« PreviousContinue »
these excite our interest by marking some of them defended with sword and associations of families: to which they spear,--the perishing blades of which add that arising from having been onr now characterize their masters in the countrymen; in whose habits and man- grave,-those more peaceful inhabitants ners, we, though separated by a long, who here fed their fincks, and tended long, interval, yet experience an in their cattle. Others became the prey of quisitiveness not unmingled with sym- casualty; and we learn from their repathy.
mains, that they carried their affections Dr. Clarke found earthen barrows not unabated to the tomb: the father, the only in the steppes of Russia ; but, mother, and the infant, repose together: again, in Greece, ia the plains of Troy, E'en in their ashes live their wonted fires. and is still southern Egypt; | The silent tomb speaks; and those who wbere they seem to have preceded the venture to describe the men of those rePyramids, and to have suggested the mote generations as barbarians, may forin of these immense constructions. stand corrected by the discoveries of the Mr. Gell found unfinished barrows in diligent antiquary, whose folios surround the neighbourhood of Troy; 'no small
our table. Those discoveries may corporiion of which was formed of stones, rect other errors also : for, however gerudely piled, or thrown, into a heap, to neral be the notion, or however strong be afterwards covered with earth and the fancy, that the race of man dwindles, turf. A circunistance this, to which our
and that in former ages giants, and dien British barrows are no strangers; as of vast stature, trod these plains, their many of them are neatly paved with sepulchres afford no confirmation of that flints, gathered from the vicinity; and prejudice. Sir Richard, indeed, occasioncontain masses of the same kind of
ally, finds skeletons of “ stout men;" stones, heaped over the original deposit. but not more frequently than he might We presume not to suppose
find among the modern populaaburigents of our island, sprang out of
tion. the earth ; though such was the boast
Neither were these ancient Britons of many ancient nations, who could not, without their manufactures, sufficient at or would not trace their descent. What least to supply them with the necessalittle testimony exists on the suliject, ries of life: Sir R. disinterred remains derives the population of Britain from of linen, and bits of woollen cloth, still the opposite cast of the Continent: and distinct enough to enable him to judge that is supposed to have been formed of
on the nature of the article; which was settlers from the region where still what we now call kersey. The flocks, exist those comineinorations which so
fed on the downs, no doubt, supplied the strongly engaged the attention of our wool; and the skilful manufacturer formcountryman on his travels. Whether ed it into clothi, ihen, as is done now; the antient settlers did more than tra- for Wiltshire bas been a clothing county verse those extensive plains, we cannot from time immemorial, as we well know. attempt to deride ; but the general re-Straps of leather were also found ; with semblance of place and memorials with these the warriors slung, and by these those of the Wiltshire downs, might be they held, their shields: this acids anadduced in support of a theory, which other to their manufacturing processes; has in its favour all the confirmation and,'in all probability, had not their that can be derived from history; or ra-' wouldering dust perished, through abther froin tradition subsequently record-solute antiquity, other proofs of British ed, and committed to the historic page. ingenuity might have been collected.long after the events had taken place. The best preserved articles are metals.
Separated by an interval of incalcu- and gems; gold retains its qualities : so Jable ages, the mind nevertheless, re does brass ; iron, not equally well;Verts to the period when these Britons, among the gems are glass, amber, jet, whose sepulchres we now contemplate, shells strung into necklaces, and other and in some sense profane-were active ornaments for the person, formed with and animated, like ourselves; when considerable elegance.
Now, these give rise to a question as posing that each accommodated a disto their origin: if they were of domestic tinct branch of the same family, that fabrication, then they bear testimony to some of them were appropriated to sheep, the ingenuity and skill of those who cattle, and other property, the boman made them; and probably to the wealth population of the whole exceeded that of of those who wore them: if they were many cities.
