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In the original Essay and the supplemental Re- 
plies and Notes will be found all that the author can 
say upon the subject The further investigation to 
which he has been led has served only to confirm him 
in the belief that both his propositions were correct, 
viz. : that Cassar embarked at Boulogne, and that he 
landed on Eomney Marsh. Indeed, the principal ob- 
jections urged against his theory have, \ipon inquiry, 
become arguments in his favour. , Thus *it was urged 
that Ambleteuse is only five and a half miles Eoman 
from Boulogne, and could not therefore be the Portus 
Superior; but the French Ordnance map now esta- 
blishes the fact that the distance of Ambleteuse from 
Boulogne, by the land route (to which Caesar no doubt 
refers), is as nearly as possible eight miles Eoman, as 
Caesar represents it. Again, it was contended that 
Caesar could not have disembarked on Eomney Marsh, 
which in that age was a mere swamp ; but the geolo- 
gical history of the Marsh shows conclusively that the 

A 3 


eastern end of the Marsh where Csesar arrived was as 
much terra firma in his day as in our own. Not only 
so, but the very islands to which Velleius Paterculus 
refers in the anecdote of Scaeva have lately come to 
light, and the last traces of them were removed by 
the present engineer of the Marsh only a few years 
since. The author now bids adieu to a controversy 
which has afforded much pleasure to himself, and has, 
it is hoped, given no offence (as none was intended) to 
those who differ from him. 

February 2hih, 1862. 




The following pages were commenced with a view 
to deliv«ing a Lecture before a literary Society in 
Sussex, where the subject would have possessed a local 
interest ; but the discussion was soon found to involve 
a minuteness of detail which was Uttle suited to a 
general audience. The author, therefore, rather than 
confess that his time had been thrown away (an opinion 
which will still be entertained by many of his readers), 
determined on submitting the result of his labour 
(or rather of his amusement) to the judgment of the 

It is almost investing a trifle with too great import- 
ance to thank several friends for their assistance, but 
the author cannot refrain from acknowledging the 


kindness of the Eev. C. Merivale, for the tract noticed 
in the Appendix ; Mr. S. Waley, for the loan of 
Mariette's Memoir on the Portus Itius, from which 
much valuable information has been derived; Mr. 
Barton, of Dover, for inquiries about the Tides ; and 
the author's relative, Mrs. Spencer Lewin, for much 
time and pains bestowed on the preparation of the 

IiiiKX>LN*s Inns 
Julxf 13, 1859. 



First Invasion 1 

Second Invasion 74 

Appendix 129 

Replies to the Remarks of the Astronomer-Royal . . iii 
Replies to the Remarks of the late Camden Professor of An- 
cient History at Oxford xxxix 

Notes Ixxxi 



Head of Csesar Frontispiece 

Chart of the Channel page 1 

Old Map of the Gallic Coast 20 

Old Map of the eastern end of Romney Marsh ... 44 
Old French Map illustratiye of Portus Itius . 130 

Plan of the Port of Wissant xli 

Map of Romney Marsh as it was before any embankment . liii 

Map of Romney Marsh in the 14th century . cxiv 

Do. at the end of the 17th century .... cxviii 


Barrington's Sketch of Coway Ford 105 

Crawter*s Sketch of do 106 

The Coway Stake at the British Museum .131 

Plan of Rye Harbour in ancient times .... cxix 


Page 3, note, /or "J. Caesarem*' read **C. CeBsarem." 

„ 9, line 1, dele ** of Cajsar." 

„ 9, Hnell, rfe/€"that." 

„ 25, last line, /or »* Cneius " read ** Cnseus." 

n 26, note 6, for " quartam " and " tertiam " retid '* quartum " and " tertium." 

„ 29 f for "we haye already had occasion to mention " read *' we are informed." 

„ 30, line 17,ybr **had been" read "were." 

„ 30, line 18,/or " S. W." read ♦* S." 

„ 31, line 21, read " cliffs " instead o/" chalk clifis." 

„ 39, line 6, correct thus : ** if the wind was in his favor in coming from 
Boulogne to Dover, it must have blown from some point of the south, 
and then if it still continued in that quarter, and Csesar sailed before 
it, he must have steered up Channel to the east." 

„ 43, Une 23, /or " 8th " read " 16th." 

„ 56, line 1 5, /w "quadrangular" read "pentagonal." 

„ 127, line 7, between " and " and " that " insert the word * Plutarch." 






I PROPOSE to sketch the first page of British history, 
the invasion of the island by Cains Juhus Csesar, after- 
wards Eoman emperor. We here look across a gulf 
of nearly two thousand years ; but, if I mistake not, 
the picture to be presented of that period wiU be 
graphic and distinct. We have an account from the 
pen of Csesar himself, the principal actor in the drama ; 
and his Commentaries, though intended for notes only, 
are so masterly and so fuU of lifelike impressions that 
by bestowing a little care we can foUow him from 
place to place, and from day to day, with the most 
extraordinary minuteness. The Eoman calendar was at 
that time in such confusion that any references to it 
would only have tended to mislead, and Caesar, writing 
for posterity, has measured his campaigns by winter 
and summer, by equinoxes and moons. In tracing his 
progress we shall find some very remarkable instances 
of the precision with which his steps can be traced by 
means of casual observations upon the phenomena of 
nature, and it is this singular characteristic of his 



narrative which has tempted our eminent astronomers, 
Halley and Airy, to devote some portion of their time 
and labour to the investigation of the subject. 

Historians and antiquarians are all agreed that the 
first footstep of Csesar upon these shores was planted 
either in Sussex or in Kent. In which of the two 
has been warmly contested, and I shall not here by 
anticipation determine the controversy. I shall lay 
before you the facts which have left no doubt on my 
own mind, and will, if the result answer to expectation, 
bring conviction to yourselves. The palm contended 
for is no mean one, for the Eoman legions were so 
warmly received, that, even under Csesar's auspices, 
they effected their landing with the utmost difficulty. 

It was in B. c. 58 that Cassar took possession, as 
praetor or governor, of the province of Guul, then 
comprising the North of Italy, called Gallia Cisalpina, 
with part of Illyricum, and the South of France, called 
Gallia Transalpina, or Provincia Eomanorum, In the 
course of four successive years, Caesar, by feats of aims 
and diplomatic address, extended the limits of his pro- 
vince as far as the Ehine eastward, and the barrier of 
the ocean to the north and west Towards the close 
of B. c. 55, he looked around in vain for an enemy in 
Gaul, and cast his eyes in the direction of Britain. He 
already anticipated the coming conflict between himself 
and Pompey ; and it was necessary to find some plausible 
pretext for adding to the number of his legions, and 
promoting their efficiency by constant employment. Be- 
sides, what booty was to be expected fi:om a country 
whither Boman spoUation had never yet penetrated, and 
which was said to produce gold and silver and pearls 1^ 

* " Fert Britannia anniin et argentum et aJia metalla pretanm 
victoria. Gignit et oceanus margaritas." — Tac, Vit Agric. " Multi 


what glory was to be reaped from the annexation to 
the Eoman Eepublic of the largest known island, and 
that so remote as to be deemed, in popular beUef, be- 
yond the limits of the world! ^ 

A favourable opportunity also now presented itself, 
for hostilities had lately broken out between Cassive- 
laun, king of the Catyeuchlani (Middlesex and Hertford- 
shire), and Lnanuent, king of the Trinobantes (the 
people of Essex), and Lnanuent, finding himself worsted 
in the conflict, had appealed to Caesar for assistance 
against his too powerful neighbour.^ 

The excuse ostensibly alleged by CsBsar for the 
aggression was the same as that more recently put 
forward by the Great Napoleon, in justification of a 
like fruitless attempt, viz. that Britain had subsidised 
hostile powers in the Continental wars. ^ 

The invasion of Britain being resolved upon, the first 
thing to be done was to gain information touching the 
ports of the island, and the resistance to be offered.* 
The Gauls in general were whoUy ignorant upon these 
matters, and he could learn nothing. He then sum- 

prodiderunt (J. Csesarem) Britanniam petisse spe margaritarum." 
— Suet. CcBS. 46, 47. 

^ " Et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos." Virg. Eclog, i. 67. 

' In the following year Mandubert, the son of Lnanuent, on 
escaping to Graul, is said '' fidem Csesaris secuttis^^ (B, G. v. 20) ; and 
he had, therefore, pledged himself to Caesar the year before. 

2 " Quod omnibus fere Gallicis bellis hostibus nostris subministrata 
auxilia intelligebat." — Ccbs. B. G, iv. 20. " Auxilia ex Britannia, qu» 
contra eas regiones posita est, (Veneti) accersnnt." — B. G, iii. 9. 

^ The difficulties of Csesar, from his total ignorance when he 
embarked on the first expedition, were a &vourite topic with the 
orators for practice in speaking. ^' Haec et in suasoriis aliquando 
tractari solent ; ut, si Csesar deliberet. An Britanniam impugnet 7 
Qu£e sit Oceani natura ? An Britannia insula 7 Quanta in ea terra 7 
Quo niunero militum aggredienda ? " — Quinctil, de Orator, vii. 4. 

B 2 


moned into his presence the merchants who traded 
with Britain, and must, therefore, be acquainted with 
the products of the country and the manners of the 
inhabitants. But to his surprise, the merchants were 
equally dull ; so that he could not even satisfy himself 
whether there existed along the coast a single harbour 
for the reception of a fleet. ^ One cannot help sur- 
mising that these merchants could have told a great 
deal more than was suffered to escape from their lips. 
The ignorance of the Gauls was probably not affected, 
for Caesar makes the remark, as true of the past day 
as of the present, that no one thought of visiting Britain 
unless he had some substantial reason for it.^ 

Caesar, however, was not to be thus foiled; and, 
as he could extract nothing from the Gauls, he deter- 
mined on despatching one of his own officers to survey 
the island. Caius Volusenus was selected for the pur- 
pose. He started on his errand in a long ship ^, i. e. one 
built for the utmost speed, and impelled by oars ; in 
short, a Eoman trireme, or war-galley. 

Meanwhile, Caesar, to prepare for the expedition, 
marched into the country of the Morini. We shall hear 
something more of these Morini, and we may, there- 
fore, pause at once to ascertain where their country was 

^ The Veneti of Gaul (the people of Vannes) were those who 
chiefly traded with Britain, and thej did every thing to thwart the 
expedition : " eroifioi yap fiaav (ol Oviveroi) KutXveir rov elc rrly 
BperraviKriv frXovv ■^(puiyLtvot rf efiiropit^," — Strah, iv. p. 271. 
The Morini also, who occupied the coast opposite Britain, were 
equally friendly to the islanders : '* rCiv Miaplvtav tjtiXuv a^itnv 
oyroiv." — Dion, xxxix. 51. 

* "Neque enim temere prater mercatores illo adit quisquam." 
— C(B8. B. O. iv. 20. In that age also, as in the present, Britain 
was the asylum of refugees from the Continent : " hujus consilii 
principes ... in Britanniam proftigisse." — C<b8, B. O. ii. 14. 

» " Navi longa."— ^. G. iv. 21. 


situate. Csesar tells us that he went thither because 
thence was the shortest passage into Britain} It was, 
therefore, unquestionably the part of Gaul opposite to 
Dover; and the only debatable point is, what were 
the exact limits of the Morini, east and west % Ptolemy, 
the celebrated geographer, in tracing the northern line 
of the coast of Gaul, from the river Seine eastwards, 
enumerates the peoples and rivers in the following 
order: — 1. The Atrebates (of Arras); 2. the Bello- 
vaci ; 3. the Ambiani (of Amiens, on the Somme) ; 
4. the Morini; 5. the Eiver Tabula (the Scheldt); 
and 6. the Meuse.^ Thus the Morini were eastward 
of the Ambiani, and as the latter were settled on the 
Somme, and reached down to the coast, as appears 
from Pliny^, the Morini certainly did not extend be' 
yond the Soname westward.* It is likely that they 

^ " Ipse cum omnibus copiis in Morinos proficiscitur, quod inde 
erat brevissimus in Britanniam trajectus." — Ccbs, B,G. iv. 21. How 
then could Cd3sar have sailed, as Professor Airy supposes, fix)m the 
estuaiy of the Somme, which is double the distance ? But of this 
more hereafter. 

* " KaTi\ovtn 5e r^f vapdXioVf iiriXafi^avovre^ (rvxvov koI r^c 
lAtaoydaQ^ trapd fiev rov Y,riKoavav 'ArpcCartoi," Ac—^Ptol. ii. 9. 7. 

' " A Scaldi [Scheldt] incolunt extera [on the coast] Toxandri 
pluribus nominibus. Deinde Menapii, Oromansaci juncti pago [dis- 
trict] qui Oessoriacua vocatur, Britanni, Ambiani, Bellovaci. /n- 
trorsus Castologi, Atrebates, Nervii liberi," &c. — N. H, iv. 31. 

^ The "Iiftof &Kpov of Ptolemy is generally taken for Cape Grisnez ; 
and if so, as Gresoriacus Portus was certainly Boulogne, Ptolemy, in 
this part of the coast, has fallen into an error in placing Cape Grisnez 
to the west of Boulogne. Mariette suggests (p. 49) that "Ikiov &Kpov 
is Cape Alpreck, about three miles to the west of Boulogne, of great 
perpendicular height, and formerly projecting further into the 
sea; and then Gesoria would correspond to Isques or Iccium (at 
Pont de Briques), and Gesoriacus Portus to the port of Boulogne. 
Iflicioi' &Kpoy be Cape Grisnez, and rightly placed by Ptolemy, 
then Gesoriacus Portus would, in Ptolemy's idea, be Calais; 

B 3 


occupied the coast from the river La Canche west, to 
the Aa, at GraveUnes, east^ 

While Caesar was amongst the Morini collecting ves- 
sels for the intended invasion, an embassy arrived from 
some of the British states to tender their submission. 
Caesar's projects had got wind, and been wafted across 
the Channel, and the Britons hoped that they might 
avert hostilities by some complimentary forms; but 
Caesar was wide awake, and knew as wdl as they the 
value of words, and making large promises proceeded 
with his armament. He also sent back with the envoys 
a Gallic partisan of his own : one Comius, king of the 
Atrebates, of Arras, in Gaul. He was thought to carry 
some weight in Britain, and was, therefore, ordered to 
visit the different chieftains of the island, and promote 
the Eoman interests^ ; but Comius had no sooner landed 
than the spirited Britons seized him as a spy and put 
him in chains.^ C. Volusenus, who had been sent 
across the Channel to reconnoitre the coast, returned 
after an absence of five days only, and made his report, 
a somewhat meagre one, as we must necessarily con- 
clude ; for, allowing two days for coming and going, he 
had only three days at command, and, in so short a 
space, he could scarcely have done more than take the 
soundings between Dungeness and the South Foreland. 
Of the country itself he could render no account what- 

whereas it was certainly Boulogne. Ptolemy, in short, is ftdl of 
error, and not to be depended upon in detail, though invaluable as a 
general guide. 

* Bertrand's Hist, of Boulogne. Richborough is described by an 
ancient writer as looking, not toward the Morini, but toward the 
Menapii and Batavi. " Rutubi Portiis, unde, baud procul a Moribiis 
in austro positos, Menapos Batavosque prospectant." — jEthicua^ cited 
Monum, Hist, Brit p. xix. 

2 Cffis. B. G. iv. 21. » B. G. iv. 27. 


ever, for he had not dared even to set foot upon 

As we are now approaching the time of the actual 
invasion, I must endeavour to give a slight sketch of 
Britain, such as C. Volusenus did not see it, but such 
as Caesar himself afterwards found it. The picture of 
an ancient Briton, as portrayed in the frontispiece of 
our school histories, is no doubt familiar to every one. 
An athletic figure in puris naturalibus, with the excep- 
tion of the skin of some wild beast thrown about his 
loins, a moustache on the upper hp, a smooth chin, 
long hanging hair behmd, a spear in the hand, and the 
whole body stained after some curious pattern with 
woad ^ ; in short, a barbarian, such as may still be foimd 
in some of the islands of the Pacific. Now Britain at 
this time was unquestionably occupied by two very dif- 
ferent races, and the above portrait may have some 
foundation for it as regards one of them, but is certainly 
very far from the truth as regards the other. Originally, 
all the West of Europe, including France, Great Britain, 
and Ireland, was inhabited by a people called by the 

* " Volusentis, perspectis regionibus, quantum ei facultatis dari 
potuit qui navi egredi ac se barbaris committere non auderet, quinto 
die ad Cflsearem revertitur, quseque ibi perspexisset renuntiat.'' -— 
CcBS, B. O. 21. 

^ It must be admitted that, according to Cssar, the Britons 
generally stained themselves with vitrum or woad. (J?. G. v. 14.) 
Herodian adds that the stains were imitations of animals (ra It 
viffiara orl^ovTai ypafdit ^itiav iroiKiXiav, — Herod, cited Mon, Hist. 
Brit, p. bdy.) ; and I do not suppose that the whole body was 
stained, but the fiice only, in order, as Cesar remarks, to give them 
a fiercer aspect in war. La Egypt the women still stain the chin 
with some device, and, if I mistake not, there are traces of the same 
custom on the chin of the Sphinx; yet neither the present nor 
the ancient Egyptians are called barbarians. 

B 4 


Greeks Galatians, by the Eomans Gauls, and by them- 
selves CeltsB ; all, no doubt, the same word under diffe- 
rent forms. We have still large traces of the name in 
our own island. Thus Scotland is the land of the Gael ; 
the Principality is Wales, WaUia, or Gallia, or in French 
Pays de Galles ; and Cornwall, one of the last strong- 
holds of the Celts, is so called as being comer-Wales. 
I need scarcely mention that GaeUc, Welsh, and Cornish 
are all essentially the same language. The Celts, then, 
were the first head-wave of population which, streaming 
from the East, poured over the broad fields of GauL 
But soon from behind came another mountain-wave, 
the Germanic race, which soon deluged all the countries 
up to the Ehine. Here the great breadth of the river 
for some while presented a check, but at last the pres- 
sure from behind forced them across the barrier, and 
they drove the weaker Celtic family before them. In 
the North of Europe, the Germans eventually occupied 
all the parts between the Ehine and the Seine, and 
were known by the name of Belgae, not to be con- 
founded with the Belgians of the present day, but 
described by Caesar as the most formidable of all the 
nations west of the Ehine.^ As they occupied the 
coast just opposite Britain, and in clear weather could 
descry the white cliffs of Albion, they would naturally 
soon transport themselves across the strait. The up- 
shot was that they colonised all the south-eastern portion 
of Britain, compelling the Celtic inhabitants to fall back 
into the culrdesac of Cornwall to the south, the moun- 
tains of Wales to the west, and the Caledonian hills to 
the north.^ We can now understand the statement 

' " Horum omniiun fortissimi sunt Belgse." — Cces. B. G, i. 1. 
2 The description of the barbarous part of Britain exactly tallies 


of Caesar^ that the clans in Britam were many of them 
called after those in Gaul^ ; that they had the same 
customs^ ; that Divitiacus, king of the Suessones, a tribe 
of the Belgae, was also (as Canute in after times) the 
acknowledged sovereign of a wide territory in Britain^ ; 
that Cingetorix was the name not only of the king of 
the Treviri, or Belgae about Treves, on the Moselle*, 
but also of one of the kings of Kent^ ; that the houses 
in Britain were the counterparts of those in Gaul^ ; 
that the language of the Belgse and the Britons was all 
but identical^ ; and that Comius, the chief of Arras in 
Gaul, was sent for this reason by Csesar into Britain to 
plead the Eoman cause in their own tongue. 

We must distinguish, then, between the Beiges and 

with that by Xiphilinus of the Britons to the north of the Roman 
wall. {Xiphiltn, Ixxvi. 12 ; Mon, Hist. Brit Ix.) 

^ " Qui omnes fere [the South-Britons] iis nominibus civitatum ap- 
pellantur quibus orti civitatibus eo pervenerunt." — Cces, B, G. v. 12. 

2 " Neque multum a Gallica differunt consuetudine."— Ctes. B, G. 
V. 14. And so Strabo, iv. 5 ; " rd 3' ^617 6fjLoia KeXroIc." 

^ '^ Diyitiaciun totius Gallise potentissimum, qui quiun magnse partis 
harum regionum turn etiam Britannice imperiiun obtinuerit." — Ccb8. 
B. Q. ii. 4. 

^ Caes. B. G. v. 3. » Caes. B. G. v. 22. 

« " ^dificia fere Gallicis consimilia." — Ih. v. 12. Chiefly of wood 
and thatched : '^ Koi rac oiKfitniQ ehTtkiiQ ty^ovtnv Ik rHy jcaXa/ioiv if 
^vXwv Kara to vXeitrrov <n;yif€i/Li€vac." •— -DiW. Sic. v. 21. 

^ This appears fcom. Tacitus, Agric. c. 11 : " Sermo hand mul- 
tum diversus : " and this was a dialect of the German ; for Tacitus, 
speaking of the ^stui, a German tribe, says, '* Lingua Britannic® 
propior " {Mor. Germ. 45). The -^stui are placed " dextro Suevici 
maris littore " {Ih. 45) ; and amongst the Suevic nations are the 
Angli, who worshipped " Hertham [Earth], id est, Terram matrem " 
{Ih. 40). Thus Hengist and Horsa, and the Saxons, merely fol- 
lowed the road which their ancestors had taken centuries before. 
Indeed the influx of the Germans into Britain was only suspended 
by Csesar^s invasion. 


the Celtas of Bntain, the Southerns and Northerns. 
The latter were, perhaps, but Uttle elevated above the 
state of barbarians. Caesar describes them as dad in 
skins, and supporting themselves from their cattle 
rather than from tillage.^ But the Belgae, with whom 
the Boman legions were engaged, though also called 
barbarians (by which name all were designated who 
were not Greeks or Eomans), had attained to a very 
considerable degree of civilisation. In the first place, 
there was a crowded population, which is never found 
in a state of barbarism.^ Even in hterary attainments 
the Britons were in advance of the Ghauls, for the 
priests are universally the depositaries of learning, and 
the Gauls were in the habit of sending their youth to 
Britain to perfect themselves in the knowledge of 
Druidism.^ Then there was great commercial inter- 
course carried on between Britain and Gfaul*, not to 

^ lb. V. 14. The remains of one of these Celtic cliieflains may be 
seen in the museum at Scarborough. On opening a tumulus in the 
neighbourhood, a coffin excavated from the solid trunk of an oak 
was discovered, and in it a skeleton more than six feet in stature, 
which had been wrapped in the hairy akin of some animal ; and at 
the side were arrow-heads of flint. A more genuine relic of the 
earliest inhabitants of our island, and when still in a savage state, is 
nowhere to be foimd. 

* " Hominum est infinita multitude." — Cm, B. O. v. 12. " Etrai 
5e Kai iroXvayOpwirov rriv y^trov.^^ •^—Diod. Sic. v. 21. 

' << Qui diligentius eam rem cognoscere volunt, pleromque illo 
(in Britanniam) discendi causa proficiscuntur.'* — i^. G. vi. 13. It is 
remarkable that the Druids, though they taught their religion 
orally, yet in ordinary matters used the Greek letters. '' Quum in 
reliquis fere rebus, publicis privatisque rationibus, Grscis utantur 
litteris." — B. O. vi. 14. 

