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Title: Vestiges of the supremacy of Mercia in the south of England during the eighth century
Author: Kerslake, Thomas
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Vestiges of the supremacy of Mercia in the south of England during the eighth century" ***

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Transcriber’s Note: Minor errors of punctuation and printing have been
repaired, but the transcriber does not fancy she knows the writer’s
meaning better than he knows it himself, and has left the rest alone.

                              VESTIGES OF

                        THE SUPREMACY OF MERCIA

                        IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND

                       DURING THE EIGHTH CENTURY

                   _With T. Kerslake’s Compliments,
                            Bristol, 1879._



    1-8-9, &c.           ST. WERBURGH.

    2-14, &c.            BRISTOL.

    3-5.                 WICCIA.

    6-7.                 ANGLO-SAXON.

    10.                  FEMALE NATIONAL SAINTS.

    11, &c.              ÆTHELBALD. OFFA.

    11-12. 50.           ST. BONIFACE.

    13.                  AVON FRONTIER.

    14. 56.              BATH. HENBURY.

    15-17.               NORTH DEVON.

    18. 22.              CORNWALL.

    19-21.               ST. CUTHBERT.

    23. 25. 36, &c.      KENTISH HOO.

    26-39, &c.           CLOVESHOE.

    28-29, &c.           CLIFFE AT HOO.

    40.                  HIGHAM FERRY.

    41-42.               MIDDLESEX.

    43.                  CEALCHYTHE.

    44-45.               ACLEAH.

    46.                  PARISHES.

    47.                  WERBURGHWICK.

    49-51.               HAETHFELTH. HERUTFORD. &C.

    53-58.               ST. HELEN. OFFA.

    56-58.               HASTINGS. SUSSEX.

    59.                  LONDON.

    60-63.               DEDICATIONS.

    61.                  HOLY ROOD.

    62.                  ST. ETHELBERT. MARDEN. ST. MARY.


    Pages 24, 25 in Notes; _for_ p. 119-121, 125 _read_ 15-17, 22.

      ”   27. Note _for_ 1565 _read_ 1863.

      ”    7, line 3, _for_ “knut--” _read_ “Knut--”.

      ”   11, 12, 34, _for_ Bonifatius _prefer_ Bonifacius.

      ”   47, _for_ appanage _read_ apanage.

Various others, including some introduced after the proofs had been
finally revised by the writer, by some one who fancied he knew the
writer’s meaning better than he knows it himself.

                            VESTIGES OF THE

                          SUPREMACY OF MERCIA

                        IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND

                      DURING THE EIGHTH CENTURY.

               (_Reprinted from the Transactions of the
                      Bristol and Gloucestershire
                       Archæological Society_).

                           _Bristol_, 1879.



    “… residual phenomena …, the small concentrated residues
    of great operations in the arts are almost sure to be the
    lurking-places of new chemical ingredients.… It was a happy
    thought of Glauber to examine what everybody else threw
    away.”--SIR J. F. W. HERSCHELL.

Having sometimes said that the date of the original foundation of the
lately-demolished church of St. Werburgh, in the centre of the ancient
walled town of Bristol, was the year 741, and that a building so called
has, from that early date, always stood on that spot, I have been asked
how I know it. I have answered; by the same evidence--and the best
class of it--as the most important events of our national history, of
the three centuries in which that date occurs, are known. That is,
by necessary inference from the very scanty records of those times,
confirmed by such topical monumental evidence as may have survived. But
this fact in itself is, also, of considerable importance to our own
local history; because, if it should be realized, it would be the very
earliest solid date that has yet been attached to the place that we
now call Bristol. We are accustomed to speak, with a certain amount of
popular pride, of “Old Bristol,” and in like manner of “Old England,”
but without considering which is the oldest of the two. The position
here attempted would give that precedence to Bristol.

       *       *       *       *       *

It need scarcely be mentioned that what we now call England is no other
than an enlargement of the ancient kingdom of the West Saxons, by the
subjugation and annexation of the other kingdoms of the southern part
of the island. A subjugation of which the result is that our now
ruling sovereign is the successor, as well as descendant, of the Saxon
Kings of Wessex, and of the supremacy which they ultimately achieved.
Of course this was only the final effect of a long series of political
revolutions. It was preceded by others that had promised a different
upshot: one of which was the long-threatened supremacy of the Anglian
kingdom of Mercia; by Penda, a Pagan king, and afterwards, during the
long reigns of Æthelbald and Offa, his Christian successors in his
kingdom and aggressive policy.

One of two fates awaits a supplanted dynasty: to be traduced, or to be
forgotten. Although this milder one has been the lot of the Mercian
Empire, yet it is believed that distinct, and even extensive, traces
can still be discerned, beyond the original seat of its own kingdom, of
its former supremacy over the other kingdoms of England. In fact, this
name itself of “England,” still co-extensive with this former Anglian
supremacy over the Saxons, is a glorious monumental legacy of that
supremacy, which their later Saxon over-rulers never renounced, and
which has become their password to the uttermost parts of the earth.

But it is with the encroachments of Æthelbald upon Wessex that we are
in the first instance concerned. South of Mercia proper was another
nation called Huiccia, extending over the present counties of Worcester
and Gloucester, with part of Warwickshire and Herefordshire, and having
the Bristol river Avon for its southern boundary. It is barely possible
that it may have included a narrow margin between that river and the
Wansdyke, which runs along the south of that river, at a parallel of
from two to three miles from it; but of this no distinct evidence
has been found. Some land, between the river and Wansdyke, did in
fact belong to the Abbey of Bath, which is itself on the north of the
river, but that this is said to have been bought--“mercati sumus digno
praetio”--from Kenulf, King of the West Saxons[1], makes it likely that
it was the river that had been the tribal boundary.

Until divided from Gloucester by King Henry VIII., the Bishopric
of Worcester substantially continued the territory, and the present
name of Worcester = Wigorceaster = Wigorniæ civitas (A.D. 789), no
doubt transmits, although obscurely, the name of Huiccia; and the
church there contained (A.D. 774) “pontificalis Cathedra Huicciorum.”
The name may even remain in “Warwick,” and especially in “Wickwar” =
Huiccanwaru; but such instances must not be too much trusted, as there
are other fruitful sources of “wick,” in names. In Worcestershire
names, however, “-wick” and “-wich” as testimonials are abundant.
Droitwich = “Uuiccium emptorium” (A.D. 715), almost certainly is so
derived, in spite of its ambiguous contact with the great etymological
puzzle of the “Saltwiches.”[2]

At all events, within a hundred years from Ceawlin’s first subjugation
of it, Saxon Wiccia had become entirely subject to Anglian Mercia. But
there can be no doubt that its earliest Teutonic settlers were West
Saxons. Even now, any one of us West Saxons, who should wander through
Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, would recognise his own dialect.
He would, perhaps, say they “speak finer” up here, but he would feel
that his ears are still at home. If he should, however, advance into
Derbyshire, or Staffordshire, or Eastern Shropshire, he would encounter
a musical cadence, or song, which, though far from being unpleasant
from an agreeable voice, would be very strange to him. He would, in
fact, have passed out of Wiccia into Mercia proper: from a West-Saxon
population into one of original Anglian substratum.

What was the earlier political condition of Wiccia before it fell under
the dominion of Mercia: whether it was ever for any time an integral
part of the kingdom of Wessex, or a distinct subregulate of it, is
uncertain. Two of the earlier pagan West-Saxon inroads (A.D. 577-584)
were of this region, and happened long before that race had penetrated
Somerset. It is not to be believed that any part of later Somerset,
south of Avon, was included in either of these two pagan conquests
of Ceawlin; nor even the south-west angle of Gloucestershire itself,
that forms the separate elevated limestone ridges between the Bristol
Frome and the Severn. There are some other reasons for believing that
these heights immediately west of Bristol--say, Clifton, Henbury, and
northward along the Ridgeway to about Tortworth--remained, both Welsh
and Christian, for nearly a century afterwards; and that they were only
reduced to Teutonic rule along with the subjection of Saxon Wiccia
itself to Anglian Mercia. The record in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
of the conquest of A.D. 577 plainly indicates the course of it, by
the names of the places concerned--Bath, Dyrham, Cirencester, and
Gloucester. It was not any river that was the instrument of advance;
but, flanked and supported by the ancient Foss-way, the continuous
elevated table-land of the southern limb of the Cotswolds, still
abounding with remains of military occupations of yet earlier peoples.
This is separated from the more western height by a broad belt of low
land, then a weald or forest, since known as Kingswood; which, the line
of the places named in the annal of the conquest, plainly indicates
to have been purposely avoided: the district west of it, therefore
still continued British. As to Ceawlin’s second expedition, A.D. 584,
it most probably extended from Gloucester to the country between
Severn and Wye, as far as Hereford,[3] and into the now Saxon-speaking
Worcestershire. But that Ceawlin followed the Severn, and penetrated
Cheshire to an unimportant place called “Faddiley,” is not only
unlikely, but rests entirely on a single philological argument,
concerning that name, too refined and unpractical for the burden laid
upon it[4], and inconsistent with the later associations of the name

But if Wiccia became West-Saxon in 577-584, it did not long remain
undisturbed by its Anglian northern neighbour. About fifty years later
(A.D. 628), it is recorded in the Chronicle, that the rulers of Wessex
and Mercia, fought at Cirencester, “and then compromised.” This shews
that hitherto, for fifty years, all Wiccia had been ruled by Wessex:
also that, except what reduction of territory may be represented by
a Mercian inroad as far as Cirencester, it still continued under
Wessex. But although this exception itself did not last many years
longer, this is enough to account for our finding a Saxon people under
Anglian government. In another fifty years, Wiccia is found to have
become a subregulate, governed by Mercian sub-kings, and constituted a
separate Bishopric, an offshoot from Mercian Lichfield; and from that
time the kings of Mercia and their sub-reguli are found dealing with
lands in various parts of Wiccia, even to the southern frontier, as
at Malmesbury and Bath; and by a charter of Æthelred, King of Mercia,
dated by Dr. Hickes, A.D. 692, the newly instituted cathedral in the
city of Weogorna, is endowed with land at a place well-known to us by
what was, even then said to be an “ancient name,” Henbury (“vetusto
vocabulo nuncupatur heanburg.”[5])

Much needless demur, if not excitement, has of late years been stirred
up by some of the learned,[6] at the name “Anglo-Saxon,” for the oldest
condition of English. They allege that this designation is “a most
unlucky one,” and that in the first half of this century it was the
cause of a “crass ignorance” of the true relations of continuity in
this nation before and after the Norman conquest. Those who remember
that time, well know that this imputed ignorance did not prevail: that
if the most ordinary schoolboy, had then been asked, why William was
called “the Conqueror,” he would have at once, rightly or wrongly,
answered “because he conquered us,” and that he was only less detested
than “Buonaparte,” because he was at that time farther away. They have
now lived to be astonished to find that, by their own confession, the
higher scholars of this later age are terrified by a fear of confusion
in this rudimentary piece of learning. So these learned men put
themselves into the most ludicrous passions, and--let us try to humour
them--King “knut”-like scoldings at the tide, and Dame Partingtonian
mop-twirlings, to cure us of such a dangerous old heresy. For old
it is, and deeply rooted. Those “Anglo-Saxon” kings who assumed the
supreme rule of the kingdoms of both races, so called themselves:
and the entire “Anglo-Saxon” literature has been only so known in
modern Europe, for the last three centuries; not only at home, but in
Germany, Denmark, France, and wherever it has ever appeared in print.
Yet another most learned and acute and sober Professor has been lately
tempted to join the “unlucky” cry: saying that “It is like calling
Greek, Attico-Ionian.”[7] Why “Greek?” Why not “Hellenic?” Is not
“Greek” an exotic, and as barbarous as “Attico-Ionian” or “Anglo-Saxon?”

But in our concern with the Wiccians we are exempt from this newly
raised dispute. Here we have a great colony of a Saxon people who very
soon fell under the dominion of Anglian kings, and so remained until a
later revolution, the final supremacy of Wessex, made them once more
Saxon subjects. The Wiccians, at any rate however, had become literally
Anglo-Saxon: a Saxon people under Anglian rule. Shakespear was a
Wiccian, born and bred--if one, who has taught us so much more than any
breeding could have taught him, can be said to have been bred amongst
us--at any rate he was born a Wiccian, and thereby an Anglo-Saxon, in
the natural and indisputable sense: a sense earlier, stricter, and
more real than that which afterwards extended the phrase to the entire
kingdom. Wiccia was no doubt colonized by the Saxons, while the Saxons
were yet pagan; and afterwards christianized by their Anglian Mercian
subjugators. Not so the Saxons of Somerset, who were already Christians
when they first penetrated that province.[8]

Subsequent annals of the Chronicle shew that Wessex long remained
impatient of the loss of Wiccia. In A.D. 715, a battle is shortly
mentioned at a place, usually, and not impossibly, said to be
Wanborough, a remarkable elevation within the fork of two great Roman
ways a few miles south of Swindon. But our business is with three later
entries in the Chronicle, for the three successive years 741, 742, and
743; of which the first for A.D. 741, will be first here submitted as
the record of the final subjection of Wiccia, and the establishment
of the Bristol Avon as the permanent southern frontier of Mercia. The
other two Annals will then be otherwise disposed of.

These are the words of the Chronicle:--

    A.D. 741. Now Cuthred succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom, and
    held it sixteen years, and he contended hardly with Æthelbald,
    King of the Mercians.

    A.D. 742. Now was a great Synod gathered at Cloveshou, and
    Æthelbald, King of the Mercians was there, and Cutbert,
    Archbishop [of Canterbury], and many other wise men.

    A.D. 743. Now Æthelbald, King of the Mercians, and Cuthred,
    King of the West-Saxons fought with the Welsh.

We have in these three Annals a specimen of that condensed form and
style, that is common to this ancient text and still more venerable
primæval records; and which invites and justifies attempts to interpret
them by the help of any existing external monuments.

There are still known in England thirteen dedications of churches or
chapels in the name of St. Werburgh, although, perhaps, not more than
half of them are any longer above ground.[9] Seven, however, out of the
thirteen are within the counties of Stafford, Chester, Shropshire, and
Derbyshire: that is, they are within the original kingdom of Mercia,
wherein, as the posthumous renown of the saint never extended beyond
a nation, or rather a dynasty, that long since has been extinct and
forgotten, we might have expected to have found them all. But the
other six are extraneous, and three of them great stragglers. These
must have owed their origin to political and military extensions of
the influence of that kingdom, and these, it is intended to show, are
found in places where Æthelbald, one of the three Mercian aspirants
for English empire, has made good a conquest. This dedication may,
therefore, be believed to have been his usual method of making his mark
of possession.

St. Werburgh was the daughter of Wulfhere, the second Christian King
of Mercia, who was the son of Penda, the last pagan King. Æthelbald
was the grandson of Eawa, a brother of Penda, probably the Eoba, who,
in the Annales Cambriæ, A.D. 644, is himself called “rex Merciorum;”
so that Æthelbald and Werburgh were what we should call second
cousins.[10] Wulfhere, A.D. 675, was succeeded by his brother Æthelred,
who placed his niece Werburgh at the head of three great convents of
women, with a sort of general spiritual charge of the female portion
of the newly christianised kingdom. She is said to have died about
A.D. 700, for it is noted that on opening her coffin in the year 708,
her body, after eight years, was found unaltered, and her vestments
undefiled; and from this time, sealed by this reputed miracle, the
renown of her sanctity soon grew to beatification; and when, eight
years afterwards, her kinsman Æthelbald began his reign, she had
achieved the reputation and precedence of the latest national saint.
She was, however, one of a family of whom many of the women have
transmitted their names, from immediately after their deaths to our
own times, attached to religious foundations. Among these, that of her
aunt, St. Audry, still lives in Ely Cathedral: and this example may
serve as a crutch to those who find it hard to realise the unbroken
duration of churches, with these names, direct from the very ages in
which the persons who bore them lived; for the continuity of this
name at Ely is a matter of open and undisputed history, unaided by
mere inference, such as our less conspicuous case requires. There are
some, also, who stumble at finding all the female saints of particular
provinces to have been members of one royal family. But of this we
have an analogy pervading the entire area of our own every-day life,
in the active assistance in all benevolent purposes, received by the
clergyman of nearly every parish, from the leisured daughters of the
more wealthy families. In those missionary days, the kingdoms of the
newly-converted rulers were the only parishes, and the king and his
family were as the squire and his family are now; and the greater
lustre, which then shone out around the name of each, was as that of a
little candle, in their wider world, compared with what would be its
effect in a general illumination now. The earlier British churches
have presented us with the same phenomenon. The numerous progeny, of
children and grand-children, of Brychan of Brecknock, have nearly all
left their names in many churches in South Wales, and even in the
opposite promontory of Cornwall and Devon.

