9 FEBRUARY 1867, Page 12


THE "early history" of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight brings us back to the questions, which we have already partially dis- cussed, as to the first communications of the more civilized nations. of the Mediterranean with the British Islands, and the time an& character of what is called the Anglo-Saxon occupation. On both points we have seen that our reliable evidence is of the scantiest and most unsatisfactory kind, and in recurring to the subject we can do little more than reiterate with more special reference to the dis- trict before us the conclusions at which we were compelled to arrive. Of the history of this Province, then, anterior to the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon Monarchies we know next to nothing. The earliest population of which we have any record appears to have been Keltic, and may have been the result of more than one emigration from the opposite coast of Gaul. It is not easy to say what went,- the specific names of the tribes in this part of Britain. The Isle of Wight appears first certainly in Roman writers under the name of " Vectis," and the inhabitants appear to have borne a name derived from the native name of which this is the Romanized form. It has been seen that the island Iktis, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus as having been the great tin mart for Britain in early times, has been plausibly identified with the Isle of Wight, though the peninsular character of the island at low tide no longer exists, and Diodorus seems to place Iktis nearer Cornwall than agrees with the position of the Isle of Wight. But we have already suggested that (even supposing the severance of the latter from the mainland to have been a fact in those days) the descrip- tion of the peninsular character of the several islands lying between Cornwall and Hampshire (which may have served as. depots, whither the tin, &c., were brought from the adjoining mineral districts) may have been easily transferred by error to the- Isle of Wight, the last depot before the transportation of the metal to the opposite coast of Gaul, whence it was carried across that. province to Marseilles and Narbonne. In this case we may either- suppose that the metal brought down in waggons by the Britons to the several peninsular depots along the coast was there collected by trading vessels, which touched at each of these points along the coast, and acted in connection with the larger merchant vessels moored off the southern coast of the Isle of Wight ; or we may Of the land route is not considered too difficult through such a fores1. district) suppose a periodical train of waggons fulfilling the same- subsidiary office, and bringing the ore to the point of the Hamp- shire coast most accessible to the Isle of Wight, across which, again, the metal was transported to the south coast of the island.. The choice lies between the dangers of the sea and the difficulties of the land route. The words of Pliny, in which he states, on the authority of Timmus, that the island Mictis (insulam

evidently a copyist's mistake for /ctim), the transport place for the "plumb= candidum," was six days' sail inwards (introrsus) frost Britain, seem to suggest a sea-coasting route along the English Channel such as we have described, of six stages, from Cornwall (the Britain of the early geographers) to the Isle of Wight. The Rev. Edmund Kell (who has devoted much time and research to. this subject), in advocating the land route in an excellent paper in the last number of the Journal of the Archeological Associa- tion, supplies us with a very clear and probable account of the- general line of transport across the Isle of Wight. St. Michael's. Mount, he gives good reasons for believing, was, in the days of the early tin trade, several miles inland, within a thick wood, and thus quite hors de combat as far as identification with Iktis.is con- cerned. Believing (with great probability), from the continued action of the sea, that the Isle of Wight was in those days penin- sular at low tide, he asserts that "there is probably an ancient. British road (certainly one used by the Romans) from Cornwall to- Lepe, the part of the Hants coast opposite the Isle of Wight, from which the tin was conveyed to it. Traces of names," he con- tinues, "associated with the tin trade still linger at various parts of the route, such as ' Stansa Bay,' and 'Stans. Om Point,'