* B. G. iv. 20, V. 13. The principal Continental rivers frequented 
by British merchants were the Rhine, the Seine, the Loire, and Ga- 
ronne (Strab. lib. iv. 5). Strabo enumerates amongst the exports 
of Britain, com, cattle, gold, silver, iron, hides, slaves, and dogs ; and 


mention that a partial trade existed between Britain 
and more distant nations, as the Phoenicians.^ It was 
only about a century after this that London, by its 
present name, was a city crowded with merchants and 
of world-wide celebrity.^ The coimtry also to the 
south had been cleared of its forests, and was under 
the plough.^ The country, moreover, must have been 
intersected by good roads*, for the chief strength of 
the British army consisted of their war-chariots, the 
very construction of which requires no contemptible 
progress in mechanical skilL^ When Cassivelaunus 
had been defeated, and had dispersed the main body 
of his troops, he still retained about him the enormous 
number of no less than four thousand war-chariots.* 
But I do not know a greater conj&rmation of British 
advancement than the circimistance mentioned by Csesar, 

amongst the imports, ivory, bracelets, necklaces, amber, vessels of 
glass, and small wares {Straboj iv. 5) ; and he says that the customs 
levied on the exports and imports between Graul and Britain were 
more valuable than any tribute that could have been extorted from 
Britain if conquered (Strabo^ ii. 5, iv, 5). This argues a very 
advanced state of commerce, and therefore of civilisation. 

* Strabo, lib. iii. 5. 

^ ^^ Londinium cognomento quidem colonias non insigne, sed cc^ia 
n^otiatorum Qt c(»nmeatuum maxime celebre.^^ — Toe, Ann. xiv. 33. 
« Caes. B. G. v. 14. 

* Csssar (B, Q, t. X9) speaks of " omnibus viia notis semitisque." 
^ Every reader of the Bible must recollect the frequent allusion 

to the use of chariots in, tl^ wars of the Jews; and every dassip 
must recur to the chariots of the Greeks and Trojans on the banks 
of the Simois and Scamander. The Britons in the time of Caesar 
were probably not fer behind the Jews in the times of their judges 
and kings, or the Greeks in the days of Homer. " "Apftatri iikv yap 
Kara rovg iroXe/uovc "XP^vrm, xadawep oi iraXaiol r<iJv 'EXX^voiv ^pwec 
iv rf TpctiiicJ TToKijUf icix/O^Oai. trtipahilovraiy ^^ JMod, Sic, Vi 21. 
« C®s. B. G. V. 19. 


that, when he made war upon the Veneti to the west 
of Gaul, the Britons sent a fleet of ships to their 
assistance.^ This could not have taken place unless the 
Britons had possessed an organised constitution, and 
formed continental alliances, and maintained a trained 
and permanent navy. There is one instance of their 
successful pursuit of the useful arts which I may not 
omit, as it does honour more particularly to my own 
coimty. The iron which was used by the Britons was 
manufactured by themselves in the maritime parts, i. e. 
amongst the Eegni, or people of Sussex.^ It is famihar 
to aU, that a great part of that county is still strewn 
up and down with the cinders of fiimaces worked 
from the earUest ages imtil the commencement of the 
present century, when, as there was no coal in the 
district, and the wood was exhausted, they were 
abandoned for want of fiieL 

We now descend to details, and our first inquiry 
will be from what port the expedition of Caesar 
started. From the Ehine to the Seine there is scarcely 
a harbour or roadstead which has not at some time or 
other had its zealous advocates.* Some writers have 

1 B. G. iii. 9. 

* " Nascitur ibi plumbum album [tin] in mediterraneis regionibus ; 
in maritimia ferrumj sed ejus exigua est copia: cere utuntur impor- 
tator — Ih,Y. 12. 

• Mariette (in his Lettre a M. Bouillet sur V Article de Boulogne, 
Paris, 1847) enumerates the different publications in fevour of the 
various theories, iand classes them as follows : -^ 

In &vour of Boulogne, 11 ; 
Wissant, 5; 

Calais, 5 ; 

Staples, 2(13 miles S. of Boulogne on La Canche) ; 
Mardick, 1 (3 miles S.W. of Dunkirk) ; 
Authie, 1 (8 miles E. of the Somme, and 7 from 
La Canche). 


thrown out a bold conjecture at random, and then 
endeavoured to bend the fects in accordance with their 
hypothesis. Others have taken only a partial view, 
and shut their eyes to circumstances which militated 
against their favourite position. Others have labom-ed 
under a misapprehension, from foiling to catch the 
true sense of Caesar's Commentaries. I will mention 
some of the most plausible theories, and dispose of them 
in a few words. 

According to some, then, either Dunkirk or Grave* 
lines was the place of embarcation. One objection hes 
against both of them, viz. that the passage to Britain, 
where Cassar crossed, is said to have been only thirty 
miles ^; whereas Dunkirk and Gravelines are both of 
them much more. Besides, we are told that to the 
east of Cassar's port of embarcation was another haven, 
eight miles off ^, and there is no such haven eight miles 
to the east of Dunkirk, though Dunkirk itself is only 
three leagues, or nine miles, from Gravelines. 

The theory of Calais appears, at first sight, more 
plausible^ but we must not judge of Calais as it was 
by Calais as it is. It was never used, so fex as we 
know, by the Eomans, and accordingly no Eoman re- 
mains have been discovered there. It was not even a 
walled town, imtil just before the capture of it by the 
English, in the reign of Edward the Third. The coun- 

Thus the great preponderance of opinion, is in fevonr of Boulogne. 
We have now to add the novel theory of the Astronomer Royal in 
fevonr of the estuary of the Somme. 

1 B. G. V. 2, « B. G. iv. 22. 

' It has been suggested that Calais takes its name from Caliciua, 
thought to have some affinity to Portus Icius, but the proper name 
of Calais in Latin is not Calicius, but Caletum or Casletum. (See 
Mariette, p. 22.) 


try about it, too, is flat and marshy, and consequently 
unhealthy for an encampment, and the inhabitants 
sufier severely from want of salubrious water. The 
port, also, could never have been larger than at pre- 
sent, and could not, therefore, have contained 560, 
or if we reckon tenders 800, vessels, on the occasion 
of the second expedition. When I was at Calais in 
1857, I walked round the whole port, including the 
wooden pier, and I could find room only at the utmost 
for 300 merchantmen. But Calais could not have been 
the place of embarcation for other reasons. It was not 
thirty miles from Britain, and had no haven to the east 
of it at the distance of eight miles. Gravelines, which 
is the nearest, is fifteen miles off. 

Wissant, between Cape Grisnez and Cape Blancnez, 
was fixed upon as Caesar's port, by the learned D'An- 
ville^; but, great as is the authority of that eminent 
geographer, his proposition is (under favour) wholly 
untenable. Wissant is no port at all, but only a sandy 
beach, four miles long, and the radius of curvature 
five and a half miles.^ The chief arguments on which 
D'Anville reUed were these: firsts that the name 
of Wissant (the corruption of the Dutch Witnsand 

* M^moire sur le Port Icius, imprim^ daos le tome sxriii. p. 897, 
des M^moires de rAcad^mie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. 

^ Archseolog. vol. xxxiv. p. 231. Mariette, a native or inhabitant 
of Boulogne, thus describes Wissant : — " Les caps Blanez et Grinez 
k peine distant Fun de I'autre de six 2i sept kilometres, sont joint par 
tme ligne de cotes, dont la courbe reguli^re et rentrante forme une 
petite bale tranquille, au fond de laquelle on trouve un village. 
Wissant n^est plus ime ville; c^est tout au plus un village; c'est 
plutot un hameau ^r^ dans un d^rt de sable.** — p. 29. Wissant 
flourished as a port from a. d. 556 to a. d. 938. (lb. p. 30.) There 
are the remains of a camp there, called Gessar's Camp, but capable 
at the most of containing 500 men only. (lb. p. 35, 38.) " Wis- 


or White-sand) has some resemblance to Portus Itins\ 
from which Caesar sailed ; and, secondly^ that Csesar, 
before embarking, marched down to the Morini, whence 
was the shortest passage into Britain^, and that from 
Wissant to Dover is the directest Une. But there is 
little similarity, even in soimd, between Itius and Wis- 
sant or White-sand ; and as for the argument that Csesar 
took the shortest passage from Portus Itius, he tells us, as 
I conceive, the very reverse, for he selected Portus Itius, 
he says, because it was the most cormenient^ thereby 
implying that it was not the nearest port He adds, 
also, that Portus Itius was thirty Eoman miles from 
Britain*, whereas Wissant is not much above twenty 
Eoman miles. 

The only other theory which I shall examine is that 
which has been recently broached by the distinguished 
astronomer to whom I have already alluded. Professor 
Airy, who maintains that Csesar set sail from the estuary 
of the Somme^ and landed at Pevensey. Now I confess 

sant n'eut gu^re de port vdritable avant le miHeu du x« siWe, et 
jusque-lk il avait d<i se suflire avec le port naturel form^ par 
rembouchnre du petit (ruisseau) Rien de Sombre^ port moins utile 
que ceux de Saagatte et d^Ambleteuse qui ^taient d6jk florissants." 
— lb. p. 32. " The bay of Wissant is a solitaiy expanse, a curve 
of some seven or eight miles." — H L. L,: Gent, Mag, vol. xxvi. 
(1846) p. 254. 

^ There are various readings of the name. It sometimes appears 
as Itius, sometimes as Icius, and sometimes as Iccius. It is 
generally thought to be the same word as that applied by Ptolemy 
to Cape Grisnez, "Ikiov Axpovy and, if so, the true reading wotdd 
be Portus Ictus, On the other hand, Strabo speaks of ro "Irtoy 
(ed. Tauchnitz, iv. 5), which implies that the reading in his time 
was Itius; as this is the more received form, it is adopted in 
the text. As to the various readings, see Somner's Portus Iccius, 
p. viii. 

2 B. G. iv. 21. ' ' B. G. V. 2. 


myself under no little obligation to the Astronomer 
Eoyal for much additional light which he has thrown 
upon the subject, but from the hypothesis that Csesar 
sailed from the estuary of the Sonune I must dissent 
toto coelo. It is at variance, as appears to me, with the 
whole of Caesar's narrative; and, while it commands 
attention from the high reputation of its advocate, can 
never make many converts. The error lies, if I may 
say so, in an unlucky interpretation of some passages 
in the Conunentaries, and I refer more particularly to 
the three following. The Jirst is this : Caesar, having 
resolved on the invasion, " goes with all his forces to 
the Morini, because thence was the shortest transit,"^ 
from which it may be concluded that the port from 
which he sailed was at least in the coimtry of the 
Morini ; but as the Sonune would not, according to the 
common notion, be within their borders, the Professor 
renders the Latin profidscitur not "goes" but "sets 
out for," and supposes that Caesar never actually reached 
the MorinL But a few lines farther, we find these 
words, " while Caesar tarries in these places in order to 
get the vessels ready ^'' &c.^ ; so that, evidently, Caesar 
had not only set out for, but also arrived in, the 
coimtry of the MorinL Secondly^ on the occasion of 
the second expedition, Caesar, speaking of himself in 
the third person, proceeds: "And he commands all 
to rendezvous at the Portus Itius, from which port 
he had foimd the passage into Britain the most 
convenient^ being about thirty miles from the Con- 
tinent.'.'^ It is plain from this language that the 

» B. G. iv. 21. 

* " Duin in his locis Csesar naviiun parandarum causa moratur." — 
B, G. iv. 22. 

' " Atque omnes ad Portum Itium convenire jubet, quo ex portu 


traverse from Portus Itius was thirty iniles, aAd, if 
so, it could not be that from the Somme to Peven- 
sey, which is fifty-two nautical, or sixty statute, miles, 
not to mention that the estuary of a river cannot in 
strictness be called a port at alL How, then, does the 
Professor deal with this difficulty ? Why thus : he 
says that the thirty miles do not apply to the traverse 
from Portus Itius, but to the distance of Britain from 
the Continent generally. Now had Caesar ever made 
such an assertion, he would have labom-ed imder an 
evident mistake, as the distance from Britain to the 
Continent, i. e. from Dover to Cape Grisnez or Cape 
Blancnez, is only about twenty Eoman miles; but 
Caesar does not so state. The words " circiter miUium 
passuimi XXX," or about thirty Eoman miles, belong, 
from their collocation and grammatical construction, 
to the traverse from Portus Itius (transjectimi), and 
are not an observation (which would be very mal a 
propos) as to the distance of Britain from Gaul gene- 
rally. In the latter case the writer would have said, not 
" circiter millium passuum xxx," but " circiter miUia 
passuimi XXX." ^ Thirdly^ on the return from Britain 
to Gaul, two of the transports (being, I suppose, more 
heavily laden than the rest, and bad sailers) missed the 

commodissimiun in Britanniam transjectum esse cognoverat, circiter 
milliiiTn passuum xxx a continenti." — B, G, v. 2. 

^ Caesar is more accurate than subsequent writers ; for Diodorus 
Siculus makes the distance of Gaul :&om Britain twelve and a half 
miles only (lib. v. c. 21); Strabo, on the contrary, estimates the 
distance from Portus Itius of the Morini to Britain 320 stades,. or 
forty miles {Strab. iv. c. 5.) ; and Pliny reckons the distance fit)m 
Boulogne to Britain as much as fifty miles (Plin, N, H, lib. iv. s, 
80) ; and Dion also states the distance of Gaul from Britain to be 
fifty mile? {DioUj xxxix. 50). 



Portiis Itius for which they were bound, and, ^'paullo 
infra delatae sunt," were borne away a Kttle to the 
south^, and the troops on landing were surrounded 
by the Morini, who attempted to cut them off. It is 
plain, therefore, that the coast to the south of Portus 
Itius was stUl in the coimtry of the Morini, whereas 
the coast to the south of the estuary of the Soname 
would not be so, as the settlements of the Morini ex- 
tended westward as far only as La Canche. What is 
the Astronomer Eoyal's answer to this objection ] He 
is driven to the necessity of saying that *' pauUo infra 
delatae sunt" means only that the ships were " carried 
down the wind !" Such an interpretation is, I venture 
to say, wholly inadmissible. CaBsar invariably uses the 
words "inferior" (v. 13), "superior" (iv. 28), " ulterior" 
(iv. 23), with reference to the points of the compass ; 
and, considering himself as located at Eome, regards 
any departure from it towards the north as an ascent. 
There are other grave reasons against Ahys theory, 
but I pass them over for the present, as the force of 
them will be better appreciated hereafter, as we trace 
the progress of the invasion. 

I have canvassed the opinions of the Astronomer 
Eoyal with the utmost freedom, and the onlyreparation I 
can make is to give him his revenge by bringing forward 
my own hypothesis. The port then from which Caesar 
sailed was Boulogne.^ AH the arguments which have 
been urged against the other theories are so many 

1 B. G. iv. se. 

* Strabo Bays that Caesar made the Seine his dockyard, " IvravOa 
ie Kal ro vawrriyiov <rvy£<rni<raro Kaitrap 6 OeoQy irXcoiv elc rfjy Bp£r- 
ravtir^v" (lib. iv. 5), but Itium his sailing port, which he places 
amongst the Morini, ^^MopivCtv irap oIq ion ical ro "Inov ^ kypiivaTo 
vavtrraOfif Kaitrap 6 6eoc dialputy eIq yijtroy" (lib. iv. 5). 


confirmations of this. For instance, we have seen that 
Caesar, in order to prepare for the expedition by col- 
lecting transports, marched into the comitry of the 
Morini, and Boulogne was not only a port, but was the 
port of the Morini^ ; and, when Florus teUs us that Caesar 
sailed from the port of the Morini^ he can only mean 
Boulogne, which was universally stamped with that 
character.^ Calais, no doubt, was also on the coast of 
the Morini, but was comparatively imknown and insig- 
nificant, as is evident from the Eoman military roads 
all converging, not to Calais, but to Gesoriacum or 
Boulogne.* It was at the latter port that Claudius 
embarked for the invasion of Britain^ and here also it 
is generally understood that Caligula had intended to 
embark for a similar object, and did actually construct 
a pharos for the benefit of voyagers to and fro between 
Boulogne and Britain.^ Hence Lupidnus sailed by 

* " Ultimos GaUicamin gentium Morinos, nee portu quem 
Gesoriacum Tocant quicqnam notius habet." — Pomp, Mda, iii. 2 ; 
" Mopivwv VriaopiaKov iwiveioyy — Ftolem. ii. 9. 3. " Hiec [Britain] 
abest a Gessoriaco Marinorum gentis litore proximo trajectu quin- 
quaginta M." — Plin, N, H, iv. 30. 

2 " Qumn tertia vigilia Morino solvisset e Portu minus quam 
medio die insulam ingressus est. " — Flor, iii. 10. 

3 The line of road is given in Antonin, Itin., viz. from Bagacum 
(Bavay) to Castellum (Cassel), and thence to Taruenna (T^u- 
enne), and thence to Gesoriacum or Bononia (now Boulogne). 
It is stated by Mariette, that, from coins foimd upon the road, it 
appears to have been made by Agrippa in b. c. 27 ; and, if so, 
Boidogne must have been the usual port of that coast at least very 
soon after Csesar^s time. See Mariette, p. 47. 

* " A Massilia Gesoriacum usque pedestri itinere confecto inde 
transmisit.'^ — Suet, Claud. 17. That Claudius also took large 
supplies with him, see Dion^ ix. 21. 

* Suet. Calig. 46. It is certain that until about 100 years ago 

c 2 


command of the Emperor Julian^, and Theodosius by- 
command of Valentinian^; hence also Constantius C!hlo- 
rus^; and hence, in A. D. 893, the Danes crossed to 
the mouth of the Lymen.* But further, I have 
akeady called attention to the distinguishing mark 
of the Portus Itius, that it was thirty Eoman miles, 
or twenty-seven and a half Enghsh miles, from the 
shores of Britain, and that is just the distance of 
Boulogne from Folkestone. Certainly the advertise- 
ments of the South-Eastem Eailway Company state 
Boulogne to be only twenty-six miles from Folkstone, 
but measurement is one thing and railway advertise- 
ment another. I asked one of the Company's own 
officials at Folkestone whether twenty-six miles was the 
actual distance, and he candidly confessed that it was 
considerably more. But there is another remarkable 
feature which identifies Boulogne as the Portus Itius. 
When Caesar sailed on his first expedition eighteen 
transports were detained by contrary winds at a haven 
eight miles^ higher up, or more to the north.® When 
I turned my attention to this subject I was soon satisfied, 
on numerous independent groimds, that Boulogne must 
be the port from which Caesar sailed, but I was not 
then aware how far it would answer to the requisite 

there stood at Boulogne a Roman pharos which would exactly 
answer to that of Caligula. See a description of it in Dr. Ber- 
trand's History of Boulogne, It will be seen depicted in the old 
map inserted in this work. 

* Ammian. Marc, cited Mon. Hist. Brit. p. Ixxiii. ' Ibid. 
' Eumenius in Paneg. in Constant. C«s. c. 14. 

* Anglo-Saxon Chron. a.d. 893. 

* " XVIII onerari$e naves, quae ex eo loco millibus passuum 
VIII vento tenebantur, quo minus in eundem portum pervenire 
possent."—- B. G. iv. 22. 

* " Ulteriorem portum." — iv. 22. 


of having another port eight miles to the north. I was 
walking one morning, on my return from the Continent, 
along the long wooden pier of Calais, when I fell into 
conversation with two French cur^s, and I broached 
the subject of Caesar's invasion. I foimd them the 
most unprejudiced witnesses, for they had no acquaint- 
ance with the classics, and took no interest in the 
matter ! I asked them if there were any haven some 
eight miles from Calais, and they told me that Gravelines 
was the nearest, which I imderstood to be about fifteen 
miles. I then repeated the same inquiry with refer- 
ence to Boulogne, when they told me that Ambleteuse, 
though now only used for small craft, had formerly 
been a port of much greater consequence, as was 
attested by the remains of ancient works there. On 
returning to the hotel I questioned the landlord about 
the distance of Ambleteuse from Boulogne, and he 
said two leagues and a half, which would make eight 
Eoman miles.^ Prom subsequent investigation I find 
that Louis XIV. had proposed to make Ambleteuse a 
port of first-rate excellence, and that Napoleon after- 
wards entertained a similar project, but that both 
undertakings were eventually abandoned.^ It is almost 

* " Ambleteuse est k 8000 pas [8 miles] environ de Boulogne, et 
la rade d' Ambleteuse est encore k8000 pas." — Martette, p. 63. The 
same writer thus speaks of the port : " La Canche k Quantavicus, la 
Liane k Gesoriacum, la Slacq k Ambleteuse, formaient ddjk des ports 
plus grands " (lb, 33) ; and a writer in the Gent Mag. speaks of it 
as follows : " The embouchure of a little channel for draining the 
valley forms at present the little harbour of Ambleteuse." — H. L. 
L.: Gent, Mag. vol. xxvi. (1846) p. 252. 

* In the sixth century, Ambleteuse was noted for its trade and 
fortifications. In 1209 (when it was rebuilt after its destruction 
by the northern barbarians) excavations were made to form a 
port. In 1544, Henry the Eighth used it as a general depot for 


unnecessaiy to mention that James 11., on abdicating 
the Enghsh throne, landed at Ambleteuse. 

It may be thought a sHght circumstance, but is not 
to be passed unnoticed, that Caesar more than once 
speaks of Ports in the plural mmiber^, and this is exactly 
the case if we assume Caesar's rendezvous to have been 
at Boulogne ; for then, not only was there the httle 
port of Ambleteuse eight miles off, but also a still 
smaller one at Wimereux ^, lying between Ambleteuse 
and Boulogne. Thus while the body of the fleet was 
assembled at Boulogne, some supernumeraries, particu- 
larly the smaller craft, would be lying at the two 
subordinate havens. 

Another argument in favour of Boulogne, which 
has considerable weight, arises from the name itself 
of Portus Itius. It is true that the identical word 
nowhere else occurs in history; but Ptolemy, the 
famous geographer, in describing this part of the coast, 
caUs Cape Grisnez, Cape Icius. ^ Even if the true 

warlike stores, when it became one of the safest and finest ports 
in the channel. A few years after it was taken by the French, 
and the fortifications rased. In 1680 Louis XIV. determined on 
restoring the port, and intrusted the work to the celebrated Vauban, 
when the sluice of the Slacq was made, and a basin dug and a pier 
added, but the full plan was never completed. In 1803 the right 
wing of Napoleon's grand army was stationed here, and the port 
and basin were cleared out. At present the village has a ruinous 
aspect, wearing only the tattered remnant of pristine splendour." — 
Bertrand^s Hist, of Boulogne. 

^ B. G. iv. 36. V. 8. 

• " At a short distance fi:om Boulogne, on the coast, is the Port of 
Wimereux, formed by the mouth of the river bearing the same name. 
Half a league up the river is the village of Wimille." — BertraruTs 
History of Boulogne, The relative positions of Boulogne, Amble- 
teuse, and Wimereux will be seen upon the old map. 

