our country are among the most
obscure of its arch^ological remains. Great attention has
been and is being paid to them, but as yet with very par-
tial results. The Transactions of this Society contain
many valuable papers upon the earthworks of its district,
and speculations, more or less unsatisfactory, upon their
dates and authors ; it will therefore not be out of place if.



TAUNTON CASTLK. 61

before treating of Taunton Castfe, I attempt to shew tlie
place which such remains hold in a general classification
of the leading military earthworks of the country.

The British Isles are peculiarly rich in earthworks of
various kinds, and concerning the origin of most of which
history is silent, and the internal evidence afforded by
which has not as yet been satisfactorily interpreted. This
obscurity relates not so much to their intent and purpose,
usually obvious enough, as to the period at which, and the
tribes or persons by whom they were thrown up. The
absolute date of many, probably of most of these, we
cannot hope ever to discover, but it seems probable that
their relative dates, and the tribes by whom and the cir-
cumstances under which they were thrown up, may be
ascertained by a careful examination, not only of the
details of each, but of the general arrangement of their
groups, and by a comparison between each, and a con-
sideration of what they were intended to protect. For
this purpose the pits and traces of dwellings need to be
examined, and both detailed plans and good general sur-
veys to be made, such as we may expect from the new
and larger Ordnance Survey now in progress.

Earthworks may be divided into sepulchral, civil, and
military, and possibly those connected with religious ob-
servances. With those of the sepulchral class all are
familiar. By civil are meant boundary dykes ; circles in
which, as at Arthur's Table near Penrith, the earth from
the circumscribing ditch is thrown outwards ; and such
mounds as that at Hawick, the Tynwald in Man, and the
hill at Scone, possibly of sepulchral origin, but from an
early period used either for the promulgation of laws, or
the display of a new chief to the people, or for some
similar purposes.



62 PAPERS, ETC.

Military earthworks, if not quite so common as those of
the sepulchral class, are yet very common, and especially
familiar to all who dwell in what has once been a border
country. Their character is usually very evident. The
defence is composed of one or more ditches, the earth
from which is thrown inwards so as to form a bank.
The entrance is by a causeway traversing both ditch and
bank, usually obliquely, and often guarded by a small
mount or cavalier, placed in front of the outer and some-
times also of the inner end of the passage, and intended to
guard the entrance against a rush. These encampments,
when large, are usually upon a hill top, or the crest of an
escarpment. They are in plan irregular, governed by the
outline of the ground. Those who constructed them
were evidently savage tribes, having few or no wheel car-
riages or baggage, and no discipline : trusting mainly to
the inaccessibility and passive strength of their works to
guard against surprize. These seem also to have been
intended to resist sudden attacks rather than a siege or
blockade, since there is rarely a water spring in or very
near the enclosure. Where the ground requires it some
care is usually shewn in the formation of a trackway up
the hillside, so as to make the ascent both moderately
easy and to bring it under the command of those above.
The inhabitants of such camps were evidently tribes of
people, and the position of the works shews that they
lived by hunting, and not to any great extent by cultiva-
tion of the soil. Such encampments are usually called
British, because these conditions were fulfilled by the
British tribes ; but whether they were thrown up by a
still earlier race, or by the Celts against the Romans, or
against other invaders, or against one another, or under
all these circumstances, has not as yet been made clear.



TAUNTON CASTLE. 63

Many certainly were intended for the refuge of small local
tribes ; others, like those along the Cotteswold or the
Mendips, had a wider scope, and were intended to pro-
tect a large tract of country, and are likely therefore to
be of later date. Much skill of a certain sort is shewn in
the selection of the sites of these frontier camps. The
approach is of course well in the rear. Although labour
was evidently plentiful, it was not wasted. Where the
ground is steep the ditch is slight or omitted altogether ;
where the slope is very gradual, as upon a long ridge like
Worle, the defences are doubled or even tripled, and the
outer line is usually some distance in advance, so as to
allow the full force of the tribe to be mustered behind it.

