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SUMMARY OF RESULTS
of Edward and Ethelfleda, but here we will briefly summarise by anticipation the results to which that chapter will lead. We see that sites defensible by nature were often seized upon for fortification, as at Bamborough, Bridgenorth, and Eddisbury ; but that this was by no means always the case, as a weak site, such as Witham, for example, was sometimes rendered defensible by works which appear to have fulfilled their purpose. In only one case (Witham) do we find an inner enclosure; and as it is of large size (9} acres) it is more probable that the outer enclosure was for cattle, than that the inner one was designed solely for the protection of the king and his court. We are not told of stone walls more than once (at Towcester); but the use of the word timbrian, which does not exclusively mean to build in wood,' does not preclude walls of stone in important places. In the square or oblong form, with rounded corners, we see the influence which Roman models exercised on eyes which still beheld them existing
We see that the main idea of the borough was the same as that of the prehistoric or British “camp of refuge,” in that it was intended for the defence of society and not of the individual. It was intended to be a place of refuge for the whole countryside. But it was also something much more than this, something which belongs to a much more advanced state of society than the hill-fort. It was a town, a place
· See Skeat's Dictionary, "Timber."
? Excavation has recently shown that many of the great hill-forts were permanently inhabited, and it is now considered improbable that they were originally built as camps of refuge. It seems more likely that this use, of which there are undoubted instances in historic times (see Cæsar, Bello Gallico, vi., 10, and v., 21), belonged to a more advanced stage of development, when population had moved down into the lower and cultivatable lands, but still used their old forts in cases of emergency.
where people were expected to live permanently and do their daily work. It provided a fostering seat for trade and manufactures, two of the chief factors in the history of civilisation. The men who kept watch and ward on the ramparts, or who sallied forth in their bands to fight the Danes, were the men who were slowly building up the prosperity of the stricken land of England. By studding the great highways of England with fortified towns, Alfred and his children were not only saving the kernel of the British Empire, they were laying the sure foundations of its future progress in the arts and habits of civilised life.
The bare list which we have given of the boroughs of Edward and Ethelfeda calls for some explanatory remarks. Let us take first the boroughs of Ethelfleda.
WORCESTER. We have already noticed the charter of Ethelred and Ethelfleda which tells of the building of the burh at Worcester. There appears to have been a small Roman settlement at Worcester, but there is no evidence that it was a fortified place. This case lends some support to the conjecture of Dr Christison, that the Saxons gave the name of chester to towns which they had themselves fortified. The mediæval walls of Worcester were probably more extensive than Ethelfeda's borough, of which no trace remains.
Chester is spoken of by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 894 as “a waste chester in Wirral.” It had undoubtedly been a Roman city, and therefore the work of Ethelred and Ethelfeda here was solely one of restoration. Brompton, who wrote at the close of the 13th century “a poor compilation of little authority,'
the first writer to state that the walls of
Ante, p. 21. 2 Haverfield, in V. C. H. Worcester, Romano-British Worcester, i. 3 Early Fortifications in Scotland, p. 105.
4 Gairdner and Mullinger, Introduction to the Study of English History, 268.