^ " Mera rag rov Siyicoai^a irorafLov [Seine] c<c€oXac ifpov^tOQ Trora- 
fjLOv lK€o\al''lKioy fiirpoy." — ii, 9, 1. 


reading of the port in Caesar be Itius, the two names 
are very near to each other, and I beUeve all writers 
are agreed that they must be taken to be the same 
word. If this be so, how strong is the presumption 
that Boulogne must be the Portus Icius, for, with 
the exception of the comparatively small havens of 
Ambleteuse and Wimereux, it is the nearest port to 
Cape Icius. Assuming Cape Grisnez to be Cape Icius, 
it can hardly be supposed that the estuary of the 
Somme, as Airy suggests, can be the Portus Icius, 
when Boulogne, which is, and always has been, a port 
of much greater celebrity, intervenes between the 
Somme and the Cape. The very name also of Itius, 
Icius, or Icdus, may stUl be traced in the vicinity of 
Boulogne. A httle above the town is the village of 
Isques, at Pont de Briques.^ This bridge is of great 
antiquity, and till recently was the only one connecting 
the two banks of the liane, and stood ^ in ancient times 

^ " Un petit village, assis agr^ablement sur la rive gauche de la 
Liane, k quelques pas de Boulogne et de rembouchure de cette ri- 
viere, annonce m^me des pretensions k porter encore le nom de 
ricius de C^sar: c'est le village d'Isques, nom modeme qui 
parait ^tre un derive assez naturel du substantif latin. Interrogez 
les habitans de ce village, et ils vous diront que la tradition du 
passage de C^sar est encore vivante parmi eux, que la mer montait 
autrefois jusque k Isques, comme elle y monterait encore maintenant 
sous les moidins k eau du Pont de Briques et le Pont de TEcluse de 
Boulogne, et que le lit de la Liane, bien plus large et plus profond 
qu'aujourd'hui formait wa. port d'un abord facile, et d'autant plus 
siir qu'il ^tait prot^g^ duvent par des coteaux voisins." — Mariette, p. 
24. This writer, who as a Boulognese seems a little jealous of Isques, 
yet admits that the name may have been derived from Portus Icius. 
The town was at all events known in the 9th century; for he adds 
in a note, ^' Isques, sous le nom d'Iska, existait avant les invasions 
des Normands au ix« si^cle." — Harbaville, Memorial Hist, et Ar- 
chceoL t. ii. p. 80. 

* It is so placed in the old map; and in Bertrand's Hist, 

c 4 


at the head of the estuary. Thus Isques would naturally 
give its name to the port below. Napoleon, when at 
Boulogne superintending the preparations for the inva- 
sion of England, is said to have fixed his head-quarters 
at Pont de Briques^, and as great commanders would 
be acted upon by similar influences, what more probable 
than that Caesar also should have pitched the praetorian 
tent at Isques, and then have spoken of the port below 
a» Portus Icius ? 

I cannot help adding that the very circumstance of 
Napoleon's selection of Boulogne for his port of em- 
barcation is a strong argument for referring Caesar's 
expedition to the same spot. Both generals had the 
same object in view, and were at the head of pow- 
erful armies, and had collected a numerous flotilla. 
K Caesar had 800 vessels^. Napoleon had 1300 at 
Boulogne alone.^ K Caesar made use of a port eight 
miles to the north of Portus Itius, and another yet 
nearer^ Napoleon quartered one division of his army, 
with a squadron of vessels, at Ambleteuse, and another 
at Wimereux.^ K Caesar's ships were all flat-bottomed, 
in order that they might float in shallow water, and 
be more expeditiously freighted^. Napoleon adopted 
the very same principle for the very same reason, 
so that his vast fleet, even exceeding that of Caesar, 
was accommodated in the harbour and river of 
Boulogne, and yet was so conveniently stowed, that, 

of Boulogne^ it is said anciently to have stood at the head of the 

' Bertrand's Hist, of Boulogne. 

a B. G, V. 8. 

* Bertrand's Hist, of Boulogne. 

* B. G. iv. 22. » See Bertrand's Hist, of Boulogne. 

* " Ad celeritatem onerandi subductionesque." — B. G. v. 1. 


on a rehearsal of the embarcatioii, by way of experi- 
ment, the whole army was put on board in the course 
of one hour and a haJf. ^ Had we the details of Caesar^s 
armament, as of Napoleon's, the resemblance might, no 
doubt, be traced farther, but this will suflBce for our 

The Astronomer Eoyal observes, as an objection to 
Boulogne, that 5000 men could not have been shipped 
from it at a single tide ; but, if the whole of Napoleon's 
army could be put on board in an hour and a half, it 
was surely not beyond the reach of Caesar's genius to 
clear one half of that number from the port during the 
interval between one low water and another. I do not 
know that there would have been any difficulty about 
it ^ ; however, it is unnecessary to pursue the subject 
farther, as Caesar nowhere says that he did ship off his 
whole fleet in a single tide. No doubt they all started 
at once from their anchorage at the mouth of the port, 
but they might have quitted the port itself before 
anchoring outside, in as many tides as their nimaber 

Time and place are said to be the two eyes of 
history ; and, now that we have fixed the place of em- 
barcation, we proceed to determine the time ; and, if 
I am not mistaken^ you will be surprised to find with 
what accuracy this point can be settled. 

The expedition was in the consulship of Cneiua 

^ See Bertrand's Hist, of Boulogne. 

* In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle^ a.d. 893, is the following pas- 
sage : — "In this year the great army about which we formerly spoke 
came again from the Eastern kingdom westward to Boulogne, and 
there was shipped ; so that they came over in one passage (senne 
pt5), horses and all, and they came to land at Limene mouth with 
250 ships." 


Pompey and M. Crassus ^, and was, therefore, certainly 
in B. c. 55. The season of the year is expressly men- 
tioned to have been when little of summer remained 2, 
and we are, therefore, at once prepared to place it 
somewhere about August. But we can advance a step 
further; for repeated allusions, on Caesar's arrival in 
Britain, are made to the harvest as still continuing^, 
but drawing towards its conclusion* ; and we all know 
that in Kent and Sussex the harvest month is August. 
But again, Caesar returned from Britain a little before 
the equinox^, which the ancients reckoned to be 24th 
September, and his stay in Britain was, as we shall see 
hereafter, little more than three weeks, and this con- 
firms the deduction from other data, that the voyage 
was in August. But we can tell the very day of his 
embarcation, for Caesar informs us that on the fourth 
day of his arrival in Britain (the day of arrival included) 
occurred the full moon^; and, as the harvest was nearly 
over, it must have been the fiill mooil (if there was one) 
late in August. We turn to De Morgan's Book of 
Almanacks^ which gives us the fiill moons from 2000 
years B.C. to 2000 A.D., and we find that in B.c. 55, the 
year in question, the fiill moon was on the night of 

1 B. G. iv. 1. 

* " Exigua paxte aestatis reliqua." — B, G, iv. 20. 

2 " Frumentum ex aquis in castxa quotidie (Caesar) conferebat." 
—B. G. iv. 31. 

* " Omni ex reliqnis partibus demesso friimento, una pars erat 
reHqua."— JB. (?. iv. 32. 

* "Propinqua die aequinoctii." — B, G. iv. 36. 

^ "Post diem quartam quam est in Britanniam ventmn, naves 

xviii . . . leni vento solverunt Eadem nocte accidit, ut 

esset luna plena." — B. G. iv. 28, 29. "Post diem quartam" 
means the fourth day current, including the day of the arrival as 
the first. Thus, " Neque te illo die, neque postero vidi, . . . post 
diem tertiam veni," &c. — Cic, Philip, ii. 35. 


Wednesday the 30th August, or, to speak strictly, at 
3 A.M. in the morning of Thursday the 31st August. 
This may be received as a fact capable of mathematical 
demonstration, and has, therefore, been aasumed by all 
commentators as a fixed point. The fourth day before 
the ftdl moon was, therefore, Simday the 27th August, 
on which day, consequently, Csesar reached Britain ; and, 
as he had set sail the night before, he of course started 
on Saturday the 26th August. 

1 need scarcely mention that Boulogne is a tidal 
harbour, in other words, that it can only be entered or 
quitted at high water, or at least not at low water. 
Now, to ascertain the state of the tide, we have only to 
determine the moon's age. At Boulogne it is high 
water at fiill moon at 11.20, and, as the tide is 48 
minutes earlier every preceding day, it follows that 
on 26th August, B.C. 55, being the fifth day before the 
ftdl moon (the day of full moon included), it was high 
water about 8 p. M. At this time then, or an hour or 
two previously, the ships would be rapidly dropping 
down fix)m the harbour and anchoring outside, ready 
to sail at the word of command.^ Many hours would 
be consumed in emptying the port of its crowd of 
transports, and the fleet would scarcely be under weigh 
before midnight. But we are not left to conjecture on 
this head, as Cassar tells us that he started about the 
third watch, i.e. about twelve o'clock at night^ ; and the 

^ It seems to be a general notion that Csesar sailed at high water 
or at the ebbing of the flood, and this would be true if it be meant 
that his ships then dropped down firom the harbour : but it woidd 
not be true in the sense of actually weighing anchor on his voyage 
across the channel ; for, as he did not set sail imtil midnight, high 
water woidd by that time have been long past. " ^Eiripaffe he Kara roy 
Kaipoy Trjg d/HTrwrcwc." — Appian, cited Monum. Hist Brit p. 
50. "TatcA/tiTTwrcffi rov TrcXayovc ovuf^tpo^itvoi,^'' — Ih. 

2 " Tertia fere vigilia." — 5. G, iv. 23, 


moon, which had been long up, was nearly at the 
fiill, and would thus facihtate both the embarcation 
and passage. 

While CsBsar is crossing the channel let us form an 
estimate of the invader's force. He tells us that he took 
with him two legions, the 7th and the celebrated 10th, 
in eighty transports.^ A legion, in theory, consisted of 
ten cohorts, and each cohort of three maniples, and 
each maniple of two centuries, so that, if a century 
contained, as it was supposed to do, 100 men, the total 
number in a legion would be 6000. But, in fact, a legion 
had seldom if ever its fiill strength, and usually con- 
sisted of about 4,200 men, so that Caesar's two legions on 
this occasion would probably not exceed 8,400. We 
may arrive at much the same result by another process. 
Of his eighty transports, Caesar lost twelve in Britain,, 
which would reduce them to sixty-eight. Two of them, 
on their return to Gaul, were drifted beyond the port 
for which they were bound, and the troops on board 
were obliged to land some way off to the south, and it 
is incidentally mentioned that these two transports 
carried together 300 men, or 150 each.^ Now, if every 
one of the sixty-eight vessels was freighted with the 
same number, the total amount would be 10,200 ; but 
the two unlucky transports may have been thrown 
out of their course from being the most heavily laden, 
and if so it may weU be supposed that the whole army 
was not much above 8,400. Professor Airy assumes 
8000, and this calculation cannot be very wide of the 

1 " Navibus circiter Lxxx onerariis coactis, contractisque, quod 
satis esse ad duas legiones transportandas existimabat.** — B, G, 
iv. 22. * B. G. iv. 37. 

* A writer of the fomth century observes : " C. Csesar cum decern 


As to the cavalry we are much more at a loss for 
data. Caesar had altogether in Gaul eight legions and 
4000 horse^, which would give 500 horse for each 
legion. This calculation would yield for the two legions 
which passed into Britain a complement of 1000 
cavalry. This inference, however, would be unjust, as 
in any expedition the relative ratios of infantry and 
cavalry were extremely variable, and depended alto- 
gether on drcumstances. Thus in the following year 
Caesar left three legions only in Gaul and 2000 horse, 
and took with him to Britain five legions and yet only 
2000 horse.2 K indeed we might judge of the number 
of cavalry in the first invasion from that employed in 
the second, then as five legions were accompanied with 
2000 horse, two legions would require 800 horse. 
AU that we can say with certainty is that the cavalry 
did not exceed the number, whatever it was, which 
could be conveyed in eighteen vessels ; for we have 
already had occasion to mention that eighteen trans- 
ports were wind-bound at Ambleteuse, and so unable 
to reach Boulogne, and that Caesar ordered the cavalry, 
as the more movable body, to ride over to Amble- 
teuse, and, embarking there, to foUow him with all 
speed.^ If these eighteen transports were of equal 
burden with the rest, then as we know that two 
ships carried 300 men, or 150 each, and a vessel 
which could be freighted with 150 men would take 
from forty to fifty horses, say forty-five^ we may infer 
that the eighteen ships conveyed about 800 cavalry, so 

legionibus quae quatema millia Italonim habuerant, per annos octo 
ab alpibus ad Rheniun usque Gallias subegit, ... in Britanniam 
transivit." — Rufua SextuSy cited Mon, Hist Brit p. Ixxi. 

1 B. G. V. 5. 2 B. G. V. 8. 

» B. G. iv. 23. 4 Horsley's Britain. 


that the force which accompanied the expedition 
may be reckoned at about that amomit. 

It may appear a step of singular boldness that 
Caesar should have attempted the conquest of the 
island with such inadequate means ; but it must be re- 
membered that Caesar, with all his exertions, had been 
imable to obtain any reliable information, and that he 
could not teU whether the approaching struggle was to 
be with a nation of heroes or a hive of drones. 

We left Caesar and his fleet under sail from Boulogne. 
The transports for the soldiers were eighty in number ; 
but besides these there were a few fast-sailing war- 
gaUeys, or triremes, Caesar himself embarking in one 
of them, and distributing the rest amongst the officers 
of his army, the Quaestor, the Legates, and the Prefects.^ 
The wind must have been favourable, for as the ships 
at Ambleteuse had been prevented by it from sailing to 
Boulogne it was blowing from the S. W., and was, 
therefore, just what was desirable for a passage from 
Boulogne to Britain. 

The object of Caesar's starting at twelve o'clock at 
night was, apparently, that he might land by morning, 
and so have the whole day before him for military 
operations. Accordingly, at 10 a. M. (or the fourth 
hour, as the Eomans always reckoned from 6 A. m.) on 
27th August, Caesar was ofi* the coast of Britain. 
What part of the coast was it ] Caesar had embarked 
from the country of the Morini because they were 
nearest to Britain^, and he tells us in another place that 
Kent, the eastern corner of the island, was the place 
for which ships from Gaul were commonly bound.^ 

> " Quaestori legatis praefectisque distribuit." — B. G. iv. 22. 

2 B. G. V. 2. 

' " Hujus lateris [the south] alter angulus qui est ad Cantium, 


We should suppose, therefore, that Csesar followed the 
usual track, and made for one of the ports which then 
as now were the most frequented, viz. Dover or Folke- 
stone. Indeed we are told as much by Dion, who says 
that Csesar sailed from the usual port to the usual port, 
but that he could not land at the latter because it had 
been preoccupied by the enemy.^ And it may be 
added, that, unless he pursued the usual track, how 
could the Britons have known where to encoimter 
the debarcation] But let us hear Caesar himself, who 
has drawn a sketch of the coast such as it presented 
itself on his first approach. "The nature of the 
place," he says, " was on this wise : the sea was so hem- 
med in by confined mountains that a javehn could 
be thrown from the higher ground upon the shore." ^ 
Quintus Cicero, the brother of Mark Tully, and one 
of the generals in Caesar's army on the second expe- 
dition, describes, in his letters home, the outposts of 
Britain as defended by stupendous masses of natural 
bulwarks.^ To what part of Albion can this descrip- 
tion answer, but to the high chalk clifis frowning 
between Sandgate and the South Foreland, which do 
indeed so hem in the sea that the idea of a hostile 

quo fere es^ Gallia naves appelluntur, ad orientem solem spectat."— • 
B. Q. V. 13. 

^ " Kal Toy fjiev ^uKirXovy ica9' o ^aXc^ra txpfjv fxera ruiv we^uiy 
iiroirjtTaTO* oh fxiyTOi Kal ^ Oci TrpoccVxcv, oi yap Bpcrravoi, Toy 
iwlirXovy avrov irpoirvdofieyot, raQ KardpoeiQ iiiraaac rdg irpo 
rflg if'tt'tlpov oZaag TrpoicareXaCov." — DioUy xxxix. 51. How 
accurately the words describe Dover and Folkestone ! 

^ " Cujus loci hsBc erat natura : adeo montibus angustis mare 
continebatur, ut ex locis superioribus in littus telum adjici posset." 

— B, G, iv. 23. 

^ ^' Constat enim aditus insuke esse munitos niiriQcis molibus.'^ 

— Cic. Ep. An, iv. 16. 


descent there, in the face of an enemy, would be mili- 
tary madness. Airy would have us beUeve that these 
" mountains " and " stupendous masses " are to be found 
near Hastings ; but as the Astronomer Eoyal bases his 
supposition on the assumption that Csesar sailed from 
the Somme, which we have shown to be untenable, we 
need not here discuss the matter with him further. 

K Caesar was disappointed at seeing the natural fea- 
tures of the country, he was probably much more so 
at another sight which riveted his gaze ; the landing- 
places at the ports were bristling with hostile spears^, 
and the heights above, also, were covered with troops, 
not rude savages, but in good martial array.^ The 
merchants had studiously kept back from the Eo- 
mans all information of British affairs; but every 
movement of the invaders had been instantly trans- 
mitted from Gaul to Britain, and the consequence 
was, that, rapidly as the Eoman legions had been col- 
lected and transports provided, the islanders, or at 
least the inhabitants of Kent, with no doubt their 
compatriots of Sussex, had assembled en masse to 
oppose the descent. Csesar, with his officers, had 
preceded the rest of the fleet for the very purpose 
of preparing for the debarcation, of examining the 
coast, and taking measures accordingly while the 
transports were coming up. To effect a landing then 
and there would, of course, be giving an immense and 
unnecessary advantage to the enemy, and he would not 
run the risk. He, therefore, lay at anchor imtil all the 
transports had arrived, and spent the interval in sum- 

* Dion, xxxix. 51. 

' " Atque ibi in omnibus collibus expositas bostium copias firmataa 
conspexit." — B. G, iv. 23. 


moning his officers together, and explaining his views. 
It would seem that Csesar, like Wellington and aU great 
commanders, kept his counsels to himself imtil the mo- 
ment of action ; it was only now, for the first time, that 
he produced the survey made by Volusenus, pointed 
out the mode of attack, and assigned to every one his 
allotted post.^ 

By 3 o'clock in the afternoon (called by the Eomans 
the ninth hour) the whole fleet was assembled; 
and we may here observe, by the way, that, as from 
Boulogne to Dover is in round numbers twenty-eight 
miles, and Caesar himself, in a war-galley, had been ten 
hours on the way, viz. from twelve at night to ten 
in the morning, the average speed would be nearly 
three miles an hour. The transports, on the other hand, 
had consumed fifteen hours on the passage, viz. from 
twelve at night to three in the afternoon, which yields 
an average of only about two miles an hour.^ 

It was at 3 o'clock, then, in the afternoon, on Sun- 
day, the 27th August, A.D. 55, that Caesar weighed 
anchor fi'om before Dover, preparatory to disembarking; 
and now comes the important and much-agitated ques- 
tion : Which way did he sail ; to the left or right, to 
the west or east 1 Let us first consider, a priori^ what 
a prudent commander might be expected to do under 
similar circumstances. The usual ports in front of him 
were preoccupied and impracticable. To the right he 
would see the precipitous chalk cliffs stretching away to 
the east till they terminated at the South Foreland, 
when he would lose sight of land altogether, and only 

1 B. G. iv. 23. 

* According to Appian, the voyage from Gaul to Britain was half 
a day, or twelve hours : " "Eori 3' avToiq 6 IiokKovq iJiJiitfv ijfxipaQj'^ 
^-AppiaUy cited Monum, Hist, Brit 50. 



the broad expanse of ocean would meet his eye. The 
lowlands about Walmer or Deal would not be visible ; 
and it is at least doubtful whether Volusenus had 
included them in his survey. On his left was a very 
different prospect ; for, tracing the line of cliffs west- 
ward, he could not fail to observe that they terminated 
at Sandgate, and that a broad level plain there suc- 
ceeded. I need not produce arguments to show how 
pecuharly favourable to a hostile descent is the great 
marsh lying between Sandgate and Eye. The bones 
that are piled in the crypt of Hythe church (a mass 
twenty-eight feet long, six broad, and eight high) bear 
witness of the fierce encoimters which have there taken 
place between the Britons and their invaders on the 
British Armageddon ; and the martello towers that still 
line the shore, and the defensive miUtary canal carried 
along the edge of the marsh, attest the weU-founded 
apprehension in our own day, that here, if ever, the Con- 
tinental hosts will attempt a burglarious entry into the 
islanders' home. It was also late in the day with 
Caesar, and, as the sun would set at seven, he had only 
four hours to choose his ground and effect a landing. 
But there is another consideration arising out of the 
plan of operations which he had just unfolded to his 
officers. The enemy were in such numbers that to 
force a descent with only 8,000 men in their presence 
was, if not a desperate, yet a dangerous, undertaking. 
His object, therefore, was, by the rapidity of his move- 
ments, to outstrip his foes, and disembark a sufficient 
number of troops before they could come up.^ It was 

* " Ad nutum et ad tempus omnes res ab iis administrarentur."— 
J5. O, iv. 23. " "E^Oiy r^c y§c Kpariitrag irply r^v nXiiu avu^ofideiav 
iXOciF." — Dion, xxxix. 51. 


absolutely necessary, therefore, that he should take 
advantage of the tide, or, at all events, that he should 
not mar his designs by stemming a strong current. 

But we need not theorise upon the subject, as Caesar 
gives us incidentally a piece of information which is 
conclusive. " Having got," he says, " the wind and the 
tide at the same time in his favour, he gave the signal 
and hoisted anchor, and, advancing about eight mUes 
from that place, he brought his ships to at an open and 
level shore." ^ Thus he certainly sailed with the tide, 
and, if we can only discover the direction of the tide, 
we shall know which way Csesar turned the head of his 
vesseL Now it may seem at first sight a somewhat 
difficult problem to calculate the current of the Channel 
at 3 o'clock on a particular day nearly 2,000 years 
ago; but the phenomena of nature are unchangeable, and 
I shall satisfy you that the question can be solved with 
little trouble and with the greatest exactness. The 
tides, it is well known, occur twice in the twenty-four 
hours, and each time about twenty-four minutes later, 
so that the corresponding tide on each successive day is 
forty-eight minutes later ^ : thus, if it be high water at 
Dover to-day at 12 o'clock at noon, it mil be high 
water there to-morrow at twelve minutes before 1 p.m. 
After a cycle of fourteen days, these tides recur in the 
same order of succession. The reason is that the new 
moon and fuU moon both act upon the ocean in a 
similar manner ; and, during the interval between the 

> " Et ventum et sestum uno tempore nactus secundum, dato signo 
et Bublatis anchoris, circiter millia passuum yiii ab eo loco pro-^ 
gressus, aperto ac piano littore naves constituit." — B. O. iv. 2S. 

* The Tidal Tables say fifty minutes per day. " The mean 
interval of time between two consecutive high waters is about 
12h. 2hmy — Tidal Tables for 1859, p. 99, 

D 2 


new moon and full moon, and, of course, equally be- 
tween the ftdl moon and new moon, the tide runs the 
whole round of ebb and flow until it returns back to 
the same hour. The period of one limation, or one 
revolution of the moon roimd the earth, is twenty-nine 
•days and a half, so that from new moon to fuU, and 
again from ftdl moon to new, is, in strictness, not four- 
teen days, but fourteen days and three quarters. It is 
evident from this that, in order to find the time of high 
water for any particular day, we need only determine 
the time of it at new or ftdl moon, and the intervening 
periods of ebb and flow can then be ascertained by 
allowing forty-eight minutes per diem from the last 
new or ftdl moon. Accordingly, the tables of the tides 
are usually calculated for the new and full moons only. 
However, there are slight disturbing influences which 
in some degree vary the general rule, and, to enable 
the mariner to follow them without difficulty, there are 
published annually, under the direction of the Admi- 
ralty, "The Tidal Tables for the Enghsh and Irish 
Ports,"^ which show at a glance when it is high water 
at the principal places round the coasts of England and 
Ireland for every day in the year. 