The historical facts of the name and local fame of this royal personage
are all that we are concerned with. Otherwise, in some later times, it
has been adorned with the usual amount of miraculous fable. The most
notable of the miracles credited to her is, that one of her corn-fields
being continually ravaged by flocks of geese, at her mere command
they went into voluntary exile. As this is said to have happened near
Chester, it is easy to refer the story to the monks there, who alone
were interested in gilding her shrine with it; and her relics were not
translated there till nearly two hundred years after her death. At any
rate, the citizens of Bristol are living witnesses that her name is no
safeguard of her heritage against the devastations of wasteful bipeds,
who are not only unwise, but also unfledged. This imputed miracle is
more transparent than is always the case with such embellishments of
the lives of those who were the first to accept the new faith, and to
promote it with active earnestness. In it may, at once, be discerned an
ordinary incident of her pastoral or predial economy, exaggerated to a
miracle in an age which preferred supernatural to natural causes.

The career of Æthelbald is, of course, more widely known, holding,
as it does, a prominent place in the general history of the times.
His reign extended from A.D. 716 to 755, and was chiefly employed in
extending his sovereignty by the subjugation of neighbouring kingdoms,
and by his munificent patronage of the church. In the first year of
his reign, he at once showed a disposition to commemorate his own
friends, by dedicating churches in their names, by using this method of
perpetuating, at Croyland, the recent memory of Guthlac, his kinsman
and protector in exile. It seems, however, that the pagan manners of
the northern mythology are not purged for several generations after
conversion: but, as appears from another example, of the practical
paganism of the Dukes of Normandy, down to our William the Mamzer,
unless attended with more than the average cruelty and injustice of the
times, meet with only a qualified reproach, until they are in conflict
with church discipline and law. The celebrated severe, but friendly and
respectful epistolary rebuke from Bonifatius,[11] Archbishop of Mainz,
contains a heavy indictment against both Æthelbald and his predecessor
Coelred, and their courts, while it acknowledges his prosperity,
munificence to the church, and his just administration.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having these specially national or tribal circumstances in view, it
is thought that the six dedications of St. Werburgh that are found
beyond the original Mercia must have had special causes, which it is
believed can be found in the transactions that are recorded in the
three successive Annals of the Chronicle above recited; and that the
dedications and the Annals will therefore be found to mutually account
for each other. The seven churches within Mercia, without any doubt
each has its own history, mostly connected with Æthelbald: perhaps
all except the present Chester Cathedral, which arose out of the
translation, nearly two hundred years later, of her relics to that
place, from her original shrine in one of her three convents. But these
home dedications do not fall within our purview, which is limited to
the wanderers.

When the Chronicle, A.D. 741, says that Cuthred of Wessex contended
with Æthelbald of Mercia, it can only mean that he attempted a reprisal
of some portion of Wiccia: but it appears from the Annal of 743, that
in the two years the combatants had become allies. The frontier between
Mercia and Wessex had been finally determined; and there we find the
name of Æthelbald’s recently beatified kinswoman, thrice repeated,
along his own north bank of the Avon--at Bath, at Bristol, and at
Henbury. It should be noticed that otherwise than these three, thus
placed with an obvious purpose, none whatever are found throughout the
whole length and breadth of Wiccia, the other seven being scattered
within Mercia proper.[12] It is hence inferred that these three
dedications are contemporary with each other, and the immediate result
of the transaction of A.D. 741. It may also be worth noting that one
of the still surviving dedications of St. Werburgh within Mercia, at
Warburton, is similarly situated within the northern frontier, the
river Mersey; and probably records a similar result of Æthelbald’s
inroad of Northumbria, entered in the Chronicle at the earlier date of
737: also, according to Bæda, A.D. 740.[13]

The St. Werburgh at Bath is no longer in existence, but its site is
still on record. It was less than a quarter of a mile north of the
Roman town, and about a quarter of a mile from the departure of the
western Roman road, now called Via Julia, from the Foss Way, and
between them, and very near to both.[14]

What was the condition of the spot now occupied by Bristol, in the
centre of which, until yesterday, for nearly eleven hundred and fifty
years, the church with this name has stood, when it was first planted
there, this is not the place to discuss. A century-and-a-half earlier
(A.D. 577), Bath, as we have seen, had been occupied by the West
Saxons, and had no doubt so continued, until this advance southward
of Æthelbald’s frontier also absorbed that city, or certainly its
northern suburb, into Mercia. A great highway, of much earlier date
than the times here being considered, skirted the southern edge of
the weald that we only know as Kingswood; and at least approached the
neck of the peninsula--projecting into a land-locked tidal lagoon,
not a swamp, flooded by the confluence, at the crest of the tide, of
Frome and Avon--upon which stands Bristol, and which has been hitherto
crowned with Æthelbald’s usual symbol of Mercian dominion. As long ago
as ships frequented the estuary of the Severn--ages before the times
we are considering--it is inconceivable that the uncommon advantages
of this haven could have been unknown. A British city had, no doubt,
already existed for unknown ages on the neighbouring heights west
of the lagoon; and there is a reason, too long to set forth here,
to believe that the sheltered Bristol peninsula itself was used,
by the West-Saxons of Ceawlin’s settlement at Bath, as an advanced
frontier towards the Welsh of West Gloucestershire, long before it
was appropriated by Mercia. It was, perhaps, already a town before
Æthelbald planted upon it one of his limitary sanctuaries, having,
_more Saxonico_, a fortress on the isthmus, upon which the great
square Norman tower of Robert the Consul was afterwards raised.

All that is known of the sanctuary at Henbury is, that it was one
of the chapels to Westbury, confirmed to Worcester Cathedral by Bp.
Simon (A.D. 1125-50), and is described in his charter as “capella
sancte Wereburge super montem Hembirie sita.”[15] This is in that
south-western limb of Gloucestershire, bounded by the Frome, Avon, and
Severn, and separated by Kingswood Forest, which it has already been
suggested was never Saxon, but remained Welsh until subdued by Mercia.

So that as the only examples of this dedication to be found south
of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, are the three which line the north
shore of the Avon, the new frontier of Wessex and Mercia; the entire
district of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and all the intervening
country, from east to west, being totally without them; these three
are manifestly arrayed in one line for a special purpose. The record,
of the contest of Wessex and Mercia, contained in the Annal of A.D.
741, is thus accounted for in this monument of its result. Three more
distant St. Werburghs remain, of which two will now be appropriated to
that of A.D. 743. The one for A.D. 742, passed over for the present,
will afterwards be shewn to involve the remaining sixth.

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be remembered that, in the year 743, the Chronicle shews
Æthelbald and Cuthred, who two years earlier had been fighting each
other, now united, by perhaps an analogue of a Russo-Turkish alliance,
against an enemy who, while Cuthred had been engaged with his Teutonic
rival, had become troublesome in his rear, and dangerous to both.
Under this year, 743, it says “Now Æthelbald King of the Mercians and
Cuthred King of the West Saxons fought with the Welsh.” It does not
say which of the then surviving three great bodies of the Welsh, who
had been pressed into the great western limbs of the island, that are
geographically divided from each other by the estuary of the Severn
and the great bay of Lancashire; but none can be meant but the
Damnonian or Cornish Britons--the “Welsh” of the West Saxon Cuthred.
No more of Devon could then have been held by the West Saxons than the
fruitful southern lowlands, easily accessible from Somerset and Dorset,
and from the south-coast. Most or all of Cornwall, and the highlands of
Dartmoor and Exmoor, extending into north-west Somerset, still remained
British or Welsh; as for the most part in blood, though not in speech,
they do to this day.

Written history is silent as to the parts separately taken by the
allies in this contest; but other tokens of that of the Mercian are
extant; and the two dedications of St. Werburgh that will next engage
us are among the most significant. A glance at Mercia and the extent of
the provinces annexed thereto by conquest, betrays a ruling political
aim at obtaining access to the great seaports. Besides the Humber with
Trent, and the Mersey, and, as we shall see below, the Medway, and the
Thames itself; what is more to our purpose, we have found it already in
possession of Bristol, added to Gloucester and the mouth of the Wye.
An aggressive kingdom, with this policy, needs no chronicle to tell
us that ships were abundant; and that at least it must have been able
to command the transport service of a large mercantile fleet. It will
readily be understood that one of Æthelbald’s strategies, in aid of his
ally against his Damnonian insurgents, would be, to outflank the ally
himself; and establish a cordon across his rear. This was effected by
transporting, from his Wiccian ports on the Severn, to the north coast
of Devon, a large migration of his own people; who not only occupied
the district between the Dartmoor highlands and the north coast, not
yet Teutonized by Wessex; but possessed themselves of the entire line
across the western promontory, between Dartmoor and the Tamar, as far
as the south sea near Plymouth.

Of this strategic movement several strong indications remain upon the
face of the district; which it is thought, mutually derive increased
force from their accumulation. One of them is the existence, at
the outposts of this expedition, of two of Æthelbald’s favourite
dedications of his kinswoman. One, at Warbstow, stands at the western
extremity of an incroachment of about eight miles beyond the Tamar,
near Launceston, into Cornwall--still visible in our county maps,
in the abstraction of an entire parish from the western side of the
otherwise frontier river, by an abnormal projection beyond it. The
other is at Wembury, where the church is finely situated on the
sea-cliff of the eastern lip of Plymouth Sound. These two examples of
the dedication, which was the favourite stamp of the conqueror’s heel,
mark therefore the western and southern extremities of the assumed

Another trace of this great unwritten Mercian descent upon Damnonia,
may be discerned in the structure, as well as the constituents, of
the place-names that cover the invaded district. The country, between
the central highlands of Devon and the north-west coast of Devon and
north-east of Cornwall, is not only secluded into an angular area
bounded by the sea; but lies quite out of the course of the torrent of
West Saxon advance westward: which indeed had been evidently checked
by the Dartmoor heights. It might have been expected, therefore,
except for the explanation now offered, that this district would have
retained a strong tincture of its original Celtic condition, in that
lasting index of race-occupancy its place-names. In this respect it
might have presented the appearance of having been conquered, but
not of a complete replacement of population. On the contrary, at the
first glance of a full-named map, or in a passage through it, the
entire district is surprisingly English. Besides this, the place-names
have not only conspicuous peculiarities of structure, that at once
distinguish this district from that of the West Saxons south and
east of Dartmoor; but these recur with such uncommon frequency and
uniformity, stopped by almost arbitrary limits, as to be manifestly due
to a simultaneous descent of a very large population, at once spreading
themselves over the whole of an extensive region.

One of these notes of a great and simultaneous in-migration, is the
termination of names in “-worthy;” which literally swarms over the
entire tract of country between the Torridge and the Tamar. It is
continued with no less frequency into that abnormal loop of the Devon
frontier, which having crossed the Tamar stretches away towards
the St. Werburgh dedication at Warbstow, and may be assumed to have
been afterwards conceded to a condensed English speaking population
already in possession; when, two hundred years later, King Athelstan
determined that frontier. Others of these names are found scattered
down southwards, over the western foot of Dartmoor, towards the
southern St. Werburgh at Wembury, near Plymouth Sound. It is thought
that this Devonshire “-worthy” is a transplant of the “-wardine” or
“-uerdin” so frequent on the higher Severn and the Wye; changed during
the long weaning from its cradle. In Domesday Book the orthography
of the Devonshire “-worthys” and the “-wardines” of Worcestershire,
Herefordshire, and Shropshire, was still almost identical, and their
orthographical variations flit round one centre common to both. There
is a “Hene_verdon_” at Plympton, close to Wembury.

Another ending of names, also noticeable on the score of constant
repetition over this large though limited area, is “-stow,” found
annexed to the names of church-towns as the equivalent of the Cornish
prefix “Lan-” and the Welsh “Llan-.” Another very numerous termination
is “-cot.” But, with regard to these two, it should be mentioned, as
a remarkable difference from the case of “-worthy,” that “-worthy”
almost ceases abruptly with the Tamar boundary, except that it follows
the Devon encroachments above mentioned across that river; whilst the
“-stow” and “-cot” continue over the north-east angle of Cornwall
itself to the sea. Although this observation does not conflict with our
Mercian in-migration, it is not accounted for by it. It may indicate
successive expeditions or reinforcements, after Æthelbald’s; occurring
as they do beyond his Warbstow outpost. One incident of this disregard
of the frontier, occurs in a difference of the behaviour of “-stow”
on the two sides of it, and may be worth noting for its own sake. On
the Devon side of the Tamar is a “Virginstow,” with a dedication of
St. Bridget: on the Cornish side of the boundary is “Morwenstow,”
preserving “morwen,” understood to be the Cornish word for “virgin.” So
that this English “-stow” is found added to both the English and the
Cornish name, each derived from a pre-existent church, dedicated to a
female saint. The dedication of the present Morwenstow church appears
to be uncertain; but Dr. Borlase and Dr. Oliver have both found, in
Bishop Stafford’s Register, note of a former chapel of St. Mary in the

It is not meant that these three name-marks are not to be found in
other parts of England: on the contrary, we shall hereafter see Mercian
operations in other counties sufficient to account for a very wide
sprinkling of them. What is here dwelt upon is the unexampled crowding
of them, showing simultaneous colonisation upon a great scale. Another,
but smaller, group of “-worthy” and “-cot,” occurs on the Severn
coast of Somerset, about Minehead, indicating another naval descent
of Mercia. In fact, although the great swarm above described occurs
between the Torridge and the Tamar, two distinct trains flow from it:
one, as before said, over the west foot of Dartmoor to the south sea:
another along the Severn coast, eastward, ending with the Minehead or
Selworthy group; and does not crop up again until in Gloucestershire it
is found in its home midland form of Sheepwardine, and Miserden.

Another example of this sort of connection of Mercia with Cornwall and
south-west England may be briefly cited. Among the few--not more than
six or eight--non-Celtic, but national or non-Catholic, dedications
in Cornwall, is one of St. Cuthbert; a name that is also continued in
“Cubert,” the secular name of the town. It is situated in one of the
promontories that so boldly project into the sea on the north coast
of Cornwall, but farther westward than the English footsteps above
noted. A very learned and acute writer[16] could not make out how
“St. Cuthbert has made his way from Lindisfarn to Wells;” and says,
perhaps truly, that it “does not imply a Northumbrian settlement in
Somerset.” But St. Cuthbert at Wells, might reasonably be left to the
cross-examination of historians, or neighbours, of that place; and if
judiciously and reverently questioned, by the help of what is here
said, would possibly give a good account of himself.

It is quite true, as might have been expected, that St. Cuthbert is
much more often found at his home in Northumbria than in the south-west
of England. In the south-eastern counties he has not been found at
all: but over the midland counties, and all down through the western
ones he is thinly sprinkled all the way. Between Humber and Mersey,
and Tweed and Solway, forty-three can be named if required, and Bishop
Forbes adds many from his side of the border. Derbyshire has one at
Doveridge, near the Mercian royal castle of Tutbury; Warwickshire one
at Shustoke, eight miles south of another villa regia at Tamworth;
Leicestershire, Notts, Beds, have each one; Lincoln and Norfolk two
each; Worcestershire perhaps one in the name “Cudbergelawe;”[17]
Gloucestershire, one at Siston by Pucklechurch, and probably a second
in the name “Cuberley;” Herefordshire two, or three? Somerset one at
Wells; Dorset one, or two? Devon one, Cornwall one.