Modern researches have discovered that some of these
large camps were connected with the early lines of track-
way, and occasionally with boundary dykes. Also traces
have been found of the pits over which the wigwams were
constructed, of the hearths, pottery, food, and weapons of
the inhabitants. Also of shallow pools, lined with clay,
in which they stored their water. Where the ditch was
cut in rock, the banks were of course stony, and now
and then such banks were actual stone walls, often very
thick, sometimes containing store cells, but always, where
original, of dry and rude masonry. In camps, such as I am
now describing, no wall of original date, in which mortar
has been employed, has been discovered. That dry walling
may however be carried to a high pitch of skill by a rude
people, is evident fi'om the revetments flanking the en-
trance to such chambered tumuli as those of Stoney
Littleton, drawn in your Transactions, and in Gower.

Such are the so-called British camps. The name is at
least convenient since it designates a definite thing, but
whether these camps date from the earliest settlement of



64 PAPERS, ETC.

Britain, or from the struggles of the Celts against the
Romans or the Saxons, needs further enquiry.

Another very important and large section of our military
earthv/orks is altogether of a different character. These
are rectangular in plan, usually with a single ditch and
low banks of earth, and with entrances in the centre of
the sides, and passing direct through the defences. Within
the area of such camps are often indications of huts or
dweUing-places, usually also rectangular in outline. These
camps are evidently laid out by rule. They are seldom
placed on the tops of detached hills, and usually near
water and near also to one of the military lines of road.
Their occupants were evidently disciplined soldiers, at-
tended by baggage waggons, and who trusted more to
their discipline than to the strength of the ground as a
guard against surprise. Such camps are of course Roman.
It sometimes happens that having become permanent, as
at Silchester or Porchester, they have been enclosed with
reo-ular walls, and have even, as at Chester or Winchester,
become important cities. In such cases the plan of the
original camp is to be traced through all subsequent muta-
tions. The four entrances remain, and the streets con-
necting them meet at a central cross. Many, if not most,
of these Roman camp-cities retain a British element in
their name, as Winchester and Gloucester, and were con-
structed on British sites, but either the British earthworks
are gone, or being on low grounds as though the work of
a people tillers of the soil, they were founded by the later
Britons, after the system of irregular fortification on hill
tops had been laid aside.

Usually, where these rectangular defences have been
occupied as towns, their Roman original is recorded in
history, confirmed by more or less abundant remains of



TAUNTON CASTLE. 65

Roman art and manufacture, but it sometimes happens
that within such earthworks have sprung up towns of the
Roman origin of which there is no historic record, the
names of which are either Saxon or afford no guide, which
are not upon the great lines of road, and within which are
few or no traces of Roman habitation. Such are Ware-
ham, Wallingford, and Tamworth, all enclosed within
rectangular earthworks, and each upon a river. It is
however, only in their distinctly rectangular plan that
these enclosures resemble Roman works. The ditches are
deeper and the banks far higher then were usually em-
ployed by the Romans, who, when so great strength was
required, were wont to build a wall, a less expensive and
flir more complete defence. Hence these fortifications have
been attributed to the Romanized Britons, cast up within
a few years after the departure of the Romans ; and this
notion seems probable enough. The conical mounds and
concentric trenches found in the above-named enclosures,
and in others such as Leicester, Cardiff, and Caerleon, where
the traces of Roman occupation are more clearly written,
are evidently additions at a considerably later period.

The earthworks hitherto described, whether British or
Roman, seem intended for the residence of a tribe having
all things in common, or of a body of soldiers on the
march or in garrison ; we next have to consider a class of
works of a different description, some few of which are
indeed of large area and on lofty positions, but which are
usually of very moderate area, in low situations, with de-
fences more are less inclined to the circular form, and
which were evidently intended for the strong and per-
manent abode of some patriarchal chieftain, who there
dwelt in the midst of his own lands and surrounded by his
own family and immediate dependents.

VOL. XVIII., 1872, PART IL I



66 PAPERS, ETC.

The larger circular works, such as Badbury, the White
Catterthun in Scotland, and a few others, evidently camps
and not residences, are different from tliese. Some have
thought them of Scandinavian as opposed to Celtic origin,
a notion supported by the presence of many circular con-
secutive camps, often of small area, on or near the coasts,
where also are found others, parts of circles, cutting off
some headland or peninsula. These have been attributed
to Scandinavian sea rovers, landing for a short time for
plunder or provisions, as the larger and more inland circular
works have been attributed to the same races, during their
earlier attempts at a settlement in Britain, and before
they had established the right of private property and the
restraints of law, for which their immediate descendants
became so remarkable.