In speaking of the tides we must distinguish between 
the landsman's tide and the seaman's tide. The lands- 
man standing on the shore, beholds the water rise and 
fall, and thinks of the tide with reference to its height 
and depression only, whereas the seaman cares Uttle for 
the rise or fall, which he does not see, but is very atten- 
tive to the current caused by the tide, which aids or 
impedes the progress of his vessel. The direction of 

* Published by J. O. Potter, 31, Poultry, London ; and 11, King 
Street, Tower HiU, London. 


the current is as regular as the rise and fall of the tide, 
but both are subject to occasional disturbances from 
the action of the wind or the state of the atmosphere. 
These variations, however, it is beUeved, seldom if ever 
exceed an hour either in the time of high or low 
water, or of the turn of the current. As the British 
Channel is so constantly covered by the mercantile 
navy of England, great pains have been taken to ascer- 
tain the turn of the tide in this part. We are here 
concerned only with that in the Straits of Dover, and 
I shaU, therefore, content myself with stating the rule 
laid down for the guidance of mariners in the annual 
referred to. The Admiralty direction then is, that the 
stream off Dover sets westward at four hours after 
high water, and runs west for the next seven hours, 
and then turns eastward and runs so for the next 
five hours.^ Thus, to ascertain the current or direction 
of the tide at Dover, we find first the time of high 
water there, and four hours after that the stream begins 
to run west, and will so continue for seven hours, 
when it will again turn east, and run so for the next five 
hours. We have now to apply this principle to the year 
B. c. 55. The full moon was on the 31st of August 
at 3 A. M. I turn to the Tide Tables published by au- 
thority for the month of August of the present year, 

> " About one mile S.S.E. of the South Foreland Lighthouse, the 
stream begins to set to the eastward about Ih. 30m. before high- 
water on the shore at Dover, and runs from N.E. by E. to E. N.E. 
about five and a half hours, or tiU four hours after high water. It 
then turns and sets W.S.W. quarter W. about seven hours. At 
Dover the flowing stream very seldom continues more than five 
hours, and sometimes scarcely so much. It is nearly the same at 
Ramsgate. To the northward of the South Foreland the streams 
change their direction to N.E. half N., and S.W. half S." — Potter's 
Tide Tables, 1859, p. 110. 

D 3 


1859, and I find that the moon will be at the full on 
the 13th of August. As regards the moon, therefore, 
the 31st of August, B.C. 55, and 13th of August, 1859, 
are corresponding days. To find, then, the time of high 
water at Dover on the 27th of August, B.C. 55, when 
Caesar arrived (being the fourth day before the 31st of 
August, when was the fiill), we have only to look for 
the time of high water at Dover on the 9th of August, 
1859, being the fourth day before the 13th of August, 
when will be the full. High water at Dover on the 
9th of August, 1859, will, according to the Tables, be 
at 7.31 A.M. It was, therefore, high water at 7.31 
A.M. at Dover on the 27th of August, B.C. 55. But 
at four hours after high water the tide runs west, and 
so continues for seven hours; therefore, at 11.31 
A.M., on the 27th of August, B.C. 55, the stream began 
to run west, and held on in the same direction until 
6.31 P.M.1 At 3 o'clock, therefore, on the 27th of 
August, B.C. 55, the current was flowing westward at 
its maximum velocity, and consequently, as Caesar sailed 
at 3 o'clock on the 27th of August, B.C. 55, in the 
same direction as the tide, he must have steered west- 
ward toward Eomney Marsh, and could not possibly 
have made for Deal.^ 

* Lieutenant Burstal does not differ much, for lie computes " that 
during the interval between 12.40 and 6.50 p.m. of Aug. 27th 
(b. c. 55), the stream was setting to the westward, and therefore if 
Caesar weighed anchor at 3.30 p.m. the stream was setting to the 
W.SMy—Dunkin's Hist of Kent, vol. ii. 73. 

^ As the place of debarcation depends altogether on the direction 
of the tide at 3 o'clock p. m. on 27th of August, b. c. 55, — that 
is, the fourth day before the full moon, which was on August 31st at 
3 A.M., — ^it may be as well to see the range of the tide for every day 
before full moon throughout the current year 1859. From the 


But Caesar tells us in the passage I have quoted, that 
he had not only the tide, but also the wind in his 
favour, and this may possibly suggest an apparent 
objection — viz., that if the wind was in his favour in 
coming from Boulogne to Dover, it must have been in 
the south or west ; and then, if it still continued in that 
quarter, and Csesar sailed before it, he must have 
steered to the east. But, in the first place, supposing 
the wind to have blown from the south, it would have 
been favourable to a movement, from a point opposite 
Dover, either to the eagt or west. However, I would 
rather ofier an explanation, which will convert the objec- 
tion into an argument the other way ; viz. that the wind 
had, in fact, veered round since the passage from Bou- 
logne. Thus, Csesar says that he started from his an- 
chorage ofi* Dover, having got the wind in his favour, and 
the Latin word nactus impUes that the wind had under- 

Tide Tables it will be seen that on January 14tli, being the fourth day 
before the full moon, high water at Dover is at 5.31 a. m. 

February 13 6.13 

March 14 6. 8 

April 13 7.13 

May 12 6.55 

June 11 7.20 

July 11 7.55 

August 9 7.31 

September 8 .... 8.27 

October 7 7.47 

November 6 . . . .7.44 

December 6 7.31 

Thus the earliest high water at Dover is at 5.31 A. M., and the 
latest at 8.27 a.m., and as the stream turns west at four hours after 
high water and continues for seven hours, it turns at the earliest at 
9.31 A. M. and runs till 4.31 p.m. and turns at the latest at 12.27 p.m. 
and runs till 7.27 p.m. In no case, therefore, would the tide be 
running east at 3 P. M. 

i> 4 


gone a change. And this conclusion is strongly evi- 
denced by another circumstance, which, except on this 
supposition, is inexpHcable. When he embarked at 
Boulogne he despatched the cavalry to Ambleteuse, eight 
miles off, with orders to follow him with all haste^; but, 
much to Caesar's disappointment, they did not leave that 
haven for Britain until the fourth day after^, and no 
plausible reason can be given for this except that, for 
the whole of this interval, the wind was contrary ; that 
is, the wind had shifted. 

At 3 o'clock P.M., on Sunday 27th August, B.C. 55, 
Caesar quitted his moorings before Dover, and sailed 
to the west. For six or seven miles he had on his 
right the beetling bulwarks of the island, the pre- 
cipitous cliffs. The cavalry and charioteers of the 
Britons, followed by the infantry, might be seen at 
the same time moving along the heights and keeping 
pace with the fleet, and ready to encounter the enemy 
in any attempt at debarcation. On nearing Sandgate, 
and between that place and Hythe, Caesar would see 
the cUffs retiring inland, and leaving a narrow triangu- 
lar strip of level ground between themselves and the 
sea. Here it may be thought, perhaps, that Caesar 
landed, but a Httle reflection will lead to a different 
conclusion. As you stand on the high cliffs and look 
down upon this triangular plain, the extent of it appears 
sufficient to accommodate a small army, but not so as 
you saU along the coast. On reaching it, as I rowed from 
Dover to Hythe, I immediately concluded in my own 

* " Equitesque in ulteriorem portmn progredi, et naves conscen- 
dere, ac se sequi jussit ; ab quibus cum pauUo tardius esset admini- 
8txatum,"&c. — B, G. iv. 23. 

^ " Post diem quarfeum quam est in Britanniam ventum." — B. G. 
iv. 28. 


mind that the Eoman eagles could never have aUghted 
here from want of space. The cliffs, too, in the back- 
ground are so near as to give an enemy an immense 
advantage, and the seashore could scarcely be called 
aperium littus. The only temptation to place the landing 
on this spot is, that at the eastern comer rises the brow 
of Shorncliffe, a high platform (which has ever been, 
and is still, a favourite miUtary station) ; and, at the 
south-western comer of Shorncliffe, and therefore over- 
looking the triangular plain, is an ancient Eoman camp, 
which, of course, passes for Caesar's camp. I cannot 
think, however, that it has in reaUty any connection 
with Caesar. His camp on this occasion was apparently 
on the sea-beach, so as to give protection to the war- 
galleys drawn up on land. We know also that the 
Britons had a fiill view of it, as they despised its narrow 
dimensions ; but, if perched on the edge of Shorncliffe, 
it could scarcely have been made the subject of minute 
examination. The shore also just beneath Shorncliffe 
is anything but molle or soft ^, as the rocks here rise 
abruptly out of the waves. Caesar then sailed by this 
triangular strip, and rounding the precipitous cliffs 
which had so long defied him*^, came to the creek of 

But here, to make myself intelHgible, I must notice 
the extraordinary changes which have occurred in this 
part of the coast. I am not at aU disposed to be- 
heve in general the large and loose statements fre- 
quently broached as to the alterations of the earth's 
surface within the memory of man. I was, therefore, 
at first very incredulous as to the assertions respecting 

1 B. G. V. 9. 

* " "Aifpaf Tiva xeptTrXeuo-ac." — i5«V?», xxxix. 51. 


the growth of terra jirma in this quarter, but I am 
satisfied from personal observation that the sea here 
has to a great extent retired, and that what is related 
upon the subject may not improbably be the truth. 
Possibly the whole of Eomney Marsh may in antedi- 
luvian times have been covered by the sea, and have 
been gradually formed by the accumulation of shingle 
through countless ages; at least, wherever I visited 
the miUtary canal which laves the foot of the ele- 
vated border round the marsh, the soil, which has 
been excavated, is decidedly the same shingle as is stiU 
cast up by the tide. It is said that Dungeness Point 
advances from this accretion about seven feet annu- 
ally. But to pass from the period of the Ichthyosauri 
to that of the first century before Christ, of which 
we are speaking, the marsh, though its general confi- 
guration must have been the same then as at present, 
yet presented in some respects very difierent features. 
Instead of one regular curvilinear line from Sandgate 
to Dungeness, there were two inlets which have since 
been silted up. The first was at Eomney, where 
originally was the mouth of the river Eother, and by 
which the Danes on one occasion ascended as far as 
Appledore. The port was first at Old Eomney, and 
then, a^ the sea retreated, at New Eomney, and then, 
when the Eother (from the efiect, it is said, of inunda- 
tions during a fearful storm) was diverted from its 
channel, and entered the sea at Eye, the port of Eomney 
ceased altogether; and,at the present day, no one who did 
not examine the ground very curiously, would dream 
that such a haven had ever existed. The other inlet, 
with which we are more immediately concerned, was 
that between Dymchurch and Hythe, and extended 
inland as far Lympne or limne. Indeed, the name 


of Limne signifies in the old British a haven^, and corre- 
sponds to the Greek word Xi/tijv, a port ; and Ptolemy's 
xaivos Xi/tijv, is commonly thought to mean Limne.^ 
The strong south-easterly winds (for Dimgeness Point 
is a shelter from the coast) gradually choked up the 
port of limne, and the haven then shifted more to the 
east, where West Hythe now stands. But the same 
causes still operated, and West Hythe in its turn be- 
came deserted by the sea, and then the haven was 
transferred to Hythe. This was in the time of the 
Saxons, for Hythe in Saxon is the same as Limne in 
British and Greek, and signifies a harbour. The histo- 
rical testimony that Limne and West Hythe and Hythe 
have been successively havens at the end of the bay 
or inlet is imexceptionable, and indeed skeletons of 
vessels have been dug up at Limne where now is a 
rich pasture. But Non vedo non credo^ " Seeing is be- 
heving ; " and if any one doubt of this metamorphosis 
from sea to terra jirma^ let him walk from Hythe, as I 
have done, to the heights overlooking the marsh, and 
he will observe the plain below him lying in ridges or 
waves, as if the ocean had only just quitted its embrace. 
Even in the dghth century Leland speaks of Hythe in 
the following terms : — " The haven is a pretty road and 
lyeth meetly straight out of Boulogne. It crooketh so 
by the shore along, and is so backed from the main sea 
by shingle, that small ships may come up a large mile 
as in a sure gut."^ On looking at the old maps^ of 

* Lambarde's Perambul. 184. 

* Ptolemy, ii. 3, 4. The state of this part of the marsh about 
A. D. 1600 will be seen from the annexed map, copied from one 
in the Cottonian Collection at the British Museum. 

^ See Hasted's Kent. 

* A copy of an old map in the Cottonian Collection at the British 


this part of the coast, I find what I have not seen 
noticed elsewhere, viz. that the bay of Limne contained 
within it two islands. An anecdote related of one of 
Caesar's soldiers refers to an island in connection with 
the camp, and I had always supposed, until I met with 
these ancient charts, that the story was an idle inven- 
tion ; but the circumstance, so apocryphal before, be- 
comes thus no inconsiderable argument for placing the 
descent in this locality. 

Caesar had reached the creek of limne, and on the 
western side of it was the shore where the debarcation 
was to be made. It vr^ planum or flat as he describes 
it, for there was not a single elevation throughout the 
whole marsh, and it was also apertum or open, for the 
heights to the north were at least a mile distant. The 
sea-beach was also molle^ or soft, not with mud or ooze, 
which would be a very inconvenient landing-ground, 
and ill adapted for a conflict, but soft in a sailor's sense, 
i. e. it consisted of shingle, than which nothing can be 
more favourable to the security of vessels. The pebbles 
being rounded do not cut the ships' timbers, and being 
also loose ofier no resistance. Sand, on the contrary, 
which a landsman might consider soft, is, in naval 
phraseology, of the hardest kind, as it has no " give," 
and a ship beating against it would soon be shattered 
to pieces. I am glad to find, even in the Astrono- 
mer Koyal's dissertation, the admission that " this beach 

Museum is inserted in tliis work. Harris's History of Kent gives 
an old map from Dugdale, which represents two islands before 
Hythe, and a long gut (that alluded to by Leland) running eastward. 
So also does the map in Speed's History. The map of Richard of 
Cirencester points out nothing remarkable as to Romney Marsh, but 
the scale is too small to furnish an argument either way. The 
oldest maps of England will be found in Gough's British Topo- 




is very favourable for landing." The spot also offered 
other advantages. The interposition of the creek 
obliged the enemy to make a circuit, and if expedition 
were used, Caesar might land before the British foot 
could come up- As for the cavalry and charioteers, 
they were already there and lined the shore. It may 
also have entered into his calculations that the harbour 
of Limne, though not capable of containing his fleet, and 
now probably occupied by the enemy, and commanded 
by the heights on the north, would; so soon as he was 
in possession of the country, be a useful mediimi of 
communication with Boulogne, the corresponding port 
on the opposite coast. On his left, too, was the bay of 
Dungeness, where, except the wind blew from one 
particular quarter, the east, any number of vessels might 
ride at anchor in safety. 

It was now between five and six o'clock in the 
afternoon, and the tide still rising^ ; a very favourable 
circumstance for the debarcation, and which had no 
doubt been counted upon. The wind was from the 
east, and the waves were tumbhng in, but not with 
sufficient violence to offer any serious obstacle to the 
descent. Caesar, therefore, gave the word of command, 
and the ships, so far as the shelving shore permitted, 
were run upon the beach. The horsemen and charioteers 
of the Britons which clouded the strand now poured 
such a shower of javelins upon the Koman galleys that 
even Caesar's hardy veterans dared not face the storm 
and spring fi'om their ships.'^ Besides the weight of their 
own arms they had also to buffet the waves, and in 
ignorance themselves of the locaUties were engaged 

^ High water at Hythe on that day (27th Aug.) at 8 p. m. 
* " Nostros navibus egredi prohibebant." — B, G, iv. 24. 


with, a foe to whom the shallows were familiar. Ca3sar 
confesses that his men shrank from the conflict. The eye 
of the commander looked anxiously roimd, and in 
order to check the fierce onset of the natives, and give 
space for the debarcation, he ordered the triremes, 
armed with slings, and arrows, and cross-bows, to dis- 
charge a volley on the enemies' front. This produced 
the desired effect ; for, galled by the sudden flight of 
missiles from an imexpected quarter against their half- 
naked bodies, the Britons retreated a few paces, when 
the standard-bearer of the renowned tenth legion seized 
the opportune moment, and shouting to his men, " Sol- 
diers, follow me! For Csesar and the Eepubhc!" 
threw himself into the sea, and struggled to land. His 
comrades followed by mihtary instinct the example of 
their leader ; and, dashing after the ensign, rushed to 
close quarters. Now came the tug of war. The Eomans 
were not in rank, and their heavy armour impeded their 
movements. The Britons, on the other hand, with 
their small bucklers, short spears, and light swords, 
were here, there, and everywhere^, and before the 
Eomans could form, many a knot of them was cut 
in pieces. Victory trembled in the balance, when 
again the great captain displayed his mihtary coolness. 
Wherever along the lines the enemy pressed hardest 
upon the legionaries, Caesar despatched the long-boats 
with succours to their rehef. The Eomans recovered 
more and more from their disorder, and soon the tide 

* " Ta ^€ onXa ahrwy atnrlQ Kai ^opv^fipaxv, fxffkop xaXtcovv ev 
&Kpov Tov trrvpaKog txovy &(m. trtiofitvov Krwrtiy irpbc KardirXriiiy twv 
evavTiiOP' uq ^' ahroic Kal iyxeipidiaJ*^ — Xiphtliriy cited Mon, Hist 
Brit, p. be. " ^Atririla fiorriy aTeyijy irepiteSXrifiiyoi xat dopv • {/^c ^f 
vaptiprrifxiyoiy yvfiyov tr^fiaroQ' ^cJpaicoc di rj KpayovQ ohic ^itratri 
XP^fffi*'." — Herodian, cited Mon. Hist, Brit, Ixiv. 


began to turn, and the Britons to experience how little 
undisciplined valour can prevail against a compact 
body animated by one soul, and directed by an expe- 
rienced tactician. No sooner were Caesar's troops in 
battle-array than their wonted vigour and confidence 
returned, and the Britons were discomfited and re- 
treated. Caesar, however, had no cavalry with him, 
and this it was, according to his own account, that 
saved the enemy fi:om a total defeat.^ 

Now, for the first time, a Eoman planted his foot on 
British soil. It was a memorable event ; and, if I mis- 
take not, the tradition of it has been preserved in the 
name of the spot where the descent was made. Ijj the 
most ancient records, as Domesday Book, Eomney 
Marsh is written EomaneP, and the natural inference is 
that it was so called from the Komans. The whole marsh 
is subdivided into Guildford and Walland Marshes, to 
the west; Denge Marsh, to the south; and Eomney 
Marsh proper, to the east. The latter was the portion 
where the Eomans landed, and the town of Eomney, 
called after them, stood at the extremity of it on the 
eastern bank of the now scarcely traceable channel of 
the Eother. 

If our hypothesis that Caesar landed at Eomney 
Marsh be well founded, of course the theories which 
assign other localities for the landing are erroneous. 
There are, however, two opinions which have received 
the sanction of very distinguished men, and therefore 
deserve a passing notice. Caesar, says Halley, sailed to 
the east, and disembarked at Deal. Caesar, says Airy, 
sailed to the west, and disembarked at Pevensey. Let 
us first take the case of Deal 

* "Hoc unum ad pristinam fortunam Caesari defuit." — B, G, 
iv. 26. « Hasted. 


Halley, by calling attention to the turn of the tide as 
an important element in Caesar's narrative, led the way 
to the determination of the true place of Caesar's land- 
ing, though he failed to discover it himsel£ As his 
argument cannot fail to be interesting, I will read you 
an extract from it. Those who wish to peruse the 
whole paper, will find it in the third voL of the Philo- 
sophical Transactions, p. 440 : — 

" As to the place," he says, " the high land and clifis 
described could be no other than those of Dover, and 
are allowed to have been so by alL It remains only to 
consider whether the descent was made to the north- 
warjj or southward of the place where he anchored 
The data to determine this are: — 1. That it was four 
days before the fiill moon; 2. That that day, by three 
o'clock in the afternoon, the tide ran the same way 
that he sailed; 3. That a S. by E. moon makes high 
water on all that coast, the flood coming from the 
southward. Hence it will follow, that that day it 
was high water about eight in the morning, and conse- 
quently low water about two ; therefore, by three 
the tide of flood was well made up, and it is plain 
that Caesar went with it ; and the flood setting to the 
northward, shows that the open plain shore where he 
landed was to the northward of the clifis, and must be 
in the Downs; and this I take to be little less than 

Here the astronomer is correct enough in the time of 
high and low water on the day mentioned ; but he falls 
into error in therefore concluding that the current was 
at 3 P.M. in full fiow to the north. The theory that 
when the tide rises it runs to the north, and that in 
ebbing it returns to the south, may be true generally ; 
but the mistake made was, that he did not allow for 


the disturbances created by the obstruction which the 
tide encounters in forcing its way amongst islands 
and through narrow channels. It is one thing to 
calculate forces in the abstract, and another to 
apply them, taking into account the resistance from 
friction. The present Astronomer Koyal, in order to set 
the matter at rest, appUed for information to Captain 
F. W. Beechey, who had recently made a survey of the 
Channel, under the directions of the Admiralty, and the 
answer was substantially in accordance with the tidal 
tables. *' At full and change of the moon," he says, 
" the stream makes to the westward off Dover, at one 
and a half mile distance from the shore, about 3** 10°", 
and there does not appear to be much difference in this 
part of the Channel between the turn of the stream in 
shore and in the centre. . . . Winds greatly affect 
the time of turn of the stream. The stream runs to the 
west about six and a half hours, after which there is 
slack water for about a quarter of an hour." ^ Now, if 
at fiiU moon the tide runs west at 3 p. m., it follows that 
on the fourth day before the tide would begin to run 
west about noon, and at 3 P. M. would have acquired 
its maximum velocity in that direction. Thus the very 
argument which Halley made use of trixmiphantly to 
^how that Csesar sailed to Deal, is a demonstrative 
proof that he sailed towards Eomney Marsh. Another 
objection to the debarcation at Deal may be drawn 

^ Archfeolog. vol. xiodv. To test the accuracy of this account, I 
requested my friend Mr. Barton, of Dover, to observe for me on 
18th January, 1859 (the day of the full moon), at what tijne the 
tide turned west, and he returned the following answer : — " 18 th 
January, 1859. Sir F. W. Beechey is quite correct in his statement, 
as the tide turned, and commenced running west, a few minutes 
before three o'clock this afternoon." 



from a circumstance attending Caesar's expedition in 
the following year. Caesar again started from Boulogne 
at night, and steered for the same place where he had 
landed before ; but during the night his fleet was drifted 
by the current, and in the morning he found Britain, 
i. e. the South Foreland, on his left hand. Had he been 
making for Deal, this was just in the line for it ; but 
what did Cassar do ? He took advantage of the turn of 
the tide back again toward the west, and then followed 
it till, by dint of rowing and the aid of the stream, he 
arrived about noon at his former landing^^place.^ Neither 
do the features of Deal at all correspond to the face of 
the country such as Caesar depicts it. Where are the 
woods and the com lands, to which repeated reference 
is made in the Commentaries 1 I will not say that 
there is not a tree or a com field near Deal, but the 
character of the district is pastoral. From Deal to 
Canterbury is one great grazing plain, undiversified by 
a single coppice. Where, again, are the marshes, which 
are put prominently forward in every writer's account ? 
Caesar speaks of the vada or shoals (B. G. v. 26) ; Dion 
of the Tsvayij or lagoons (xxxix. 51) ; Plutarch of the 
ToVov sXcoS)] xa) TfiXftaroiSi], the marshy and swampy 
groimd {Phit, Ccbs. 16) ; and Valerius Maximus of an 
island formed by the ebb and flow of the tide {Vol. 
Max. iii. 2). But, as to the part about Deal, I may use 
the very words of Halley himself, that " it is known to 
be a firm champaign coimtry, without fens and mo- 
rasses."^ HaUey, indeed, thinks the difficulty removed 

1 ^^ Longius delatus aestu, orl4 luce, sub sinistra Britanniam relic- 
tarn conspexit. Turn rursus ceatilLs comnmtationem aecutus remis 
contendit, ut earn partem insuke caperet quk optimum esse egressum 
Buperiore eestate cognoverat." — B, O, v. 8. 

