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BURH AND URBS
fourteen days after Rogations, and that no market shall be held outside the town.' In the laws of Edgar's time not only the borough-moot and the borough-reeve are spoken of, but the burh-waru or burgesses. Burh is contrasted with wapentake as town with country.3
If we wish to multiply proofs that a burh was the same thing as a borough, we can turn to the AngloSaxon illustrated manuscripts, and we shall find that they give us many pictures of burhs, and that in all cases they are fortified towns. Finally, Florence of Worcester, one of the most careful of our early chroniclers, who lived when Anglo-Saxon was still a living language, and who must have known what a burh meant, translates it by urbs in nineteen cases out of twenty-six. His authority alone is sufficient to settle this question, and we need no longer have any doubt that a burh was the same thing which in medieval Latin is called a burgus, that is a fortified town, and that our word borough is lawfully descended from it.
It would not have been necessary to spend so much time on the history of the word burh if this unfortunate word had not been made the subject of one of the strangest delusions which ever was imposed on the archæological world. We refer of course to the theory of the late Mr G. T. Clark, who contended in his
1 Schmid, 138. "Butan porte" is the Saxon expression, port being another word for town; see Schmid, 643.
2 Schmid, Edgar III., 5; Ethelred II., 6.
Edgar IV., 2.
4 The writer was first led to doubt the correctness of the late Mr G. T. Clark's theory of burhs by examining the A.-S. illustrated MSS. in the British Museum. On p. 29 of the MS. of Prudentius (Cleopatra, c. viii.), there is an excellent drawing of a four-sided enclosure, with towers at the angles, and battlemented walls of masonry. The title of the picture is "Virtutes urbem ingrediuntur," and urbem is rendered in the A.-S. gloss as burh. See Fig. 2.
5 Florence translates burh as urbs nineteen times, as arr four times, as murum once, as munitio once, as civitas once.
Medieval Military Architecture1 that the moated mound of class (e), which we have described in our first chapter, was what the Anglo-Saxons called a burh. In other words, he maintained that the burhs were Saxon castles. It is one of the most extraordinary and inexplicable things in the history of English archæology that a man who was not in any sense an Anglo-Saxon scholar was allowed to affix an entirely new meaning to a very common Anglo-Saxon word, and that this meaning was at once accepted without question by historians who had made Anglo-Saxon history their special study! The present writer makes no pretensions to be an Anglo-Saxon scholar, but it is easy to pick out the word burh in the Chronicle and the Anglo-Saxon Laws, and to find out how the word is translated in the Latin chronicles; and this little exercise is sufficient in itself to prove the futility of Mr Clark's contention.
Sentiment perhaps had something to do with Mr. Clark's remarkable success. There is an almost utter lack of tangible monuments of our national heroes; and therefore people who justly esteemed the labours of Alfred and his house were pleased when they were told that the mounds at Tamworth, Warwick, and elsewhere were the work of Ethelfleda, and that other mounds were the work of Edward the Elder. It did not occur to them that they were doing a great wrong to the memory of the children of Alfred in supposing them capable of building these little earthen and timber castles for their personal defence and that of their nobles, and leaving the mass of their people at the mercy of the Danes. Far other was the thought of Ethelfleda, when
1 Published in 1884, but comprising a number of papers read to various archæological societies through many previous years, during which Mr Clark's reputation as an archæologist appears to have been made.
THE PRIVATE CASTLE UNKNOWN
she and her husband built the borough of Worcester. As they expressed it in their memorable charter, it was not only for the defence of the bishop and the churches of Worcester, but "To SHELTER ALL THE FOLK." And we may be sure that the same idea lay at the founding of all the boroughs which were built by Alfred and by Edward and Ethelfleda. They were to be places where the whole countryside could take refuge during a Danish raid. The Chronicle tells us in 894 how Alfred divided his forces into three parts, the duty of one part being to defend the boroughs; and from this time forth we constantly find the men of the boroughs doing good service against the Danes. It was by defending and thus developing the boroughs of England that Alfred and his descendants saved England from the Danes.