adjoining Lepe, where the ore left the mainland, on its cross- ing to Gurnard, in the Isle of Wight,—names obviously derived from the Latin word stannum (tin). There are also places in the line of the British road through the Isle of Wight the names of which (Rue Street and Gonneville Lane) are evi- dently derived, according to common practice, from places on the French coast, viz., Rue, the chief town of the district near the Somme, and Gonneville, on the Seine, whither the tin was to be transported. The Isle of Wight has this time-honoured and picturesque British road nearly direct across it, in the track of which Greek and Roman coins have been picked up ; for it must be borne in mind that after Marseilles had been subdued by Julius Ctesar, B.C. 49, the traffic was carried on under Roman auspices. There is also the proud old caer at Carisbrooke, not on the highest eminence, but in the centre of the island, and the most commanding position on the line, to guard the treasure on its convoy. There are Chillerton Street and Chale Street on this British road, and the tin mart itself is a most sheltered spot in a part of Niton fields, near to Puckaster, where the tin merchants might draw up their carts, and arrange their sales with the foreign purchasers. There is the port of Puckaster (evidently a Roman name), whence the tin was embarked, which was suffi- ciently capacious for that purpose, probably even large enough in those days to harbour a Roman fleet It has been demonstrated by an accomplished French writer, M. Poilly, that there was on the opposite coast of France, between the rivers Somme and Authie, a colony of Greeks from Marseilles, ready to receive the tin as it arrived, and forward it to Marseilles ; and another French author, M. HOwell, has shown the existence of a Greek colony in the neighbourhood of the Seine." The remains of a Roman house were a few years ago discovered in the cliff of Gurnard Bay, and among the relics disinterred at this spot, Mr. Kell, Mr. Thomas Wright, and other antiquaries believe that they have identified some of the leaden tickets used by the traders as labels to their respective blocks of mineral, and Mr. Kell believes that this house was employed in connection with the transport of the tin from the opposite coast of Hampshire. With this reference to the latest discoveries and speculations on the subject, we must leave the confessedly obscure subject of the early tin trade be- tween Britain and the Continent.

Of the Keltic period there are some of the usual traces. In the Isle of Wight "the crests of most of the higher hills are studded with funeral mounds, many of which are referable to the Keltic inhabitants of the island. The largest is Black Barrow, at the foot of Mottiston Down." When opened, these barrows "contained urns of unbaked clay, stone and bronze celts, &c." "In the Rowborough and Gallibury valleys, between Carisbrooke and Shorwell, are a considerable number of those circular pits and depressions, which to the eye of the antiquary are certain indica- tions of a British or Keltic settlement." To the supposed British road across the island from Gurnard Bay to Niton we have already referred. There are great entrenchments on the north-west borders of Hampshire which are probably of the British period. "The most important are Beacon Hill, Ladle Hill, Bury Hill, Quarley Mount, and Danebury." Besides these are Worldbury Mount and (possibly) old Winchester Hill. It seems probable that Hampshire in Keltic times was divided between three dif- ferent tribes or confederations of tribes. The southern portion, between the sea and the South Downs, was very likely under the sway of the powerful Regni, of whose dominions the modern Chichester was one of the chief seats. Between the South and North Downs, in the open champaign, the Belg seem to have established themselves, "Yenta Belgarum," the name of the Roman predecessor of Winchester, bearing testimony to their locality. The Belgic Ditches, as they are called, lines of ancient fortification, with a fosse on the northern side, are supposed to mark the boundaries of their dominions. Northwards of these, again, along the Thames basin, we should probably place• the Segontiaci, the site of old Silchester lying within their territories.

The Roman conquest of the Province seems to have been accomplished under Vespasia' n, in the celebrated western cam- paign (A.D. 43) to which we have already alluded, which probably carried him to Exeter. The neutrality of the Regal in the contests with the Trinobantine League which followed must have secured this conquest to the Romans, nor have we any records of a renewed contest in this quarter, though the Roman domination must have been seriously shaken here, as elsewhere, by the revolt under Boadicea, as well as the occa- sional successes of Caractacns. When the Roman power was consolidated the province formed part of Britannia Prima. "In Roman remains Hampshire is unusually rich. The country was rendered accessible by numerous roads ; villas seem to have been scattered over it in all directions, and it contained at least two large towns and several important stations. At Beam- dean some very fine pavements of a Roman villa are care- fully preserved. Others, which were at least as remarkable, at Thruxton, are no longer to be seen. At Silchester, the vener- able relics of CALLEVA, the ancient capital of the Segontiaci, may still be seen ; and at Porchester, the Roman walls of Ponnts MAGNUS, the predecessor of Portsmouth, still enclose the mediseval castle which was built within them. IrstrrA. BELGARUM lies buried under the modern Winchester, but at Bittern, near South- ampton, walls and other relics of Cr.ausErtrum, a fortified town on the coast, are yet to be traced. A station, no doubt, existed at Broughton, and Egbury Hill, near Whitchurch, is considered by many competent authorities the site of the ancient town of VIE- rooms." The ruins of old Calleva (Silchester) are peculiarly striking. They should be visited in dry weather, "since much of the area and of the ground outside the walls is marsh and over-

