15 DECEMBER 1866, Page 11



ITAVING spoken in a general manner of the probable origin of the Anglo-Saxon towns of England, we now proceed to make a brief reference to the special history of some of the most im- portant in this Province. We shall first refer to those which arose -on or near the site of Roman towns, and among these BATH, from its metropolitan character in the Romano-British period, naturally commands our first attention. The city of Anum -Sous seems to have been of the usual form, a parallelogram " extending on one side so as to form an outline somewhat pentagonal, and stretching in length from east to west about four hundred yards, and in the broadest parts from north to south about three hundred and eighty yards. The wall which enclosed this space appears from subsequent discoveries to have been 20 feet above ground in height, and in thickness 16 feet at the base and 8 at the summit, strengthened with five towers rising at the angles, and having four portas or entrances, facing the cardinal points, which were connected by two grand streets dividing the city into four parts, and intersecting each other in the centre," not far from the springs and baths. These latter "extended 200 feet from east to west, and 120 from north to south." The Temple of Minerva seems to have stood nearly midway between the two extremities of the .street which led to the river, and in front of the baths, facing westwards. Such was the general plan of Aquae Solis when Cm what year we cannot now determine) it passed into the hands of the Saxons. Our first notice of it-under the new state of things (for the mention of its capture in the Saxon Chronicle as "Bathon-cestre" cannot be looked upon as an early record) occurs in a charter of King Osric, in the year 676, in which he bestows on Bertana, the Abbess, " centum manentes qui adjacent civitati qua vocatur Ilar BATHUN," to construct a Monastery of Holy Maidens. This was probably a grant of the labour of a hundred of the dwellers near Bath. The charter has the sign manual first of Osric the King, "who requested this charter of donation to be made," and then follow the words, "I, Ethelred the King, agree and subscribe," and this is followed by the subscriptions of Archbishop Theodore and others as witnesses. Mention of this King Osric is made in Be.de's Ecclesiastical History of England, in speaking of the priest Oftfor. "Returning from Rome into Britain, he took his way into the province of the Wiccii, where King Osric then ruled, and continued there a long time, preaching the Word of faith, and making himself an example of good life to all that saw and heard him. At that time, Bosel, the Bishop of the province, laboured under such weakness of body that he could not himself per- form the episcopal functions, for which reason this Oftfor was by universal consent chosen Bishop in his stead, and by order of King Ethelred consecrated by Bishop Walfrid, of blessed memory, who was then Bishop of the Middle Angles, because Archbishop Theo- dore was dead, and no other bishop ordained in his place." Among the witnesses to the above charter, " Walfrid the Bishop" gives his consent and subscription. From these facts it would seem as if some sort of joint authority was exercised in the neighbourhood of Bath, if not in the " Civitas " itself, by Osric, King of the Hwiccas, and Ethelred, King of the Mercians, a son of the great Pagan prince, Penda, of Mercia, who had not improbably reduced the kingdom of the Hwiccas to a certain dependency on Mercia. It is certainly a mistake to suppose that the authority which pre- vailed in or near "Hat Bathun " at this time was that of the West Saxons. If it fell at all into the hands of the latter during the succeeding period, it was probably after the battles at 'Burford, in Oxfordshire (on the road from Oxford to Cheltenham), in 752, and at Sceandun (Seckin,,oton, in Warwickshire?) in 755, in which Ethelbald, King of Mercia, suffered the disastrous defeats from Cuthred, of Wessex, which for the time changed the supremacy from Mercia to the West Saxons. However, it is admitted that Offa, the great Mercian King, who succeeded, retook it and the adjoining country from Cynwalf, , of Wessex, and that under this distinguished prince Bath recovered from the injuries it had received during the preceding troubled period, and attained once more a high state of prosperity. About the year 775 King Offa is said (the nunnery of Osric having been destroyed) to have rebuilt the church, dedicating it to St. Peter, and placing in it secular canons. Bath then again disappears from history till the reign of Athelstau, having no doubt been entirely overwhelmed in the flood of Scandinavian invasion. We have no account of the organization of the new Saxon burgh of Hat Bathun during the period of which we have been speaking, but as we know from the Church penances that -the Anglo-Saxons were much