Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History S.

Proceedings (Volume 18) online

. (page 6 of 24)
Online LibrarySomersetshire Archaeological and Natural History SProceedings (Volume 18) → online text (page 6 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

be given of the item £2 12s. "for four hospitals," and
what institutions of such a nature were likely to have had
any claim upon that parish for a periodical and uniform
payment. It was a large sum to be given out of the
parish funds, and not out of the offertory.

The Vicar exhibited an old staff which belonged to the
borough of Newport, in the parish of North Curry.

The Rev. T. Hugo pointed out an entry in the register,
stating that two persons about to be married gave an in-
demnity that they would not be chargeable to the parish,
but would return in case of necessity to their own parish.
Such indemnities, he said, were not unusually given years
ago by strangers entering London.

i^Itoiin (ifalrnn dfliitrLclt

was visited on the return journey, and the curious ancient
pewter Communion Service was examined.

Mr. J. H. Parkek, C.B., fixed tlie date of the church

VOL. XVIII., 1872, PART I. i


at the 15th century. The tower was in a very genuine
unaltered state ; there was an old waggon-roof, and the
clerestory had two windows in it. The rood-loft was all
on the western side of the chancel arch, and the rood-loft
staircase was outside. In connection with the bench-ends,
which were very good, he said he knew a clergyman in the
neighbourhood of Oxford who had amused himself by
carvino; the bench-ends of his church with his own hands.
A great many of these were evidently carved by the
clergy themselves, if not by the monks.

Mr. E. Chisholm-Batten showed that the date 1542
was on one, and stated that the parish was once called
Thorn Fagan.

was the last place visited on the excursion, the church of
Hatch Beauchamp having been passed over for want of time.
Mr. J. H. Parker, C.B., said that at first sight it
looked like most other Somersetshire churches, but there
were considerable remains of two periods. There were
remains of the Norman 12th century chui-ch. There was
a fine Norman doorway, and the windows belonged to the
date of the 13th century, the east window being of the
end of the same century. A very curious feature was the
hagioscope or " squint.'" The example was almost unique,
and another remarkable feature was the window and the
doorway left in the staircase leading to the rood-loft. The
reredos had been made out of the rood-screen. The ghnss
In the chancel window was uncommonly good — a fine imi-
tation of the genuine English glass of the 15th century.
The peculiarity of the deflection of two feet In the church
he believed found an explanation In the fact that our fore-
fathers were very careless in laying out their ground plans;
else it might be that the nave was of one period, and the


chancel of another. There was a very lofty tower arch,
and the font was a very remarkable one. In the church-
yard was the base of a cross, sculptured with the four

was held in the evening in the Museum of the Society.
Numerous articles of antiquarian interest were sent for

Mr. J. H. Parker, C.B., exhibited a complete set of
photographs of his recent researches in Kome, and gave
a brief sketch of the excavations which had been made,
partly under his own direction and partly under Govern-
ment. These researches had, he said, thrown an entirely
new light on the ancient history of the city, and brought
them back to the Rome of their boyhood. The remains
had been preserved for centuries in a remarkable manner,
having been used as foundations for other buildings. The
wall which he called the wall of Romulus, the founder of
the city, was of earlier construction than any other in
Rome, and agreed with the description of it given by
Dionysius ; and the remains of the caiDitolium, the public
treasury, record office, and the senate house, also tallied
with the materials to be gathered from classical literature.
The city was evidently built upon ancient earthworks.
There were remains of fortifications everywhere, and they
could only have been made by the employment of the
whole of the population upon them, which naturally caused
the revolt recorded by historians.

Mr. E. B. Tylor, LL.D., F.R.S., delivered an address
on the growth of civilisation, illustrated by various weapons
in the Museum. In the course of his remarks he said that


some of the customs of modern times, which we could not
now understand the meaning of, were to be looked upon
as " survivals '"' from a state of savagery, and concluded by
urging greater attention to ethnology.

Votes of thanks vv^ere passed to Mr. Parker and Mr. Tylor,
on the motion of the President, who, together with Mr. G.
T. Clark and Mr. Fi-eeman, took part in the proceedings.

Mr. Jones drew attention to a series of plans of ancient
earthworks by Mr. C. W. Dymond, C.E., which he said
were most valuable contributions to the history of pre-
historic times. He also announced that Mr. Dymond had
liberally offered that any of the plans relating to Somerset-
shire were at the service of the Society for publication in
their Proceedings.

