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impossibility of the etymology, the situation would suit well enough. Weardbyrig must have been an important place, for it had a mint. Warburton, on the Mersey, has been gravely suggested, but is impossible, as it takes its name from St Werburgh.
RUNCORN has not a vestige to show of Ethelfleda's borough; but local historians have preserved some rather vague accounts of a promontory fort which once existed at the point where the London and North-Western Railway bridge enters the river. A rocky headland formerly projected here into the Mersey, narrowing its course to 400 yards at high water; a ditch with a circular curve cut off this headland from the shore. This ditch, from 12 to 16 feet wide, with an inner bank 6 or 7 feet high, could still be traced in the early part of the 19th century. Eighteen feet of the headland were cut off when the Duke of Bridgewater made his canal in 1773, and the ditch was obliterated when the railway bridge was built. From the measurements which have been preserved, the area of this fort must have been very small, not exceeding 3 acres at the outside ; ? and it is unlikely that it represented Ethelfleda's borough, as the church, which was of pre-Conquest foundation, stood outside its bounds, and we should certainly have expected to find it within. As the Norman earls of Chester established a ferry at Runcorn in the 12th century, and as a castle at Runcorn is spoken of in a mediæval document, it seems not impossible that there may have been a Norman castle on this site, as we
1 Numismatic Chronicle, 3rd S., xiii., 220.
2 Fowler's History of Runcorn gives a plan of this fort, and there is another in Hanshall's History of Cheshire, p. 418 (1817). A very different one is given in Beaumont's History of Halton.
3 Beaumont's Records of the Honour of Halton. In 1368, John Hank received the surrender of a house near to the castle in Runcorn.
HERTFORD AND WITHAM
constantly find such small fortifications placed to defend a ferry or ford. It is probable that Ethelfleda's borough was destroyed at an early period by the Northmen, for Runcorn was not a borough at Domesday, but was then a mere dependency of the Honour of Halton.
The Burhs of Edward the Elder. HERTFORD.—Two burhs were built by Edward at Hertford in 913, one on the north and the other on the south side of the river Lea. Therefore if a burh were the same thing as a motte, there ought to be two mottes at Hertford, one on each side of the river ; whereas there is only one, and that forms part of the works of the Norman castle. Mr Clark, with his usual confidence, says that the northern mound has “long been laid low";' but there is not the slightest proof that it ever existed except in his imagination.
Hertford was a borough at the time of Domesday. No earthworks remain.
WITHAM (Fig. 4).—There are some remains of a burh here which are very remarkable, as they show an inner enclosure within the outer one. They have been carefully surveyed by Mr F. C. J. Spurrell, who has published a plan of them.” ” Each enclosure formed roughly a square with much-rounded corners. The ditch round the outer work was 30 feet wide; the inner work was not ditched. The area enclosed by the outer bank was 264 acres, an enclosure much too large for a castle; the area of the inner enclosure was 91 acres. As far as is at present known, Witham is the only instance we have of an Anglo-Saxon earthwork which
1 Mediæval Military Architecture, ii., 120. 2 Essex Naturalist, January 1887.
has a double enclosure. Witham is not mentioned as a borough in Domesday Book, but the fact that it had a mint in the days of Hardicanute shows that it maintained its borough rights for more than a hundred years. The name Chipping Hill points to a market within the borough.
BUCKINGHAM is another case where a burh was built on both sides of the river, and as at Hertford, there was only one motte, the site of the castle of the Norman Giffards is now almost obliterated. The river Ouse here makes a long narrow loop to the south-west, within which stands the town, and, without doubt, this would be the site of Edward's borough. No trace is left of the second borough on the other side of the river. Buckingham is one of the boroughs of Domesday.