The earthworks to whicli I wish more particularly to
refer seem to have been formed after the right of private
property in land was established. They are usually, not
always, circular or oval, the area being enclosed within a
ditch, the earth from which is thrown inwards, sometimes
as a steep and narrow bank, sometimes so spread as to
raise the inner area gradually towards the edge or scarp
of the ditch.

Within the area, often in the centre, or where it is oval
often near one end, and in some few cases upon or even
outside the ditch, is usually a large conical mound from
thirty so sixty feet high, and from sixty to one hundred
feet diameter at the truncated summit. This mound,
known in Normandy as a " Motte," is almost always wholly
or in part artificial. It forms the keep or citadel of the
enclosure, and upon it seems to have been placed the
lord's house, of timber. Besides this, appended to the
main enclosure are often found other enclosures more or



TAUNTON CASTLE. 67

less nearly semicircular, divided from the main work
by the ditch, but each having also a ditch of its own.
They resemble in fact the ravelins or demilunes of later
fortifications, only they were intended, not to cover the
main work, but to afford shelter for cattle and retainers.
Old Basing affords a good example of such appendages, aa
does Kilpeck, where however they seem the remains of an
older camp. The mound usually has a ditch of its own,
of course circular. Such earthworks are very common,
and having been the seats of Saxon Thanes most of them
have been taken possession of by their Norman successors,
and have been made to carry a Norman castle. Windsor
is a concentric camp of this kind with an artificial mound.
The ditches, now filled up, have been probed and ascer-
tained by Mr. Parker. At Dunster the mound or tor is
natural, as at Montacute, but has been scarped. At Devizes,
the finest work of the kind in England, the mound is of
enormous size, and in great part artificial, and the ditch is
of unusual depth and breadth. Marlborough is such a
work, Ewias where the basis of the mound is natural,
Binbury near Maidstone, Guildford, Tonbridge, Berk-
hamstead where the mound is outside the oval. Wor-
cester mound stood within the works. It is now gone, as
is that of Hereford which stood outside, with strong
ditches of its own. Tonbridge, Arundel, and Tutbury,
and perhaps Warwick are on the line of the enceinte, as
was Southampton and as is Lincoln. In other cases the
mound with its own ditches and works is placed, as has
been mentioned, in or in connexion with a rectangular
enclosure of different and no doubt of older date, as at
Cardiff, Wareham, Leicester, Tamworth, and Wallingford.
Moreover, altliough the most perfect examples of this
class of earthworks have their original mounds, this is not



68 PAPERS, ETC.

always the case ; sometimes the work is a mere level plat-
form, surrounded by a steep circular bank, outside which
is a ditch with one entrance. Old Basing is such a work, as
is the fine circle known as May burgh near Penrith, though
there the ditch is wanting and the earthwork probably
never contained a dwelling. These are circular but without
a mound.

Others again, evidently to be referred to the same class,
are irregular in plan, governed by the figure of a hillock
of dry land, or by the course of the adjacent river, or the
outline of a marsh. Taunton is a good example of such
a work.

Now it is to be remarked that earthworks of the
character I have been describing occur most frequently in
England and Normandy. There are about sixty circular
or oval earthworks, and with mounds, within a moderate
distance of Caen, and there are two hundred or more in
England. They occur also, though sparingly, in Wales.
Most, as Chirbury, Eadnor, Caerleon, Cardiff, Brecon,
Builth, and those in the Welsh parts of Hereford and
Shropshire being found in districts in which the Saxon
early effected a lodgement, or as with regard to the two
military mounds at Towyn, at no great distance from
the sea.

What is the age of these half domestic, half military
earthworks'? Their founders do not seem to have been
nomade. Those in Normandy were almost invariably the
seats of Norman barons, as those in England were of
Saxon thanes.