After thanks had been passed to Mr. Dymond,
The President congratulated the Society upon having
had a most successful gathering, and cordial thanks having
been voted to him on the motion of Mr. W. E. Surtees,
the Annual Meeting- for 1872 closed.

Among the objects of interest exhibited during the
Meeting were the following : —

Ancient Documents relating to the parish of Stoke
Courcy, by the Rev. Dr. Goodford, Provost of Eton.

A demand of Charles I. for a loan of £10 upon Sir
George Farewell, of Bishops Hull ; a number of sketches,
rubbings, news letters, &c., by Mr. W. A. Jones.

Oil sketches of views in the neighbourhood, by Mr.
W. F. Elliot.


Bronze torque and celts found in the neighbourhood, by
Mr. W. A. San FORD.

Remains found on the site of a Roman villa at Stan-
chester, Curry Rivel, comprising coins, pottery, glass,
bronze ornaments, charred wood, &c., by Mr. W. W.


Specimens of White's Thrush, Turdus varius, killed at
Hestercombe ; Black Redstart, Ruticilla Tithys, Wood
Sandpiper, Totanus glareola^ and Baillon's Crake, Crex
Bailloni, killed near Taunton ; Iceland Gull, Larus leu-
copterus, and Glaucous Gull, Larus glaucus, killed at
Weston-super-Mare, by Mr. Cecil Smith.

Specimens of the Crane, Grus cinerea, killed at Stol-
fordj Pied Flycatcher, Muscicapa airicapilla, Little Bittern,
Botaurus minutus, and Little Auk, Mergulus melanoleucos,
killed near Taunton, by Mr. C. Haddon.

January 20th.

On the variation in the Plumage of Birds, by Cecil

Smith, Esq.
An attempt to distinguish the old Brislington Ware,

by the Rev. I. S. Gale.
March Slst.

On Ozone, by H. J. Alford, Esq.

On Ancient Music and Instruments : Progress of

Notation, Early English Music and Modern De-

velopement, by C. H. Fox, Esq.

iilt^ ^iL^um.

Additions since the publication of the last Volume : —

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

The ArchoBological Journal.

Journal of the British Archceological Association.

Journal of the Royal Historical and Archceological Associa-
tion of Ireland.

Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archceological

Journal of the Royal Dublin Society.

Collections of the Surrey Archceological Society. -

Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archceology and
Natural History.

Proceedings of the Geologists' Association.

Associated Architectural Societies' Report and Papers.
Various publications from the Royal Norwegian University
of Christiania.

Proceedings of the Bath Natural History and Antiquarian
Field Club.

Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists' Society.

Evans's Stone Implements of Great Britain, by Mr. W.
A. Sanford.

Library of National Antiquities, vol. 2, Vocabularies, by
Mr. Joseph Mayee.

An Account of the Saxon Church of St. Lawrence, Brad-
ford-on- Avon, by the Author, Rev. W. 11. Jones.

The Quantocks and their Associations, by the Author,
Rev. W. L. Nichols.

Genealogical Memoranda relating to the family of Cooke of
Kingsthorpe, by the Author, Mr. G. W. Marshall, LL.M.

Comparative View of the Monuments of India, by the
Rev. O. S. Harrison.


Drawing of a Tesselated Pavement found at Pitney, by
the Rev. I. S. Gale.

The Black Book of Taymouth, by Mr. W. H. P. Gore
Langton, M.P.

Encyclopoedia of Heraldry, by Mr. G. AY. Marshall.

Skull of Hytena, 30 skins of birds, stones from the
Diamond fields, Kaffir stool, and 52 articles of dress, orna-
ments, pipes, snuff-boxes, &c., 3 clubs, 4 spears, and 8
arrows, all from South Ah'ica, by Mr. H. Cornish.

Encaustic tiles, &c., from Athelney (purchased).

Papers and Documents relating to Taunton Elections and
Charities, &c., from 1709 to 1 722, by Mr. C H. Cornish.

Silver ores from the Flagstaff Mine, America, by Mr.
O. W. Malet.

Lias fossils, from Yarcombe, by Mr. Perry.

Japanese organ, by Mr. A. Maynard.

Cannon ball found at Sedgemoor, by Mr. J. Clavey.

Caudle cup, by Mr. R. Palmer.

Alligator's skull and claws, skin of boa, tortoise shell,
Dyak war jackets, women's petticoats, waist cloths, seat
mat, earrings, armlets, war charms, spear heads, spikes,
swords, and shield, from H.H. The Rajah of Sarawak.