« Philos. Trans, vol. iii. p. 422. 


by translating T«yayij, which most staggers him, by the 
ooze of the sea ; but if he supposed that there was a 
wet and muddy border from the wash of the waves 
along that coast, he was altogether mistaken, as the 
beach is a fine dry shingle. Where, again, is the river 
backed by a commanding height, on which the Britons 
were posted at the distance of twelve miles from 
CaBsar's camp ? The Stour at Canterbuiry is eighteen 
miles from Deal, and if it approaches nearer on its way 
to Sandwich, it flows through a low, marshy ground, 
where we shall look in vain for any strong military 
fastness, of a forestal diaracter, such as the Britons are 
said to have occupied.^ 

Those to whom faith furnishes a strong imagination, 
are said to have seen the remains of fortifications about 
Deal, which, of course, are ascribed to Cassar. But I 
can only say that, in walking from Deal by Walmer to 
the conamencement of the chalk cliffs, I endeavoured 
m vain to find anything of the kind. If there be such 
remains, they belong probably to the Eomans of later 
times, or to the Saxons or Danes* But I cannot help 
thinking that they never had any existence, as Camden 
himself suggests that what are supposed to be military 
works may be merely heaps of sand and accumulations 
of shingle.^ 

The only argument I can hit upon in favour of Deal, 
is one of very apocryphal authority, for it is drawn from 
Dion Cassius, who wrote more than two hundred years 
after the event. He tells us incidentally that Ceesar 
being repulsed from the usual landing-place, "sailed 

* " Locum nacti egregie et natura et opere munitum ; 

nam crebris arboribus succisis omnes introitus erant prseclusi." — 

« Camd. Brit. 

E 2 


round a certain headland^ and so coasted along to 
another part."* This, certainly, if taken Uterally, looks 
as if he went round the South Foreland, but I am 
satisfied that if he had done so, Caesar would have men- 
tioned so remarkable a promontory. If the descriptive 
words of so late a writer as Dion are to have any weight, 
I should interpret them as meaning only that Caesar 
sailed roimd the bend of the precipitous shore between 
Folkestone and Sandgate, at which latter place the high 
cliffs turn inland, and where, at that time, the sea flowed 
up to the harbour of limpne or limne ; or else that 
Caesar arrived at first off Eastweir Bay, which lies be- 
tween Folkestone and Dover, and then sailed round the 
cliff which shuts in the bay on the west, to the coast off 
Lymne which, by the ordnance map, is just about eight 
miles to the west of Eastweir Bay. 

Next for the hypothesis lately advanced by the Astro- 
nomer Boyal, that Caesar landed at Pevensey. In the first 
place, the selection of this spot for the debarcation is 
simply a consequence flowing from another assmnption 
of the same writer, viz. that Caesar set sail from the 
estuary of the Somme ; and as I have shown the latter 
position to be untenable, the former must fall with it. 
But there are some special objections to Airy's theory of 
Pevensey, which I cannot pass over. Caesar describes 
Portus Itius as thirty miles only from Britain ; whereas 
Pevensey is fifty-two nautical, or sixty English miles, 
from the Somme, L e. double the distance, and is, I 
presmne, at least forty miles from any other point of 
the Continent. How, then, can Pevensey be the coast 
for which Caesar steered ] Again, consider the bearing 

* ""Arpav olv riva Trpoi\ov(rav irFpnrXevaaQ hipwae irapeKOfAlaOri,^* 
"-^DioTif xxxix. 51. 


of this distance with reference to CaBsar's return from his 
second expedition. We shall see that Caesar, on the latter 
occasion, was about eight hours only in crossing, viz. from 
nine in the evening to five in the morning, and if he 
made for the Sonmie, sixty miles distant, his fleet (over- 
crowded as it certainly was) must, nevertheless, have 
progressed at the rate of seven and a half miles an 
hour, which, as there was no wind, but they trusted to 
their oars only, may surely be pronounced impossibla^ 
I would also venture to ask the question. How it hap- 
pened, if Caesar landed at Pevensey, that the Britons 
were seen upon the heights in expectation of his arrivall 
Can it be supposed that Caesar, one of the greatest 
generals of any age, had made the plan of his debarca- 
tion so pubUc that common rumour had transmitted it 
across the water] On the contrary, Caesar did not 
even inform his own officers what were his designs 
until the very last moment. The only conceivable ex- 
planation is, that the Britons had assembled their forces 
at the havens universally frequented by continental 
voyagers, and it remains to be shown that Hastings was 
such a port, more particularly as Caesar tells us that 
Kent, and not Sussex, was the coast for which vessels 
from Gaul were ordinarily bound.^ Is it not also 
strange and unaccoimtable that Caesar should have 
landed in the heart of the dense forest of Anderida 1 
No doubt, the Astronomer Eoyal contends that the forest 
ended at Eobertsbridge toward the east. But what 
proof of this is offered ] Will not every one who ex- 
amines the geological map of England be convinced 

* " Smnmam tranquillitatem consecutus." — B, O, v. 23. AU 
the vessels were row-boats or actuariae. (JB. G,y. 1.) 

^ "Cantimn, quo fer^ ex Gallill naves appeUiintur." — B. G. 

£ 8 


that it extended ias far as the wealden, i. e. the wooded 
formation; and, therefore, as far as Hythel Why 
else have we so many Hursts (the Saxon for woods) to 
the east of Eobertsbridge 1 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 
is decisive that even in A. D. 891, the wood Anderida 
extended, at all events, as far as four miles from the 
mouth of the Bother ; for, " On this river (the limene) 
they towed up their ships as far as the wood, four miles 
from the mouth, and erected a fortress at Appledore."^ 
That the debarcation must have been not at Pevensey 
but in Kent, is also evinced by a circmnstance which 
the Astronomer Eoyal, I think, has not adverted to, 
viz. that Cassivelaun, when he had drawn Csesar beyond 
the Thames, sent orders to the princes of Kent to 
make an attack on Caesar's naval camp.^ Does not 
this show incontestibly that the camp was in Kent and 
not in Sussex ] Or will it be said that Kent at that 
time comprised Sussex? I have never seen it sur- 
mised that the ancient borders of Kent were different 
from the present. Sussex was from time immemorial 
known as the kingdom of the EegnL 

Again, when Caesar sailed to Britain on the second 
expedition, he was so drifted out of his right course by 
the current, that in the morning he found the coast of 
Britain on his left hand. This evidently means that the 
tide had carried him through the Straits of Dover beyond 

* Anglos. Chron. a. d. 891. Here by the Limene is clearly meant 
the Rother, but usually by the Limene was meant the creek of 
Limne, as in Afum. Raven, who, amongst the rivers of Britain, enu- 
merates successively, Durbis (Dover), Lemana (Lymne), Rovia 

^ ^^ Cassivelaunus ad Cantium . . . nimtios mittit, atque his im> 
perat, ut coactis omnibus copiis cafitra navalia de improviso adori- 
antur atque oppugnent." — B. G, v. 22. 


or up to the South Foreland, and then, with the ship's 
head as at startmg, he would have the chalk diffs be- 
tween Folkestone and the South Foreland on his left. 
But I ask, how could this have occurred had the 
voyage been from the Sonune to Pevensey 1 In that 
case, the distances were such that the tide, which ne- 
ver drifts a vessel more than eighteen miles as the 
maximum ^, could not possibly have caused such a 
deviation from the right line between the Somme and 

We return to Caesar, whom we left on the seashore 
at Bomney Marsh. It was now growing dark, the 
struggle was over, and the first thing to be done was to 
entrench a camp. This was customary with the Bomans 
on ordinary occasions, but here it was more especially 
needed, for it could not be disguised that the position 
of the victor was a somewhat deUcate one. Cassar, 
with 8,000 men, was in a strange land, with a hardy 
and warhke race before hinL To attempt the subju- 
gation of the island with so small a band, or even to 
force his way across the Thames in the direction of the 
Trinobantes (Essex), where Imanuent and Mandubert 
were expecting his approach, was palpably hopeless, 
for his two legions would soon be destroyed in piece- 
meal His policy, therefore, was to make the most of 
his dearly bought victory, and, on the first plausible 
occasion, to effect a return to the Continent, and, if 
Britain were worth the time and outlay, then to repeat 
the e^eriment the following year with an army equal 
to the enterprise. In the meantime, the communication 
with the sea must be kept open, and, consequently, no 
advance could be made into the interior. 

* See post. 

£ 4 


The precise point where the earUest Eoman camp 
was pitched must be matter of conjecture. Some may, 
perhaps, be inclined to place it on Shomcliffe, where 
is the ancient camp already alluded to, which is deci- 
dedly Eoman ; but, on second consideration, the site is 
inadmissible. Csesar's camp was evidently a temporary 
one, for its dimensions were narrower than usual, from 
the legions having crossed the Channel without their 
baggage^ and, besides, the triremes were drawn up 
on shore in juxtaposition to the camp, which could 
scarcely have been at Shomcliffe, as the seabeach 
below is at some distance from the castrum, and is 
also dotted with rocks, the last spurs to the west of 
this iron-bound coast. Others may be disposed to 
locate the camp at Stuttfall, the Eoman quadrangular 
fortress standing half-way up the hill of Limne, and 
overlooking the old port ; but, had the triremes been 
drawn on shore at Stuttfall, they could scarcely have 
been swamped by the tide, a mishap which afterwards 
overtook them. The building of Stuttfall itself was 
certainly not erected on this occasion, as it is of much 
too massive a character. We should say, upon the 
whole, that the camp of Caesar was probably on the 
seaside opposite Limne, and perhaps where the fort 
now stands. This agrees best with the various features 
of the description. It would then be a protection to 
the triremes drawn up under the ramparts, and, again, 
it would afford credibiKty to the anecdote of Valerius 
Maximus, that the camp was not far from an island, 
and would correspond, also, in two circmnstances, appa- 

1 " Quum paucitatem militum ex castrorum exlguitate cogno- 
scerent, quce Hoc erant etiam angnstiora, quod sine impedimentis 
Csesar legiones transportaverat." — B, G, iv. 30. 

C^:SAR'S CAMP. 57 

rently not easily combined, viz. that on the one hand 
there were marshes romid about, and on the other there 
were com fields and woods in the immediate vicinity. 
The latter fact, which so exactly tallies with a site off 
Limne, would exclude the notion of placing the camp 
more to the west, in the neighbourhood of Eonmey, 
for, in that quarter, though the fens abound, there are 
few com fields and no woods. 

The Britons, on their side, had felt the weight of 
CsBsar's legions, and, after a defeat with every advan- 
tage in their favour, could not hope to su(Jceed in a 
conflict upon equal terms. Besides, the troops of Kent 
and Eegnum or Sussex only were now opposed to the 
invader. The most powerful of the British princes, Cas- 
sivelaun, king of the Catyeuchlani (Hertfordshire and 
Middlesex), was fiilly employed elsewhere, for he was 
engaged in an internecine war with Imanuent, king of 
the Trinobantes.^ The forces, also, which had been 
collected on the coast were hastily drawn together, and 
many of them were beardless youths; at least, the 
author of the Dialog, de Oratoribus, who wrote a.d. 75, 
introduces Aper as saying thathehad conversed in Britain 
with one who had taken part in the battle at Caesar's 
landing^ ; and, as the anecdote is related 130 years after 
the event, the Briton in question must have been a 

* Caesar, in the second expedition, observes that : " Huic (Cassi- 
velauno) superiori tempore [viz. on the first expedition] cum reli- 
quis civitatibus continentia bella intercesserant." — B, G. v. 11, 
compare v. 20. 

* " Ipse ^o in Britannia vidi senem qui se fatebatur ei pugnae 
interfuisse, qua Cassarem inferentem arma Britannis arcere litoribus 
et pellere aggressi sunt. Ita id eimi qui armatus Caesari restitit, vel 
captivitas vel volimtas vel hXxxm aliquod in urbem protraxisset, idem 
Cassarem ipsum et Ciceronem audire potuit, et nostris quoque 
actionibus interesse." — Dial, de Orat, c. 17. 


mere stripling in B.c. 55. According to Caesar, no 
sooner had the Eomans made good their debarcation 
than the Britons sued for peace, and deUvered up Comius 
of Arras, whom Ctesar, before his passage across the 
Channel, had sent into Britain, and who, as soon as he 
landed, had be^ seized and put in bonds as a spy. 
We have no other account, and must, therefore, acquiesce 
in this statement, inconsistent as it appears with the re- 
solute and determined character of the Britons on other 
occasions. Csesar^, who was ready to accept any terms, 
made a feint of commanding hostages, and hostages were 
given by some states, by those perhaps which were 
friendly to the Eomans, and were promised by others, 
but never delivered. Thus a peace, or rather a hollow 
truce, was concluded, and for a few days there was a 
calm ; the Romans quietly occupying their camp, and 
the natives pursuing, at least ostensibly, their usual 
agricultural occupations. 

The fourth day of Caesar's arrival (the day of arrival 
included), i. e. on the 30th of August, great events oo- 
curred. We have seen that eighteen ships, assembled 
at Ambleteuse, had been unable to make the port of 
Boulogne, and, in consequence, the cavalry had been 
ordered from Boulogne to Ambleteuse, to embark there 
with all e^edition. Cassar complains of a httle want 
of alacrity on the part of the cavalry^, and the delay 
was so fatal that any peevishness on the part of the 
commander may be excused. The day after the trans- 

* Dion seems to insinuate that negotiations only were pending, 
and that no treaty had been concluded when the Britons renewed 
the contest: " t6t€ fiey Ofiiipovg alrfiaavTi ahr^ ^ovrai ijOiXriaay,^^ 
— Dion, xxxix. 51. 

* " Ab quibns cum paullo tardius esset administratum." — B 0. 
IV. 23. 


port of the infentay, the wind had shifted from the 
south-west to the north-east, and the vessels at Amble- 
teuse could not quit the harbour. At length, on the 
30th August, the wind moderated, and a gentle breeze 
i^rang up from the south, when the cavalry hurried on 
board, and set sail for Britain. The elements had de- 
luded them, for, when in mid-channel, and already in 
sight from Caesar's camp, the wind suddenly veered 
round to the old quarter of the north-east, and blew 
such a hurricane that the vessels were beaten out of 
their course. Some were driven back to the Continent, 
and others borne away to the western parts of the island, 
where they cast anchor, and endeavoured to ride out 
the storm; but the violence of the waves was such that, 
being afraid of running into mj British harbour, for 
fear of assassination, they were obliged to put to sea 
^ain and steer for the Continent, so that, eventually, 
not a smgle trooper ever reached the Eoman camp.^ 
The eighty vessels by which Caesar had transported his 
legions, and which had been anchored off the shore in 
the Bay of Dujogeness, were also victims to the tempest. 
I have heard an old weather-beaten sailor remark that 
there is no j&ner bay than this along the southern coast, 
and that ships may ride there in safety at all times, pro- 
vided the wind do not come from the east Unluckily, 
this was partly the quarter from which the wind now 
blew, and the consequence was that the transports 
became immanageable ; many of them foundered, and 
the rest lost their sails and anchors, and were rendered 
unfit for service. Even the triremes, which had been 
drawn up on the beach, did not escape, for at night 
was the full moon, when was the spring tide. In gene- 

1 B. G. iv. 28. 


ral, no doubt, the highest tide is a day and a half after 
the full ; but, to use the language of the old sailor with 
whom I conversed, " It is the wind as rules the tides.'* 
In Dimgeness Bay, for instance, when the wind is in the 
north, the tide rises to an imusual height ; and, when 
the wind is in the south, it falls proportionally low. 
The hurricane which now swept the ocean was from 
the north-east ; and the combined effect of the spring 
tide and of the wind was to pour a deluge over a great 
part of Eomney Marsh ; and, as the Eomans, in igno- 
rance of these natural phenomena, had drawn up their 
galleys on the very margin of the sea, the foaming bil- 
lows burst over them, and caused incredible damage.^ 
It is a singular confirmation of our hypothesis of the 
debarcation at Eomney Marsh that the range of high 
water at the springs is. greater here than at any other 
point of the southern coast. At Dungeness, for example, 
the mean range is twenty-one feet three quarters, while 
at Deal it is only sixteen feet, so that Caesar's vessels at 
Bomney Marsh were exposed to a rise of nearly six feet 
more than they would have been at DeaL^ 

Caesar now brings a charge of perfidy against the 
Britons, viz. that seeing the small amount of his infan- 
try, without any cavalry or supphes of com or service- 
able transports, they, in spite of the treaty which had 
been solemnly concluded, entered into a conspiracy for 
the extermination of the Eomans by an assault upon 
their camp. But we must remember that the Com- 
mentaries are an ex parte statement, and written with a 
strong bias towards the glorification of the writer and 

^ '^ E^em nocte accidit ut esset lima plena, qui dies maritimos 
SBstus maximos in oceano efficere consuevit, nostrisque id erat incog- 
nitum." — B. G. iv. 29. " Kara rr^v iravtriXrivoy.^^ — Strdbo, iv. 5. 

2 Potter's Tide Tables for 1859, p. 147. 


the disparagement of the Britons. But I think it will 
appear, even on Caesar's own showing, that the Britons 
were as much the aggrieved as the aggressive party. 
We read that Caesar, befcx-e he knew the designs of the 
Britons — before, I say, he knew the designs of the 
Britons^, — drew a conjectural conclusion from the cir- 
cumstances in which he was placed that they would 
play him false, and proceeded to make preparation 
against it by cutting all the standing com within his 
reach and carrying it into his camp. Now, was it not 
a casus belli that a general with whom they had just 
struck a treaty of peace should march his troops into 
their fields and annihilate the labours of the year by 
taking forcible possession of the crops I Appian, indeed, 
expressly states that the Eomans had agreed by the 
treaty to withdraw from the island, and that the 
Britons advanced a charge of perfidy against the 
Bomans for stiU remaining upon their shores.^ 

The events which occurred were these. Caesar 
day after day continued cutting and carrying the com 
from the vicinity^ ; the Britons at last could endure 
this no longer, and concerted the following stratagem. 
The only com left was contiguous to a wood, and 
concluding that the Eomans would next extend their 
depredation in this direction, they concealed there a 
strong body of horse and foot and charioteers, ready to 
sally forth at a given signal. The ambush succeeded. 
About a week after the storm, i.e. about the 7th 

* " Etsi nondum eorum consilia cognoverat." — B, 0, iv. 81. 

^ " £v0vc ijpiOii^ov (ol *Pa>/iaioi) rove 'Bperravovg vapopic^ffatj 
eyKXrifia txpyrag Sri tnrovZiav atjiiin yevofiiywv en vapfjv to arparo' 
Tsdoy,^^ — Appian^ cited Monum, Hiatorica Britannica, 50. 

3 '' Frumentum ex agris in castxa quotidie comparabat.'' — B^ Q, 
iv. 31. 


of September, one of the two l^ons, viz. the seventh, 
was sent to forage as usual, and they turned their 
steps towards the field where the snare had been laid. 
No sooner had they piled their arms, and were engaged 
with their sickles, than the Britons rushed upon them 
unawares, slew some^, and with their horse and chariots 
hemmed in llie rest^ A desperate struggle now ensued, 
as the l^on was surrounded and no quarter was asked 
on either side. By good luck the cohorts, which were on 
duty before the camp, and were looking idly in the 
direction which the legion had taken, saw a whirlwind 
of dust flying in the air, and immediately gave the 
alarm.® Caesar hastened off*, himself, with the cohorts 
already under arms, and commanded the rest to follow 
with all expedition. He arrived just in time to save the 
legion. The enemy, taken in flank, at once gave ground, 
and the legionaries at sight of the succours took heart, 
and redoubled their efforts. It was a narrow escape, 
however ; and Ctesar, by his own confession, could only 
bring off* his men without darii^ to run the risk of a 
general engagement 

Consider here, for a moment, how apparently irre- 
concilable and incapable of answering to any locality 
are the featiu'es attending this skirmish. The camp 
itself was in the marsh, as is evident from its cover- 
ing the triremes drawn up on shore, and from the 
repeated references by Caesar and all writers to the 

* " Paucis interfectis." — Ccbs, B. Cr. iv. 32. Dion says that the 
Britons slew nearly the whole : " rovg re TrXrjv oKiytov dii(j>Oeipav,^^ — 
Dion, xxxix. 52. 

^ " Simnl eqnitatu atque essedis crrcnmdederant." — B. G. 
iv. 82. 

• " li, qiii pro portis castronim in stations ertot, Caesari reniin- 
tiaverunt pnlverem majorem quam consuetude ferret in e& parte 
Tideri, quam in partem l^io itet fecisset." — J5. O. iv. 82. 

LIMNE. 63 

shoals and shallows. On the other hand, a com field 
adjoining a wood could not have existed on the 
marsh, where the com fields are few and woods are none. 
Yet the scene of the <KMnbat was not far from the 
camp or the dust would not have been observed, and 
Caesar could not have brought such ready assistance. 
At the same time also that the two points were little 
removed from each other, the dust only was seen, and 
not the combatants themselves. I confess that, as I 
passed in a boat along the coast opposite linme, and 
«aw no woods and no com fields in the marsh, and a hiU 
shutting in the plain on the north, my reflection was. 
How could C»sar*s camp have been here, for the ambush 
against the seventh legion could not have been laid in the 
marsh, and if on the other side of the hill, how could 
the dust oi the fight have been visible ? But on another 
day, when I visited Hythe by land, and walked from it 
to the old port of limne and then mounted the hill, I 
discovered the explanation. On reaching the top I 
stepped at once iato a com field, dry and dusty from 
the Ughtness of the soil, and on my right was Park 
Wood, covering some fifty acres, besides anoth^ wood, 
called Fowke Wood, in the immediate neighbourhood. 
What I had taken from the sea for a hiU was not a 
hiU, L e. it had no descent on the north side, but was a 
platform of land, and was under the plough, and com 
growing so near to the edge that even the reapers, if 
labouring in that part of the field, might have been 
seen from the camp. The whole narrative was now 
realised to the mind's eye in the most graphic manner. 
The legion had marched up to the standing fields of 
com on the high ground, and the Britons starting from 
their lurking-place at the side had intercepted their 
retreat, and surrounded them at just such an interval 


from the edgiB that the combatants themselves were out 
of sight and hearing, but the dust flying in the air 
had attracted the attention of llie guard standing under 
arms at a mile's distance below. 

But to proceed. Caesar, not feeling himself strong 
enough to avenge the blow which had been struck at the 
seventh legion, withdrew his forces behind the entrench- 
ments of his camp, and this confession of weakness on 
his part gave proportional confidence to his antagonist. 
For many days consecutively the weather was so un- 
propitious that neither party ventured on any hostile 
movement. About the 15lii September, however, the 
Britons, having by that time assembled a numerous 
body of infantry and cavahy, determined on assaulting 
the very camp of the Eomans. Caesar deemed it the 
wisest course to anticipate the conflict which he could 
not avoid ; and, therefore, trusting to the valour and 
discipline of his legions in a general engagement, drew 
out his army in front of the camp, and awaited the 
approach of the enemy. 

Now, perhaps, occurred the incident related by Va- 
lerius Masdmus. One Scasva, and four others, had 
been posted by Caesar as piquets on a soUtary ait^, 
which rose above the waves, and was separated from a 
larger island, occupied by the enemy, by a narrow 
strait formed by the tide at high water. The islands 
represented in the old maps as studding the inlet which 
ran up to linme, may possibly have been the identical 
islands here referred to by the historian ; but, of course, 
all is conjecture, when the configuration of this part of 
the coast has undergone such material changes. The 

^ Yaleriiis Maximus calls it a scopulus, which probably means 
nothing more than an eminence. Plutarch is very emphatic in 
iaying that the adyentore was in a marsh. {Flut, Cos, c. 16.) 