addicted to the use of tepid baths, we shall hardly be open to the charge of unwarranted conjecture if we conclude that when its population had again become numer- ous the Anglo-Saxon element in it was considerable. It re- ceived from the writers of the succeeding period the name of Alcemannes-ceaster, i.e., the "sick men's burgh," and it is said that the Roman road leading to the city from Oxfordshire derived from this its name of Akenam Street. The inhabitants, we are, however, told, calledthe city "Bathon." A mint certainly existed herein the reign of Athelstan, as coins still remain to testify, the mint-master bearing the name of Biortelf. There are also coins from 'the Bath mint belonging .to the succeeding Danish period, which testify to the city having then been under Canute's rule. The metal of these coins is fine and pure, but the execution of the impresses and legends is very rude and poor. Athelstan enriched the monastery at Bathon in 931 by a grant of fourteen small estates in the neighbourhood of the city. The unfortunate Edwy, or Edwig, made fresh grants to the monastery, as did in 965 and 970 his successor, Edgar, who had for some years before the death of Edwig governed Mercia under his authority, and in 957 had been proclaimed King by that principality and Northum- bria, while the parts south of the Thames still adhered to Edwig. "It is a remarkable event in the life of Edgar, that in the sixteenth year of his reign and thirtieth of his age he caused himself to be anointed at Bath on the Day of Pentecost (973) by the Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald. Why this ceremony had not taken place earlier, or, if it had already been performed, for what purpose it was at this time repeated, is matter of uncertainty, though it has been brought into connection with a tradition according to which Edgar, as a part of the penance imposed on him by Dunstan for the abduction of Wulftryth, was forbidden to wear the crown till the expiration of seven years. The story," observes Dr. Lappenburg, "has been generally, and perhaps justly, regarded as groundless, though it cannot be denied that a desire on the part of Edgar to receive back his crown from the hand of him who had forbidden him to wear it, would be in perfect keeping with the spirit both of that and of a much later age." The selection of Bath, at any rate, either implies some previous connection with that city during Edgar's earlier government of Mercia, or was dic- tated by the conveniently border situation of that city between the two principalities of Mercia and Wessex, and its former high rank under the Roman administration. Such, indeed, seem to have been the privileges granted by Edgar to Bath, that Leland tells us in the sixteenth century that the citizens "pray in all their ceremonies for his soul, and at Whitsunday-tide, at the which time men say that Edgar was there crowned, there is a king elected at Bath every year of the townsmen, in the joyful remembrance of King Edgar, and the privileges given to the town by him. This king is feasted, and his adherents, by the richest men of the town." Under the restored Saxon Monarchy Bath formed part of the dower of Editha, Queen of Edward the Confessor, and daughter of Earl Godwin, and she enjoyed the revenues thence accruing for eleven years. It was then assessed at thirty bides, and paid geld to the amount of two pounds. It remained a part of the Royal domain after the Norman Conquest. Under William Rufus it was plundered and burnt during the insurrection of Bishop Odo and the party of Robert of Normandy, but it was restored by John de Villula, a native of Tours, who purchased it from the King in the year 1090 for five hundred marks. He obtained permission to remove the episcopal see thither from Wells, and rebuilt the monastery of Osric and Offa, and also most of the city. The earlier Roman city had perhaps, up to the time of this destruction in the reign of Rufus, constituted the framework of the Saxon burgh ; but now we enter on the history of a new Anglo-Norman city. John de Villula became Bishop of Bath, and conferred the city on Osric's Monastery of St. Peter, to be governed by a prior instead of an abbot, with a reservation of the patronage to himself and his successors in the bishopric. The Church held the city till the year 1193, when it was exchanged with the Crown for the rich Abbey of Glastonbury —the prior, however, still retaining an annual rent of, thirty pounds. It did not increase much in population under its Royal owners, for in the forty-seventh of Edward III, it paid as its con- tribution to the Crown only a seventh of the assessment of Bristol. By a census taken four years later it had then 570 inhabitants above fourteen years of age and 201 clerics in the archdeaconry. The Church at Bath was greatly enriched by benefactions during the later Plantagenet period, and the monks are praised