Australian flying squirrel, a pair of Emeu's eggs, by
Mr. J. Baker.

Musical bow, from South Africa, by the Bath Royal
Literary and Scientific Institution.

Chinese fiddle and bow, Chinese razor, Formosa cata-
maran, with oars, sails, &c., cowfish, by Sub-Lieut. W.
H. M. Daniel, H.M.S. "Dwarf."

Coal fossils from the Writhlington and Huish Collieries,
and portion of elephant^s tusk, by Mr. A. Chivers.

Ancient wood carving, by Mr. E. Jeboult.

Roman coin found at Dunpole, near Ilminster ; Pottery


and bronze object found at Barbury Castle, Wiltshire, by
Mr. E. Sloper.

153 tokens and other coins, by the Rev. R. Symes.

Facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence of
the United States of America, by Mr. H. F. Manley.

African Toga, by Mrs. Pring.

Pair of Japanese slippers, by Mr. P. D. Prankerd.

Two leaden spoons and other curiosities found at Thorn
Falcon, by the Rev. O. S. Harrison.

Silver penny of Edward I., found in the old vicarage
garden at Stoke St. Gregory, by the Rev. R. W. Moor.

Bronze-gilt Roman stirrup, found in the camp at Ham
Hill, by Mrs. Farquharson.

Skull of rabbit with extraordinary mal-formed incisor
teeth, by Mr. J. Theaker.

Silver medal of the Duke of Monmouth, by Mr. F.Lake.

Stag's horn, &c., found in alluvial soil at Priory,
Taunton, by Mr. H. J. Penny.

Plesiosaurus, from the lias at Street, by Mr. Sanford,

New Zealand warrior's kilt, by Mr. Arthur Malet.

Paddle from Sandwich Islands, by Mr. S. Laavrence.

Specimens of the Lace Bark Tree from Jamaica, by
Mr. Bruford.

A stuffed specimen of the Wild Red Deer of Exmoor
fmale), by Mr. M. Fenwick Bisset.

Purchased : —

PalcBontographical Society's Journal.

Ray Society's Journal.

Harkian Society's Journal.

Taunton Courier, from 1808 to 1829, 11 vols.

Daniel's History of England, 1685.

JohannisGlastoniensis Chronica, T. Hearn, Oxford, 1726.




1872, PART II.


liiiij) Jnc.


INE King of the West-Saxons, the conqueror, the
lawgiver, the pilgrim to the threshold of the Apostles,
stands out as one of the most famous names in the early-
history of the English people. In the history of his own
West-Saxon Kingdom, above all in the history of our own
shire, the place which he holds is naturally higher still.
It was he, there can be little doubt, who put the
last stroke to the work which C^awlin had begun, and
under whom the whole land of the Sumorscetas became



English. Four famous spots, within our own shire or on
its immediate border, claim him as their first founder or as
among the chiefest of their benefactors. His works in
those four spots set him before us in various characters.
He appears as a warrior extending the borders of his
kingdom and providing for the security of his conquest by
the erection of a border fortress. He appears also as a
Christian ruler, not as a mere lavish giver to ecclesiastical
bodies, but as an enlightened promoter of ecclesiastical
changes which were clearly for the good of his people.
He appears as the prince who divided an unwieldy bishop-
rick, and placed the worthiest man of his time and country
as shepherd of the new flock which he called into being.
If on this spot we are inclined to think first of him as the
man who raised Taunton as a bulwark against the Briton,
we must remember that he was also the man who first
gave the western part of his dominions a Bishop of their
own, and who placed the holy Ealdhelm in the chair of
Sherborne which he had founded. And if Taunton and
Sherborne, here the fortress, there the church, claim him
without doubt as, in those characters, their first creator,
two other famous spots claim him, with somewhat less of
certainty, one as a founder, the other as a special bene-
factor. A King reigning over a people still divided in blood
and speech, ruler alike of the conquering English and of
the conquered Britons, he is set forth as the patron of the
holy places of both alike. He spreads his bounty alike
over the Church of the conquerors and the Church of the
conquered; he is the second founder of Bi'itish Glastonbury,
the first founder of English Wells. And, as he appears
in our local history or legend as the benefactor of the
ecclesiastical foundations of both races, so he appears in
the imperishable witness of his laws as the ruler and law-