JSIoreover, the age and authorship of several of them is
known. Some are mentioned as fortresses in Domesday.
Such are Canterbury where there is a small, and Rochester
with a very large mound ; Arundel, Bramber, Lewes



TAUNTON CASTLE. 69

which has two mounds, Carisbrook, Wallingford, Windsor,
Wareham, Montacute, Dunster, Launceston, Trematon,
Gloucester, "Worcester, Wigmore, Clifford, Ewias, Caer-
leon, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Warwick, Stafford, Shrews-
bury, Alontgomery, York, Lincoln, Stamford, Norwich :
all have mounds, some large some small, some natural some
artificial, but all come under the class of earthworks I am
here describing, and all these works were most certainly of
a date preceding the conquest.

Of several of these earthworks the date of construction
is recorded in the Saxon Chronicle. Thus Taunton seems
to have been constructed in 702, and it was destroyed,
that is its timberwork burnt, in 722. The works outside
Rochester city, including probably the mound, were thrown
up in 885. Those at Wareham, probably the mound and
its ditches, in 877. Bridgenorth in 896-912. Badbury
camp was used in 901, Bramsbury in 910. Sarratt and
Witham date from 912; Maldon, 912-20. Tamworth,
Stafford, Eddisbury, Chirbury, Wardbury, Runcorn, in
913; Hertford, 914; Warwick, 915; Brecknock, where
is a large mound, 916, probably also the date of the mound
and concentric works at Builth , Bedford, 919; Hunting-
don, Temsford, Towcester, Wigmore, part of Colchester,
921, and Stamford in 922. Some of these works remain
intact ; others are more or less perfect ; others are re-
removed, but descriptions of them are preserved.

I think therefore that on the whole the evidence is in
favour of a Scandinavian and Saxon origin for these earth-
works, and that they were all constructed between the
7th or 8th and 9th or 10th centuries.

While speaking of these domestic-military works, works
intended not merely to last during the military occupation
of a country, but to be transmitted to the heirs and successors



70 PAPERS, ETC.

of the owner, mention should be made of those remarkable,
but in Ireland very common, works known as Raths, and
which are found also in Pembrokeshire. These are cir-
cular platforms, sometimes raised, surrounded by a bank
and ditch, and upon which was constructed, usually of
timber, the house of the owner. Though smaller they
closely resemble in their main features the larger circular
works, and seems to have been intended for the protection
of an ordinary dwelling, just as the others were for the
stronghold of the Thane. A mile or so east of the Pon-
trilas station in Herefordshire, and close north of the
railway is a low mound or platform, circular, and with a
ditch, which if it occurred in Ireland or in Pembrokeshire
would be called a Rath. I am told that there is a similar
work called locally a " Belch,^' near Worle village in
Somersetshire, and that another, in the same neighbour-
hood, has been removed within memory.

Taunton Castle stands upon one of the many low hum-
mocks of gravel, often with a base of red marl, which
rise out of the extensive fen lands of this very singular
district, and which, before agriculture had drained the
marshes, were even more inaccessible, or in military phrase,
stronger ground, than even the hill fortresses of the upper
country. The Thone, the river whence the town derives
its name, rises by many and copious tributaries over a wide
sweep of country, north, west, and south, and traversing
the low land, which though neither so wet nor so extensive
as many of the adjacent levels, was yet broad enough and
marshy enough to serve every purpose of defence.

Here, upon the right bank of the stream, Ine, the cele-
brated leader and lawgiver of the West- Saxons, is reputed
to have established himself in the year 702, while engaged
in securing his frontier against the western Britons, who,



TAUNTON CASTLE. 71

under the leading of Geraint, still maintained a footing in
the broken ground east of the Tamar, upon Exmoor and
among the Brendon and Qiiantock Hills, holding probably
the camps which still remain, but little altered by the
lapse of a thousand or eleven hundred years.

This seems to be the origin of the town of Taunton,
and here, upon the edge of one of the inosculating branches
of the sluggish stream, Ine founded his castle by throwing
up banks of earth girdled with deep aud formidable ditches,
and no doubt further strengthened by stockades of timber,
or at best by walls the workmanship of which scarcely
deserved the name of masonry. Such as it was it was
destroyed, that is burned, by Queen ^thelburh in 722,
who probably however left the earthwork?, the better part
of the defence, much as she found them.

The spot selected, resting upon the river, is covered by
a loop, which has been converted into a mill stream,
working a mill placed a little below the Castle. This river


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