in an ex- ceptional manner for their disposal of their wealth. They estab- lished a cloth manufactory at Bath, and it became one of the chief seats of that manufacture in the West of England. The monks, however, after this degenerated so much that Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells in Henry- VIL's reign, was obliged to take severe measures to reform them, and rebuilt the church, which they had suffered to become dilapidated. On the demolition of the monasteries the site of the Abbey of Bath was granted to Humphrey Cobs, who sold it to Matthew Colehurst, whose son Edwari presented the abbey church, then again ruinous, to the mayor and citizens of Bath for their parochial church, with ground about it for their churchyard. He also sold away the abbey house and the park called the Prior's. The borough meanwhile sent members to Parliament as early as the year 1297, but discontinued doing so for two Parliaments, in consequence of the expense. In the reign of Edward III. the citizens purchased for a fine of 201. the right of electing their own assessors and collectors of taxes and contributions. At first the borough thus constituted was an open one, in which all citizens (and strangers and their descendants on the payment of a small fine) had the privilege of voting on all pub- lic measures. Afterwards, for convenience, the administration was restricted by cu.stent to a few of the more experienced citizens. Dis- putes afterwards arose respecting the right, until Queen Elizabeth in 1590 granted a charter to the members of this select body, Bath being declared to be a city of itself, and constituted a corporation. This close corporation continued to govern the city and return the members to Parliament till the passing of the Reform and Muni- cipal Corporation Acts in the reign of William PT. In the Civil Wars of Charles I.'s time it was at first fortified and held for the

King, and then taken by the Earl of Bedford. Lansdowne Hill, above it, was the scene of one of Sir William Waller's battles, and he retired into it after the engagement. It fell into the hands of the Royalists after the defeat at Roundaway Down, and was held by them for two years, when it again passed into the posses- sion of the Parliament. It seems to have become a stronghold of the Stuart dynasty, for it shut its gates against the Duke of Monmouth, imprisoning his few adherents, and continued a nest of Jacobitism long after the Revolution. During the' Rebellion of 1715, Carte, the historian, is said to have headed a party in that interest within the city. Bath has always pos- sessed more or less of the character of a watering-place, and "the Bath," as it was termed, was as familiar as such to the higher' ranks of society in the reigns of the Stuart Kings as in the last century, when its fashionable glories culminated. It has now lost much of this character, and is to a great extent a place of resi- dence for retired members of the East India services. Such is the history of the chief Roman city of the Province with which we are now concerned. We can only briefly glance at the history of one or two others.

GLEVETM appears to have occupied a site to the north-east of the later Gloucester, now called King's Holm, but in old writings. Regia Domus. Here several Roman remains have been discovered, and the site appears to suit the direction of the old Roman road from Corinium (Cirencester) and the old channel of the Severn, (still traceable), the course of which river was altered before the year 909. It formed part of the principality of the Hwiccas, and became with that district dependent on Mercia. It was called by the Anglo-Saxons Gleau-cestre. It had fallen into some decay during the struggles which attended the Saxon occupation, but was restored by King Wrafhere of Mercia, son of King Pendar and brother and predecessor of the prince who held some sort of co- ordinate authority near Bath with Ugric of the Hwiccas. Wulfhere so adorned and enlarged it that, as Bede tells us, at the beginning of the eighth century it was esteemed one of the noblest cities of all the kingdom. It became a Royal residence for the Anglo-- Saxon Kings, but was twice plundered by the Northmen in their- earlier invasions. It must have fallen into their hands during the overthrow of the Saxon Principalities, and then emerged as part of the possessions of the House of Wessex. In the time of Edgar, who defeated the Danes here, it is called a Royal city. It was again plundered and partly burnt in the disastrous reign of Ethelred the Unready. Canute retreated here after a defeat by Edmund Ironside, and Edward the Confessor made it his frequent residence. So did William the Conqueror and William Rufus,. who generally spent their Christmas here. It was partly burnt by the adherents of Robert of Normandy in 1087. Great councils, both for ecclesiastical and civil purposes, were held in