This condensed statement of a series of facts, constitutes one of
the phenomena of our argument; and shall here be accounted for by an
observation, to which there will, further on, be occasion to revert.
Whatever may have been the causes, there was a more intimate earlier
intercourse between the Anglian kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia,
than between them and the more southern or Saxon kingdoms; so that,
in fact, the hagiology of Northumberland is found to have infiltrated
into that of Mercia. Sometimes the intercourse was hostile, and of
this St. Oswald’s prevalence in Cheshire, Shropshire, &c., is an
instance historically known. Another cause might be collected from
a study of any pedigree tables of the rulers of the two kingdoms.
A later action of this mutuality appears in the dedications of the
Northumbrian Alkmond, found in towns built by Æthelfled, who, Amazon
though she be reputed, confessed her womanhood in her _cultus_ of the
child-martyr, as at her town of Derby and Shrewsbury. When, therefore,
we find Northumbrian dedications in these unlikely southern regions, we
are not driven to “imply a Northumbrian settlement,” but a sprout of
Northumbrian hagiology, replanted along with a Mercian settlement.

Midway between Wells and Somerton is Glastonbury. The Chronicle
published by Hearne as John of Glastonbury, says that Æthelbald
“rex Merciorum,” A.D. 744, gave to Abbot Tumbert, and the Familia
at Glaston, lands at “Gassing and Bradelegh.”[18] Bradley is known
and plain enough, and adjoins the Foss Way, near Glastonbury and
Somerton; the other place is variously, and very corruptly written:
once “Seacescet.” But there is still better evidence that at this
time the supremacy of Æthelbald of Mercia was acknowledged in this
district of Wessex. A charter, also dated A.D. 744, of a gift of land
at “Baldheresberge et Scobbanuuirthe”--Baltonsburg and, as some say,
Shapwick--to Glastonbury, by a lady called Lulla, with the licence of
Æthelbald, “qui Britannicæ insulæ monarchiam dispensat.” The first
signature is Æthelbald’s, followed by Cuthred of Wessex “annuens;”
after which other witnesses, including Herewald, Bishop of Sherborne.
It is printed in the Monasticon[19] and by Mr. Kemble,[20] both from
the same manuscript, but with many slight variations in orthography
which seem to be arbitrary in either. Mr. Kemble prints “Hilla,” but
John of Glastonbury has “Lulla,” and so have both Dugdale and the
new Monasticon. Mr. Kemble puts his star stigma but, although not
of contemporary clerkships, it must transmit, in substance, a more
ancient deed, and is at least an accumulative ancient and written
confirmation of the external evidence already given of the supremacy
of Mercia in this part of Wessex, and the subordination of Cuthred,
even within the territory allotted to him at the contest of A.D. 741.
Observe, in passing, an example, in the name “Scobbanuuirthe,” of the
Mercian--“-uuerdin”--in a transition form towards the “-worthy” of
North Devon.

At all events, it is not to be wondered at that we should find a St.
Cuthbert on the north coast of Cornwall, among the other symptoms
that have been given of a Mercian settlement there. But one in Devon
deserves some particular notice; because it is found identified with
one of the examples of “-worthy” which is an outlier, and far away
from the crowd that has been so much dwelt upon. These two tests of
Mercian influence have indeed travelled far away from their fellows,
but travelled together. It is at Widworthy, in the eastern corner of
the county, between Honiton and Axminster, where the dedication and
the termination, although compatriots, are both strangers together.
No chronicle explains this, though no doubt it has a story never yet
written. But it seems cruel to forsake the St. Cuthbert at Wells to
account for itself, unhelped. After all that has been lately said, and
insisted upon, to the contrary, what if it should turn out that the
“Sumertun” of the Annal of A.D. 733, was Somerton in Somersetshire,
twelve miles south of Wells, as our deprecated obsolete schoolbooks
used to teach us? Another twenty-five miles reaches Widworthy. The then
existing Foss-Way, which, even in its grass-grown abandoned fragments,
is still a broad and practicable travelling road, passes within a very
few miles of Wells, Glastonbury, Somerton, and Widworthy.

       *       *       *       *       *

But a more substantial evidence, of a long continuance of Mercian
influence beyond the Tamar, is not wanting: and even of its great
extension farther westward, down to the time of King Alfred. A large
hoard of coins and gold and silver ornaments was found near St. Austell
in 1774; and a description and tabulation was lately published, by
Mr. Rashleigh of Menabilly, of 114 coins that were rescued from the
scramble.[21] Of these, no less than 60 were of Mercian Kings (A.D.
757-874), whilst only seventeen belong to the then dominant West-Saxon
sole monarchs (A.D. 800 to Alfred), and one to Northumbria.

Add to these notes of the Anglian--and not Saxon--kinship of the
English population of north-east Cornwall, the recurrence in that
county of what, to uncritical ears, has a great likeness to the song or
musical cadence already mentioned as met with in Mercia proper. West
Saxons who had seen the first production of the comedy of “John Bull,”
used to tell us with much relish, how this peculiarity was imitated
upon the stage: and, in spite of the friction of an active scholastic
career, it is still occasionally discernible in cathedral pulpits. It
has even maintained, to recent times, a feeling among the West Saxons
of Devon that a Cornishman is, in some degree, a foreigner. What again
about the “Cornish hug” in wrestling?[22] so strongly contrasted with
the hold-off grip of the collar or shoulders, and the “fair back-fall”
which is the pride of the Devonshire champion. It has nothing to do
with the erudite difference of Celt and Teuton. The men of Devon--such
as Drake and Raleigh[23]--have nearly as much Celtic blood as those
of Cornwall. Cornishmen are fond of saying that their English speech
is more correct than that of Devon: by which they mean, that their
dialect is nearer to the one that has had the luck to run into printed
books. Perhaps it is more Anglian and less Saxon. After a neighbourship
of nearly twelve hundred years, let them now shake hands and be
Anglo-Saxons: or Englishmen, if they prefer it, and wish to include the
super-critics in their greeting.

       *       *       *       *       *

Five out of the six extraneous dedications of St. Werburgh have now
been referred to the active presence of Æthelbald, at the places where
they are found, especially in connection with his exploits as they
are obscurely recorded in the two Anglo-Saxon Annals of the years 741
and 743. The sixth, and last, of them remains, in like manner, to be
brought into contact with him, and with the other recited Annal of the
intermediate year, 742. We left three of the dedications as sentinels
of their founder’s conquest of his southern frontier of Wiccia. Two
more were at the more distant duty, of keeping guard over his strategic
settlement, on the western rear of Wessex. The one yet to be dealt with
is that of a church still known by the name of that saint, yet more
distant from her Mercian home; in the extreme south-eastern county of
Kent: and it only remains to enquire what business it has had; not only
so far away from its midland cradle, but also from the abiding places
of its fellow wanderers.

Perhaps this would have been a much shorter task than either of the
others, but that, at this part of the enquiry, our path is crossed by
a controversy that began nearly three centuries ago, and has been ever
since maintained with more or less warmth; and with so much learning,
and variety of opinion, that the only point of approach, to unanimity
among the contenders seems to be an acknowledgment that they have each
left it unsettled. Yet this includes the question before us; whether
or not the Annal 742 of the Chronicle really concerns that part of the
island wherein the last of our outlying series of St. Werburghs has
come to our hands. It is, indeed, believed that the newly-imported fact
itself, of our finding this dedication where it is, may be a weighty
contribution to the settlement of the question; yet the controversy
has been so long carried on, and has involved so great an array of
authoritative and orthodox scholarship; that we can only presume to
pass it, by carefully and respectfully over-climbing it, and not by a
contemptuous Remusian leap.

This remaining sixth St. Werburgh is situated within that small
peninsula of the north shore of Kent, which is insulated by the mouths
of the Thames and Medway. In fact, it is not unlike a tongue in a
mouth, of which Essex and the Isle of Sheppey are as the teeth or
gums. A line from Rochester bridge to Gravesend would separate more
than the entire district from the mainland: indeed it is all of the
county of Kent that is north of Rochester. It consists of an elevated
chalk promontory, about ten or twelve miles from east to west, and
four from north to south, inclosing several small fertile valleys:
added to which, on the north or Thames front, is a broad alluvial
level or marsh, within the estuary of that river, of several miles
in width. Camden says of this peninsula, “HO enim vocatur ilia quasi
Chersonessus.” It is, accordingly, a large specimen of that sort of
configuration of a tract of land in its relation to water, of which
the name is often found to contain the descriptive syllable, “-holm,”
“-ham,” or “-hoe.” Whether or not these three are dialectic varieties
of one word, need not here be considered: it is certain, however,
that the names of such peninsular tracts are very often found to be
marked with “-hoe;” and “Hoo”[24] is the name of the hundred which
still constitutes the largest and most prominent portion of this
peninsula. So it was already called, even before the early time with
which we shall find our own concern with it; for in a charter, dated
A.D. 738,[25] it is already mentioned as “regio quæ vocatur Hohg.” In
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 902, it is mentioned as “Holme.” In
Domesday,[26] the hundred which constitutes the peninsular portion, is
called “_HOV_;” the isthmus portion having already, however, become a
separate hundred, then called “Essamele,” now “Shamwell.” The towns in
the district have their proper names added to “Hoo,” as “Hoo-St.-Mary,”
and “Hoo-St.-Werburgh:” and this last has the church above referred to.
This is situated on the southern or Medway shore of the Hoo; but on the
cliff of the northern side of the elevated core of the peninsula, and
over-looking the great reach of the estuary of the Thames, and the
broad alluvial level embraced by it, is the town of “Cliffe;” of which
the church has the dedication St. Helen. The two churches are just four
miles apart. There are several other churches now in the peninsula,
but the others have been attributed to these two, of St. Werburgh and
St. Helen, as their mother churches, of which the other parishes are
ancient offshoots or chapelries.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the most famous names of places in England, during the long
aggressive reigns of Æthelbald and Offa, when, for the largest part of
the eighth century, the other kingdoms were more or less threatened
with the supremacy of Mercia, was that of a place called Cloveshoe or
Clovesham.[27] Its celebrity has been, no doubt, much enhanced by its
intimate connection with the Church History of that period; but it has
shared, with many of the names of the localities of the most important
events of the history of those times, in a great deal of uncertainty
and controversy as to the actual place.

Few monuments of those ages are preserved to us in such multitude as
names of places, and in such apparent entireness; but few are of such
uncertain and doubtful appropriation. Although we are living in the
midst of the scenes of the greatest events of our early history; yet
one of the most surprising circumstances is, that of the number of
the names of the places that have remained almost unaltered, during
the interval of twelve centuries, so few of them can, with any degree
of certainty, be identified: so that, although a Gazetteer or Index
Locorum of those times would be a most valuable help it would be
the most difficult to compile; and, judging from past attempts at
contributions to it, impossible to be done with any reasonable approach
to trustworthiness. The visible monuments have almost entirely been
swept from off the face of the earth. Towns, then of importance and
even magnitude, if not now entirely subject to the plough, are only
represented by the merest villages; and religious institutions have
had their identity drowned by the importation of later monastic
orders; and generally by more catholic, but less national or local,
dedications. The names of the places, in some few cases identified
by immemorial traditions, are often the only indications of the
whereabouts of some of the greatest events; but even the names
themselves are obscured by the different methods, used in that age
and in ours, of distinguishing them from other similar names; and the
traditions, which should have preserved them, are interrupted by the
long interval, between the events themselves, and the time at which the
names first come again into our sight.

But this Clovesho = Clofeshoum = or Clobesham[28] had necessarily
retained its hold upon the public memory of the ages from the eighth to
the sixteenth centuries, from the importance to the Church of the great
acts of councils, both royal and pontifical, there held; and the memory
or tradition of the National Church, was, of all others, the most vivid
and tenacious of any, during that long period--perhaps the only one
which may be said to have bridged it, unbroken by interruptions, such
as dynastic revolutions. When the tradition of the actual whereabouts
of this famous place comes first into our view, we find it attached to
the “Hoo” of Kent above described, and to the place called “Cliffe”
there situated. The name now current is “Cliffe-at-Hoo,” and this
appears to have been the form in which it came to Camden’s knowledge:
at any rate, in the earlier editions of Britannia (1587), he mentions
this place as “Cliues at Ho Bedæ dictum.”

There is, however, extant a still earlier record, that the tradition
had not yet been doubted by the learned. The Rev. Prebendary Earle,
Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, has most judiciously preserved
some marginal notes of the 16th century, that he found in that MS. of
the Saxon Chronicle,[29] which he distinguishes as “C.;” which notes
he considers to be “written in an Elizabethan hand:” but as will be
presently seen they must have been of the reign of Henry VIII. One
of these is written in the margin against one of the occurrences of
the name “Clofes hoo” in the Chronicle, and reads “doctor Hethe’s
benyffyce;” and Mr. Earle asks, “where may Dr. Hethe’s benefice
have been?”[30] To this question of the Professor’s, two more may
be added: Who was Dr. Hethe? And who was--evidently his intimate
acquaintance--the writer of the marginal notes to the Chronicle?

The answers to these three questions will shew what sort of men these
were whom we find in possession of this historical tradition concerning
the actual place of those famous synods; and who, long before any
question about it had been raised, by the incipient critical scepticism
of the 17th century, out of fancied probabilities, are here seen
treating it as an undoubted fact. These answers will also shew what
advantages, of time and local associations, they had for judgment of
the fact.

The benefice, then, was the Rectory of the Cliffe above mentioned,
situated in the peninsula, or Hoo, north of Rochester. This living was
held, from 1543 to 1548, by Dr. Nicholas Heath: it was, therefore,
during these years that the marginal notes were written. He was
afterwards Bishop of Rochester, and of Worcester, and Archbishop of
York, and Lord Chancellor; and during the reign of Henry VIII., and to
the accession of Elizabeth, took leading parts in most affairs, both in
Church and State. Wood calls him “a most wise and learned Man, of great
Policy, and of as great Integrity.”

As to Dr. Heath’s friend, the writer of the marginal notes, there can
be no doubt that he was Dr. Nicholas Wotton: one of the small knot
of revivers of Anglo-Saxon literature, and of those, named by Mr.
Earle,[31] as a few persons who then had the handling of Saxon MSS.
It is found that the long active and distinguished career, of each of
these two men, ran both in the same groove:--through the same period,
in the same rank and line of affairs, and locally together.[32] They
were both part authors of the well-known Institution of a Christian
Man, 1537. Wotton was the first Dean of Canterbury, and so continued
for more than twenty-five years: also Dean of York. During two
intervals he administered, by commission, the Province of Canterbury;
and was named, along with Parker, as successor to that Primacy.

These are the two men, who are first found in possession of the
historical tradition, that the famous place where the Mercian kings,
with the Archbishops, the Bishop of Rochester, and the Mercian and
other Bishops, held their councils; the acts of which must, in all
ages, have been most conspicuous to learned English Canonists, was
no other than this very Cliffe-at-Hoo; and it is evident, from the
directness of the marginal note, that they held it as an unquestioned
fact. So, about fifty years afterwards, when he published Britannia,
it was as we have seen, also without reserve, accepted by Camden.[33]
Up to this time the tradition--not among men who accept Geoffrey
of Monmouth’s stories and the like, but among the learned--was yet
undisturbed. But twenty years later we find Camden wavering; influenced
only by speculations on the nature of the district, and a then
prevalent distorted perspective of the remote historical circumstances
of the time concerned. In the edition of Britannia, which received
his latest revision,[34] he qualifies his former statement, by saying
that he no longer dares to affirm, as others do, whether or not the
Cliffe in the little country called Ho, may be the “Cliues at Ho,” so
celebrated in the infancy of the Anglican Church; because the place
seems not to be a convenient one for holding the Synod; and that the
actual place seems to have been within the kingdom of Mercia, rather
than Kent. From that time to this present day the place, indicated by
this name, has ranked among the most disputed and unsettled questions
of early English topography.