But here are no reguobtained from abroad, then they indicate lar streets ; no sensible divisions ; the the activity of a commerce with stran- ways are like the cells of a bee-hive, ingers, who, certainly, took care to re-tricacy itself. Not so, the British villages ceive an adequate value in return. on Knook Down ; in these, the dwel
And these remarks apply to the most lings are placed in a much more orderly remote interments : for, Sir R.concludes manner, and it should appear that sethat the same tumulus not seldom con- veral members of a family dwelt within tains, three distinct depositions: the the same enclosure; but, not in the same first, that for which the mound was hut, or cottage. Story over story, cerformed; the skeleton remaining intire ; tainly never was adopted by the ancient the second, that in which the bodies Britons; neither had they separate awere burned, and the ashes inclosed in partments under one roof; but their se an urn, of clay, laboriously ornamented, parate apartments were in fact, disbut unskilfully baked; a third, which tinct, though adjoining structures; and occupies a place near the surface; and this alone, is sufficient to justify our reis evidently long posterior to the former. jection of the tale related by Cæsar,
Now, if we grant the existence of the that ten or a dozen men (especially broarts of working metals,-of piercing and thers) lived together, having their wives ornamenting them--of converting the in common; not only is that practice conskins of cattle into leather, of combin trary to nature, and therefore incredible, ing the wool of sheep into cloth, with but, no trace of any such indiscriminate those of carpentry, and constructions of connection has hitherto been discovered. wood, in which we know these people ex It will be recollected that all the Bricelled, there will remain few arts of pri tish dwellings were round in shape ; that mary necessity, which these sons of Al- there is no instance of any foundation biou would have had any great occasion being square ; and this corrects the to regret. They drew tougb bows; they error of whoever was the original de discharged sharp arrows, though head- signer of the figure of the Druid in ed with fint, only ; they took sure aim, Rowland's “ Mona Antiqua": be bas as the many horns of stags found in placed in the back-ground wattled buildtheir sepulchres sufficiently witness.--- ings,-in which he is right:--but, has Such are the facts we learn from the introduced a square form,-in which be dead: but, the living have left traces is wrong. of no mean talents, resolution, and per
The laborious antiquary to whom severance.
we are indebted for these communicaTheir domestic habitations are pro-lions, has supposed ibat branches of bably, as ancient as any other memorial trees, intertwined, formed the walls of of them existing
these houses : had he recollected the Among the most perplexing of these practice of wattle-ing, with that of antiquities are the excavations, called thatching the roof with straw, or reeds, “ Pen Pits," which-if they be trnly he would, no doubt, have taken notice vestiges of antient British residences, of this particular. And the rather, beimply a condensed population of several cause it contributes to account for the thousands of inhabitants, within a space partial sinking of these dwellings into too contracted to have served for retreat. The ground : since thereby, not only to Shepherds and Herdsmen only. Their were the lower ranges of (circular) number is very great; many hundreds, poles more firmly held in position ; but if not thousands; they may be traced those also which rose from thence to the to a considerable distance, and they roof. Moreover, we cannot help conolusely adjoin each other. Even sap-jecturing that what Sir R. denominates
a“ Pond Barrow," is, in fact, the foun- | LARGE CIRCLES of hewn stone: which dation of an edifice, more consequential the Persians affirm, to be a great sign than common; perhaps a Druid's house, that the Caous making war in Media, or place of worship : at least, sepulcbral held a council in that place : it being remains are not found in these hollows, the custom of those people, that every though near themj; they, possibly, there- officer that came to the council brought
fore, sometimes mark a chosen spot for with him a stone to serve him instead of burial : not unlike the modern village a chair: these Caous were a sort of church, with its surrounding church-giants. What is most to be admired, yard.
after observation of these stones, is This leads us to their acknowledged this, that they are so high that eight places of worship; and these are always men can hardly move one ; and yet circular.* We recollect none of any
there is no place from whence they other form; they are also open to the
can be imagined to have been fetchheavens ; though it is highly probable ed, but from the next mountains, that they were surrounded by groves, of which are six leagues off.” oaks, especially, through which " a “ These Caous were a sort of Giants," dim religious light,” penetrated with says Chardin : the reader will not fail difficulty, and added a mysterious so- to compare this opinion—not a mere molemnity to the rites of which these struc-dern notion, with the sentiments handed tures were the scene. Within a few down by tradition in the west ; our years past, the materials for composing circles, too, bave had their “ giants ;" a history of similar structures, have and beside giants, their inchanters and somewhat increased ; and this volume magicians. takes an honourable place, among autho