grown with coppice There is much wood, and the old Roman walls are completely shrouded in ivy." Lord Jeffrey (of Edinburgh Review renown) appears to have been particularly struck by the appearance of the place. "It is," he writes, "about the most striking thing I ever saw ; and the effect of that grand stretch of shaded wall, with all its antique roughness and overhanging wood, lighted by a low autumnal sun, and the sheep and cattle feeding in the great solitude at its feet, made a picture not soon to be forgotten." It stood in the direct line of the great Roman road from Lownimust to Actuis Sous, and branch roads con- nected it with SORRIODUNUM, CORLNITJM, and YENTA BELGARUM, and the lines of thew roads "are nearly followed by those of exist- ing railways." "The Roman walls of Silchester are one and a half miles in circuit, and enclose an area of about 102 acres (about as large as that within the old walls of London). The church and a farmhouse are now the only buildings within the area ; the rest is divided into fields, along which, in dry weather, the lines of the ancient streets may be distinctly traced. There were, as usual, four principal streets, with which the lesser ones run parallel ; in the centre are traces of some large public building. The walls, 13 feet high, and 8 feet thick at the base, unlike those of Roman towns generally, form an irregular octagon, and possibly follow on the limits of the older British town. No tiles are used in them, but double courses of limestone supply their place, resembling the bondings at Porchester. The mass of the walls is built of rudely hammer-dressed carstone (said to be dug about 6 miles south-west) and of flints, so disposed as to run in regular courses as perfectly as their form would allow them. The wall is most perfect on the south side, where it is about 18 feet high. The internal level is 8 or 10 feet higher than the external. A deep and wide fosse surrounds the walls, most of which is usually filled with water from a small spring rising near the farmhouse. About 150 yards from the north-east corner of the walls are the remains of an amphi- theatre, the largest known to exist in Britain with the excep- tion of that at Dorchester. The whole is now overgrown with trees, but the double entrance and the five ranges of seats may readily be distinguished. The most important discovery made within the walls of the city was that of some large baths near the south-west part of the wall, in the winter of 1833. Nine apart- ments were laid open, in one of which the skeleton of a dog was found. Many inscriptions have been discovered at Silchester, the principal being a fragment of an altar to Hercules of the Segontiaci.' Seals, rings, personal ornaments of various kinds, and weapons have also been found, and an abundance of coins, some of which were gold, of the real Keltic type. The greater part are of course Roman, and range from Augustus to Maximus, A.D. 383."

VENTA BELGARUM, buried, as we have said, beneath the present Winchester, was not improbably the site of an early British town, its position, nearly at the point where the Itchen river ceased to be navigable, resembling that of other Keltic towns. It was con- nected by roads with PORTUS MAGNUS, CLAUSENTUM, SORBIO- DUNUM, and CALLEVA, and contained temples to Apollo and Concord, occupying the sites of the present cathedral and its adjoining buildings. Roman altars also and other remains have from time to time been found here.

The Isle of Wight until comparatively lately was supposed to be entirely devoid of Roman remains. Recently, however, re- mains of a Roman villa near Carisbrooke, of the house in Gurnard Cliff, and of large numbers of coins, &c., in different parts of the island have proved that, however Beauty they may be, there are still the footprints of Roman civilization.