It also happened, that Camden, when treating of Berkshire, had quoted
from the Chronicle of Abingdon, a passage which set forth, that,
before the abbey was founded at, or removed to, that place, its name
had been “Sheouesham,” and was a royal residence. This name, thus
brought forward by Camden, struck the fancy of Somner the learned
compiler of the earliest Anglo-Saxon Dictionary,[35] who, collating
it with Camden’s hesitation at the Cliffe-at-Hoo tradition, thought
he saw in “Sheouesham” a scriptorial erroneous variation of “Clouesho
or -ham;” Abingdon being, in accordance with the conception of the
greater constancy of the frontiers of the “Heptarchy” then prevalent,
more likely to be the place of councils, at which the Mercian kings
so often presided. And this seemed to be the more likely; because
the Abingdon Chronicle also said, that Abingdon had hitherto been a
royal residence, when the abbey was founded, from which it got its
new name. The Abingdon Chronicle is, of course, good for its proper
uses, but where it says that “Seouescham civitas” had been a “sedes
regia,” although the name has an English colouring, it is evidently
speaking of British or ante-Saxon times. If a royal residence during
the reign of Æthelbald, it must have been of the West Saxons, and not
of the Mercians. It could not, therefore, have been the Cloveshoe where
Æthelbald presided.

If this liberty of interpretation should be permitted, it is plain
that it would be enough to shake almost any recorded name. Indeed
another example of its use, if also tolerated, would reverse the one
itself that had been proposed: would, if the other was enough to carry
it to Abingdon, be strong enough to bring it back again to Hoo. In the
charter, dated A.D. 738,[36] four years before the earliest recorded
Cloveshoe Council, a piece of land is called “Andscohesham.” This is
certainly within the very Hoo district itself, which is the site of
the Cloveshoe of the tradition; being described as “in regione quæ
uocatur Hohg.” Mr. Kemble prints the charter from the Textus Roffensis,
but omits the title or endorsement that fixes the very spot in the
Hoo that it refers to. This is, however, preserved in Monasticon
Anglicanum:[37] “De Stokes, que antiquitus vocabatur Andscohesham;”
and Stoke is now a parish in the Hoo, and close to Cliffe. There can
be no doubt that the “And-” stands for, or is a corrupt reading of,
“aed-” or the preposition “æt,-” so continually carried, along with
vernacular Anglo-Saxon names, into Latin documents; and the name of
this “Scohesham” of the Kentish Hoo would thus be practically identical
with that of the “Scheouesham”--also written “Seuekesham”[38]--the
alleged ancient name of Abingdon. Not that it is intended here to
say that “Andscohesham” is a corruption of “Clovesham,” although it
would have been just as reasonable as Somner’s inference; but that
Somner’s conjecture for removing the place, might be retorted by one
equally efficient to bring it back again. But even this might be
worth farther scrutiny: for if this identity, of “Andscohesham” and
“Clovesham,” should prove to be the case, the ancient controversy
would be determined at once, without the further trouble here being
bestowed. This Andscohesham or Stoke is close also to Hoo-St.-Werburgh,
and probably identical with “Godgeocesham,” the place where “Eanmundus
rex,” or Eahlmund (= Alcmund, father of Egbert of Wessex) was living,
when he added his form of approval to a gift,[39] of land at Islingham
also close adjoining, by his co-rex of Kent, Sigered, to Earduulf
Bishop of Rochester, (A.D. 759-765.)

The likeness of the name Clovesho and Cliff-at-Hoo, is not of a sort
likely to suggest identity, except first prompted externally, such as
by an actual independent tradition; but after having been thus brought
together by external evidence, the structure of the old name can
thoroughly justify the identity.

But, however slender may have been this original philological cause
of disturbance, it served to carry the question, of the actual place,
out into the expansive region of conjecture; where it has been ever
since rolling and rebounding, from one end of the land to the other,
from that time to this. Every succeeding writer treating the matter as
if it had been commissioned to him to choose the place of the synods,
according to his own views of the fitness of things. Bishop Gibson
first accepted Somner’s conjecture, and so adopting Abingdon, concludes
that “no sane man,” who admits the authority of the Abingdon Chronicle,
“can stick at it:”[40] the Abingdon Chronicle having never said it
except through Somner’s distortion. Smith’s gloss, on the name in Beda
is, “Vulgo Cliff, juxta Hrofes caester.” But he continues, in a note,
that Somner’s opinion in preferring Abingdon seems not unworthy of
observation. He recites Camden, but concludes, “Sed in his nihil ultra
conjecturam, & illam certe valde fluctuantem.”[41] A conclusion which
is even prophetic. In Dr. Geo. Smith’s map to Beda it is, however,
placed at Abingdon. Smith’s note is transcribed as it stands by
Wilkins;[42] and again by Sir T. D. Hardy.[43]

Capt. John Stevens, in a note in his translation of Bede, (A.D. 1723,)
says, as to the true place being Cliffe, “Of this opinion are the two
great antiquarians, Spelman and Talbot, to which Lambard likewise
gives in, though with caution.” This must be Dr. Robert Talbot, Canon
of Norwich, another early Saxon scholar, reign Henry VIII., who left
transcripts of charters of Abingdon,[44] and is, therefore, another
early learned witness of the tradition. Spelman’s interpretation is
“Cloveshoviæ (vulgo Clyff).”[45] The Rev. Joseph Stevenson[46] recites
the option of Cliffe and Abingdon. Of the church historians, Fuller
remonstrates against Camden’s doubts, with his usual moderation.
Collier merely calls it “Clovesho, or Clyff, near Rochester.”

By this time the Abingdon speculation had become strong enough to carry
double: to be able to be called in to the help of other theories, on
outside matters. The ingenious Welsh philologer, William Baxter,[47]
gets from it an offspring _ergo_. He makes Abingdon the “Caleva
Attrebatum,” _because_ it had been “Clovesho:” upon which, by a sort
of “To-my-love and from-my-love” formula, Dr. W. Thomas[48] completes
the symmetry of a logical circle, by citing “Calleva Attrebatum” as
evidence that Cloveshoe is near Henley-on-Thames, then thought to be

R. Gough, in Additions to Camden, leaves it at Abingdon on Bp. Gibson’s
argument: and, throughout the eighteenth century, Abingdon seems to
have been favoured; the writers being much given to copy each other.
Dr. Lingard, 1803, quoting Capt. Stevens’s translation of Bede, says
“probably Abingdon,” and so also puts it in his Anglo-Saxon map; but
Capt. Stevens had only quoted both views, without adopting either.

The later editors of the Saxon Chronicle, Dr. Ingram and Mr. Thorpe,
return to the tradition, contenting themselves with the simple gloss
“Cliff-at-Hoo, Kent,” “Cliff near Rochester.” Miss Gurney, however,
prudently says, “Cliff in Kent, or Abingdon.” Professor Earle gives
the valuable note and question about Dr. Heath, before mentioned, but
leaves the main question, of the place, open. On the other hand, the
Dictionaries, since Somner: Lye says “fortasse Abbingdon,” and Dr.
Bosworth follows with “perhaps Abingdon,” quoting both Somner and Lye.

But the nineteenth century took a fresh stride away from the start of
the seventeenth. Whilst accepting from the eighteenth the inheritance
of the doubt, it next renounced the claim itself for which the doubt
had been raised. It is no longer Abingdon, but wherever it may be
thought likely--Dr. Lappenberg[49] places it in Oxfordshire; Mr.
N.E.S.A. Hamilton[50] “co. Berks.” Mr. Kemble more boldly carries it
to “the hundred of Westminster, and county of Gloucester, perhaps near
Tewksbury.”[51] Next year,[52] he more firmly says “Doubts have been
lavished upon the situation of this place, which I do not share,” and
concludes that it was “not far from Deerhurst, Tewksbury, and Bishop’s
Cleeve; not at all improbably in Tewksbury itself, which may have been
called Clofeshoas, before the erection of a noble abbey at a later
period gave it the name it now bears.”

Messrs. Haddan and Stubbs[53] accept the objections of their
forerunners against Cliff-at-Hoo, thinking that this place “rests
solely on the resemblance of the name.” They say of the Abingdon
= Sheovesham theory, that it is also “the merest conjecture.”
They also reject Mr. Kemble’s Tewkesbury as founded on a mistaken
identity of Westminster hundred with another place sometimes called
“Westminster,” in the Mercian charters, (A.D. 804-824). This is,
indeed, Westbury-on-Trym. But why was the minster there called “west,”
and where was the minster that was east of it? At an earlier date
(A.D. 794) it had already got its present name, “Uuestburg.” Messrs.
Haddan and Stubbs leave the question of the true place of Cloveshoe as
they find it, neither endorsing the original tradition, nor indulging
in the freedom of choice which had been established for them. In
another work,[54] however, Mr. Haddan has said, “On the locality of
Cloveshoo itself, unfortunately, we can throw no more light than may
be contained in the observation, that St. Boniface invariably styles
the English synod, ‘Synodus _Londinensis_;’ and that … the immediate
vicinity of that city--in all other respects the most probable of
all localities--seems consequently the place where antiquarians must
hunt for traces of the lost Cloveshoo.” How far Cliffe, situated near
the mouth of the Thames, may satisfy or contradict the “Londinensis”
of S. Bonifatius must be left to be judged. Dean Hook recites his
fore-goers, but not quite understanding them:--“Where Cloveshoo was
it is impossible to say, some antiquarians placing it at Cliff-at-Hoo,
in Kent; some in the neighbourhood of Rochester; others contending for
Abingdon; others again for Tewkesbury.”[55] But Cliff-at-Hoo in Kent
_is_ in the _near_ neighbourhood of Rochester. The present state of the
question, therefore, seems to be, that it is given up as hopeless.

But the most strenuous renunciator of the Kentish tradition, in favour
of the Berkshire conjecture, was a learned and distinguished native
of the Kentish locality itself: the Rev. John Johnson. He is usually
reckoned among the learned and suffering body of the Nonjurors, but,
by personal merits and some concessions, he appears to have escaped
their political ordeal; having retained his preferments throughout
a long life. He is commonly distinguished, from the other Johnsons
of literature, as “Johnson of Cranbrook.” His remarks deserve all
the more careful consideration, because he was born at Frindsbury,
immediately adjoining Cliffe, and the intermediate parish between
it and Rochester. At Frindsbury, in fact, was the “Aeslingham” of
the Textus Roffensis, in one of the charters that concern the Hoo
and the locality now in question. He printed a Collection of Canons
of the English Church, in 1720.[56] In his preface and notes to the
Synod at which was ratified the submission of the usurped primacy of
Lichfield to that of Canterbury, A.D. 803, which is one of those held
at “clofeshoas;”[57] he oddly brings it, as an argument that Abingdon
was the place, that the triumphant Archbishop of Canterbury “was
willing to meet” his reconciled insubordinant rival, half way between
Lichfield and Canterbury. Converting what is a very strong presumption
against Abingdon, into an act of extreme humility on the part of the
Archbishop. The learned writer must have felt the difficulty, which he
thus strove so hard to liquidate into a virtue. After this, he goes
on to allege that “there is not a more unhealthy spot in the whole
province, I may say in all Christendom,” than this district of the Hoo.
With deference, however, to such a writer, and a native of the spot,
this account of it does, to a mere visitor, seem to be exaggerated.
The Gads-Hill, of Falstaff, will bring the neighbourhood to the
remembrance of many; and it has become more widely known of late years,
by the last residence of another great master of humour and fiction,
which is less than four miles from the church of Cliffe, and the
outlook from which would be about identical with that from any Mercian
Villa Regia that may have existed here. An ungrateful remembrance of
the inflictions of schoolmasters, or other childish griefs, is often
observed to haunt the later career of those to whose distinguished
position they may have contributed.

In his “Addenda,” Johnson afterwards says, “I find some worthy
gentlemen still of opinion, that Cliff … was not unhealthy in the
age of the Councils:” and he truly quotes charters from the Textus
Roffensis, to show that the northern marshes, or levels, then already
existed; and he urges that it “was, therefore, altogether unfit for
a stated place of synod.” That “As Cliff in Hoo was never a place of
great note itself, so it lies, and ever did lie, out of the road to any
place of note;” and he goes on to recite Somner and Camden’s plea of
the greater likelihood of Abingdon, for synods limited to the times of
Mercian domination.

But the marshes are not in question, they are but an appendage to the
Hoo. This peninsula is formed of a large fragment of the chalk at
the eastern end of the North Kentish downs, called by geologists an
“inlier” into the Thames basin; upon the heights, and in the valleys,
of which the places concerned in this enquiry were situated. The
marshes are a broad fringe of level pasture land,[58] advanced into the
Thames estuary, beyond its north chalk cliff. In Kent the word “marsh”
signifies the same as “more” in Somersetshire: which, although even
Dr. Jamieson confounds the two, is a totally different word and thing,
from the “muir,” or “moor,” for waste lands of a highland character.
It is to such land as this that we owe the dairies of Cheddar; and if
this objection should be good, Glastonbury and Wells, not to mention
Ely and Croyland, must resign their venerable places in history. A very
similar projection of alluvial level pasture extends from Henbury and
Shirehampton to the Bristol Channel, without disparagement of their
salubrity. Mr. Johnson, having suffered much in health by a residence
of a year or two at Appledore, in Kent, obtained the vicarage of
Cranbrook, where he lived for eighteen years. It is likely that he was
sensitive of climatal influences, and shy of those breezes that reach
this island after passing over the great plains of central Europe: a
tenderness, which neither Æthelbald nor Offa can be supposed to have
shared with him.

It is plain, however, that this broad alluvial margin, extending
from the northern edge of the heights, which are the substantial
constituents of the Hoo peninsula, already existed, A.D. 779, at
least a very large extent of it; for the first charter, so dated,[59]
describes it as then “habentem quasi quinquaginta iugerum.” In a later
charter, A.D. 789,[60] the name of the projecting level appears as
“Scaga.”[61] It must already have become land of value to be granted in
these charters; and its identity is certain from the limits--Yantlet
(“Jaenlade”) water to “Bromgeheg,” now “Bromey,” on the higher land at
Cooling. Does not the word “jugeru,” used in the charter, indicate that
this “marsh” was already cultivated or pasture land? How it had been
originally caused is, however, not hard to discern. It is, evidently, a
large portion of the delta of the Thames, intercepted by the confluence
of the other great river, the Medway, and thrown back behind the chalk
promontory of the Hoo. Inside, and westward of this deposit, the tidal
estuary makes a bold reach southward; sweeping the western side of
this level, and approaching the heights, so as, at Cliffe, Higham, and
Chalk, to leave only a comparatively narrow fringe of level; and it is
on the heights at the southern bend of this reach, that are situated
these three villages, which will presently be found, it is thought, to
be interesting to us.

As to the most substantial objection, which of course has continued to
be a constantly recurring ingredient of this controversy, that the
place of the synods must have been within the kingdom of Mercia, it
seems a little oblique of the mark aimed at. They were royal councils,
and these must be expected to have followed the presence of the king
and his court, as was the case in much later times than those now
under consideration. Most of the remaining records of these synods
at Cloveshoe, and of the other national ones during the same period,
show the king to have presided; and it is true that it is the Mercian
King, who is so found, during both of the long reigns of Æthelbald and
Offa; and throughout the time of the domination of the Mercians in
Kent. The policy of the Mercian aggressors, during their long continued
contention for empire, to grasp the great estuaries of the island, has
already been referred to, and a glance at sheets I. and VI. of the
Ordinance survey will show how desirable was this Chersonesus for the
head quarters of a power, which made a chief point of the possession
of the Thames, and its only less valuable and smaller sister, the
Medway. The opposite coast of the East Saxons had already, for several
reigns, been subjected to Mercia. A.D. 704, Suebræd, the regulus of
the East Saxons, could not grant lands at Twickenham, then in Essex,
but “in prouincia quæ nuncupatur middelseaxan,” to Waldhere, Bishop
of London, except “cum licentia Æthelredi regis” of Mercia.[62] Kent,
less fortunate, was still contended for by both Wessex and Mercia, as
well as by Sussex, and by all three it was successively ravaged; and it
even looks as if the three contending invaders maintained, as clients,
rival pretenders, as kings of the parts of Kent at the time under their
power. The division of Kent into Lathes may be a so-to-speak fossil,
or rather an archaic autograph upon the surface of the county, of this
state of it. It is, however, certain that Mercia ultimately made good a
permanent domination of Kent; and the kings of Kent acknowledged that
supremacy in their government, by merely counter-subscribing the acts
of the kings of Mercia.[63]

The mass of chalk, of which the body of the Hoo consists, is said to
pass under the Thames; and a small continuation of it reappears on
the Essex side, directly opposite Cliffe and Higham and Chalk, at East
Tilbury; and having continued four miles westward, behind the marsh
marked by Tilbury Fort, dies out at Purfleet.[64] It forms an elevated
promontory at East Tilbury, penetrating the levels on that side to the
river. The present chief traject of the river is about three miles
westward, from Gravesend to the fort: but the chalk promontory is the
terminus of an ancient straight chain of roads, which, although in
some places interrupted by later breaks and divergencies, indicates a
traffic of ages, from this terminus on the river, in a north-western
direction, striking the Iknield Street at Brentwood, and apparently
afterwards still continuing the same line: probably to Watling Street;
any rate to the heart of the Mercian dominions: say, to Hertford, if
you like.