Another hint at the purposes to which rities for the purpose. Had Dr. Clarke, circles of stones were applied, we learn when surveying Olympus from the sum- incidentally from the psalmist David, mit of Kuchunlu Tepe, recollected, with who recording the train of the tribes true antiquary feelings, the wonders of his that followed the ascent of the Sacred own country, he never could have slight- Ark to Zion, enumerates “ the Princes ed the circle of stones, that he found of Judah, with their council,” or rather, on that monntain, buried in a grove of as Interpreters inform us, " the men of oaks, (Vide LITERARY PANORAMA, their Stones” the leaders, sages, chiefs, Vol. XIII. pp. 86, 231,) at a spot from who gave advice when assembled at their which yotaries might almost hold con- Council Stones. (Psalm Ixviii. 27.)verse with the objects of their adoration. Precisely in the spirit of this explanation Whether we have heartily forgiven that is the expression of Homer, who, liad sin of omission, is a secret we keep to xviii. 504. describing the representations ourselves ; but, we may be allowed to wrought by Vulcan on the shield of retain oor regret that the Dr.'s negli- Achilles, mentions the Judges on the Fogence should forego so favourable an
rum, engaged in hearing a cause :opportunity for enabling us to compare " The Old Men were seated at the the circles of the east with those of the wrought stones in the SACRED CIRCLE." west, and perhaps for framing some ap- If such were the customary tribunals in proximating conjecture as to their era. Britain also, there can be no occasion of
The only author which we recollect, wonder at the number of Druid circles as having noticed these oriental circles, of Stones, still remaining in our Island. is Chardin, whose Travels in Persia
Druid Circles in Persia ;-Druid cir. presents the following passage, Upon cles in the woods of Ida :-Druid cirthe left hand of the road are to be seen cles in Judea :-Barrows as sepulchres,
throughont vast regions, beside the There are, however, traces of open tem- Don and the Wolga ;-another step, and ples, built after the manner of the Druids, but of a square form, among the ruins of Per we touch on a justification of the tradisepolis in Persia. Niebuhr" has given a plate tion which affirms, that the ancestors of of these, which is the best authority known. the ancient Britons, the first inhabitants We hope for further information from the labours of an illustrious British traveller. of our island, were descendants from
the Scythians, tribes from Independent tains about seven hundred acres; and is Tartary, from Russian Asia, from the now daily diminishing by the operations shores of the Euxine, perhaps from of agriculture, and the levellings necesMount Caucasus. Their religion was sary for the plough. that of the ancient Patriarchs : Abra These pits are in their form like an inham was a Druid, for he planted a grove verted cone, and are very unequal in their of oaks ; Jacob and Laban were Druids, dimensions ; in some instances we see doufor they raised a double circle of com
ble pits, divided by a slight partition of memorative stones : Joshua took large cartli ; and the soil in wlrich they are dug stones, which formed his memorial cir- is of so dry a nature, that no water bas been
ever known to stayuate in them, In every cle (Gilgal) ; and the Ebenezer, or
part of the district, querns or mill-stones " stone of help,” of Samuel, was pre- I have been invariably found-they bear decisely analogous to those which in our cided marks of the tool upon them, and ayown country, we pronounce Druidical.
pear never to have been used. They are These slight introductory observations made of the native green stone [found on have enabled the reader to form a tolera- the spot.] bly correct notion of the contents of this Describing the British villages on magnificent folio. In the necessary re- Knook Dowu, says our author : searches Sir Richard was greatly as We have undoubted proofs from history sisted, and not seldom preceded, by Mr. and from existing remains, that the earCunnington, a gentleman of Heytes- liest habitations were piis or slight excavabury, in Wiltshire, whose attention tions in the ground, covered and protected seems to have been directed by accident from the inclemency of the weather by into this course of British antiquity, boughs of trees, or sods of turf. The bigh which he afterwards pursued with grounds were pointed out by uature, as ilie eagerness. That gentleman first pro-less cucumbered by wood, and a fiording
fittest for these early settlements, being jected the plan of the work; and in better pasture for the numerous flocks, and token of gratitude, it is dedicated to herds, from which the erratic tribes of the him; and his portrait accompanies the first colonists drew their means of subsisdedication. The county is divided into tence: but after the conquest of our island several “ digressions, such as distance by the Romans, when, by meaus of their and time will allow of for one day; and enlightened knowledge, society became in naming them, says Sir R. I shall more civilized, the Britons began to quit take the liberty of anglicizing a Latin the elevated ridge of chalk hills
, and seek word, and call them Iters." The first At first, we find them removed into the
more sheltered and desirable situations. station is Stourton, where Sir R.'s seat savdy vales immediately bordering on the is ; the second is Warminster ; the chalk hills; and at a late period, when the third Heytesbury ; the fourth Wily ; improved state of society under the Rothe fisth Amesbury; the sixth Everley; mans ensured the security, the vallies the seventh Salisbury; the eighth Fo- were cleared of wood, and towns and vilvant; the ninth Hendon. North Wilt-| lages were erected in the plains wear rishire will follow; but let these be first vers, which, after the departure of the Ro. completed.