Britons being famiKar with the coast, knew exactly 
when, by the subsidence of the flood, the intervening 
channel could become fordable, and as soon as. it was 
so, they dashed into the sea and made toward the So- 
man guard. Four out of the five sprang into their 
boat and rowed to the camp ; but Scaeva, whether pur- 
posely or by accident, was left behind, when he hiu-led 
among the enemy Ids own javelins and those flung 
away by his comrades, and then, drawing his sword, 
fought hand to hand, and finally cast himself into the 
water and swam across to the camp.^ Plutarch tells 
the same story, and lays the scene in sight of Caesar 
himself, and therefore close to the camp^; and in a 
marsh or swamp, which, with the hght afforded by the 
account of Valerius Maximus, must be taken to mean 
a lagoon subject to the alternations of the high and 
low tide.^ 

On the mainland the hostile forces met, and 
again the compact onset of the veteran legions pre- 
vailed. Caesar had no cavalry, except thirty horse- 
men which Comius of Arras had just brought over 
from the Continent, and few therefore of the Britons 
could be slain or captured. The only revenge in the 
power of the Eomans was to set fire to the buildings 
which came in their way, and many a merchant's 
house at Limne, and in the vicinity, was burnt to the 

* Valer. Max. iii. 2, 23. The vada described by Val. Max. as 
caused by the flux and reflux of the tide are evidently the vada 
referred to by Caesar (iv. 26). 

2 " Kaiffapoe ahrov rrjv fid^riy kt^opQvTOQy — Plut. CcBS, S. 16. 

^ " Totrov iXw^ri Kai fxetrrov vSaroc . . p^vfiara nXfiarw^ri • . 
Til fiev vri)(6fi£yoQ rd Sc /3aS/fwi'." — Plut. CcB8, 16. 

^ B. G. iv. 35. The camp, therefore, was not in the heart of the 
marsh, where frequent houses would not be found. 



The position of the two parties at the present moment 
was this : — The Britons had once more felt the irresist- 
ible weight of a disciplined army confident in its ge- 
neral, and, after a defeat in the open field, they could 
not hope to carry the camp by assault. Caesar, on the 
other hand, was in a hostile country, with a force 
wholly inadequate to any advance into the interior, and 
the season was so late, and his ships so shattered, that 
unless he returned shortly he might even experience 
some difficulty in effecting a retreat. Thus both sides 
were predisposed to peace, and, according to Caesar, the 
Britons, on the very day of the last conflict, tendered their 
submission.^ From Dion, however, we learn that negoti- 
ations were opened by the intervention of some Morini 
who were Mends of the Britons.^ Caesar would have 
us beheve that he carried it with a high hand, and that 
he required the delivery of twice the nmnber of hos- 
tages which he had previously exacted ; but it is easy 
to see, notwithstanding the veil attempted to be thrown 
over the transaction, that he wanted only a plausible 
pretext for transporting himself and his army back 
again to GauL He admits himself that the hostages 
were merely promised and not dehvered at the time, 
and that two states only ever kept their engagement.^ 
There was no cession of territory, no imposition of 
tribute, and there is no mention of even any booty. 
The conclusion of a peace upon terms like these does 
not suggest a triiunphant campaign,- but rather wears 

> " Eodem die legati ab hostibus missi ad Csesarem de pace vene- 
runt." — JB. (?. iv. 36. 

^ " vifiirovffi yap irpoe tov Kaltrapa rwy "MiWplywv rcvaCj (jilXtoy 
apltriv oi'Tiay,^^ -^Dton, xxxix. 61. 

^ ^^Eo dtue omnino civitates ex Britannia obsides miserunt; 
reliquae neglexenint." — JB. G, it. 38. 


the aspect of a fortunate escape from anticipated disas- 

A few days after this was a favorable wind from 
the north-east^, when Caesar set sail from Britain, a 
little after midnight, on his return to Gaul.^ He might 
have chosen this otherwise unpropitious hour for two 
reasons. In the first place, he would be less likely to 
meet with any molestation from an active foe, in whose 
good faith he placed no great confidence ; and, secondly, 
as Boulogne was a tidal harbour, it would be necessary 
to arrive there at or a little before high water. If the 
state of the tide was thus taken into calculation, we 
may form some conjecture as to the day of depar- 
ture. The passage from Boulogne to Britain had 
occupied the ordinary transports about fifteen hours ; 
and as Caesar had lost twelve ships, which would render 
the others more crowded, the same time, if not more, 
would be required for the return. Weighing anchor, 
therefore, at twelve at night, he would reach Boulogne 
at 3 p. M. next day. If it was high tide at 4 p. M. the 
fleet at 3 p. m. would not only be able to enter the 
port, but also have the stream in their favour. Now, 
high water at Boulogne at 4 p.m. would be about 
19th September, for new moon was on 14th Septem- 
ber, when high tide at Boulogne is at 11.25 ; and this 
agrees very well with the statement of the Commen- 
taries, that the conclusion of the armistice, which led to 
his departure, was a little before the equinox, computed 
at that time to fall on 24th September.^ 

The fleet crossed the Channel in safety, but two 
transports, missing the mouth of the port for which 

' " Ipse idoneam tempestatem nactns." — B. G. iv. 36. 
2 " Paullo post mediam noctem naves solvit." — B. G, iv. 36. 
* " Propinqua die eequinoctii." — B. G, iv. 86. 

p 2 


they were bound^ were carried to a point a little to the 
south-west.^ The soldiers (in number 600) disembarked, 
and commenced their march to the camp, when they 
were beset by the Morini for the sake of plimder. 
They sent off immediately for succour, and meanwhile 
bravely defended themselves for the space of four hours 
and upwards, when they were rescued by the cavalry 
dispatched from the camp to their assistance.^ The 
next day Caesar ordered the seventh and tenth legions, 
under the command of Labienus, to inflict punishment 
on the aggressors; and as the marshes, their usual 
asylimi, were dried up from the excessive heat, ample 
vengeance was taken.* These incidents are unimpor- 
tant in themselves, but not so the inferences to be 

In the first place, how was it that the two vessels 
missed the port of Boulogne at all] The explana- 
tion is a singular instance of the correspondence of 
the most minute circumstances when a theory is cor- 
rect. The fleet were, of course, approaching Bou- 
logne when the tide was rising^ for at low water they 

' " Eosdem ^orfw5 quos reliqusB capere non potuerunt." — B, G. 
iv. 36. It will be observed that here, as elsewhere (v. 8), portus is 
in the plural, from which it may .be inferred that Csesar made use, 
not only of Boidogne, but also of Ambleteuse and Wimereux, in the 
same neighbourhood. Caesar himself, however, must have sailed 
to Boulogne ; for which port also the two vessels in question, as 
Caesar himself sent relief to their crews, must have been bound. 

» " Paullo infra delatas sunt." — B, G. iv. 36. There cannot be 
a doubt that infra means south-west. Thus : " ad infsriorem partem 
insulas quae est proprius solis occdsumy — B, G, iv. 28. So Amble- 
teuse, with reference to Boulogne, is called " portus supenor.^^ (lb.) 

^ " Interim nostri milites impetum hostium sustinuerunt, atque 
amplius horis quatuor fortissimo pugnaverunt." — B, G. iv. 37. 

^ " Propter siccitates paludum." — B, G* iv. 88, 


could not enter it. Now what says the Admiralty 
Directory 1 "On approaching Boulogne at the begin- 
ning of a rising tide^ great attention should be paid to 
the direction in the tables, as the streams (from the 
Channel to the North Sea) hereabout meet, and are 
turned down upon the French coast, so that a ship^ 
which^ at the English side^ would at this time have a 
stream setting straight up the Channel^ here encounters 
one upon her beam^ sweeping her down towards the 
Somme^ and hence, probably, the cause of the many 
disastrous losses which have occurred in this part of 
the Channel"^ Here then, at once, is the solution of 
the difficulty which would otherwise have presented 
itself, viz. that, if it was high water at 4 p.m., the 
stream at 2.30 p.m. would begin to run east, so 
that a vessel at that time would be drifted, not 
lower down towards the Somme, but higher up to- 
wards Calais. But we here learn upon authority, 
that, at the very same time that on the English side 
the current is running east, it sets in just the oppo- 
site direction in the neighbourhood of Boulogne. The 
captains of the two ships in question were evidently not 
aware of this peculiarity, and hence their inability to 
reach the general rendezvous. 

Again, as the legionaries fought their way through 
the Morini^ it foUows, as observed in a former page, 
that the Morini were settled to the south-west of the 
port of Itius, and, consequently, that Portus Itius could 
not be the estuary of the Somme, as the Morini did 
not reach so far probably as the Somme, but certainly 
did not extend to the west beyond it. 

Further, it is not expressly said, but may fairly 

* Potter^s Tide Tables, p, 132. 

7 3 


be inferred from the narrative, that there was also a 
port into which the two vessels ran to the south-west 
of Portus Itius; and, as the legionaries, while on 
their road to the camp, fought for more than four 
hours before assistance arrived, this port must have 
been at some considerable distance. Accordingly, at 
thirteen miles to the south-west of Boulogne, we find 
the port of Etaples at the mouth of La Canche, a situ- 
ation which answers to the circumstances. But should 
it be thought more probable that the two ships made 
land at some nearer point, there are also the fishing 
refiiges of Hardelot and Camiers.^ 

Again, reference is made in the narrative to exten- 
sive marshes, in which the Morini the year before had 
eluded pursuit, but which were now accessible from 
the excessive drought. I have not visited this part, 
and cannot speak of the nature of the coimtry from 
personal observation; but I find it stated, on cre- 
dible authority, that these marshes formerly extended 
the whole way from Neufch&tel near Boulogne to 

In concluding the accoimt of the first invasion, I shall 
add but one or two general remarks, and these so ob- 
vious that they must abeady have occiured to your- 

* " Un peu plus bas de Boulogne se trouvent Hardelot, Camiers, 
Etaples ; il y a du choix, surtout si ce port un peu plus bas ^tait 
tout simplement la place sur laquelle les vaisseaux furent portus et 
^chouerent." — Martette, p. 65. 

2 " Des marais, situ^s paulo infra comme le port de d^barque- 
ment, s'^tendaient autrefois depuis Neufch&tel jusqu'k Etaples et 
Montreuil. Ces marais ^taient situ^s k quatre ou cinq lieues de 
Gesoriacum, et les soldats d^barqu^s pouvaient combattre quatre 
heures avant qu'un des leurs se fut d^tach^ pour aller porter la 
nouvelle a C^sar, et que la cavalerie ait eu le temps d'arriver." — 
MarietUy p. 66. 


selves. It is impossible to suppose that, when Caesar 
sailed from Boulogne with 8,000 legionaries, he had the 
intention of merely landing in Britain and cooping up 
his troops within the intrenchments of his camp on the 
seashore. He had, no doubt, imagined that, with a 
well-trained army of that amount, he could subdue 
Britain with ease, and, in fact, had only to take posses- 
sion of it. Instead of that, he foimd the usual ports 
occupied by infantry and cavalry in martial array, and 
was obhged to seek a place of debarcation eight miles 
off, and was then so resolutely opposed as to effect a 
landing at a great sacrifice of life. Not only did he 
want the courage to march into the interior, but the 
Britons, taking the initiative, nearly cut off the seventli 
legion on one occasion, and compelled Csesar on another 
to give battle with all his forces, without the chance of 
gaining anything more by his victory than a peaceful 
retreat across the Channel Caesar, of course, tells his 
own story in his own favour; and we have not the 
British account to put in the opposite scale. But even 
Caesar's excuses and apologies lead to a disclosure of 
the truth. " He had passed into Britain," he says, " for 
the purpose of collecting information as to the people, 
the country, the ports, and the approaches."^ But how 
was even this object accomplished; for, as he never 
quitted his camp except for a mile or so, for the rescue 
of his army or to check the insolence of the enemy, he 
could scarcely have obtained more intelligence on the 
one side of the water than on the other 1 It must be 
admitted that he gained some experience as to the 
mettle of the inhabitants ; and found, to his cost, that 

^ " Tamen magno sibi usui fore arbitrabatur, si modo insulam 
adisset; genus bominum perspexisset ; loca, portus, aditus cogno- 
visset/' — ^. (?. iv. 20. 

F 4 


they were not lightly to be provoked. TInquestionabl)% 
he would not have been so much at the enemy's mercy 
had his cavalry not disappointed him ; but a squadron 
of 800 horse could not have turned the scale so much 
in his favour as to give him possession of the country. 
Caesar informs us that thirty days' thanksgiving was 
decreed at Eome for his exploits in Britain ; but this 
was from the representation contained in his own de- 
spatches^ and we are expressly told by Dion that Caesar 
made the most of it^ Besides, Britain was so Uttle 
known at Eome, that to have carried the Eoman army 
thither beyond the civilised world was, in itself, re- 
garded as no contemptible feat, not to mention that, 
from the state of parties at Eome, any honour in favour 
of Caesar inmiediately became a poUtical question. 
The other Eoman historians are candid enough as to 
the failure of Caesar's first expedition. livy writes that 
Caesar, in his first campaign, was unfortunate^ ; Dion 
remarks that he got nothing by the campaign but the 
barren honour of having landed in the island* ; and it 
is certain that Caesar acquired none of the usual fruits 
of victory, — no territory, no tribute, no booty. One 
fact speaks very loudly, viz, that when he returned to 
Gaul he left no garrison, not even a single soldier, 
behind him. He had been so roughly handled, that, as 
we should surmise, he had even no intention at this 
time of renewing the attempt. It was only from the 

1 B. G. iv. 38. 

2 " Towr^ yap Kai ai^roc iax^P^i itrefivvveroy — Diorij xxxix. 53. 

3 " In Britanniam primo panim prospere tempestatibus adversis 
trajecit.*' — Ltv. Eptt lib. 105. 

* " Mrj^h €K rfjg BpBTravlag fxrire kavrf fiffre rjf ttoXu TpotrKTrj- 
tTCLfiEvoc, TXrjy tov ktnpaTtvKivai iir aWovq Sdfai." — DioUj xxxix. 53. 
" TiiaKtvfiQ t6t€ ayexdfpritTe,^^ -^ Dwrif xl. 1. 


taunts by which he was assailed in Gaul that he was 
afterwards induced to undertake a second invasion, 
with thrice the number of forces. It is clear that, for 
the rest of the year, though three months remained, he 
gave no orders for any preparations for the renewal of 



In the following year, B.C. 54, being the consulship of 
L. Domitius and Ap. Claudius, Csesar resolved on a 
second invasion of Britain. The excuse was that the 
Britons, with the exception of two states, had not sent 
the hostages which had been promised the year before.^ 
The real motive was to retrieve the discredit of the pre- 
vious failure, and to give incessant employment to his 
army. He was also stimulated to the enterprise by the 
earnest soUcitations of an exiled British prince. During 
the first expedition a fierce war had been raging 
between Cassivelaun, king of the Catyeuchlani ^ and 

» Cees. B. G. iv. 38. Dion, xl. 1. 

' It is generally believed that the capital of Cassivelaun was 
Venilamium, and, if so, his subjects were the Catyeuchlani : " dra 
KaTvevxXayoiy oi ical KaireXdpoi [qu. KamXavoi] iv ttoXcic SaXtyat 
[qu. Sulloniacse of Anton. Itin.] OvpoXavto*'" — PtoL ii. 3, 21. Indeed 
Cassivelaun and Catyeuchlan are the same name, and he was so called 
as being the chief of the clan, as we say the Macgregor, the Chis- 
holm, &c. This will account for there being no coins of Cassivelaun, 
though there are so many of Cunobelin. Most of the Belgian tribes 
in Britain were called after those in Gaid {B, G. v. 12), and the 
Karvtvykavoi as Ptolemy calls them(ii. 3, 21), or the KaTovtWavoi 
as Dion calls them (Ix. 20), were probably derived from the Cata- 
launi, or Catelaimi (Eutrop. ix. 13., and the Notitia), now known as 
the people of Chalons-sur-Mame, a corruption of the original name. 
The true designation of the clan appears to be that given by Dion, 
for an ancient inscription has been foimd in Britain CIVITATE 
CATWELLANORUM T OIS DIO. (Monum. Hist. Brit cxix.) 
They occupied Hertfordshire and Middlesex, for Caesar says ex- 
pressly that "Cassivelauni fines" were boimded on the south by the 
Thames {B, G. v. 11) ; and it is more natural to suppose that Caesar 
means the borders of the Catyeuchlani Proper, than of the Trino- 


Imanuent, king of the Trinobantes^ ; and Caesar, kept 
at bay on the seashore by the men of Kent and Sus- 
sex, had attempted in vain to carry assistance to Ima- 
nuent, his ally. The consequence was that the latter, 
unable by his own strength to withstand the furi- 
ous onset of his powerful antagonist, had been de- 
feated and slain; and liis son Mandubert, seeking 
safety in flight, had taken refuge with Caesar, and 

bantes whom Cassivelaiin had conquered. In the reign of Claudius, 
Caractacus and Togodumnus are called KaroveXXavoc, and their domi- 
nions comprised the Trinobantes eastward, and part of the Bodouni 
or Dobuni (Gloucestershire) westward. " Mipog rlav Bolovviav iv 
iirfipxpy [Caractacus and Togodumnus] KaroveXKavol oircc." — Dion, 
Ix. 20. The best map of Britannia Romana will be foimd in Monum. 
Hist Brit. 

> The Trinobantes were the people of Essex, and Camulodunum, or 
Colchester, was their capital : "Tptvoayrcc f-v olc itoXiq Ka fxovdoXayoy.^^ 
— Ptol. ii. 3, 22. They appear not to have reached westward beyond 
the river Lea, for Ptolemy places London (ascribed, as regards 
Southwark, to the Cantii) in longitude 20, and the North Foreland 
in longitude 22 ; and between these two points Colchester, the ca- 
pital of the Trinobantes, in longitude 21, and Venta (Norwich), the 
capital of the Simeni or Iceni, as well as the opening of the estuary 
of the Thames, in longitude 20J *, and he then speaks of the Trino- 
bantes as to the east of the Simeni, and along the estuary of the 
Thames, having the Isles of Sheppey and Thanet opposite. 

Aoylivov . . . . * . .20 

'lafiritra ec^x^^'^ [Thames estuary] . . . 20^ 

lifitvoi Tap* dig ToXig Ovevra [Norwich] . . . 20i 

Kai iLyaToXiKtarepoi irapa Tqv ^lafirftra eiff-^vtriv, T/Ji- 

yoavreg iy oTc iroXtc Ka fiov^oXavoy [Colchester] . .21 

Kayrioy uKpov [North Foreland] . . . .22 

Kara Be tovq Tpiyoayrac yfjaoi liaty aide 

ToXiairtc [Sheppey] . . . . .23 

Kwovj'voc ^<Toc [Thanet] . . . .24 

It will be observed that Ptolemy, by mistake, places the islands of 
Sheppey and Thanet a little to the east, instead of the west, of the 
North Foreland. 


now implored his intervention to restore him to the 
throne. The astute Eoman at once discerned the use 
to be made of Mandubert's presence, and retained him 
in his camp with large promises of redress. The British 
refugee would accompany the expedition, and knowing 
the country would be an invaluable guide. Besides, to 
succour the unfortimate would be a plausible pretext 
for interference in British pohtics ; and it might rea- 
sonably be* expected that, when the victorious gene- 
ral appeared in the neighbourhood, the Trinobantes, 
smarting imder the yoke of Cassivelaim, would break 
out into open rebellion in favour of their deUverer. 

In the spring of the year therefore, Caesar, the better 
to insure success against a most determined foe, gave 
directions for extensive preparations, particularly for 
the construction of a fleet upon a new principle. The 
ships were all to be flat-bottomed, and to be propelled 
by oars as well as sails.^ The advantage anticipated 
from these deviations from the ordinary model were, 
that the vessels could he in shallow water and ap- 
proach closer to shore, and be easily hauled up, and 
the rowage would make them independent of wind 
and tide, which had before so much baffled him. The 
equipment of this armament would occupy a consider- 
able time, especially as some of the materials were 
to be fetched from Spain^, and the interval was to 
be employed in the discharge of a prefect's duty in 
making the circuit of the different countries within his 
jurisdiction, for the purpose of composing nascent 

i " Paullo hmniliores . . paullo latiores . . actuapss'^ — B, G,y.1, 
*' Ev p,i(r(p tQv t€ trtperfptav ruiv raj^etwv, Kairuiv avToOev rCtv t^opra^utv^ 
iiriaQ wc fiaKitrra Kai Kovf^L^waiy koX wpog to KVfia avriyiaaiv, lirl te 
^fipov tarafieyai firi XvficUywvrau'^ -'^Dion, xl. 1. 

* "Ea quae sunt usui ad armandas naves ex Hispania apportari 
jubet." — 5. G. V. 1. 


disorders, and for the administration of justice. He 
first visited Cisalpine Gaul, and held the assizes there 
in the principal towns.^ These may have been con- 
cluded about the end of February. He then proceeded 
to Dlyricum, where he compelled the submission of the 
Procrustae (who, taking advantage of his absence, had 
invaded the province), and then held the assizes for Dly- 
ricum.^ The latter may have lasted till the end of April. 
Caesar usually returned fi:om Hiyricum to Gaul at 
the beginning of summer or about May^, and we know 
that he did so this year, as he tells us that on his way 
back he passed through Cisalpine Gaul* ; and we learn 
from one of CaBsar's letters that Quintus Cicero, the 
brother of the orator, was with Caesar at Laude 
(twenty-four miles from Placentia and sixteen from 
Milan) on 7th May.^ It was of great importance 
to Cassar at this time to keep Mark Tully his friend, 
and with this view he offered Quintus Cicero the 
command of one of his legions.^ Both Caesar and 
Quintus wrote to Cicero from Laude, and it is amus- 
ing to see how the ambitious and poUtic general 
humours the innocent vanity of the simple-minded 
orator, Caesar even went so far as to commend Cice- 
ro's verses, and complimentary language could not be 
carried further.'^ Both Caesar and Quintus were at this 

* " Conventibus GalliaB citerioris peractus." — B, G, y. 1. 

* " Conventibus peractis." — B. G.y. 2. 

3 " Quas legationes Caesar, quod in Italiam Ulyricaimque properabat, 
inita proxima oestate ad se reverti jubet." — B, G, iii. 35. 

* "In citeriorem Galliam revertitur." — B, G, v. 2. 

^ " A. d. IV. non. Jun., quo die Romam veni, accepi tuas litteras 
datas Placentiae ; deinde alteras postridie, datas Laude nonis, cum 
CsBsaris litteris. . . . Litterae vero ejus una datae cum tuis." — Cic, 
Ep. ad Q. Fr, ii. 15. 

6 Cffis. B. G. y. 24. 

^ " Scribis poema ab eo nostrum probari." — Cic. ad Q. Fr, ii. 15. 


time full of the intended expedition against Britain ; 
and Qnintus, at the instance of Cassar, suggests that 
Tully should employ his pen in describing the approach- 
ing triumphs. " Give me only Britain," says Tully, in 
an ecstasy, " and I will paint it in your colours, but 
with my brush. But what am I saying % What leisure 
can I have, especially if, as Caesar wishes, I remain 
at Eome ? — but we shall see"^ As we hear nothing of 
any panegyric by Cicero upon Caesar's British campaign, 
we may conclude that the result did not exactly answer 
to the flattering pictiure which hope had foreshadowed. 
Caesar reached the northern coast of Gaul in the 
latter part of May, and on arriving found, to his infinite 
satisfaction, that his orders for preparations had been 
pimctually obeyed. About 600 transports and 28 war 
galleys had been constructed in the different ports along 
the coast, and all of them either ready or capable of 
being launched within a few days.^ Caesar directed the 
vessels to rendezvous at Portus Itius, i. e. the port of 
Boulogne^, and in the meantime proceeded himself with 
the light troops and 800 cavalry against the Treviri, 
or people of Treves (the town on the Moselle at the 
jimction of the Saar), who had lately shown some signs 
of disaffection. Caesar was not long in queUing the 
distm'bances in that quarter, and about midsummer, or 
24th Jime*, returned to Boulogne, where he foimd his 

^ "Modo mihi date Britanniam ; quam pingam coloribus tuis, pe- 
nicillo meo. Sed quid ago ? quod mihi tempus, Romse pnesertim, 
ut ipse me rogat, manenti, vacuum ostenditur ? sed videro." — Cic. 
Ep, ad Q. Fr. ii. 15. 