There are various other substantial evidences of great ancient
intercourse of Essex with the Hoo of Kent, by a trajectus at this
place, between East Tilbury and Higham; and Higham is only five miles
from Rochester bridge, by which the Watling Street entered that city.
Morant says, of the manor of Southall in East Tilbury, “This estate
goes now to the repair of Rochester bridge: when and by whom given
we do not find.”[65] He also mentions the “famous Higham Causeway”
in connection with Tilbury.[66] Until the reign of Stephen, the
church at Higham had belonged to the Abbot and Convents of St. John,
Colchester.[67] The importance of this Essex traject to the kingdoms
north of the Thames, when the domination of Mercia in Essex and Kent
was beginning, may be inferred from the fact that one of the two
colleges, or capitular churches, founded by Cedda, A.D. 653, in Essex,
was at Tilbury.[68] There is a place called Chadwell by West Tilbury.
Some years later, A.D. 676, when Æthelred of Mercia first devastated
Kent, it is evident that he used this passage; for the destruction
of Rochester, five miles south of Higham and Cliffe, is the only
one of his exploits, on that expedition, specified by name.[69] So
late as A.D. 1203, Giraldus Cambrensis passed from Kent to Essex by
Tilbury. These incidents, connecting Tilbury and Higham, may qualify
the surprise that has hitherto troubled church historians at finding
that “Clofeshoch,” at so early a date as A.D. 673, was appointed, at
“Herutford,” as the place for future councils, even if Herutford had
been Hertford, as some say.

The conclusion that the line of approach, and of the first invasion of
Kent by the Mercians, was by a passage from the Essex coast to Higham
or Cliffe; and that the peninsula of Hoo, adjoining Rochester, had then
and long after been the basis of their domination of that kingdom;
had been already formed, from what has been already said. And it was
at this point, that it was thought worth while to see what the chief
county historians say about the two termini of the trajectus.

This is Hasted’s statement:--

     “_Plautius_, the _Roman_ General under the _Emperor
    Claudius_, in the year of Christ, 43, is said to have passed
    the river _Thames_ from _Essex_ into _Kent_, near the mouth
    of it, with his army, in pursuit of the flying _Britons_ who
    being acquainted with the firm and fordable places of it passed
    it easily. (Dion. Cass., lib. lx.) The place of this passage
    is, by many, supposed to have been from _East Tilbury_, in
    _Essex_, across the river to _Higham_. (By Dr. Thorpe, Dr.
    Plott, and others.) Between these places there was a _ferry_ on
    the river for many ages after, the usual method of intercourse
    between the two counties of Kent and Essex for all these parts,
    and it continued so till the dissolution of the abbey here;
    before which time Higham was likewise the place for shipping
    and unshipping corn and goods in great quantities from this
    part of the country, to and from _London_ and elsewhere. The
    probability of this having been a frequented ford or passage
    in the time of the _Romans_, is strengthened by the visible
    remains of a raised causeway or road, near 30 feet wide,
    leading from the _Thames_ side through the marshes by _Higham
    southward_ to this _Ridgway_ above mentioned, and thence across
    the _London_ highroad on _Gads-hill_ to _Shorne-ridgway_, about
    half-a-mile beyond which adjoins the _Roman Watling-street_
    road near the entrance into _Cobham-park_. In the pleas of the
    crown in the 21st year of K. Edward I., the _Prioress_ of the
    nunnery of _Higham_ was found liable to maintain a bridge and
    causeway that led from _Higham_ down to the river _Thames_, in
    order to give the better and easier passage to such as would
    ferry from thence into Essex.”[70]

It may be added that the Hoo peninsula has other marks of having been,
at much earlier times, a district of great transit. There is, perhaps,
no other part of England, of so small an extent, which has so many and
clustered examples of “Street” in names of secluded spots--including
the almost ubiquitous “Silver Street”[71]--quite disengaged from those
that follow the line itself of Watling-street. Yet Mr. Johnson of
Cranbrook goes on to say, “As Cliffe in Hoo was never a place of note
itself, so it lies, and ever did lie, out of the road to any place of
note.” It is believed that he has greatly under-rated the substantial
results of such a dynastic change as we are now considering; followed,
for a thousand years, by its sequential changes on the material surface
of the earth.

At all events, this was, evidently, the earliest line of approach, by
which Mercia, with its contingents, the other Anglian nations and the
East Saxons, whom it had either subdued or otherwise allied, invaded
Kent; and this continued to be its chief or only access for some years.
A single glance, at the geography of the Hoo, will show the value of
such an advanced peninsula, as the basis of such an incursion upon the
centre of Kent; and as the stronghold from which the subjection of that
kingdom could be maintained. We have other means of knowing that it was
probably, at least, thirty years before a second or optional approach
was secured by way of the east of Kent. This second access must have
been a much coveted one, and when it came into hand must have been of
great value; particularly in regard to the occasional, or at least
frequent, royal residence already established at the Hoo. The Watling
Street, the greatest and most frequented of all the highways then
existing, led from the very heart of Mercia, in a direct line through
Middlesex, to the very isthmus of the peninsula itself. Although Kent
had been already invaded, A.D. 676, yet so late as A.D. 695,[72] London
remained subject to Essex; but, as we have already seen, only nine
years afterwards Twickenham, in the province called “Middelseaxan,” had
become subject to Mercia.

Some of our most learned historians describe the “Middle Saxons” as
a very small people, forming a part of the East Saxons; but they are
obliged to confess that they find very little to say about them. It is
believed that there never was a separate people called Middle Saxons.
They have been created out of a snatched analogy, of the mere name
“Middlesex,” with “Essex,” “Sussex,” and “Wessex.” There can be little
doubt that Middlesex represents the original civitas, or territory, of
the local government, of its urbs or burgh of London, the capital of
the kingdom of Essex. Like other great commercial seaports or staples,
this already great mart had maintained much of the condition of a
free city; and, in passing, along with its territory from Essex to
the ascendant power of Mercia, it may not have been by conquest, but
by a voluntary exercise of that instinct, to unite in the fortunes of
an advancing supremacy, which is often associated with, and perhaps
closely allied to, commercial habits. At all events, it is at this time
that the name, Middlesex, first comes to light;[73] and it is believed
that instead of being, like the names of the Saxon nations, formed by
the addition of an adjective; the “middle” of this newer name is a
preposition, and that it means, that Anglian acquisition which had now
thrust itself _between_ the East Saxons and the South and West Saxons.
The Anglo-Saxon Dictionaries produce an example, from one of the
glossaries of Ælfric, of “Middel-gesculdru” = the space _between_ the

But although, in the existing records of the series of Councils and
Synods that were held during the ascendancy of Mercia, and often
presided over by the Mercian kings in person, the name of Cloveshoe
is frequent, as the place of convention; other places, as “Cealchythe”
and “Acle,” are also frequent and continuous. And the names of the
councillors, who sign the acts as witnesses, have a certain current
identity, with only such changes as may be expected by lapse of time,
rather than of change of the region where the assemblies had been
convened. After the king, usually follows the Archbishop of Canterbury;
then the Bishop of Lichfield, followed by the other Mercian Bishops;
and then of the other subject kingdoms.

These two places, Cealchythe and Acle, have been as great puzzles to
enquirers as Clovesho itself; and they also have been placed in very
distant regions; the sounds of their names being apparently thought
to be the only consideration. Cealchythe was thought by Archbishop
Parker to be in Northumbria; but Alford said Chelsea; Spelman that
it was within the kingdom of Mercia.[74] Gibson suggests Culcheth
in Lancashire, as although in Northumbria, not far from Mercia.
Miss Gurney also says “Perhaps Kilcheth on the southern border of
Lancashire.” Dr. W. Thomas gives it to Henley-on-Thames, partly because
he considered it “near” Cloveshoe; Wilkins nor Kemble make any venture;
others, adopted by Messrs. Haddan and Stubbs, and, as far as the name
alone would have settled it, with a very great deal of apparent reason,
would have placed it at Chelsea. The ancient forms of the name of
Chelsea, of which examples are by no means scarce, seem all directly
to lead up to an identity with that of the councils. One of these, of
the baptism, A.D. 1448, of John, son of Richard, Duke of York, recorded
in Will. Wyrcester’s Anecdota, is, for example, at “Chelchiethe.” But
the name of the council seems to resolve itself into “Chalk-hythe,” and
there is no chalk at Chelsea. But even this has been got over by taking
the first portion of “Chelsey” for “chesil” or gravel; and this favours
the ancient forms of Chelsea = Chelchythe, rather more than it does the
variations in the name of the council; which on the whole lean towards
“chalk” or “Chalkhythe.” Dr. Ingram[75] adopts “Challock, or Chalk, in
Kent;” and Mr. Thorpe repeats that suggestion, with the addition of a

As to this “Chalk,” it is also in the district of the Hoo, and is the
adjoining parish westward of Higham; on the same chalk ridge, whereon
both Higham and Cliff-at-Hoo are situated. The village is two miles
west of Higham church, and all three are practically the same place,
within a space of four miles; of which the ancient trajectus above
mentioned is at the centre. The face of the cliff, upon which Cliffe
stands, is still quarried for chalk, which is shipped in a small creek
that runs up to the cliff. It will at once come to mind, how constantly
such wharfs are called “hythe,” throughout the navigable portion of
the Thames; and how frequently that word forms a part of the names of
them. That river has, indeed, almost--not quite--a monopoly of this
name-form. But the Ordnance Surveyors[76] show an eastward detachment
of Chalk parish, within half a mile of Higham church, and close to that
point of the shore which would have been the hythe of the traject.
There can be little doubt that this detachment is a survival of the
“Chalkhythe” at which some of the councils were dated, whilst others
were at Cliffe-at-Hoo adjoining. An endorsed confirmation,[77] under
Coenulf, has the formula, “in synodali conciliabulo _juxta_ locum qui
dicitur caelichyth.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Another frequent name, of the place of convention of some of this
series of councils during Mercian ascendancy, is “Acle” or “Acleah,”
which has been as great a puzzle as the others. This name may be
expected to appear in any such modern forms as Oakley, Okeley, Ockley,
or Ackley, which are very numerous in nearly every part of England;
indeed, wherever the oak has grown: and rather a free use of this wide
choice has been made in the attempts to find the place of the councils
so dated. The most accepted one seems to be Ockley, south of Dorking,
near the confines of Surrey and Sussex; apparently attracted by a
battle with the Danes there, A.D. 851. But this happened in later and
Wessexian times. Lambarde (about A.D. 1577) thought it likely to be
somewhere in the Deanery of Ackley, in Leicestershire: Spelman, in the
Bishopric of Durham. Dr. Ingram says, “Oakley in Surrey.” Professor
Stubbs says of one act of Offa so dated that it “is unquestionably
Ockley in Surrey,” and affords “a strong presumption that the other
councils of the southern province said to be at Acleah, were held at
the same place,” apparently because the charter before him is a grant
to Chertsey. But the substance of these royal grants does not show the
place where they were executed. They are the Acts of the Supreme Court
of Appeal. Ingram and Thorpe give Ockley, Surrey. Miss Gurney, “Acley,
Durham?” Kemble, “Oakley or Ackley, Kent, or Ockley, Surrey,” Sir T. D.
Hardy says “in Dunelmia;” no doubt adopting Spelman’s judgment.

Turning again to the Ordnance Survey,[78] at one mile-and-a-half from
the church at Cliff-at-Hoo, and rather nearer to it than Higham church
itself, will be seen a building marked “Oakly;” or, in the six-inch
scale, two: Oakley and Little Oakley. Reverting to Hasted’s account of
the parish of Higham,[79] we also find that it contained two manors,
Great and Little Okeley; and he quotes the Book of Knight’s Fees,
K. John, where it is written, “Acle.”[80] Oakley lies in the direct
way from the ancient traject to Rochester bridge, and has been held
liable to repair the fourth pier of it. In Domesday it appears as
“Arclei.” But the existence of this very place can be realised at a
date eight years earlier than the first recorded Synod at Aclea. Mr.
Kemble has printed[81] a grant of Offa, dated A.D. 774, to Jaenberht
the Archbishop, of a piece of land in a place called “Hehham,” now
Higham; of which one portion is conterminous with Acleag--“per confinia
acleage”,--another part touches “ad colling”--now Cooling with its
Castle,--afterwards bounded by “mersctun,” since Merston, and other
lands “Sc̄i andree,” _i.e._ of Rochester Cathedral. This piece of land,
although granted by Offa to the Archbishop of Canterbury, is not only
situated within the diocese of Rochester, but is immediately surrounded
by the demesnes of Rochester Church. From a realization of the above
three land-marks of the charter, it is certain that, although Cliffe is
not named, the site of the church and town of Cliffe itself, as well as
Higham, is included within the land-marks of the grant; and that the
granted manor is identical with those parishes, as they have afterwards
become. Cooling adjoins the granted land to the east; Acleag, now
Oakley, to the south; Merston, is described by Hasted as a forgotten
parish, and no longer appears even in his own map of the Hundred,
but he identifies the ruined church among the buildings of “Green
Farm,” close to Gads-hill. From this he represents it to have reached
the Shorne Marshes; that is to the Thames shore; forming, therefore,
the western boundary of Cliffe and Higham, and including the already
mentioned detachment of Chalk parish, and having Acleag named as one of
its boundaries.[82]

In this charter of Offa, we see one of the examples of those first
separations of land, which afterwards became what we call a parish.
What we now call a parish, is not an invention or institution by
Archbishop Honorius, or Archbishop Theodore, nor of any individual
genius; any more than shires and hundreds were invented by King Alfred.
Our parishes are the natural and exigent result of the variety of
causes that have planted churches; to the use of which, and to the
privileges of the cures vested in them, neighbours have acquired
customary or other rights. Territorial parishes are definitions and
ratifications of these emergent rights, that pre-existed, as other
political results do pre-exist, such confirmations of them. Their
multiplication may have been promoted, more or less, by different men
in different ages, including our own age. We shall presently see,
that it is most likely that Offa founded the church at Cliffe; and
this charter no doubt fixes the date of it. Higham must have been
separated from it, into another parish, at a later time. The Archbishop
of Canterbury continued to be the owner of Cliffe until K. Henry
VIII.; and the rectory is still in the gift of the Archbishop, and
exempt from Rochester which encompasses it. As Johnson of Cranbrook
himself admits, “It is indeed a parish most singularly exempt; for the
incumbent is the Archbishop’s immediate surrogate.”

       *       *       *       *       *

But there is a much later Mercian council, which deserves to be
noticed; not for its intrinsic importance, but on account of the
place from which it is dated.[83] It is a sale of two bits of land at
Canterbury to the Archbishop, A.D. 823, by Ceoluulf, “rex merciorum
seu etiam cantwariorum.” The price seems to have been, a pot of gold
and silver money, by estimation five pounds and-a-half (or ? four
and-a-half); more portable and convenient to Ceoluulf under Beornuulf’s
usurpation of Mercia. This was just when Mercia was waning, and Wessex
ascendant. The date is “in uillo regali, qui dicitur werburging wic.”
It will be remembered what was the business that first called us to the
Kentish Hoo: the finding one of our St. Werburgh dedications there.