maus, became the residence of the Saxous, The Introduction is brief; but pre-led before these important chauges took
But a considerable period must have elapssents a judicious combination of well-place; for on our bleakest hills we find the known authorities: Pliny, Cæsar, Taci- luxuries of the Romans introduced into the tus, &c. It also distinguishes Towns ; British settlements, Alnes, hypocausts, stueEarthen-works, Fortresses or Camps, coed and painted walls, &c. &c. Yet not Tamuli or Barrows; of which several a single juscription has ever been discokinds are named, chiefly according to vered in any one of these British villages, their forms ;-the mode of burial,- the that can throw any positive light upon
the contents found in these Barrows,-and,
era in which they flourished, or were de. Religious Structures.
serted, for a more temperate, and less ex.
posed climate. We have already alluded to those re
If we refer to the plan of this ground, we markable excavations--- Pen Pits” of shall perceive two British towlis, situated which a part only remains, yet this con- at some considerable distance from each
other, and seemingly connected by means tlement; and that, the Romanized Briof OLD DITCH ; we must also observe tons continued to reside in it to a late that, in one part, this Ditch has been evi
That - Old Ditch”, with dently broken through, and the line of ha- others, which may be traced for miles, bitations continued across it; from which in various places, was a road, or track circumstance we may reasonably conclude, that the ditch existed prior to the conte
for communication, Sir R. has no doubt : struction of the village; or perhaps if the such ways are usually sunk into the ditch served as a communication between ground, and the soil is thrown up, on the upper and lower villages, it might have each side. This certainly was a secure been broken through in order to extend mode of leading cattle from place to the limits of the latter.
place. The site of these villages is decidedly marked by great cavities and irregulari.
The Barrows are, beyond question, ties of ground, and by a black soil: when places of British interment; bor do any the moles were more abundant, numerous proofs of Roman deposits occur among coins were constantly thrown up by them, ihem. Nevertheless, the mode of interas well as fragments of pottery, of different ment by cremation, or burning the bospecies. On digging in these excavations, dy, is 'Roman ; and it assigns for the we find the coarse British pottery, and al: date of these instances, a period bemost every species of what has been called tween that of the prevalence of the RoRoman pottery, but which I conceive to have been manufactured by the Britons
man arms (say about A. D. 50) and from Roman models: also, fibula, and rings that of the popular reception of Chrisof brass worn as urmillæ or bracelets, flat tianity (say about A. D. 350): for, the headed iron nails, hinges of doors, loeks heathen laughed at the Christian docand keys, and a variety of Roman coins, of trine of the resurrection of the body, which the small brass of the Lower Em-calling it “ the hope of worms”; and pire are the most numerous, and particu- resigned to the new sect the terms jarly those of the Constantine family. Of the deposit, resting, sleeping, in peace, larger brass we have coins of Vespasian, &c. After the reception of Christiaand Posthumus: of the denarii we have nity, therefore, burning would cease; Caligula, the elder Faustina, Julia Mam- and before the prevalence of the Roman mæa, the elder Philip, Gallienns, and Gra- power, the Britons interred the bodies, tianus : the small brass are too numerous in the attitude in which they died ; i. e. to particularize, but-some of the smallest with the feet and legs gathered up: are remarkable, having only a radiated in reference to which, Sir R. very appohead (often very rude) and one or two Ro- sitely quotes the passage, Gen. xxix. 33. man letters, which perhaps may have been “ And when Jacob had made an end of struck during the latest struggles between commanding his sons, he gathered up the Britons aud Saxons. In digging within these British villages,
his feet into the bed, and yielded up we have but rarely discovered any signs of the ghost.” This seems to imply a building with stone or flint: but we have peaceful departure; and, may, it is several times found very thin stones laid as likely, be so taken, generally. floors to a room. The fire places were As an instance of the contents of small excavations in the ground, in which these Barrows, and of the perseverance we have frequently found a large flat hearth stone: and in two parts of this extensive employed in examining them, we ad
the village we have discovered hypocausts si duce that near Heytesbury, on milar to those in the Roman villa at Pit-northern bank of the river Wily, which mead near Warminster. These are regu- from the nature and richness of its conlar works of masonry, made in the form of a tents was denominated by its excava. cross, and covered with large fat stonestors the GOLDEN BARROW. well cemented by mortar. We have also during our investigations of this spot, re
It was opened for the first time in the peatedly found pieces of painted stucco, year 1803. At the depth of two feet we and of brick flues: also pit coal, and some
found a little pile of burned human bones fragments of glass or chrystal rings, heads, placed in a shallow bason-like cist, and at &c.
the distance of one foot from the bones was
a considerable quantity of ashes intermixed Hence the writer infers, very consis- with small fragments of burned bones. teolly, that this was an early Britisli set- | About two feet from the pile of bones