friver of both alike. The Laws of Inc, in other respects
among the most precious monuments of English antiquity,
have yet a further and special value as the one authentic
picture of the relations between English and Briton within
the English dominion. Nor is it only in this more general
way that the name of Ine is connected with the history of
the Britons as well as with that of the English. The
conquered race seems in some strange way to have laid
hold of their conqueror and lawgiver ; they have in some
sort claimed him as their own, and have identified him with
names that were renowned in their own history or tradition.
And yet, famous as Ine is, there are few historical names of
equal fame so much of whose history is puzzling and uncer-
tain. The statements as to his descent are contradictory ;
the manner of his accession to the West-Saxon crown is
unrecorded, but casual notices show that there must have
been something unusual, if not irregular, about it. And
much of the history of his reign is made up of casual, and
not always very intelligible, notices of the same kind.
We find him engaged in civil wars with men of his own
nation and his own family, but as to the origin and object
of their disputes we are left in the dark. It is to one of
these casual notices that we owe the knowledge of that
event of Ine^s reign which most immediately interests us
here, the first mention of the town in which we are now
met. The earliest chapter in the history of Taunton is
written backwai'ds ; its first building Is recorded only to
explain the more striking entry of its first burning.

Before we begin to comment on the particular actions
of Ine himself, it may be well to take a general view of
the state of things In which he was an actor. In the year
688, when Inc became King of the West-Saxons, 239
years had passed since the settlement of the first English


invaders in Britain ; 193 had passed since the first landing
of the West-Saxons. It was 111 years since the great
conquests of Ceawlin westwards, 91 years since the mission
of Augustine, and 54 years since Christianity had been
first preached to the West-Saxons by Birinus. These dates
should be borne in mind, the last of them especially. All
that we read of the acts and legislation of Ine and our
other English Kings from this time so completely takes
Chi'istianity for granted that we are apt to forget how new
a thing English Christianity then was. It was only a very
few years before Ine's time that heathenism had been
stamped out — by very different means in the two cases — in
its two last strongholds among the English race, Sussex and
the Isle of Wight. In Ine's own Wessex the baptism of
the first Christian King was, at the time of his accession,
an event exactly as far distant as the birth of our present
Queen is distant from the year in which we are now living.
At Ine^s accession he must have had many subjects who
had worshipped Thunder and Woden in their youth ;
he may even have had some who secretly cherished the
ancient worship in their hearts. His acts then, his laws,
his foundations, his pilgrimage, must all be looked on as
tinged with something of the zeal of recent conversion.
As for the political state of Britain, the English Conquest
had not yet by any means reached its fullest bounds ; one
powerful British kingdom still remained for Ine himself to
do battle with ; but destiny had long before decided against
the Briton and in favour of the English invader. The great
British power, which, a hundred and sixty years after the
fii'st English settlement, had still stretched in an unbroken
mass from the Lands End to Dunbarton had been broken
in pieces by the victories of Ceawlin and ^thelfrith. The
territory which remained to the independent Briton now


lay in three fmgments, each of which was now cut off from
the others. There was the Northern Britain, Strathclyde,
Cumberland, whatever we choose to call it, isolated from
the other lands of the same race by the great victory of
^thelfrith under the walls of what was to be Chester.
There was the central Britain, the North-Wales of our
Chronicles, answering to the modern Principality, but with
a far wider extent towards the east. This had been in the
earlier campaigns of Ceawlin cut off from the third division,
that with which we have most to do in the life of Ine and
in the history of Wessex. The south-western Britain, the
West-Wales of our Chronicles, the Kingdom of Cornwall,
Damnonia, whatever name we may choose to give it, still re-
mained powerful and independent. Cut off as it was in a
corner, with no neighbour of its own race, with one neigh-
bour only of the hostile race, its conquest by the advancing
power of the English was only a question of time. But it
was still strong enough to offer a stubborn resistance to the
West-Saxon invader, strong enough to take advantage of
any moments of weakness or of any diversions caused by
warfare between Wessex and the other English powers
themselves. Among those English powers, the precarious
amount of union implied in the Bretwaldadom, whatever we
may hold that amount to have been, was now in abeyance.
The Bretwalda Oswiu of Northumberland had died in 670,
and he had at any rate no acknowledged successor before
Ecgberht. Three Enghsh states, Northumberland, Mercia,
and Wessex, stood forth beyond all dispute in front of all
the others. There was no longer any chance of the renewal
of that earlier state of things when we find South-Saxon,
Kentish, and East-Anglian princes on the roll of Bret-
waldas. And, of the three great states, Northumberland
was now sinking from the great position which it had held


earlier in the century. Mercia and Wessex might pass
for rival states of nearly equal power, against neither of
which could the smaller kingdoms to the east of them
contend with any hope of success.