That this Werburghwick was in the Hoo, will become more likely by
comparison with another charter.[84] This is, a grant of a privilege
to the Bishop of Rochester, by Æthelbald, A.D. 734, which has an
endorsed confirmation, by Beorhtuulf “regi merciorū in uico regali
uuerbergeuuic,” which endorsement must have been added about A.D. 844.
Turn also to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 851 or 853, where it is
said that the Heathen men having held their winter in Thanet; in the
same year came 350 ships into Thames mouth, and broke Canterbury, and
London, and made this same Beorhtuulf King of the Mercians fly with his
army, and went south over Thames into Surrey.[85] It is thought more
likely that he was at his villa regalis, in the Hoo, than at Tamworth;
where however he sometimes is also found.

The truth seems to be, that, when Mercia relapsed into a mere province
or Ealdormanship, it still retained its hold in Kent as an appanage.
Thus we have seen Ceoluulf at our Werburghwick in the Hoo, A.D. 823;
and Beorhtwulf in the same place, A.D. 844, and again, apparently
disturbed by the Danes, A.D. 853. In the paper, before referred to,
Mr. Rashleigh has given an analytical table of a hoard of about 550
Anglo-Saxon Coins found at or near Gravesend in 1838, which must have
been buried so late as A.D. 874-5. Of these 429 are of Burgred king
of Mercia A.D. 852-874, and one of Ceoluulf (II.) of Mercia, A.D.
874. Probably the boundary of the latest holding of Mercians in Kent,
answers to that of the diocese of Rochester, as it came down to the
middle of the present century; somewhat abnormally consisting of only
a part of a county. Dioceses were originally identical with civil
provinces; and have been dormantly conservative of their boundaries,
during those very times when political revolutions have been most
active upon those of civil states.

       *       *       *       *       *

It thus appears, that the three most frequent of the names, from which
the series of Mercian synods are dated, can be accounted for as of
places practically in the same locality; and that, the one to which
tradition, before it had been tampered with by philological evolution,
had already directly pointed; and on a piece of land, exceptionally
given to Canterbury, encompassed by the lands of Rochester, for
a purpose of which the circumstances here adduced are the only
explanation and index. It is not inferred that all three names indicate
the same building: probably not; for, in a later synod, “ad Clobeham,”
(A.D. 825)[86] a judgment “prius at Cælchythe” is referred to. But so
might, up to our time, a judgment at Westminster, or at Guildhall, be
quoted in the Chancellor’s Court at Lincoln’s Inn; but all three would
be at London.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the synods of the series are most frequently dated from
Cloveshoe, Chalkhythe, and Acleah, other places have one or two each.
There is “Berhford,” A.D. 685, usually placed at Burford, Oxon., for
no other reason than the sound of the name, connected with the old
prejudice for that neighbourhood as central for Mercia. “Baccanceld,”
A.D. 798, was certainly in Kent, since there was also a council of
the still self-acting king of Kent held there, A.D. 694. Another
name “Bregentforda,” very doubtfully, upon no better ground, placed
at Brentford. All these deserve to be closely re-considered; and if
possible supported by some reason, added to these guesses from the
merest outside likeness in the names.

Already, A.D. 680, Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, had presided
at a general Council of the Bishops of England, said by Ven. Beda to
be “in loco qui Saxonico vocabulo _Haethfelth_ nominatur.” Some have
placed this at one of the various Hatfields or Heathfields that may
have struck the taste of either; whether in Yorkshire, Herts, Essex,
Sussex, or Somerset. But Archbishop Parker[87] says that it was “juxta
Roffam,” apparently quoting “Roff. Histor.” This, at any rate, shews
that near Rochester was at least not thought an unlikely place for
a great general Council. Collier also gives the marginal title “The
synod at Hatfield _or_ Clyff, near Rochester.” So much for Heathfelth.
But where, after all, was “Herutford,” the place of the earlier synod
(A.D. 673), also convened by Archbishop Theodore? This may be looked
upon as the initial one of the long series of “Clofeshoch” synods:
at which that series was first appointed. Mr. Kemble says[88] that
it was “presided over by Hlothari the sovereign of Kent,” and this
was probably the case, although Beda does not expressly say so. Beda
only adds, to his account of the decrees of the council, a paragraph
beginning with a statement that it was held A.D. 673, the year in which
king Ecgberct had died and been succeeded by his brother Hlothere. Kent
was still an independent kingdom; and, not only in the primacy, but in
its instrument, the series of synods thus instituted, possessed within
itself the heart of the now established church; which, having become
an active political function of concentration, was a much coveted
constituent of empire; and invited the impending aggression of Mercia.
Within three years of the first institution and localisation of these
councils, Æthered made a direct swoop upon this quarry, when he entered
Kent at this very Hoo, the appointed place of the future councils.

The only reason for “Hertford,” as the usual interpretation of
“Herutford,” is again the mere likeness of the name; and is not a
strong one even of its kind. Any place with “Rod-,” “Reed-,” “Rote-,”
and many the like initial syllable, would have a better claim. It is
very much suspected that the method, hitherto practised of placing
these old place-names, has been far too hasty. It may fairly be
expected that some of them are no longer represented by any existing
names. We have seen above by how close a shaving several have survived.
But of this name “Herutford,” “Heorotford,” or “Heortford,” it might
safely be assumed that the initial “He-,” is no more than a prefixed
aspirate: that it is not of the essence of the name. And so Beda
himself evidently thought; for when[89] he mentions a name, almost
identical with this one, in Hampshire; he gives it with a Latin
explanation, “_Hreutford_, id est _Vadum harundinis_,” evidently
taking it for Reed or Rodford.[90] We might also expect to find such
a name represented by a modern name beginning with “Wr-;” but an
inconsiderable “Redham,” a farm, in Gloucestershire, is found written
“Hreodham” in the tenth century.

The above had already been written, when it seemed to be at least a
formal obligation to test this principle, by a direct application of it
to the district under consideration; which has unexpectedly yielded,
what is at any rate, an example of the principle. Whether or not it
indicates an actual trace of the place “Herutford” itself, shall not
at present be ventured to say. However,[91] in the charter, dated 778,
already quoted, in which the level land north of Cliffe is called
“Scaga;” the land-marks begin with the words “Huic uero terrae adiacent
pratae ubi dicitur Hreodham.” The land itself, to which it is adjacent,
is called “Bromgeheg;” a name which now remains as “Broomey,” a house
only, at Cooling; and the chief land-limits are “Clifwara gemære” and
“Culinga gemære.” The land is granted to the Bishop of Rochester, but
evidently adjoins the eastern side of that including Cliffe itself,
which had already been given to the Archbishop, as above quoted.

Even at first sight it would seem unaccountable, that, at a synod
held at Hertford; what appears to amount to a periodical series of
repetitions or continuations, or in fact adjournments of it should have
been determined upon at so distant a place as Clofeshoch,--wherever
that may prove to have been--must have been from Hertford. It would
seem more likely, that the future place of assembly in view, would have
been practically in the same place. This initial council was under the
presidency of the Primate; and so were those that followed, except that
when the King of Mercia was present the Primate yielded the first place
to him. The permanently appointed place would also be likely to have in
view the convenience of access, to the Primate, of his suffragans, from
all the sub-kingdoms; and to this the Watling-street contributed, not
only his own ready approach from Canterbury, to the very place where
tradition has fixed it; but also, for those who were to meet him there;
the most perfect road from London, and the entire north-west of the
island; whilst immediate access from East Saxony, East Anglia, and the
northern dioceses, has been shewn in the well frequented ferry, also to
this very place. The Church of England is seen to have had an earlier
approximation towards political unity than the Kingdom of England. The
former was, in fact, contributory to the latter as, perhaps, one of its
most efficient causes. This was not lost sight of by those who aimed at
the supremacy; whose policy, therefore, was to have the Primate at his
right hand in his councils; and to cultivate an identity of interest
with him. Offa’s attempt to set up an Archbishop at Lichfield, only
seven miles from his home-court at Tamworth, was in this direction.

       *       *       *       *       *

This attempt to determine the true place of these synods, during the
continuance of Mercian supremacy in England; was intended to confirm
the statement, that wherever extraneous dedications of St. Werburgh are
found, traces are also found of the energetic or active presence of
Æthelbald. It may seem to be rather an elaborate implement for so small
a purpose. It has been more extensive than was contemplated: but, if
once successfully constructed, it may serve a greater purpose of its
own: the setting at rest of a long dispute. And this purpose of its own
will itself receive back all that it gives to ours: for if the presence
of Æthelbald, accounts for our having found a St. Werburgh in this
now secluded peninsula; the presence of that dedication, is a weighty
confirmation of the much disputed fact, that he was busy and much
resident there; and that we might reasonably expect his most important
acts to be dated thence. At all events, it is hoped that our sixth and
last remaining of the wandering dedications of St. Werburgh, in the
Kentish Hoo, has been thus discovered to have been in the immediate
company of Æthelbald; when, as it is said in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:

    “A.D. 742. Now was a great synod gathered at Cloueshou, and
    there was Æthelbald, King of the Mercians, and Cutbert,
    Archbishop, and many other wise men.”

But something more is to be said concerning this passage itself of
the Chronicle. It appears to be only contained in one manuscript;
consequently in the five-column edition, this year is only filled in
in the fifth column; the other four being blank. Sir T. D. Hardy says
of this solitary manuscript, that it is “apparently of the twelfth
century;” and that it contains “various peculiar additions, chiefly
relating to Kentish ecclesiastical affairs.”[92] Professor Earle also
says of it: “There is no external tradition informing us as to what
home it belonged, but the internal evidence assigns it to Christ
Church, Canterbury.”[93] This is much more to our purpose than if it
had been in all the manuscripts: for if it had been a part of the
usual and received text of the Chronicle, it would have here been a
mere retranscription, for ages, with an indefinite locality. As it is,
standing only in a Chronicle of Canterbury; it had evidently claimed
the special attention of the Annalist, from its direct local Kentish
interest; and especially its concern with a piece of land, which,
we have seen, was owned by the Cathedral Church to which the writer
belonged. What has been already said about the “Dr. Hethe” note[94]
applies with still greater force to this; which is indeed the same
Canterbury tradition; only that it is in hand-writing of four hundred
years earlier date.

But “Hoo-St.-Werburgh” is a parish adjoining to Cliffe; and our
argument is, that when, as recorded in the Canterbury copy of the
Chronicle, A.D. 742, there was a synod at Cloueshou, and that
“Æthelbald was there;” he founded and dedicated this church, as we have
found him to have done elsewhere. Added to this, we have seen reason,
and shall presently see more, that the neighbouring church of Cliffe
itself was founded by his great successor Offa, A.D. 774. It has been
said, and with great likelihood, that Cliffe and Hoo-St.-Werburgh
were the two most ancient churches in the Hoo; and that they are the
mother churches of the five or six others in the peninsula, that have
sprung up at some later times; their segregated portions, which, in due
course, have consolidated into separate parishes.

As before said, the church at Cliffe-at-Hoo itself, has the dedication
of St. Helen; and it is believed that, by a similar foretaste of
chivalry, to that of Æthelbald’s for St. Werburgh; Offa habitually
planted his standard under the name of this other female saint. It is,
therefore, no wonder that we find these two, close together, in that
very district wherein, during two long reigns, Æthelbald and Offa are
recorded as constantly performing acts of sovereignty. Of this there
are many evidences, besides the councils about which we are engaged,
in the accounts of their dealings, in this district, and along the
Medway, and throughout Kent, in the manner in which conquerors usually
deal with newly-acquired land; as shewn in their numerous charters.

The reputed British-Roman nativity of St. Helen in Deira, appears to
have given her name a prevalence in that province, with which the
Anglian successors of the northern Britons were infected; like that
of St. Alban, and the Kentish St. Martin, with his prolific eastern
grafts.[95] And they accepted and improved the legacy. But the remains,
of this acceptance, of a local aspect of religion, are the most
conspicuous in Deira; and in Lindisse or Southumbria, a constituent
of that kingdom. It did not extend to Bernicia. Of the known existing
dedications of St. Helen, Durham contains only two, Northumberland one,
Westmoreland and Cumberland none; and we learn from Bp. Forbes, that
the name thinly re-appears beyond the border in Scottish Northumbria.
But in Yorkshire we find twenty-two, and in Lincolnshire thirty; and
these last, except two a little south of it, are all in Lindsey proper:
Nottinghamshire also has ten. Lancashire has four or five. The tendency
of Northumbrian hagiology to spread into Mercia proper, has been
already mentioned; and a still pretty free, but reduced, scattering
of St. Helens is found in that kingdom. Derbyshire has 5, Cheshire 3,
Northants 6, Leicestershire 4, but Staffordshire none, Salop one--being
near to [H]Elle[n]smere. Bedfordshire one at [H]El[len]stow. Herts
one at Wheathampstead--near Offa’s St. Alban, and Essex (Colchester)
one. The Wiccian counties, Warwick two, Worcester (city), and
Gloucestershire (north) each one.

The above examples, of this dedication in England--about 96--have been
recited, chiefly for the purpose of exhaustion. The residual seven
or eight, still more scattered over the more southern counties, are
what our lesson must be chiefly read from; that they are found in the
footsteps of Offa, as marks of new possession; in a similar manner
to the St. Werburghs in the tract of Æthelbald. No doubt each of the
ninety six has its own story to tell, but it does not now concern us.

As we have already seen,[96] A.D. 774, Offa granted the land at Higham
in Hoo, which includes the site of the church and town of Cliffe, to
Jaenberht, Archbishop of Canterbury; exceptionally surrounded by lands
of the Bishop of Rochester. At the same time, there can be no doubt,
he founded and dedicated the church, which still bears the name of St.
Helen. Again, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 777, it is written,
“Now Cynewulf”--of Wessex--“and Offa fought around Bensington, and Offa
took that town.” The church at Bensington on the left--or Offa’s--shore
of the Thames is also a St. Helen at this day. At Albury, also in
Oxfordshire, about nine miles north of Bensington, on the smaller river
Thame, the church is St. Helen. Also, on the Thames, at Abingdon, as is
well known, there is a St. Helen. With regard, however, to this last,
the local monastic tradition gives an earlier origin, founded on a
miraculous discovery of a Holy Rood. This must stand, against our use
of this example, for whatever the tradition may be worth. Perhaps a
fourth “Sancta Helena” is recorded,[97] as the sanctuary of a fugitive
who had stolen a bridle, A.D. 995. The land, given in conciliation,
must have been close to the chalk ridge south of the White Horse Vale,
Berks; as, among the boundaries, is “Cwicelmes hlæw,” well known to
be on this ridge; and the “grenanweg,” still called by the neighbours
“the Green Way;” being a part of what is called “the Drover’s Road,” by
which, until outdone by the rail, cattle from the west were driven, for
many miles, turnpike free, and with peripatetic grazing. The St. Helen
here referred to may, however, have been Abingdon itself.

At any rate, here are three, out of the few existing southern St.
Helens, in the line of frontier then realised by Offa against Wessex.
The same line of St. Helens, both eastward and westward, is also
extended across the island, from the extreme north of Kent, as we
have seen; by the well-known one in London; and another formerly at
Malmsebury, and another at Bath. These last three--making six--also
probably resulted from the same campaign of Offa as the Berkshire and
Oxfordshire ones.

That at Bath, however, has a special claim to our attention; having
been in that same suburb outside the north gate, where also was found
the St. Werburgh, within the fork of the Foss-way and that now called
Via Julia. Here then, as already in the Hoo of Kent, we once more find
a St. Werburgh and a St. Helen in immediate companionship. The seal of
Æthelbald endorsed by that of Offa, the inheritor of his policy.[98]
But what is the significance of these emblems of Mercian territory,
being both found outside the Roman walled town on the north side? Did
this suburb become specially a Mercian quarter? The monastery, of
which Offa was a reputed founder or re-founder about this very time,
must have been a chief occupant of the area within the walls; and its
possessions extended, in the opposite direction, beyond the river, on
the Wessex side. We have already seen[99] signs of Æthelbald’s further
south-west progress along the Foss-way as far as into East Devon.

