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Footway · Sawpit Green.
Foss of the Station. Bury Mount. Moat.
Old Road to Northampton
A A A
wann ZATTINT VITID V2
Fig. 5.—PLAN OF TOWCESTER ABOUT 1830.
[1'o face p. 42.
COLCHESTER AND CLEDEMUTHAN
Chronicle indicates. Colchester was placed so as to defend the river Colne, just as Maldon defended the estuary of the Blackwater. As the repair of Colchester and the successful defence of Wigingamere. were followed the same year by the submission of East Anglia, it seems not unlikely that Edward's various forces may have made a simultaneous advance, along the coast, and along the Roman road by the Fen country; but this of course is the merest conjecture, as the Chronicle gives us no details of this very important event.
CLEDEMUTHAN.—This place is only mentioned in the Abingdon MS. of the Chronicle, but the year 921 is the date given for its building. This date should probably be transposed to 918, the year in which, according to Florence, Edward subjugated East Anglia. It is well known how confused the chronology of the various versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is during the reign of Edward the Elder. Cley, in Norfolk, would be etymologically deducible from Clede (the d being frequently dropped, especially in Scandinavian districts), and the muthan points to some river estuary. Cley is one of the few havens on the north coast of Norfolk, and its importance in former times was much greater than now, as is shown not only by the spaciousness of its Early English church, but by the fact that the port has jurisdiction for 30 miles along the coast. It would be highly probable that Edward completed the subjugation of East Anglia by planting a borough at some important point. But as the real date of the fortifica
i See Mr Plummer's discussion of these variations in his edition of the Chronicle, ii., 116.
? Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of England. Mr Rye remarks :“ The silting up of the harbour has ruined a port which once promised to be of as great importance as Norwich.” History of Norfolk, p. 228.
tion of Cledemuthan is uncertain, we must be content to leave this matter in abeyance."
Stamford is another case where the borough is clearly said to have been on the side which is opposite to the one where the Norman castle stands. Edward's borough was on the south side, the motte and other remains of the Norman castle are on the north of the Welland. It is remarkable that the part of Stamford on the south side of the Welland is still a distinct liberty; it is mentioned in Domesday as the sixth ward of the borough. The line of the earthworks can still be traced in parts. The borough on the north side of the Welland was probably first walled in by the Danes, as it was one of the Five Boroughs—Stamford, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, and Derby—which appear to have formed an independent or semi-independent state in middle England. Stamford is a borough in Domesday.
NOTTINGHAM.— The first mention of a fortress in connection with Nottingham seems to suggest that it owed its origin to the Danes. In 868 the Danish host which had taken possession of York in the previous year “went into Mercia to Nottingham, and there took up their winter quarters. And Burgræd king of Mercia
1 It is really wonderful that the identification of Cledemuthan with the mouth of the Cleddy in Pembrokeshire could ever have been accepted by any sober historian. That Edward, whose whole time was fully occupied with his conquests from the Danish settlers, could have suddenly transported his forces into one of the remotest corners of Wales, would have been a feat worthy of the coming days of air-ships. William of Worcester has preserved a tradition that Edward repaired Burgh, “quae olim Saxonice dicebatur Burgh-chester," but he confuses it with Norwich. Itinerarium, 337. Is it possible that we ought to look for Cledemuthan at Burgh Castle, at the mouth of the Waveney? It would be quite in accordance with Edward's actions elsewhere to restore an old Roman castrum.
2 Leland says: “There were 7 principall Towers or Wards in the waulles of Staunford, to eche of which were certeyne freeholders in the Towne allottid to wache and ward in tyme of neadde." Itinerarium, vii., 11.
and his Witan begged of Ethelred, king of the West Saxons, and of Alfred his brother, that they would help them, that they might fight against the army. And then they went with the West Saxon force into Mercia as far as Nottingham, and there encountered the army which was in the fortress (geweorc), and besieged them there; but there was no great battle fought, and the Mercians made peace with the army. ”
Nottingham became another of the Danish Five Boroughs. The Danish host on this occasion came from York, no doubt in ships down the Ouse and up the Trent. The site would exactly suit them, as it occupied a very strong position on St Mary's Hill, a height equal to that on which the castle stands, defended on the south front by precipitous cliffs, below which ran the river Leen, and only a very short distance from the junction of the Leen with the Trent, the great waterway of middle England.? Portions of the ancient ditch were uncovered in 1890, and its outline appears to have been roughly rectangular, like the Danish camp at Shoebury. The ditch was about 20 feet wide. The area enclosed was about 39 acres.
This borough was captured by Edward the Elder in 919, when after the death of his sister Ethelfleda he advanced into Danish Mercia, taking up the work which she had left unfinished.8 The Chronicle tells us that he repaired the borough (burh), and garrisoned it with both English and Danes. Two years later, he evidently felt the necessity of fortifying the Trent itself, for he built another borough on the south side of
1 A.-S. C., 868.
3 Shipman's Old Town Wall of Nottingham, pp. 73-75. The evidence for a Roman origin of the borough is altogether too slight, as, except some doubtful earthenware bottles, no Roman remains have been found at Nottingham.
3 A.-S. C., 921. Florence of Worcester, 919.