The boundaries of Wessex itself, the kingdom over
which Ine was called to rule, were at this time in an
intermediate state. The conquests of Wessex in the sixth
century had aimed northwards rather than westwards.
After the taking of Old Sarum by Cynric in 552, which
secured the safety of the West-Saxon dominion in Hamp-
shire and Wiltshire, the conquests of Cuthwulf and
Ceawlin had given Wessex a great dominion north of the
Avon and Thames, while they had barely grazed the great
western peninsula by the first English conquest in our
own shire, that of the land between Axe and Avon.
Ceawlin had failed in his attempt to reach the northern sea,
and to isolate the central as well as the Western Britain ;
the conquest of Deva had been reserved for the Northum-
brian ^thelfrith. But he had fought at Bedford and at
Fethanleah ; he had changed Bensington and Eynsham,
Aylesbury and Buckingham, Bath, Cirencester, and
Gloucester, the ruins of Uriconium and an undefined land
along the Severn, into English ground. At the beginning
of the seventh century the West-Saxon power stretched
over at least as large a dominion to the north of the
Thames as it did to the south, while the great region con-
tained in modern Cornwall, Devonshire, and the greater
part of Somerset remained still untouched in the hands of
the Briton. The Wessex of the ninth century and onwards
was a state which might establish an external supremacy
more or less complete to the north of Thames and Avon,
but whose own actual and immediate boundary was sharply
marked by the general course of those rivers as a well


defined boundary. Wessex in her earlier stage aimed
chiefly at power in central and northern England. Wessex
in her later form fell back on her more natural position
as the great state of southern England, conquering, in-
corporating, largely assimilating, all the powers British or
English lying south of the mouths of the two great rivers
of southern Britain. The seventh and eight centuries set
Wessex before us in a stage intermediate between the two,
and the reign of Ine may perhaps be taken as the central
point of the whole period. The work of those two cen-
turies, as far as England was concerned, was to show that
the true destiny of Wessex was to be cut short to the
North and to extend herself to the East and West. Her
Kings might win an external supremacy over all the
Teutonic powers within the Island, or over the whole Island
itself. She might incorporate herself and her Teutonic
dependencies into an English Kingdom in which she was
content to merge her own name and national being. But
Wessex, by that name, was to keep herself from the lands
north of the two rivers in order that she might more fully
reign over all the lands to the south of them; she was to
give up reigning at Gloucester and Buckingham in order
that she might reign at Exeter and Canterbury.

The dominion then to which Ine succeeded has an
anomalous look on the map of England. The older West-
Saxon possessions in the Southern mainland, Hampshire,
Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey which Ceawlin had wrested
from w^thelberht at the fight of Wimbledon, had never
been lost. Weight, the dependent realm of the Jutish
nephews of Cerdic, had been added by Wulfhere of Mercia
to the South-Saxon Kingdom; but it had been won back for
Wessex — by what means every reader of Basda knows —
by Ine's immediate predecessor Ceadwalla, and a supremacy


over Sussex had been won for Wessex by tlie sword of
the same irresistible warrior.* To the north-east, be-
yond the Thames, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire still
remained West-Saxon ground ; but to the north-west
the conquests of Ceawlin in the Severn valley seem to
have become Mercian under Penda, and the Avon was
probably the boundary in a stricter sense than it was after-
wards, as we hear long after of Bath being Mercian. But
losses to the Mercian had been made up by gains from
the Briton ; the English frontier had been extended from
the Axe to the Parret by the victories of Cenwealh in
652 and 658, and, a few years before Ine's accession, the
frontier had probably been carried further still by the
victory of Centwine in 682. These conquests, the first
conquests of the Christian West-Saxons, the first in which
the vanquished were neither enslaved nor swept from the
face of the earth, were the part of his dominions which
gave Ine the opportunity in his character of a legislator
for two races under one government. He had no British
subjects to legislate for in Hampshire or Oxfordshire. The
lesrislation which fixed the relations within Ine^s kingdom
between the conquering Englishman and the conquered
Briton must have been a legislation for the land of the
SumorsjBtas, and pretty well for the land of the SumorsEctas

Of the kingdom thus formed Ine took possession in

*Bteda IV. 15. "Interea superveniens cum exercitu Caedualla,

Online LibrarySomersetshire Archaeological and Natural History SProceedings (Volume 18) → online text (page 6 of 24)