*,"Neque midtum abesse ab eo, quin paucis diebus deduci 
possent." — B, G.y, 2. 

3 B. G. V. 2. 

4 "Ne eestatem in Treviris consumere cogeretur." — B, G. v. 4. 


army and fleet assembled, viz. 8 legions of foot, 4000 
horse, 560 transports, and 28 war gaUeys ; 40 ships, 
which had been built on the Seine, had, from the pre- 
valence of the north-western gales, been prevented fix)m 
reaching the port.^ The continuance of the adverse 
wind from the north-west detained -Caesar at Boulogne 
for the next twenty-five days, or until 18th July.' At 
length on that day, when was the fiill moon, the wind 
shifted to the south-west^, the quarter most favourable 
for a passage to Britain* ; and Caesar gave the word for 
embarcation.^ At fiill moon it is high tide at Boulogne 
at 11.20, and we may suppose that the ships then, or 
a httle before, began to drop down the harbour, and 
anchor outside, to be ready for sailing. An unexpected 

^ The motley group now collected on the bonks of the Liane has 
been graphically described by an anonymous contributor to a popular 
periodical : " The legions of Caesar, and all their various auxiliaries 
and attendants ; the Gaulish and German cavalry, the Numidian light 
horsemen, the Spanish infentry, the Cretan archers, and the 
slingers from the Balearic Isles ; besides the crowds of sutlers and 
followers, the calones and mercatores, and all the various costumes 
and callings connected with the naval portion of the expedition." — 
H, L. L. : Gent Mag. vol. xxvi. (1846) p. 251. See Cses. B. G. ii. 7. 

*' " Itaque dies circiter xxv, in eo loco commoratus, quod Corns 
ventus navigationcm impediebat, qui magnam partem omnis tcm- 
poiis in his locis flare consuevit." — B. G» v. 7. That corns or the 
north-west, prevents all egress from Boulogne, we have the testi- 
mony of Mariette. " Le vent Corns (N.O.) emp6cherait, et a toujours 
empech^, de sortir du port de Gesoriacum [Boulogne]." — Mariette, 
p. 68. 

• " Leni Africo provectus." — ^. G. v. 8. 

^ " Le vent Africus encore aujourd'hui est le plus favorable k la 
travers^e de Boulogne a Douvres." — Mariette, p. 34. 

* Orosius says that Ccesar sailed, " primo vere " {Orosius, cited Mo- 
nam. Hist, Brit, p. Ixxix.); and Dion, " kirttl^ TrXolV/za lyivcro" {Dion, 
xl. 1) : but the precise time as stated in the text cannot be ques- 


occurrence occasioned a little delay. Dumnorix, the 
disaffected prince of the -3Mui, brother of Divitiacus, 
the friend of Cicero^, and whom Caesar had insisted on 
taking with him to Britain, in order to prevent his 
mischievous meddling at home, availed himself of the 
confusion of embarcation to ride fairly off with his 
iEduan troopers. No sooner was Cassar apprised of it 
than he stopped the embarcation of his own cavalry, 
and despatched them in pursuit, with directions to 
bring back Dumnorix dead or alive. Dumnorix was 
overtaken, and on his resistance was slain. The ca- 
valry of CaBsar returned to the camp, and at sunset, 
which would be at 8.6 p. M., Caesar set sail for Britain, 
with a moderate breeze from the south-west.^ 

The expedition consisted of five legions (which, allow- 
ing 4,200 men to each, would give a total of 21,000 
foot), and a body of 2000 cavalry; and a fleet of 28 
triremes and 560 transports, besides nmnerous tenders, 
which, added to the rest, made the formidable figure of 
800 saiL The transports, however, were small ; for if 
560 vessels carried only 21,000 troops, each of them 
must have been freighted with about 37 only. One of 
the reasons which Caesar assigns for this substitution 
of small row-boats for the heavier class of vessels, which 
had before carried 150 each, appears not to be so weU 
foimded as most of Caesar's conclusions. He had learnt, 
he says, by experience, that, from the frequent changes 
of the tide in the channel, there was not the same vio- 
lence of the waves.^ It will be seen in the sequel that 

1 B. G. i. 19. Cic. de Divin. i. 41. 

* " Solis occasu naves solvit, leni Africo provectus." — B, G. v. 8. 

• " Quod propter crebras commutationes sestuum minus magnos 
ibi fluctus fieri cognoverat." — B, G. v. 1 


the Straits of Dover were, at all events, an overmatch 
for the small craft thus studiously prepared. 

The light breeze from the south-west, which had wafted 
the fleet from Boulogne, died away as they stretched out 
to sea, and by midnight there was a dead calm. When the 
morning broke, which, as the sun rose at 4 A. M., would 
be about half-past three, the high cliffs between Folke- 
stone and Dover were visible on their left.^ The tide had 
been running eastward for the last six hours, and had 
carried them so far out of their course as to drift them 
beyond, or at least up to, the South Foreland. Caesar 
had intended to effect his debarcation, as before, on 
Eomney marsh, off Limne, and he was therefore quite 
out of the line. The tide, however, now again turned 
westward, and by dint of rowing, with the current in 
their favour, the whole fleet, transports as weU as 
triremes, gained by 12 o'clock at noon, the familiar 
level shore just opposite Limne.^ 

So much controversy has been raised as to the place 
of debarcation, that I must call attention, in passing, to 
some material points in this accoimt, which, if I mistake 
not, wiU prove incontestably that Caesar must have 
sailed from Boulogne to Limne, and could not have 

^ " Leni Africo provectus, media circiter nocte vento intermisso, 
cursum non tenuit, et longius delatus sestu, ortji luce, sub sinistrfi. 
Britanniam relictam conspexit." — B. G, v. 8. 

2 " Taim rursus sestus commutationem secutus remis contendit ut 
earn partem insulas caperet qua optimum esse egressimi superiore 
ajstate cognoverat. Accessum est ad Britanniam omnibus navibus 
meridiano fere tempore." — B. G. v. 8. It has been suggested by an 
ingenious savant, that Csesar did not seek the identical place where 
he had landed before, but another ]X)int which he had ascertained by 
inquiry the previous year to be more convenient. This, however, 
is not the natural meaning, and Dion did not so understand it. 
" Karj7pc T£ oZy eyOa Koi irponpoy,^^ — Dion, xl. 1. 



landed at Deal ; still less could have made the passage 
from the estuary of the Somme to Pevensey. I think 
no one can doubt that, when Caesar discovered Britain 
on his left hand, he must have drifted through the 
Straits of Dover, or at least have been off the South 
Foreland, with the head of his vessel toward Deal. 
Now, this exactly agrees with the hypothesis that Caesar 
set out from Boulogne, and made for the coast off 
Limne, but is not to be reconciled with any other 
theory. The captain of one of the steamers plying 
between Folkestone and Boulogne informed me, when 
I inquired some years ago what was the rate at which 
a vessel drifted in the channel, that the maximum drift 
for a single tide, i. e. for the six hours that the stream 
runs in the same direction, is eighteen miles^ and the 
minimum nine miles.^ The fleet of Caesar was heavily 
freighted, and therefore, sinking deep into the water, 
would receive the fiill shock of the tide. Caesar, too, 
was steering across the Strait, so that the broadside of 

• Mr. Barton, of Dover, than whom I could not have a more intel- 
ligent correspondent, consulted for me an experienced pilot and also 
the captain of a vessel, and communicated to me the following results : 
— " The maximum velocity of the tide (that is, a spring tide) is about 
3^ miles an hour ; the minimum (that is when it is a neap tide) is 
about 1| miles an hour. A loaded vessel would drift about 12 or 14 
miles in the six hours, when the tide is at its greatest velocity, but 
when at the minimum not more than 6 or 7. This woidd also be in- 
fluenced by the wind and the depth the vessel was in the water — 
the greater the draught, the greater the velocity." The harbour 
master of Folkestone, in a letter for which I have to thank him, dated 
December 16th, 1858, tells me "that an average vessel, broadside 
on, would drift two miles per hour, or perhaps more ; but that of 
course presumes a perfect calm, as the action of the wind would 
materially affect the drift." The greatest velocity of the tide 
between Dover and Dungeness is stated in the Tidal Tables for 
1859, p. 135, to be 3.3 knots per hour. 


the vessel would be presented to the ciurent. It is 
also to be remarked that the expedition was on the 
very day of the full moon, when, of course, it was a 
spring tide. The drift therefore, under these circum- 
stances, would be the maximum, or near it. Now, if 
we draw a straight line from Boulogne to limne, and 
then a line of sixteen miles, or thereabouts, at right 
angles to it up the Channel, it will take us to a point 
off the South Foreland^ ; so that, with the head of the 
vessel to the north, the cliffs between Folkestone and 
Dover would be on the left hand. But how could this 
have happened had Caesar sailed from the Somme to 
Pevensey — for, allowing even the maximum drift to the 
fleet through the night, it is quite impossible that Cassar 
could have swerved so much from a line between the 
Somme and Pevensey as to have passed the Strait of 
Dover, or even to have entered it? 

How, again, could he have been saihng to Deal, when, 
so soon as the deviation from the right course was dis- 
covered, Caesar took the turn of the tide back^ and fol- 
lowed the current^, in order to gain his former landing- 
place ? If he was making for Limne, this is just what 
he would do, i e. having been forced by the tide to the 
east during the night, to a point off the South Foreland, 
he would in the morning, when the tide turned west, 
have it in his favour for a passage to Limne. But if 
he were sailing for Deal, so far from retracing Tiis 
course, he ought still to have advanced in the same 
direction, and, at all events, could not be said to follow 
the tide when he was steering athwart it. Besides, as 
it must necessarily have been almost low water when 

* A sea line from Limne to the South Foreland is by the 
Ordnance maps 16 miles. 

2 " Rursus cestus commutationem secutus,^^ — B, G, v. 8. 

G 2 


the tide turned, had he held on for Deal he would 
infallibly have struck on the Goodwin Sands. 

I have mentioned that Caesar sailed at the full moon 
on 18th July, but I have not stated upon what grounds 
this conclusion rests, and as it is not directly asserted in 
the Commentaries, you may fairly ask for the data on 
which it is based. In the first place, we are iriformed 
that when Caesar, on his return fi:om Ulyricum, was 
amongst the Treviri, he was anxious not to consume 
the summer there^, fi:om which it results that it was 
about midsummer, or 24th June, and as he waited 
twenty-five days at Boulogne before he set sail, this 
would bring us to the latter half of July. But we have 
more direct testimony to the same efiect from the letters 
of Cicero. I have already remarked that Q. Cicero, 
the orator's brother, was with Caesar in this expedition, 
and as, during the whole time, a continual correspond- 
ence was maintained between Quintus and Mark, the 
-latter would be well apprised of every movement of 
the expedition. Accordingly, M. Cicero, in a letter to 
Atticus, dated 28^A July^ writes thus: — "From the 
letters of my brother Quintus, I conjecture that he is, 
by this time^ in Britain." ^ We are, therefore, prepared 
to find that the fleet, according to Cicero's expectation, 
sailed in the latter half of July. M. Cicero, in another 
letter to Quintus, acknowledges the receipt of actual 
intelligence of his brother's arrival in Britain^ ; and, as 
the transmission of a letter from Britain to Eome occu- 
pied about a month, the debarcation must have been 

* " Ne aestatem in Treviris consumere cogeretur." — B, G, v. 4. 

* " Ex Quinti fratris literis suspicor jam emn esse in Britannia." 
— Ep. Att iv. 15, 8. 

3 " O juciindas mihi tuas de Britannia literas ! Timebam oceanoun, 
timebam littus insulae," &c. — Cic, Ep. ad Q. Fr, ii. 16. 


about a month before the despatch of Cicero's letter to 
Quintus. I should fatigue you too much by going into 
the minutiae by wliich the date of the letter can be 
ascertained ; but, suffice it to say that there are certain 
allusions in it to the trials of Drusus and Scaurus, which 
prove it to have been written in the latter half of 
August. The landing in Britain, therefore, must have 
occurred in the latter half of July. So far we ascertain 
the month only, but we can make a nearer approach 
from another circumstance incidentally mentioned. 
We have seen that on the morning after the embarca- 
tion at Boulogne, and soon after dayhght (which in the 
month of July would be about 3.30 A.M.), Cajsar took the 
turn of the tide westward. Now the tide begins to nm 
westward in the Channel at 3.30 A. M. on the day after 
ihefuU moon, and at the same hour on the day after 
the new moon : the day of embarcation, therefore, was 
one of two days — viz. either the 3d July, when it was 
new moon ; or 18th July, when it was full moon. The 
latter was certainly the day in question, for on the very 
night after the debarcation in Britain, Cajsar marched 
his army twelve miles into the interior^, and he could 
not have done this when there was no moon, that is, 
in total darkness, but by the aid of the full moon no 
difficulty would be experienced. We may therefore 
infer, with the highest probability, that Cajsar sailed 
from Boulogne either on the very 18th July, b. c. 54, or, 
at all events, within a day or two either before or 
after it. 

On reaching the shore off Limne, Cajsar expected, as 
in the previous year, to see the beach lined with the 
enemy in hostile attitude. Instead of that, not a hving 

« B. G. V. 9. 
o 3 

86 riteBAECATION. 

soul was to be seen. It was marvellous, but so it was. 
It appears that the Britons had intended to dispute the 
landing, and had swarmed along the coast for the pur- 
pose ; but that, on descrying in the horizon 800 ships, 
they had despaired of success, and retired up the 
country. If, the year before, they had been imable to 
encounter eighty ships, how could they now withstand 
800? The debarcation would be so extended that 
the Britons could not possibly cope with it at every 
point.^ Cotta, indeed, who served under Caesar in this 
campaign, aflSrms that the fleet consisted of even 1000 
ships.^ Besides it is certain that all the army of the 
Britons had not yet been collected, and the forces now 
in the field were chiefly, if not exclusively, the men 
of Kent and Sussex. 

The debarcation was thus effected without obstruc- 
tion, and the vessels, after having discharged their 
freights, were anchored in Dungeness Bay. The next 
thing was to fortify a camp. On the last occasion, it 
had been pitched on the shore, that the commimication 
with the sea might not be cut off, and in order to afford 
protection to the triremes which had been hauled on the 
beach ; but now Caesar was at the head of an army 
which defied opposition, and, accordingly, he tells us 
that he selected for his camp an appropriate place.^ I 
should imagine, therefore, that the ground chosen was 
not, as before, on the marsh, but on the high platform 
overlooking it at Limne, perhaps on the site of limne 
castle. Some may be of opinion that it was the camp 
at Shomcliffe, but this was at some distance from the 
place of landing, and was separated from it by an arm 

' " 'Ytto tov iroXKayoat hfia ahrovg KaTaer)(£iv" — Dion, xl. 1. 

2 Athen. vi. 105. 

3 "Loco castris idoneo capto." — B. G. v. 9. 


of the sea. The actual camp, too, was afterwards con- 
nected with the ships, which were drawn up within its 
defences ; but, at ShomcUflfe, there are no traces of any 
ramparts from the camp to the sea, and, indeed, the 
shore below the camp is not soft and open, as Caesar 
describes, but is rocky and precipitous, so as to preclude 
the possibility of there drawing up the vessels. 

Caesar now eKdted from some captives who fell into 
his hands by what road the enemy had retired. Can- 
terbury was then, as at present, the capital of Kent, 
and the British troops had retreated in that direction. 
Caesar, with his wonted activity, determined on follow- 
ing them at once, before their army was swelled by any 
accession of numbers. He, therefore, gave his troops a 
few hours' respite, and then, leaving Quintus Atrius, 
with ten cohorts and 300 horse, in command of the 
camp, commenced, at twelve o'clock at night, his 
march into the interior in quest of the enemy. 

It was full moon^, and between limne the port, 
and Canterbury the capital, there was a good road ; 
and Caesar had Mandubert, the exiled prince of the 
Trinobantes, for his guide ; and a night march, there- 
fore, was easily effected. When they had accomplished 
twelve miles, and, therefore (as the sun rose about four), 
at break of day on the 20th July, the Britons were in 
sight. If we measure twelve miles from Limne along 
the road to Canterbury, it will bring us to Wye, on the 
southern bank of the river Stour. The Britons were 
posted in ChaUock Wood, an eminence about a mile off 
on the other, or north, side of the river. As many of 
you may not be acquainted with the locahty, I will 

* The moon rose between 7 and 8 P. M. and would set between 
4 and 5 in the morning. 

Q 4 


attempt a brief sketch of it. As you pass by the rail- 
way from Eeigate to Dover, a line of chalk hills rims 
parallel on the left hand. At Ashford they are inter- 
sected by the valley of the Stour. The termination of 
the chalk range on the north of the Stour is the highest 
point in that part, and is, and no doubt always was, 
covered by a dense wood. I walked up to it from 
Wye, and never beheld such a sylvan rampart. No 
position could be more suitable to the tactics of the 
Britons. By felUng trees and laying them lengthwise 
they had formed a stockade, and, as the wood was tra- 
versed in all directions by alleys or lanes, the cavalry 
and charioteers could issue from their covert at any 
moment. Besides, the eminence presented a most ex- 
tensive view of the adjacent country, on the north as 
far as the Thames, and on the south as far as Limne, so 
that the Britons could watch the Eoman line of march 
all the way from their camp. On the southern side of 
the Stour, the chalk hills again rise up to their former 
height, and the intervening valley, a httle Thermopylse, 
was the only practicable road for the train of an army 
towards Canterbury. The Britons, by thus seizing on 
ChaUock Wood, obliged the enemy either to attack 
them at a disadvantage, or, by passing through the 
gorge, to endanger the communication with their camp 

Caesar tells us that the fastness of the Britons was 
strong by nature and stronger by art, and suggests 
that the defences had been prepared long before 
against some domestic foe.^ If so, we must imagine 
(and wa can scarcely do so without a smUe) that war 

' " Locum nacti egregie et naturfi, et opere munitum, quern do- 
mestici belli, ut videbatur, causH, jam ante prseparaverant." — 
B, O. V. 9. 


had been declared by the four kings of Kent, of wliom 
we shall speak presently, against as many kings of the 
Eegili, or people of Sussex. Challock Wood, then, was 
the great mihtary post of the Britons ; but, should you 
look there for the remains of walls and ditches, you will 
probably search in vain, for the Commentaries speak not 
of fortifications composed of bricks and stone, but only 
of a continuous sylvan barricade.^ Dion Cassius goes 
more into detail, and clearly impUes that there was no 
wall, or vallum, in the Eoman fashion, but that trees 
had been cut and piled one upon another, so as in a 
certain sense only to claim the character of a rampart.^ 
As Cajsar with his legions approached the Stour, the 
Britons, who fi:om the heights had been observing his 
advance, sent down their cavalry and charioteers to 
dispute the passage of the river, not that they could 
hope to prevent his crossing, but witli the view of in- 
flicting as much loss as possible. Now a river as a 
mihtary defence has a double aspect. Either it is full, 
when the depth of water is a serious obstacle to the 
free movement of the troops, more particularly when 
encumbered with arms ; or the stream is low, when the 
channel of the river forms a fosse, or ditch, which 
gives the enemy on the opposite bank the advantage of 
higher ground. In the month of July the beds of 
rivers have usually but httle water, but this might not 
have been so here ; for, when I was at Wye even later 
in the year, viz. in August, the Stour for some distance 
had the appearance of a considerable river, and was full 
to the brim, which was owing simply to the circum- 

^ " Crebris arboribus succisis omnes introitus erant prseclusi." — 
J5. G, V. 9. 

2 " Ta Tt yap wipi^ ^v\a £ico\//av, xdi erepa ctt' ahroig tnoixridov cttc- 
ffvyiyritraVf dtrrt ev x^pafccJ/iarc Tpoirov rii^ elvau" — Dion^ xl. 2. 


stance that at Wye is a mill-dam by which the water 
is pemied back. I should rather imagine, however, 
that, at the time of which we are speaking, the Stour 
was such as I saw it below the mill-dam, viz. a broad 
and nearly empty channel ; for it is stated in the Com- 
mentaries that, when the legions attempted the passage, 
the Britons encountered them from the higher ground, 
which I take to mean from the elevation of the bank.^ 
At length the river was forced, though not with impu- 
nity', and the Britons withdrew into their defences. 
Caesar now advanced upon the wood ; and desultory 
assaults on the one side, and saUies on the other, were 
frequent along the line. Eventually, Caesar's seventh 
legion, covering themselves with the testudo formed by 
holding the shield over the head, so as to present an im- 
penetrable roof, threw up a mound against the barri- 
cade, and so scaled it^, and thus retrieved the disgrace 
which the Britons had inflicted upon them the preceding 
year in the com field at Limne. Caesar, however, did 
not follow up his victory, partly from fear of an am- 
bush, and partly from the lateness of the hour. The 
next day, 21st July, the army was ordered to advance 
in pursuit, in three divisions. However, they had not 
proceeded far, and the rear-guard was still in sight, 
when suddenly they were recalled, from disastrous in- 
telligence brought in hot haste from, the camp. 

It seems that a violent hurricane from the east had 
swept the sea the preceding night, and the eight hundred 

^ "Uli equitatu atque essedisad flmnen progressi, ex loco superi- 
ore nostros prohibere etprselium committere coeperunt." — B. O. v. 9. 
So, " ut ex locis superioribus in littus telum adjici posset." — B. G. 
V. 9. 

* '* Xv\yovQ avTawiiCTeiyavJ'^ — Dion, xl. 2. 

' " Testudine fiujt^ et aggere ad munitiones adjecto." — B. G. v. 9. 


vessels lying at anchor in Dungeness Bay had broken 
away from their moorings, and been dashed against each 
other, and most of them had been thrown upon the shore. 
In short, very serious damage had been sustained, and 
mounted messengers had been immediately sent off with 
the intelligence. Caesar returned at once, and found 
the sad reality nothing short of the description. Forty 
ships were utterly lost ; the rest were miserably shat- 
tered, but capable of repair. The pioneers and car- 
penters of the army were now set to work, and other 
artisans were sent for from the Continent ; and Labienus, 
who had been left in Gaul, was ordered to employ the 
legions which were with him in laying down and com- 
pleting as many new vessels as possible. 