BEDFORD has had a motte and a Norman castle on the north side of the Quse; but this was not the site of Edward's borough, which the Chronicle tells us was placed on the south side of that river. On the south side an ancient ditch, 10 or 12 feet broad, with some traces of an inner rampart, semicircular in plan, but with a square extension, is still visible, and fills with water at flood times.' This is very likely to be the ditch of Edward's borough. Both at Bedford and Buckingham the Chronicle states that Edward spent four weeks in building the burh. Mediæval numbers must never be taken as precise; but the disproportion between four weeks and eight days, the space often given for the building of an early Norman castle, corresponds very well to the difference between the time needed to throw up the bank MALDON, TOWCESTER, WIGINGAMERE
i Danbury Camp, which has also been surveyed by Mr Spurrell (Essex Naturalist, 1890), is precisely similar in plan to Witham, but nothing is known of its history.
See Victoria History of Bedfordshire, i., 281.
and stockade of a town, and that needed for the building of an earthen and wooden castle.
Maldon.—Only one angle of the earthen bank of Edward's borough remains now, but Gough states that it was an oblong camp enclosing about 22 acres. It had rounded corners and a very wide ditch, with a bank on both scarp and counterscarp.
Maldon was a borough at Domesday ;' the king had a hall there, but there was never any castle, nor is there any trace of a motte.
Towcester (Fig. 5).-There is a motte at Towcester, but no direct evidence has yet been found for the existence of a Norman castle there, though Leland says that he was told of “certen Ruines or Diches of a Castelle.”: There was a mill and an oven to which
S the citizens owed soke,' and the value of the manor, which belonged to the king, had risen very greatly since the Conquest ;' all facts which render the existence of a Norman castle extremely likely. But there can be no question as to the nature of Edward's work at Towcèster, as the Chronicle tells us expressly that “he wrought the burgh at Towcester with a stone wall.”& Towcester lies on Watling Street, and is believed to have been the Roman station of Lactodorum. Baker gives a plan of the remains existing in his time, which may either be those of the Roman castrum or of Edward's borough.” The area is stated to be about 35 acres.
WIGINGAMERE.—This place is not yet identified, for
Morant's History of Essex, i. Three sides of the rampart were visible in his time. · D. B., ii., 5.
3 Itin., i., 12. * Baker's History of Northampton, ii., 321. 5 D. B., i., 219b.
& A.-S. C., 921. “Wrohte tha burg æt Tofeceastre mid stan wealle." Florence says 918.
? Baker, History of Northants, ii., 318. See also Haverfield, V. C. H., Northants, i., 184.
the identification with Wigmore in Herefordshire, though accepted by many respectable writers, will not stand a moment's examination. Wigmore was entirely out of Edward's beat, and he had far too much on his hands in 918 to attempt a campaign in Herefordshire. As Wigingamere appears to have specially drawn upon itself the wrath of East Anglian and Essex Danes, it must have lain somewhere in their neighbourhood. The mere which is included in the name would seem to point to that great inland water which anciently stretched southwards from the Wash into Cambridgeshire. The only approach to East Anglia from the south lay along a strip of open chalk land which lay between the great swamp and the dense forests which grew east of it." Here ran the ancient road called the Icknield way. On a peninsula which now runs out into the great fens of the Cam and the Ouse there is still a village called Wicken, 6 miles west of the Roman road; and possibly, when the land surrounding this peninsula was under water, this bight may have been called Wigingamere. This suggestion of course is merely tentative, but what gives it some probability is that the Danish army which attacked “the borough at Wigingamere” came from East Anglia as well as Mercia.?
HUNTINGDON.—The borough of Huntingdon was probably first built by the Danes, as it was only repaired by Edward. In Leland's time there were still some remains of the walls “in places.” Huntingdon is one of the burgi of Domesday.
COLCHESTER.—This of course was a Roman site, and Edward needed only to restore the walls, as the
1 Atkinson's Cambridge Described, p. I.
2 There is, however, this difficulty, that Cambridge was still occupied by a Danish force when Wigingamere was built. It submitted to Edward in 918.