Thus far we have seen that all the fortifications which we know to have been built by the Anglo-Saxons were the fortifications of society and not of the individual. We have heard nothing whatever of the private castle as an institution in Saxon times; and although this evidence is only negative, it appears to us to be entitled to much more weight than has hitherto been given to it. Some writers seem to think that the private castle was a modest little thing which was content to blush unseen. This is wholly to mistake the position of the private castle in history. Such a castle is not merely a social arrangement, it is a political institution of the highest importance. Where such castles exist, we are certain to hear of some of them, sooner or later, in the pages of history.
1 "Eallum them folc to gebeorge." Birch's Cartularium, ii., 222.
? Professor Maitland has claimed that the origin of the boroughs was largely military, the duty of maintaining the walls of the county borough being incumbent on the magnates of the shire. Domesday Book and Beyond, 189. See Appendix C.
We can easily test this by comparing Anglo-Saxon history with Norman of the same period, after castles had arisen in Normandy. Who among Saxon nobles was more likely to possess a castle than the powerful Earl Godwin, and his independent sons? Yet when Godwin left the court of Edward the Confessor, because he would not obey the king's order to punish the men of Dover for insulting Count Eustace of Boulogne, we do not hear that he retired to his castle, or that his sons fortified their castles against the king; we only hear that they met together at Beverstone (a place where there was no castle before the 14th century)1 and "arrayed themselves resolutely." Neither do we hear of any castle belonging to the powerful Earl Siward of Northumbria, or Leofric, Earl of Mercia. And when Godwin returned triumphantly to England in 1052 we do not hear of any castles being restored to him.
Now let us contrast this piece of English history, as told by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, with the Norman history of about the same period, the history of the rebellion of the Norman nobles against their young duke, William the Bastard. The first thing the nobles do is to put their castles into a state of defence. William has to take refuge in the castle of a faithful vassal, Hubert of Rye, until he can safely reach his own castle of Falaise. After the victory of Val-ès-Dunes, William had to reduce the castles which still held out, and then to order the destruction of all the castles which had been erected against him.3
Or let us contrast the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1051 with that of 1088, when certain Norman barons
1 Parker's Domestic Architecture in England from Richard II. to Henry VIII., part ii., 256.
2 A.-S. C., 1048.
3 William of Jumièges, vii,-xvii.
CONTRASTS IN HISTORY
and bishops in England conspired against the new king, William Rufus. The first thing told us is that each of the head conspirators "went to his castle, and manned it and victualled it." Then Bishop Geoffrey makes Bristol Castle the base of a series of plundering raids. Bishop Wulfstan, on the other hand, aids the cause of William by preventing an attempt of the rebels on the castle of Worcester. Roger Bigod throws himself into Norwich Castle, and harries the shire; Bishop Odo brings the plunder of Kent into his castle of Rochester. Finally the king's cause wins the day through the taking of the castles of Tonbridge, Pevensey, Rochester, and Durham.
If we reflect on the contrast which these narratives afford, it surely is difficult to avoid the conclusion that if the chronicler never mentions any Saxon castles it is because there were no Saxon castles to mention. Had Earl Godwin possessed a stronghold in which he could fortify himself, he would certainly have used it in 1051. And as the Norman favourites of Edward the Confessor had already begun to build castles in England, we can imagine no reason why Godwin did not do the same, except that such a step was impossible to a man who desired popularity amongst his countrymen. The Welshmen, we are told (that is the foreigners, the Normans), had erected a castle in Herefordshire among the people of Earl Sweyn, and had wrought all possible harm and disgrace to the king's men thereabout.1 The language of the Chronicle shows the unpopularity, to say the least of it, of this castle-building; and one of the conditions which Godwin, when posing as popular champion, wished to exact from the king, was that the Frenchmen who were in the castle should be given up to 1 A.-S. C. (Peterborough), 1048.