Besides this line of St. Helens, along the frontier, which was the
result of the campaign recorded in the Chronicle, under A.D. 777;
there are still three outlying southward, along the south coast: the
extreme natural limit of the Saxon nations. Although not recorded in
the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, an earlier excursion of Offa is mentioned
by others. A.D. 771, Simeon of Durham[100] says “His diebus Offa, rex
Merciorum, Hestingorum gentem armis subegerat.” Dr. Lappenberg, in
relating this feat of Offa’s, calls “the Hestingas, a people whose
locality, like that of so many others among the Saxons, is not known
with certainty. They have been sought for about Hastings in Sussex, and
most probably inhabited the district around that town to which they
gave their name.”[101] Roger of Wendover, however, reads “Anglorum
gentem.”[102] Upon this, Sir F. Palgrave had already noted: “It is
not easy to ascertain what people are meant. The name has inclined
many writers to suppose that they were the inhabitants of Hastings,
but they could scarcely be of sufficient importance. Perhaps we should
read _East Anglorum_.”[103] Other recent historians, with or without
hesitation, adopt the present town of Hastings as the scene of the

Here then we have another fully ripe historic doubt; so evenly balanced
in the judgments of the most specifically learned, that after what has
already been shewn, of the local coincidences of dedications of St.
Helen with the feats of Offa; if the like should be found also to apply
to the one here recorded, would be sufficient to give a considerable
bias to the scale. And this is what we do find.

About a mile north of the town, which still bears a name that has since
acquired other claims to places in history, Hastings; is a village
called Ore; of which the church has another of our southern outlying
dedications of St. Helen. If Offa’s conquest, as recorded by Simeon of
Durham, refers to Sussex, it needs only to say so much, in order to
account for this one; and to fulfil the promise of our theory; that
the name of this saint and the written witnesses of Offa’s progress,
shall be found to mutually confirm each other as evidence of his active
presence. This village is situated on an elevation commanding the town
itself; and on the southern edge of a ridge, along which, and close
to the village, runs one of those great roads, of which the straight
line is significant of a long, ancient, and arterial use. In fact it
must have been always the almost sole approach to the town, whether
from Kent or from the centre of England. Moreover, at whatever point
of the neighbouring beach, at a later time, William landed; this road
must have been his principal means of reaching Battle. Here, therefore,
upon the door itself of the town, still remains the usual seal of
Offa’s conquests. Sir Francis Palgrave’s objection, of the insufficient
importance of the Gens Hestingorum, would not, it is thought, have been
raised, if he had remembered that the large territory, called the “Rap
de Hastings” of Domesday, and the Rape of Hastings of our own time,
most likely had already existed from the first settlement of the South
Saxons. Two or three years later, Offa is still found busy in that part
of Kent which adjoins this most eastern of the Rapes of Sussex.

But although the Hæstingas only are mentioned, as the people first
encountered, there are other evidences that he extended his conquests
westward throughout Sussex. One of his St. Helens remains on the foot
of the South Downs, between the peninsulated stronghold called The
Devil’s Dike and the sea; and, within actual eyeshot, is another, on
the opposite eastern coast of the Isle of Wight. Moreover he has, as
was his practice in many parts of England, also left his own name along
the line, in Offham, near Lewes, Offington, near Worthing, Offham,
close to Arundel Park.

There are also one or two St. Helens or Elens, both in Cornwall and
Wales: which would be in accordance with what otherwise has been said
above, but as several local Celtic saints have names liable to become
more familiar by corruption into this one, they will not be here called
into evidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the series of synods of which the acts are dated from Cloveshoe
did not cease with the reign of Æthelbald. These, interspersed with
occasional dates of Cealchythe and Aclea, continued throughout the
other long and dominant Mercian reign of his successor Offa. Indeed
they continued as long as Mercia remained supreme, and far into the
ninth century: the date of “Clofeshoe” being last met with for a synod
under Beornuulf, A.D. 825: about the time when both Kent and Essex are
found to have been annexed by Wessex.

It may seem difficult to realise that what is a small detached
region--almost practically an island--now containing only four or five
villages or decayed towns; was, for about a century and a half, the
seat of one of the royal residences, where a succession of powerful
kings held so many of their courts to which were convened the magnates
of their own and of subject kingdoms. The truth is, that political
centrality is not coincident with geographical; and is only partially
dependent upon natural aspect or condition. London is very far from a
geographical centre; and, if we could bring into view its original
natural aspect; London, with its marshes would be as incredible as the
place here concerned. Its present greatness is the outgrowth of the
later supremacy of Wessex; and London was as much an outpost of Saxony
into Mercia, as the Hoo had been of Anglia into Centland.

Those who expect a confirmation of this regal occupation of the Hoo,
from substantial remains there, may remember that a thousand years of
desertion have passed over it. As Fuller said, when writing of this
controversy about Cloveshoe, already warm in his day:[104] “Nor doth
the modern Meanness of the Place make anything against it; it might be
a Gallant in that Age, which is a Beggar now-a-dayes.” Geographical
and natural conditions have much to do with the choice and permanence
of the seats of governments; but political needs and fortunes often
over-rule or reverse them. The rise of Wessex turned the preference to
other centres; and the exposure of this peninsula to the ravages of
the Danes, just then becoming active, is sufficient to have brought
desolation upon it. The site of New York seems very much like this;
but its growth was not prevented by such a constant peril as this last
in its front, nor by the ascendancy of a rival power in its rear. It
is political causes that have surrounded the circular mound at Windsor
with the regal associations, which have forsaken that of Tamworth; and
the same political causes have covered with houses and palaces, not
only the elevated spot upon which London was first planted, but the
many miles of swamp that encompassed it. When cities, or settlements
upon elevations, take to growing great, they no longer despise the
alluvial levels which skirt them; but cover even these with buildings.
This is the case with London itself, where even the supreme Aula Regia
of the Saxon empire, that has inherited the “England” of Æthelbald and
Offa; stands upon a similar alluvial appendage of the higher ground
of the original settlement; to that which, projecting from the chalky
heights of the Hoo, has been declared to be inconsistent with its

Again, are there preserved, anywhere at all, any fragments whatever,
of masonry of the time of Æthelbald and Offa, even under the most
favourable circumstances? We have seen that many churches were founded
in that age, that have continued in vital existence to this day. In
these, if anywhere, remains of the first structures might have been
found. Instead of this, the few præ-Norman relics that do exist can
scarcely be said to approach that date; and when, later, they do
crop up; they seem to bring with them an indication, why they are
the earliest. They are found in places where stone is as plenty and
as easily hewn as wood; and they appear to be worked and constructed
by hands and heads that had been accustomed to work and construct in
wood; and often with adze-like tool marks. The angry question whether
the word “timber” was, by birth, a verb or a noun--a question of which
some of the most eminent Anglo-Saxon scholars seem, on waking, to have
found themselves on the wrong side--shall not here be roused; but the
absence of earlier remains may be accounted for, by taking for granted,
wood to have been, at the earlier time, the material mostly used. What
then can we expect to find in a tract of land, ever since abandoned to
its ordinary rural and pastoral condition? The cartular evidence of the
importance of this small territory, during the time in question, is
most abundant; and the many traces of antiquity, in the names of now
inconsiderable spots, has been already referred to.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the inferences, from the surviving examples of these dedications,
and their topographical distribution, may have assumed the tone of
exact or statistical inductions; it is but right that they should be
qualified by an admission that, from that point of view, they are
subject to some elements of discount. It has been already admitted
that more extinct St. Werburghs may come to light; and of course it
is impossible to foresee to what extent the inferences may be thereby
disturbed; although it is not expected that they can be substantially
over-balanced. Indeed, there are not wanting other spots which have
names with a suspicious possibility of being corruptions of the name of
Werburgh, similar to those that we have seen, where they are confirmed
by the actual survival of the dedication itself; as in the cases of
Warburton and Warbstow. Of these are two eminences, the situations of
which are strikingly similar to that at Wembury, as if chosen by the
same eye. They are close to the sea shore, but in other parts of the
south coast. These are a hill, called “Warberrys,” close to Torquay;
and another called “Warbarrow,” in the isle of Purbeck. But neither of
these have traces of the dedication, and both names are quite likely to
have had other causes; nor can the places be directly connected with
any known record of Æthelbald. Therefore they shall not be enlisted
into the present enquiry. There is also a Wareberrewe near Wallingford,
with the present dedication of S. Laurence.

The indications, that have been above induced, however, from the
occurrences of the dedications of St. Werburgh in south England, as
well as those of St. Cuthbert in Wessex, are very distinct and definite
as guide-posts in historical topography; being strictly national
or dynastic. But St. Helen, as compared with them, has the great
disadvantage of being catholic and illustrious; and the possibility,
of course, exists, for a catholic dedication to have had sometimes
other causes besides that here attributed--the personal veneration of a
conqueror. It is, however, thought that the comparative numbers in the
different provinces, that have been offered, may help any judgment upon
this point. One cause of aberration, in the case of the St. Helens may
be, that some examples may have been “St. Helen and Holy Rood;” and, as
often happens to a joint dedication, one half may have been worn off by
grinding time: sometimes the first, sometimes the last; so that some
of what are now only known as Holy Rood, or Holy Cross, may have been
originally St. Helens. On the other hand, the dedication of Holy Rood
may, in some cases, have been independently attached to churches, that
have arisen where there had already been a cross of a martyr, which
had brought a great resort to a spot of reputed eminent sanctity.[105]
Or, as in the legend of Abingdon, where a cross, or a piece of
the True Cross has been said to have been miraculously found: or a
wonder-working Crucifix, as at Waltham Abbey. The local distribution of
Holy Roods does not shew any estimable counter-balance of that of the
St. Helens; and the Holy Roods themselves are believed to have had a
tendency to pass into St. Saviour, or Christchurch.

       *       *       *       *       *

One very general agent in the obliteration of those dedications that
are national, or otherwise capable of rendering historical indications,
has been particularly active in the English part of this island. This
is the tendency to depose them, in favour of the greater saints, who
are recognized and honoured throughout Christendom. This, as might have
been expected, is more particularly the case of St. Mary. It is likely
that many of the churches with this dedication are amplifications of
sanctuaries of the more ancient and national kind. So strong was this
tendency that, where it did not drown out the original tutelar name
of a church; it must at least be satisfied by the addition of a “Lady
Chapel.” Such a process of change may often be seen actually at work.
The fine large church at Marden, Herefordshire, is said, both by Leland
and Browne Willis, to have the dedication of St. Ethelbert; and so
no doubt it has: but the present officers of the church, if asked,
pronounce it to be of St. Mary. A glance at the building accounts
for this. Within the church, at, perhaps, about twenty feet from
the western wall, is preserved an uncommon relique, the well of St.
Ethelbert; murdered by Offa, about a mile off, but whose shrine was at
Marden, until translated to Hereford Cathedral. There can be no doubt
that the well occupied the focus of the original small sanctuary that
was first raised over the reliques of the martyr; and which was on the
brink of the river, that flows near the western front of the church,
and so prevented enlargement in that direction. The large increase of
the church eastward, in accordance with the practice of the later age,
having been devoted to the name of St. Mary. Another similar case, of
Middleham in Richmondshire, has been kindly brought to notice by Mr.
W. H. D. Longstaffe. The original dedication is St. Alkelda, whose
martyrdom, being strangled by two female servants, is represented on
glass. Her traditional altar-tomb, is westward of the chancel arch of
the collegiate choir of St. Mary, founded by King Richard III. The only
other traces of St. Alkelda is a church in her name at Giggleswick,
some miles westward.

       *       *       *       *       *

That sort of conviction, which arises from a gradual accumulation
of facts, upon what had at first started as a suspicion or a guess;
cannot be so vividly imparted to a reader. But even if what has been
said above should have been successful; it will be very far from
having exhausted the materials of this kind of enquiry: will only
have served, by one or two examples, to shew the value of a neglected
class of monuments, which, it is thought, have not yet been made to
yield up their teaching. At the best, what has here been done, can be
no more than the exposure of two or three fragments of a vast ruin,
co-extensive with the land; of which the plan should be restored by a
comparative registration or cartography of the whole. In the Celtic
portions of these islands, the dedications of the churches retain much
of their original or primitive topical distribution; shewing, as they
have sometimes already been made to do, the maternity of missionary
centres to offshoot churches. In the Teutonized portions of England, it
is likely that they have another and greater lesson. They are here, in
addition, believed to be able to shew, to a certain extent, what may
be called an ethnical stratification; which, if carefully observed,
would often mark out the extension of revolutions or conquests: more
especially in those early times, of which written history is scanty or
altogether wanting.


[1] Cod. Dip. CXLIII.

[2] Dr. Lappenburg (I. 38) describes the people of Warwickshire and
Worcestershire as the “Gewissi.” But the “Gevissæ” was the ancient
name of the southern main stem of the West Saxons, who made their way
into Somerset and Devon (Bæda. H. E. III. 7), and plainly a name of
distinction from the Huiccii. All the pre-Christian pedigrees of the
West Saxon leaders have an early name “Gewis,” which has been, with
great likelihood, supposed to have been the origin of the name of the
Gevissæ. In some only of the pedigrees, this name is next preceded by
“Wig.” This seems to point to a division of the leadership between two
kinsmen, perhaps brothers; and the Wiccii or Wigornians to be derived
from the latter.

[3] A.S. Chron., “Feathan leag”--Welsh Chronicles, “_Ffery llwg_.”

[4] Dr. Guest in Archæological Journal, vol. xix., p. 197.

[5] Thesaurus, I. 169.

[6] Dr. Guest and Mr. Freeman, and their followers, as the Saturday
Review, and the various school histories, which, having adopted the
innovation, are lauded in that journal.

[7] Prof. W. W. Skeat, Macmillan, Feb. 1879, p. 313.

[8] See “A Primæval British Metropolis,” Bristol, 1877, pp. 45-80.

[9] One of the obsolete ones was brought to mind by a paper read by Mr.
C. E. Davis, at Bath, in 1857: another is printed from the Register of
Worcester Cathedral in Thomas’s Survey, kindly pointed out by Mr. John
Taylor; so that others, unreckoned, may possibly be brought to light.

There is one, in addition to all those above mentioned, at Dublin; but,
as the dedications in Strongbow’s Dublin are no more than a post-Norman
colonisation of those at Bristol, it does not enter into our reckoning.

[10] The genealogical relation of St. Werburgh and Æthelbald will be
seen in this extract from Dr. Lappenberg’s Pedigree of the Kings of

        |                                         |
      Penda, last Pagan King of                 Eawa, died A.D. 642.
      Mercia, reigned A.D. 626-655.             (Called “Rex Merciorum.”?)
        |                                                     |
        +--------------+------------+                 +-------+-----+
        |              |            |                 |             |
      Peada, K. of M.  |        Æthelred, K. of    Alweo.       Osmod.
      A.D. 655-656.    |        M. A.D. 675-704,      |             |
                       |        died A.D. 715.        |             |
                       |            |                 |          Eanwulf.
                 Wulfhere, K. of M. |                 |             |
                 A.D. 656-675.      |                 |             |
                       |            |                 |         Thingferth.
    +---------------+----+          |                 |             |
    |               |    |          |                 |             |
  Cenred, K. of M.  |  Beorhtwald,  |                 |             |
  A.D. 704-709.     |  Sub-King of  |                 |             |
                    |  Wiccia A.D.  |                 |             |
                    |  636.         |                 |           OFFA,
                    |            Coelred, K.      ÆTHELBALD,     K. of M.
              St. WERBURGH,      of M., A.D.      K. of M.    A.D. 757-798.
              died about         709-716.       A.D. 716-757
               A.D. 700.