Such, then, was the general aspect of this Province when the power and authority of Rome were at their height, when Southern Britain was little else than a provincial reproduction of Italy, and when Romanized Britons and Roman legionaries from every part of the known world mingled together in a common frame work of society on the soil of this outpost of Roman civiliza- tion. What the nationalities exactly were which were thus es- tablished temporarily or permanently in Britain, we have already seen, it is not easy to say. Besides the natural infusion of " bar- baric " blood which the composite character of the legions them- selves entailed, we have seen that the Roman Emperors adopted the plan of transplanting whole tribes, with their kings (as in the case of the Alemanni, near York), to this island, retaining their services as auxiliaries in time of war. We know that a "Saxon shore" or " border " (littas or limes) existed in the reign of Honorius, at any rate along the coast of Britain from the Wash to the Southampton Water, along which there were several military stations, and which was under the care of the " Comes " of the Saxon shore or frontier. We also know that there was a corresponding tract which bore the same name along the opposite coast of Gaul. We hear of incessant Saxon invasions in the time of Julian, long before the supposed era of Saxon conquest in Britain. We find an army of Franks plunder- ing London about the year 290. We gather from our last imperial historians some idea of the general state of confusion, anarchy, and civil war which occupied the close of the fourth century and the first half of the fifth in Britain. We find " Imperators " pro- claimed by the legions in Britain one after the other, and hurry- ing over to Gaul, Spain, and Italy, to endeavour to add those countries to their Western Empire. Generally they fall before some more successful rival on the Continent ; sometimes they return, to be murdered by another " Imperator " on the soil of Britain ; sometimes the power of the " Ilnperator " at Rome is reasserted for a time by legions from the Continent. Mean- while, " barbarian " tribes of every race mingle wildly in the • general confusion, now on this side, now on the other, and as often "for their own hand ;" and then the Imperial writers cease to speak of Britain, the Gothic invasions submerge the Western Empire, and with a brief notice that Britain is reduced under the power of the "Goths," the curtain falls on our credible information re- specting the last days of Romanized Britain. When it rises again, we find the power in the hands of races whose names and origin are thus described by Bede:—" They came of three of the bravest nations of Germany, that is the Saxons, the Angles, the Jutes. Of origin from the Jutes are the Cantuarii and the Vectuarii, that is, that race which holds the island Vecta, and that which even up to this day [the latter part of the seventh century] in the province of the Western Saxons is called the nation of the Jutes, situated opposite to that same island Vecta. Of the Saxons,

— that is, that region which is now styled of the Old Saxons,

— came the Eastern Saxons, the Southern Saxons, the Western Saxons. Then from the Angles,—that is, from that country which is called Angulus, and which is said even to this day to remain de- serted between the provinces of the Jutes and Saxons,—the East- ern Angles, the Midland Angles, the Mercians, all the race of the Northumbrians, that is, of those peoples which dwell to the north of the Humber river, and the other nations of the Angles are sprung. It is stated that their first leaders were two brothers, Hengist and Horse, of whom Horse, slain in war afterwards by the Britons, has now a memorial [monumentum] known by his name in the eastern parts of Cantia. They were, however, the sons of Victgils, whose father was Vitta, whose father was Vecta, whose father was Voden, from whose strain the royal race of many provinces deduced its origin." This account, which is simply copied by the Saxon Chronicle, gives us Hengist and Horse as the leaders of Jutes, Saxons, and Angles alike. The only thing which specially connects them with Kent is a " memorial " bearing Horse's name in the east of that county, while, on the other hand, the name Vecta, given in the account first to the Isle of Wight, and then to the great-grandfather of Hengist and ROTES and the son of Voden, connects the brothers specially with the invasion of that island, and at once throws some doubt over the whole story by its suspicious resemblance to the name Vectis, by which the island was known to the Romans. A little further examination will increase our suspicion as to the untrustworthiness of Bede's statement, and may enable us to form a more plausible conjecture as to the origin of the English nation.