Gloucester- by Henry L and Henry II., and there young Henry III, was crowned on the death of his father, John. This King had a great partiality for Gloucester on account of its "strength and loyalty," but it was the scene of fierce and prolonged struggles between the Crown and the Barons during this reign, in which the unfortunate citizens were the chief sufferers, being compelled by Prince Edward to ransom themselves by the payment of 1,000/. Glou- cester continued to be a Royal residence and was the seat of Parlia- ments daring the succeeding reigns, the celebrated "Statutes of Gloucester" being enacted there by a Parliament of Edward L The last Parliament summoned there was one by Henry V. in. 1420, which adjourned to Westminster. The siege of Gloucester by the King's forces in the reign of Charles I. is a part of the general history of England. The citizens at this epoch were strong Parliamentarians. An abbey was founded here by King Wulfhere of Mercia, and both his widow and that of his successor Ethelred became successively abbesses. The abbey church being con- verted into a cathedral on the creation of the See in 1541, was. thereby saved from the ruin which attended most of the moues-

teries, the citizens, obtaining a grant of it from Oliver Crom- well. The heads of the city appear successively as governor, prefect, and provost—the last in the reign of Henry II. That Prince by charter granted the burgesses the same liberties and customs as were enjoyed by the citizens of London in the reign of Henry I. King John erected the town into a borough, to be governed by two bailiffs, and confirmed the privilege of a mint, first granted by Athelstan. The title of mayor first occurs in 1483. Among other privileges granted to the city, it was made a county in itself. It returned members to Parliament from the twenty- third of Edward L In the Register of Evesham Abbey, among the Cotton MSS., the number of burgesses in Gloucester at the time of the Doomsday Survey is stated at 613. Notwithstanding many interruptions, the population gradually increased from that time, but in 1487, 300 houses are recorded to have "fallen in decay," probably through the disastrous effects of the Wars of the Roses. In the twenty-eighth of Henry VIII. it was made compulsory on the landholders to restore the houses on their lands within a limited period, on pain of forfeiture. In the year 1562 the number of householders was upwards of 900, and of inhabitants about 4,000. About 240 houses were destroyed during the siege in the reign of Charles I. The principal trade of Gloucester has sprung from the navigation of the Severn, from the hemp and flax-dressing business, and from the pin manufacture. At present it is a large grain- storing port, and has a considerable foreign import trade. The castle, built about the time of the Norman Conquest, has now entirely disappeared.

The very cause which had originally led to the importance of Somonuxum (Old Sarum) under the Romans was the cause of its ultimate decay and extinction. Its strong position made it the seat of a garrison and castellan under the Normans as well as the Saxons. The city had been the frequent scene of Royal courts and councils under both dynasties, and the seat of a Bishopric and Cathedral Church, but at length, in the early part of the reign of Henry III., the Dean and Chapter obtained an indulgence from the Pope by which they were allowed to remove the church to where it now stands. This document sets forth that, "being situated on a lofty place, it is as it were continually shaken by the collision of the winds, so that when you are celebrating the divine offices you cannot hear one another, the place is so noisy ; and besides, the persons resident there suffer such perpetual oppres- sions, that they are hardly able to keep in repair the roof of the Church, which is constantly torn by tempestuous winds ; they are also forced to buy water at a great price. Nor is there any access to the same without the licence of the castellan, {10 that it happens that on Ash Wednesday, when the Lord's Office is administered, at the time of synods and celebra- tion of orders, and on other solemn days, the faithful being willing to visit the same church, entrance is denied them by the keepers of the castle alleging that the fortress is in danger." The site of the church being moved, the inhabitants of Old Sarum, glad also to escape from the oppression of the castellans, followed, and from that time dates the decay of that city and the rise of the present SALISBURY, or Saresbyri, as Leland calls it. Even in that writer's time (Henry VIII.'s reign) there was not one inhabited house in Old Sarum, and the castle (the cause of the extinction) was itself a mere ruin. Still it continued to return members to Parliament for 800 years longer, until, by its glaring scandal, it was one of the chief causes of the Reform Act of 1832.