[11] The birth, in the West of England, of this assiduous propagator
of the great mediæval embodiment of civilisation, zealous devotee of
the Church, and prominent European statesman, is so important a fact
in our ethnical topography as to deserve a passing, though attentive,
glance. On the authority of those who personally knew him, he was born
near Exeter, about the year 680; but, although no Saxon Conquest had
yet extended so far westward, he bore a Saxon name, although in the
midst of a Celtic people. From this, and from other circumstances also
mentioned of his early life, it may be inferred that his father was a
peaceful Saxon colonist, in advance of conquest, and still a pagan; and
that his mother was a British Christian. He is, therefore, the earliest
recorded example of that irrepressible compound of the two races that
has since made so many deep and broad marks upon the outer world. This
fact, of a pacific international intercourse antecedent to conquest,
was so directly in conflict with evolved history, that it has provoked
an ineffectual attempt to subvert the testimony of it, by questioning
the undoubted reading of the name as being that of Exeter. (E. A.
Freeman, Esq., in Archæol. Journal, vol. xxx., or Macmillan M., Sep.
1873, p. 474).

Another, but later, testimony gives us the name of the place near
Exeter where he was born: Crediton, in a deep and most fertile valley
of that middle district in Devon which is the interval between the
highlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor, but rather to the south-west of that
district. Here there is reason to believe Christianity had already
been established at a much earlier time, by Croyde, or Creed, an Irish
missionary virgin, who has left her name at other places throughout
both Devon and Cornwall. The incredulity, that Crediton was the
birthplace of S. Bonifatius, was vindicated by saying that it has “no
_ancient_ authority whatever.” It has not contemporary authority like
that for “near Exeter,” which, however, it strongly confirms, and
which, for English topography of so early a date, is almost unique in
its explicitness, but it has an authority as ancient as we are obliged
to be content with for nearly all we know of those times, and far
more respectable than most of it. The authority is a church-service
book, still preserved in Exeter Cathedral, compiled by Bp. Grandisson
(died A.D. 1366), and attested by his autograph. If this had been a
mere outdoor tradition, and had rested upon no more than the personal
authority of this most distinguished man, it would even then have been
the very highest evidence of its kind. But it does no such thing. Bp.
Grandisson is not the _author_ of the book any more than St. Osmund is
the author of the Usages of Sarum. He is the codifier of the immemorial
observances of the church, at which the contemporary biographer of St.
Boniface attests that he received his earliest teaching; and of the
very existence of which church their irreproachable attestation is by a
long interval the earliest record.

But there is another evidence that this great man of his age was
known, to his compatriots in his own province, as one of themselves.
Of this they have left a substantial monument in the dedications of
two churches still remaining in Devon, not in his ecclesiastical name,
by which the rest of the world knew him, but in his birth-name of
“Winfrid” by which they had remembered him. The two more distant extant
dedications of Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, and Banbury, Cheshire, on the
contrary, in their dedications of “St. Boniface” are mere reflections
of his realised continental greatness back upon his own island.

Winfrith, near Lulworth, in Dorset, probably had a third western
example of the dedication, for although the present church is of
Norman structure, and with a different dedication (St. Christopher),
most likely, as in many other cases, an earlier sanctuary existed in
Winfrid’s name.

[12] What may be presumed to be another dedication of St. Werburgh
has since been traced to its place, and may be reckoned as an eighth
of those in the home kingdom, at its southern frontier. Among the
land-marks (A.D. 849) of a place called “Coftun,” is Werburgh’s cross
(“in Wærburge rode”) Cod. Dip. CCLXII. This has been found to be
Cofton Hackett, in that north point of Worcestershire that abuts upon
Staffordshire and Shropshire.

[13] Lib. v.

[14] See Warner p. 228. Collinson’s Som., vol. I. Bath, p. 53.

[15] Thomas, Worc. Cath., 1736, Append. No. 9. p. 6. It might be worth
while to search for remains of it in plantations thereabout. It is
distinct from the chapel of St. Blaise, and on a different eminence.

[16] Saturday Rev., Ap. 24, 1875, p. 533.

[17] Reg. Worc. Priory, Camden Soc.

[18] Page 105.

[19] 1846. Glaston. No. LXXXV.

[20] Cod. Dip., No. XCII.

[21] An account of A.S. Coins, &c. Communicated to the Numismatic
Society of London, by Jonathan Rashleigh, Esq., 1868.

[22] _Wessexonicè_ “vvrasseling.”

[23] No matter about their names. Their ethnical pedigree is distinctly
blazoned in their portraits.

[24] A remarkable cluster of four or five names, with the form “-hoe,”
occurs on the coast of North Devon, in that part where we have already
pointed to the unrecorded Mercian descents upon the Damnonian Britons
(see before pp. 119-121). This is very faraway from the much more
numerous assemblages of it, which are in the Anglian parts of England.
It has been contended that this name-form is a vestige of the Danes,
and, on this North Devon coast, the Danes might quite as likely have
left their mark, as the Mercians. But one of them, “Martinhoe,” is
formed by the addition of “-hoe” to the Christian dedication of
the church: not likely, therefore, to have been named by a pagan
colony. Another place, in East Devon not many miles from the Mercian
Widworthy-St. Cuthbert already mentioned, (p. 125), called “Pinhoe,”
is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 1001, to have been
burnt _by_ the Danes in revenge of a Saxon defeat. Would this revenge
have fallen upon their own countrymen? Also, close to the South Devon
dedication of St. Werburgh (p. 121), at Wembury, before mentioned,
are two examples of this name-form. One, the well-known “Hoe,” of
Plymouth; another, the village of “Hooe,” in the promontory itself,
where Wembury stands. Again, we have seen above that this very “regio,”
in Kent, which now engages us, was so named “Hogh” so early as A.D.
738. Very early for the Danes. Add to this: contemporary with the first
appearance of the Danes in Northumbria, at Lindisfarne, there was
already a place called “Billingahoh,” now “Billing_ham_,” near Stockton.

It is, therefore, evident that “-hoe” was here before the Danes,
and can be no other than an Anglian peculiarity. It is, therefore,
an additional evidence, and very strong confirmation, of what has
been already said of the great Mercian descent upon Devon, that this
Anglianism is found strewed in the very path of it.

It will presently be seen that, besides Simeon of Durham, and other
early chroniclers, both Somner and Camden took it for granted that
“-hoe” is only another form, or dialect of “-ham.” It is however
not unlikely, that, as in many other cases, a second mark of names
“-haw” or “-haugh,” said to be Danish, has been concurrent with and
undistinguished from this.

[25] Cod. Dip., No. LXXXV.

[26] 8_b_.

[27] First mentioned by Beda as “Clofeshoch,” and in K. Alfred’s
translation “Clofeshooh.”

[28] See Cod. Dip. _passim_, for other varieties of the name.

[29] Two S. Chronicles, Oxford, 1565.

[30] It is to be regretted that editors of ancient texts, have not more
generally extended their care to the preservation of marginal and other
adventitious notes, even when they are of comparatively much later date
than the texts, which of course are their chief care. Such valuable
fragments are in imminent peril at the present day; for whenever a new
discovery of ancient books or records is now brought to the notice
of the most distinguished experts, the very first piece of advice is
that they shall be “cleaned,” “repaired,” and “skilfully” rebound.
See, among others, examples in the Historical Manuscripts Commission,
_passim_. Why the binding, and even the _status quo_ itself, is a part
of the essence of such things, as monuments. But manuscripts, with far
less excuse, are following the churches on the broad way to refaction,
as it may be mildly called.

When the fanciers of books, especially in London, as well as experts
in manuscripts, make a fortunate acquisition of anything, both fine
and unique; after the usual notes of admiration, such as “truly
marvellous,” etc., they go on to say, “but it deserves a better
jacket.” And at once order it to be stripped of its monumental
covering, and scoured of the autumnal tints of many ages; its pedigree,
contained in ancient shelf-marks, and autographs, is discarded;
often valuable notarial records of events that have for safety, like
monuments in churches, been entered on the covers and fly-leaves,
are lost; and it is finally converted into a monument of nineteenth
century skill in smooth morocco, “antique style,” &c. All that is
really wanted, however, is either a box-case, or other apparatus for
protection. Keep charters or papers nearly as you do Bank of England
Notes. These are never bound for safe-keeping. On the outsides of these
unattached bindings, or other provisions for safe-keeping, can be
lavished whatever munificence, or luxury of modern art, may be thought
to be a sufficient tribute of admiration to the object contained.

[31] Introd. LXVIII.

[32] See Strype’s Works _passim_, where above 100 transactions of Heath
are referred to, and above 50 of Wotton.

[33] Edn. 1587, p. 196.

[34] 1607, folio.

[35] Oxon, 1659.

[36] Cod. Dip., No. LXXXV.

[37] Rochester, Num. IV.

[38] Chron. of Abingdon.

[39] Cod. D., No. CXIV.

[40] Chron. Sax. Oxon. 1692.

[41] Bæda H. E., cura Jo. Smith, Cant. 722, p. 1748.

[42] Concilia, I., 161.

[43] Monumenta Hist. Brit.

[44] Tanner Bibl. Brit., p. 703.

[45] Concilia, 1639, p. 242.

[46] Beda, 1838, p. 200.

[47] Gloss. Ant. Brit., 1733.

[48] Account of Worc. Cath., 1736, p. 120.

[49] A.S.K., I. 225.

[50] Will. Malm., G.P. 1870.

[51] Cod. Dip., 1848.

[52] Saxons in E., 1849, I, 191. The _name_, of Tewkesbury is, however,
apparently older than even this ancient monastery.

[53] Councils, Vol. III., Oxf., 1871, p. 122.

[54] Remains, p. 326.

[55] A-B. C., I., 224.

[56] New edition, by Rev. J. Baron, Oxford, 1850.

[57] C.D. CLXXXV.

[58] “Bercaria” is a synonym for the East Marsh at Cliffe.--Monasticon
Angl. V.I., p. 177, No. 52.

[59] Cod. D. CXXXV.

[60] Cod. D. CLVII.

[61] See Cleasby and Vigfusson, v. “Skaga.” The northern pagans,
afterwards such pests of Rochester, must have already landed here.

[62] Cod. D., No. LII.

[63] For example, Cod. D. No. CXI., which grants lands in the Hoo
itself, viz.: Islingham in Frindsbury, adjoining Cliffe, to Rochester

[64] Geol. Surv. of E. & W., vol. IV., London Basin, 1872, pp. 34, 35.

[65] H. of Essex, I., 235.

[66] P. 236.

[67] Mon. Anglic. Lillechurch (alias Higham), Nos. IV. and V.

[68] Beda, H. E. III., 22.

[69] Beda, H. E., IV., 12.

[70] Hist. Kent, I., p. 528.

[71] See Dr. J. H. Pring, in the Somerset Arch. Soc.

[72] Cod. Dip., No. XXXVIII.

[73] One copy of the A.-S. Chronicle has “Middelseaxe” as early as A.D.
653, the other four testify this to be miswritten for “Middelengle.”

[74] Conc. pp. 291, 313, 314.

[75] A. Sax. Chron.

[76] 6-inch scale.

[77] C.D., No. CXVI.

[78] Sheet 1.

[79] Hist. of Kent, vol. I., p. 526-7.

[80] See also “Willelmus de Cloeville duas partes decime de Acle.”
(Mon. Angl., vol. I., 169.)

[81] Cod. Dip. CXXI.

[82] Hasted (vol. I. p. 531.) quotes a charter of Æthelred, A.D.
1001, granting to the Priory of Canterbury “Terram Clofiæ.” That is,
apparently, regranting to his newly instituted monks, this very piece
of land which Offa had earlier granted to the secular church. If so,
the orthography “Clofia,” points to its identity with “Cloveshoe.”
The nature of the document quoted by Hasted, may be gathered from a
contemporary one of the same kind, printed in the Monasticon. Vol. I.
p. 99. No. V.

[83] Cod. Dip., No. CCXVII.

[84] C. D., No. LXXVIII.

[85] There is some difference of this statement among the six texts.
Some include London, and some do not.

[86] Cod. Dip., No. MXXXIV.

[87] De Ant. Brit. Eccl., ed. Drake., p. 81.

[88] C.D., vol. I., Int. p. cvii.

[89] Lib. IV., ch. 15.

[90] Looking at this again, a fresh and interesting association arises.
This must have been at or close to “_Red_bridge,” at the head of the
Southampton estuary. Beda is telling the story of the two young pagan
Jutish princes, from the Isle of Wight, being baptised, preparatory to
their martyrdom, by Cyniberet abbot of Hreutford. Close to Redbridge
is Nutshalling, the monastery to which the young Winfred, afterwards
St. Bonifatius, passed from Exeter to the care of the abbot “Wynbert.”
There can be no doubt that Beda’s monastery of Hrentford is identical
with the Nutschalling of the biographers of Winfred; and that Beda’s
“Cyniberet” is the same as their “Wynbert.”

If this identification, both of a place and a person, that have both
been known by different names for above a thousand years, should be
justified; it will be all the more remarkable, because Beda’s text has
been in English keeping; whilst that of the biographers of Bonifatius
has been chiefly in foreign literary custody.

[91] Cod. Dip., No. CXXXII.

[92] M.H.B., Pref. 77.

[93] Two Chron., Introd., lii.

[94] P. 28.

[95] Kent has 15 extant St. Martins, Lincoln 14, Norfolk 14, Suffolk 7,
Essex 4, Middlesex 8.

[96] P. 45.

[97] Cod. Dip., No. MCCLXXXIX.

[98] These were both in that suburb, still called “Ladymead.” But it
would be one of the rash things, that are so often committed in these
matters, to connect this name with the two Lady dedications. In fact
there is a tolerable alternative. It may have been a mead that belonged
to one “Godric Ladda,” a witness to an Anglo-Saxon manumission of a
Bondsman, in Bath Abbey. (Hickes, Dissert., 8 Epist., p. 22).

[99] P. 124-5.

[100] Mon. Hist. Brit., p. 664.

[101] A.-S. K., I., 229-30.

[102] Flores Hist., 1601. p. 143.

[103] Eng. Com., Proofs, cclxxix.

[104] Ch. H., 1655, II., VIII., 21.

[105] The contemporary authoress of the life of St. Willibald, says
that (about A.D. 703), it was the custom among the Saxons--_i.e._
Willibald’s compatriots in Wessex--for some noble or substantial men,
not to erect a church upon their estates, but to hold in honour a lofty
Holy Cross. This seems a strong confirmation of a recent suggestion
of Prof. Earle, that the English word “Church” is a transliteration,
and scarcely that, of the word “crux.” It seems to be a more likely
word for the churches of Augustine and Birinus, than the usual one
more distantly derived. Leland in one place has “curx” for “crux.” In
planting these crosses, these old Lords of Manors were sowing the seeds
of what are to us parishes.


A PRIMÆVAL BRITISH METROPOLIS. With Notes on the Ancient Topography of
the South-Western Peninsula of Britain. 1877.

    _Bristol: Thomas Kerslake & Co._ (1_s._, _postage_ 2_d._)

    _Contents_: The Pen-Pits and Stourhead. Cair Pensauelcoit.
    Penselwood. The Nennian Catalogue of Cities. Totnais or
    Talnas, of the Welsh “Bruts.” Æt Peonnum, A.D. 658 and 1016.
    Pointington Down, near Sherborne. Celtic Hagiography of
    Somerset. Vespasian’s Incursion, A.D. 47. Alauna Sylva. Dolbury
    and Exeter. Sceorstan, A.D. 1016, &c.


    _Printed in the Archæological Journal (Institute)_, _Vol._ xxx.


    _Bristol: Thomas Kerslake & Co._ (1_s._ _Post free_.)

THE ANCIENT KINGDOM OF DAMNONIA. In Remains of the Celtic Hagiology.

    _Printed in the Journal of the British Archæological
    Association._ 1876. _Vol._ xxxiii.


    _Printed in the Archæological Journal (Institute)_, _Vol._
    xxxiv. 1877.



ATHELNEY (Before Alfred.)


CATHERINE BOVEY, of Flaxley, Gloucestershire, the “Perverse Widow” of
Sir Roger de Coverley. With Notes on the Correspondence of ALEXANDER
POPE. (1856.)


                          PERHAPS MAY FOLLOW:

Notes on the Place, “AUGUSTINE’S OAK,” of Ven. Beda.

                             Perhaps also:

The DEDICATIONS of the Churches and Chapels in BRISTOL and

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