To prevent the recurrence of such another disaster, 
Caesar determined, though it was an undertaking of 
Herculean labour, to haul up the whole of his fleet 
on dry land, and secure them against any assault from 
the enemy, by placing them within the defences of the 
camp. The legionaries, 21,000 in number, were en- 
gaged upon this arduous task for ten days and ten 
nights, i. e. until the 31st July, without intermission.^ 

If Caesar's camp was pitched, as is likely, on the 
table-land overlooking the marsh near Limne, in short, 
on the site where Limne castle now stands, we should 
look for the naval defences immediately contiguous; 
and if we walk down the slope from the castle to the 
marsh, we come upon a very remarkable ruin called 
Stuttfall, a name said to be composed of the two Saxon 
words stoute wall^ or strong fort. Others derive it from 

^ " Ipse, etsi res erat multa operas ac laboris, tamen commodissi- 
mum esse statuit omnes naves subduci, et cum castris imfi. munitione 
conjungi. In his rebus circiter dies x consumit, ne noctumis qui- 
dem temporibus ad laborem militum intermissis."^^. G, v. 11. 


two Saxon words signifying a " fallen place ;" and others 
from stced'weall^ sea shore. That Stuttfall was erected 
by Caesar I will not take upon myself to affirm, but in 
many respects it answers most singularly to the charac- 
ter of the naval castrum now constructed. Stuttfall is 
certainly a Eoman work, as- is evident from the layers 
of Eoman tiles. The walls are of amazing thickness, 
and enclose, it is said, no less a space than ten or twelve^ 
acres of ground. Caesar might, therefore, well describe 
it as castra egregie munita^ a camp wonderfully strong.'^ 
I have examined it very closely, and the first observa- 
tion that occurs to one is. How could a mihtary fortress 
have been pitched on the side of the hill, and not on 
the summit 1 There must certainly have been some 
other than a mere mihtary object in view. The castle 
above shows that the builders knew where a fortress 
should be placed. The wonder is increased when we 
remark the broken ramparts on the north, and east, 
and west sides of the square, and look in vain on the 
south, at the foot of the descent, for any trace of a for- 
tification. Indeed, in this direction, the area is per- 
fectly open. The explanation of this is as follows: — 
In ancient times the sea, as is proved incontestably by 
the fragments of ships and anchors which have been 
dug up, flowed up to the very base of the hill, and 
formed there the port of limne. Stuttfall, therefore, 
was built for the protection of the shipping ; so that, 
naturally enough, the site was not like the castle on the 
smnmit, but on the slope toward the foot. The fourth 
or southern side of the square, being washed by the 
waves, needed no artificial defence. Caesar then might 

* 10 acres (Lambarde's Feramb. 184); 12 acres {Stukeleijs 
Itin. 123). 
2 B. G. V. 11. 


have brought his vessels up the creek of Limne, and 
have drawn them on shore beneath his camp, and then 
have surrounded them by this strong massive rampart. 
It is also observable that the wall is built in many- 
places as if in a hurry, from materials suppHed by other 
more ancient buildings. 

It will be objected, perhaps, that a waU of such pro- 
digious strength, roimd a space of ten or twelve acres, 
could not possibly have been completed in ten days ; 
but we must remember that 21,000 legionaries and 
2000 cavalry were employed upon it day and night, 
and not only so, but workmen also were brought over 
from Gaul. Besides, it is not said that it was completed 
in ten days, but only that it was in such a state of for- 
wardness by that time that Caesar could with safety 
leave ten cohorts and 300 horse there, and return him- 
self in search of the enemy. The work may have been 
brought to perfection in a much longer period by the 
troops which remained in garrison. 

If it be thought a difficulty that a numerous fleet 
should have been dragged up an ascent like that at 
StuttfaU, let it be remembered that the year before, 
their fleet, when resting on the sea beach, had been 
swamped by the spring tide; and Caesar, anxious to 
prevent any similar accident, had since constructed 
his ships of so httle bulk (carrying each a freight 
of 37 men only), that they could all be drawn on 
land with the greatest ease. Stuttfall, from its gentle 
elevation above the sea level, would therefore be exactly 
the place where we might expect that the fleet would 
be secured. 

If it be said that even ten or twelve acres of ground, 
though a large space, would not suffice for 560 ships, to 
say nothing of the 240 tenders, we reply that the rest 


might have been drawn up on the marsh immediately 
below, for mounds of earth hke remains of fortifications 
are still to be seen there ; and, as on the marsh advantage 
would be taken of wet ditches, the same strength of 
walls would not be required as on the slope, where the 
ramparts themselves were the only protection. 

It must be confessed that the coins found at Stuttfall 
are those only of the Eoman emperors from Antoninus 
Pius to Valens^ ; but this does not prove that StuttfaU 
was not a Eoman station in the time of Caesar, for his 
sojourn in Britain was very brief, about two months 
only, and for a hundred years after him the Eomans 
never set foot upon the island. Even if the identical 
walls which remain were not reared by Caesar, it is still 
open to conjecture that his naval camp was on this 
spot, and that the Eomans of an after-age adopted his 
plan, and built the present gigantic rampart in the 
place of a more hasty circumvallation thrown up by 
the great captain. 

It was while Caesar and his army were detained by 
the seaside that Q. Cicero took the opportunity of 
announcing his arrival in Britain to M. Tully. The 
feelings which the letter excited in the breast of the 
accomplished orator are as fuU of nature as they are 
replete with vanity. " Now," he says, in his answer to 
Quintus, " I come last to that which should, perhaps, 
have stood first ! that deKghtfiil letter of yours from 
Britain ! I had been so fearful of the ocean, so fearful 
of the coasts of the island ! I do not speak slightingly of 
all the rest, but the rest carries more of hope than of 
fear, and I am rather upon the tiptoe of expectation 
than under serious alarm. But I see that you have a 

* Roach Smith's Antiq. of Richbor and Limne. 


brave subject for composition. What sites ! what 
descriptions of places and things ! what manners ! what 
nations! what battles! and, above all, what a com- 
mander-in-chief! ! I will gladly assist you, as you asked 
me, in what you wish. I will forward you the verses you 
desire, yXaSx' els 'AQi^va^. But, I say, you seem to have 
forgotten me I For, tell, me, my brother, what thought 
Ccesar of my verses f for he wrote me word before, that 
he had read the first book, and that, taking the com- 
mencement as a sample, he had never read anything 
finer, not even of the Greeks. The rest he had reserved 
till he was more at leisure (pa^oixorepa) : for I use his 
very word. But tell me candidly whether either the 
subject or the style fails to please. No need to fear, for 
I shall not think a whit the worse of myself. Out with 
it, and write like a true brother as you are." ^ 

Cassar now (about August) put himself again at the 
head of his legions, to recover the position which such 
unwelcome tidings from the fleet had constrained him 
to abandon. During the interval which had elapsed 
the British cause had prospered, and now assimaed a 
very difierent aspect. We have seen that Cassivelaim, 
king of the Catyeuchlani (Hertfordshire and Middlesex), 
had trimnphed in the war against Lnanuent, king of 
the Trinobantes (Essex), had slain Imanuent, driven 
out his son Mandubert, and possessed himself of the 

» Cic. Ep. ad Q. Fr. ii. 16. 

^ B. G. V. 20. The name of Mandubert appears to be derived 
from " Man " in its modem sense, for it is translated by the word 
Andro-gorius (Oros, cited Mon, Hist Brit p. Ixxix.), or Andro- 
gius (Bede, cited ib, 110), evidently derived from avrip, a man. The 
same word also entered into the name of his ^ther I-man-uent. One 
is almost tempted to interpret Imanuentius, the man of Venta or 
Norwich ; and Mandubratius, the man of Dover (i. e. Dover Court) 
or Harwich. 


kingdom of the vanquished. Cassivelaun's territory 
was now bounded by the Thames to the south, and by 
the ocean to the east. According to Caesar, it was di- 
vided from the maritime states by the Thames, at 
the distance of about eighty miles from the sea.^ 
This is interpreted by some to mean that Cassive- 
laun's borders began at the distance of eighty miles 
from the mouth of the Thames, but surely the more 
natural signification is simply that the Thames, which 
was the boundary line to the south, was eighty miles 
from the Kentish coast; and, if we measure from 
linme, where Caesar landed, to the point where he is 
said to have forded the river, the distance would be 
about eighty Eoman nules. 

This aggrandisement of Cassivelaun was, of course, 
regarded by the states to the south of the Thames with 
no httle jealousy ; and it was only on hearing of the 
enormous preparations which the Eomans were making 
in Gaul, that, feeling themselves utterly incapable of 
meeting the storm alone, they had dropped under the 
pressure of the moment all minor considerations, and 
required the aid of Cassivelaun, and constituted him 
the generalissimo of their united forces. The rapidity 
of Caesar's movements had taken the troops of the south- 
ems by surprise, and Caesar, but for the necessity of 
returning to the fleet, might, by following up the blow 
struck at Challock Wood, have prevented the junction 
of the reinforcements from the north. But, during the 
ten days which were spent at the seaside, Cassivelaun 
with his auxiliaries had arrived at the British camp, 

^ " Cujus fines a maiitimis civitatibus flmnen dividit, quod appel- 
latur Tamesis, a mari circiter millia passuum lxxx." — B. G. v. 
11. Eighty miles Roman would be seventy-three miles and a 
fi-action English. 


and the assembled troops were now at least double the 
former niunber. The charioteers alone amounted to 
upwards of 4,000.^ 

As Cassar advanced from Limne, the British cavalry 
and charioteers were sent forward to harass the enemy 
during their march.^ Prom the naval camp to Wye 
was one continual skirmish between the moimted troops 
of the two armies. Many fell on both sides, without 
any material advantage. The Eomans could always 
retire upon their legions ; and the Britons could always 
take refuge in their woods. The flight of the latter, 
however, was not uncommonly a feint to draw away 
the Eoman cavalry to a distance from the legionaries, 
when the Britons would suddenly wheel about, and 
seldom faUed to give proofs of their superiority. 

Notwithstanding these desperate encoimters, Csesar's 
legions continued steadily to press forward in the direc- 
tion of Wye. At the close of the day they halted, and 
proceeded to mark out the camp for the night. Two 
cohorts kept guard while the camp was being intrenched, 
when the Britons all at once issued from their woods, and 
drove the two cohorts before them. Cassar immediately 
ordered up two other cohorts to their support, but such 
was the impetuosity of the British charge that the two 
auxihary cohorts were broken, and the Britons cut their 
way through, and then brought themselves off in safety, 
in defiance of every obstacle. Q. Laberius Durus, a 
military tribune, was one of their victims.^ The matter 
was now growing serious, and Caesar, to prevent further 
loss, was obliged to bring up the best part of his army, 
when the Britons were repulsed. On the southern 

1 B. G. V. 19. 

2 " *Ec avTo TO vEtipiov c^wv iipfiritravy — Dion, xl. 2. 

3 B. G. V. 15. 



bank of the Stour, a little to the east of Wye, and op- 
posite Chilham, is a timiulus called " JuUiber's Grave," 
and tradition says that it takes its name from Juhus's 
tribime Laberius, who fell on this day, and was here 
buried. The locality agrees well, and, had the name 
of the tribime been Julius Laberius, the similarity of 
sound in JuUiber, as an abbreviation of Juhus Laberius, 
would have been at least a curious coincidence. Un- 
fortunately the pra^nomen was Quintus, so that the 
antiquary is obhged to borrow the name of Juhus from 
Caesar himself. Of course I attach no importance to 
the popular behef, though there is nothing unreasonable 
or absurd on the face of it. 

The next day (which would be about 2nd Au- 
gust) the Britons showed themselves at intervals on 
the hills, but neither Britons nor Eomans seemed dis- 
posed to renew the conflict. At length, about noon^, 
Cassar was under the necessity of dispatching a foraging 
expedition ; and he showed his respect for the foe by 
the force which he employed. He had brought from 
Gaul five legions and 2,000 horse. One legion and 
300 horse had been left in charge of the naval camp^, 
and he had with him four legions and 1,700 horse. 
He now retained a single legion within the intrench- 
ments, and ordered C. Trebonius, one of his ablest 
officers, with three legions, more than 12,000 men, and 
the whole of the cavalry, to search the coimtry for 
plimder. While the foragers were engaged upon their 
nefarious occupation, the Britons suddenly started fi:om 
their hiding places and commenced a desperate attack, 
even grasping at the standards. C. Trebonius answered 
well to the high trust reposed in him, for his troops were 

* " Meridie."—- B. G. v. 17. ^ b. G. v. 9, 11. 


instantly under arms and in order, and not only sus- 
tained the onset, but drove the enemy back ; and the 
cavalry so well followed up the blow that the Britons 
could not recover themselves, and a decisive victory 
was gained. This fatal encoimter may have taken place 
at Chilham, which lies a little to the east of Wye, but 
on the opposite side of the river, and is said to 
be a corruption of Julham, or Julius's (i e. Csesar's) 
Town.^ I should add that Caesar's veracity as to 
his success has been questioned by the Eomans them- 
selves ; for Dion states explicitly that the battle was a 
drawn one.^ 

Cassivelaun was convinced that his troops, most of 
them probably raw recruits, however obstinate their 
valour, could not resist the serried legions of Eome in a 
pitched battle. From this time, therefore, his tactics 
were changed. The army was broken up into different 
bodies, so as to distract the attention of the enemy and 
cut off stragglers and harass his movements, but never 
to offer a general engagement.^ 

It was about this period that Q. Cicero again wrote 
to his brother, and it would seem that the tone of it 
was not very encouraging, for M. Tully, in answer, 
writes merely, " Concerning affairs in Britain, I collect 

* Man^ places have been similarly derived, as Julimn, Julii 
Forum, and the Julian Alps; but Chilham from Julham seems 
somewhat apocryphal. If Chilham be derived from Julius, pro- 
bably Challock Wood is also, for Chilham and Challock evidently 
contain the same element. 

2 " Kard x*^P^^ a/x^drcpoi efjteivavy — Dion, xl. 3. As to Caesar's 
veracity generally, see Suet, Jul, 56. 

3 " Ex hac fiiga protinus, quae imdique convenerant auxilia dis- 
cesserunt ; neque post id tempus imquam summis nobiscum copiis 
hostes contenderunt." — B, G, v. 17. 

B 2 


from your letter that there is no ground for fear and 
none for congratulation."^ 

Cassivelaim, in execution of his weU-concerted plan, 
now withdrew, at the head of his own proper army, in 
the direction of his hereditary dominions on the north 
of the Thames. The active Eoman commander would 
not be far behind him, and we may imagine that on 
each day the post which Cassivelaun quitted in the 
morning was occupied by his pursuer in the evening. 
If, as is likely, there was at that time no bridge over 
the Thames in the neighbourhood of London, it would 
be necessary to seek the first ford higher up the stream.^ 
All is conjecture, but it may be suggested that Cassive- 
laun retired, followed by his antagonist, from the banks 
of the Stour along the southern side of the chalk hills 
running from Wye to Dorking, and then down the left 
bank of the Mole to the nearest poiat of the Thames, 
which would be at Walton.^ The cx)mmon opinion is 
that the armies crossed the Thames at Coway Stakes, a 
little above Walton and below Weybridge, at Shepper- 
ton, where is the village of Halliford, so named from 
the ford. 

Cassivelaim had no sooner placed the river be- 

* " De Britannicis rebus cognovi ex tuis litteris nihil esse, nee 
quod metuamus, nee quod gaudeamus." — Ep, ad Q. JFV. iii. 1. 

* About a hundred years afterwards there was a bridge, Apparently 
not fer from London. DuMj Ix. 20. 

* Others think that he marched by the most frequented road in 
the direction of London. It appears from Anton, Itin, that there were 
afterwards two roads from Limne to London, one direct, thus : — 


Durobrivis (Rochester) . . . . xxvii 

Durovemo (Canterbury) . . • . xxv 

Ad Portum Lemanis (Limne) . . . xvi 



tween himself and his pursuer than he fenced the 
northern bank with chevaibx-de-frise of sharp stakes, 
some of them in the bed of the river^, for the pur- 
pose of checking, if not of preventing, the advance of 
the enemy. At the distance of a mile and a half to 
the south of Coway Stakes is an eminence overlook- 
ing the ford, called St. George's Hill, and here Caesar 
may have pitched his camp, for there are still the re- 
mains of a Eoman castrum on the crown, double- 
trenched, and containing more than thirteen acres ^, 
and called traditionally Caesar's camp. The very name, 
also, of Walton is said to be derived from the vallum^ 
or wall, here constructed. The two hostile armies had 
not long conjfronted one another on the opposite banks 
when Caesar gave orders, notwithstanding the obstacles, 
to force the ford. The horse took the lead, closely fol- 
lowed by the foot, and both horse and foot dashed into 
the stream and advanced upon the enemy with such im- 
petuosity, though the legions were up to their necks in 
water^, that the Britons, who were lightly armed, could 
not sustain the weight of the charge, and fled in confu- 

the other circuitous — 


Noviomago (Croydon) . 
Vagniacis (Maidstone) 
Durobrivis (Rochester) 
Durolevo (Milton or Faversham) 
Durovemo (Canterbury) 
Ad Portum Lemanis (Limne) 








* " Ripa autem erat acutis sudibus prsefixis munita ; ejusdemque 
generis sub aqufi. defixse flumine tegebantur." — B, G, v. 18. 
2 " 13 a. 3r.'* — Manning's Surrey , vol. ii. 
8 " Cum capite solo ex aqua extarent." — B, G. v. 18. 


moiL Such, at least, is the narrative of Caesar, though 
it does not very well accord with the resolute firont 
shown by the Britons on other occasions. Polyaenus 
would attribute Caesar's success to the presence of an 
elephant, an animal wholly unknown to the natives, 
and presentmg, from its stupendous size, a supematiu^ 
appearance.^ It is scarcely credible, however, that 
C^sar should have possessed an elephant in Gaul, and 
still less so, if he did, that he should not have men- 
tioned it. 

The passage of the Thames, so httle disputed at the 
time between the two hosts, has since been most warmly 
contested amongst historians and antiquarians. Some 
will have it that Caesar crossed the river at West- 
minster, where, in a dry summer, the river is fordable ^; 
others, as Maitland, at Chelsea ^- others, as Lemon, at 

^ '' Kalffap iv 'Bptrraviq, vorafwv fieyay tirt\tlpti irepaiov<r6ai, 
BaacXevc BperravMV KaaoXavvoQ avelpye fierd xoXXmv iinriiav Kal 
iipfiarktv. KalocLpi fiiyurroQ iXi^c "ircro, f iIJov 'Bpcnavois ov^ lupa^ 
fuvov^ TovTov at^iipdic tpoXlaty oy^yptaaaQ koI irvpyov kir ahrov 
lUyav v^iiaaQf xai ro^oraq Kal (Tt^evZovriTas iTriffrfiaag, eKiXevvev iwl 
TO ^ivfia ifi€aly€iv 'Bperravol ^e elewXdyriaav aSparoy rai vttc/d^vcc 
Brfpioy IdoyriQ, Bperrayol fiey 5^ avrolc twwotc ical &pfiaaiy i<p€vyoy, 
'PkffiaToi Zi &KiyZvyiaQ roy worafxoy Zii^rftray eyl ^to^ rove xoXc/i/ovc 
i^otiiffayrte" — Folt/cen. StrcUag. vi. It is said that Claudius also, 
in A. D. 43, took elephants with him to Britain. Dion, Ix. 21. 

* " Even now, in similar seasons (two dry summers consecutively), 
the river is fordable at Westminster, as it was on the 19th of this 
very month, July, 1846." — IT. i. L.: Gent. Mag. vol. xxvi. (1846) 
p. 256. 

* " Sounding the river at several neap tides, from Wandsworth 
to London Bridge, I discovered a ford (on Sept. 18, 1732) about 
90 feet west of the S.W. angle of Chelsea College garden, whose 
channel, in a right line from N.E. to S.W., was no more than 4 feet 
7 inches deep, where the day before (it blowing hard from the west) 
my waterman informed me that the water there was above a foot 


the Earl of Dysart's grounds at Petersham, opposite 
Twickenham ^; others, as Horsley, at Kingston^; others, 
as Bishop Kennett, at WaUingford^; and others, as 
Daines Barrington*, are certain that Cassar never passed 
the Thames at all, but only the Medway, called by 
Caesar the Thames by mistake. It may not, perhaps, 
be uninteresting if I trace this learned controversy from 
the commencement. 

The tradition that Caesar forded the Thames at Coway 
Stakes is as old as Bede, for he says, " The footsteps 
thereof are seen to this day, and it appears upon the 
view that each of them (i. e. the stakes) is as thick as a 
man's thigh, and that, being wrapped in lead^ they are 
fastened in the bed of the river immovably."^ No 
place is here mentioned by name, but, as it has never 
been suggested that stakes were to be foimd elsewhere 
in the Thames, no doubt Coway Stakes is the spot 
alluded to. 

The learned Camden is very positive upon the sub- 
ject, not to say a Uttle egotistical : " It is impossible (he 
writes in 1607) I should be mistaken in the places, be- 
cause here the river is scarce six feet deep^ and the 
place at this day from those stakes is called Coway 
Stakes. To which we may add that Caesar makes the 
bounds of Cassivelaim, where he fixes his passage, to 

lower ; and it is probable that at such tides, before the course of the 
river was obstructed either by banks or bridge, it must have been 
considerably shallower." — MaitlancTs LondoUy p. 8. 

* Manning's Surrey, vol. ii. p. 760. 

* Horsley's Britain. * ArchsBolog. ii. 145. * lb. ii. 

* " Quarum vestigia sudium ibidem usque hodie visimtur, et 
videtur inspectantibus quod singulae earum, ad modum humani 
femoris grossae et circumftisaB plumbo, immobiliter erant in pro- 
fundum fluminia infix®." — Bed. Ecc, Hist. i. 2. 

H 4 


be about eighty miles distant from the sea which 
washes the east part of Kent, where he landed. Now 
this ford we speak of is at the same distance from the 
sea, and / am the first that I know of who has men- 
tioned and settled it in its proper place ''^ 

Samuel Gale, in 1734, read a paper before the 
Society of Antiquaries^, in which he subscribed to 
Camden's opinion, and gives us some description of 
the stakes at that time — that the stakes, from their 
antiquity, resembled ehony^ and would admit a polish, 
and were not the least rotted ; that they were young 
oak trees^^ and no mark of any tool, and the thickness 
of a man's thigh ; " but whether," he says, " they were 
covered with lead at the ends fixed in the bottom of 
the river is a particular I could not learn." And he 
adds in a note, " Since writing of this, one of these 
stakes entire was actually weighed up between two 
loaded barges at the time of a great flood by the late 
Eev. — Clark, jim., of Long Ditton." 

However, in 1769, the Hon. Daines Barrington ap- 
peared in opposition before the same Society ^ and 
asserted that the Coway Stakes were nothing more 
than the remains of a fishing-weir, for that a fisherman 
of Shepperton, who had been employed by some gen- 
tlemen to take up the stakes, had conducted him 
(Daines Barrington), at his desire, to the place, when 
he found, from the explanation of the said fisherman, 

* Camd. Brit. vol. i. p. 183. 

2 Archaeolog. i. p. 184. 

3 " I have been informed that the stakes at Coway were very 
thick pieces of yew tree^ — W, Stukeley : Gent, Mag, vol. Ixvii. 
(1797) p. 198. " The piles," according to another account, " were 
oi chestnut wood:' — Gent. Mag, vol. lix. (1787) p. 222. 

* Archaeolog. ii. p. 141. 



that the stakes were not along the northern bank of 
the river, but athwart the stream, thus : — 




Whereas, to prevent the passage of an army, the 
stakes should have been planted longitudinally, from 
c to D. He also draws an argument from Camden's 
own statement, that the river there was scarce six feet 
deep, for, says he, " to permit infantry to cross by 
fording with their heads above water, the depth should 
not be more than four and a half feet." 

On the other hand, a writer under the name of Cho, 
in the " Gentleman's Magazine " (vol. lix. a.d. 1787, p. 
222), would cut the matter short by positive testimony 
that the passage was at Coway Stakes, for, " upon the 
rebuilding of Walton Bridge," he says, " two years ago, 
they foimd several very valuable articles, among the 
rest a perfect spear with the name of Julius Ccesar in- 
dented legibly in Eoman characters!" The maker's 
name is not mentioned, but Birmingham is a very 
ancient town, and the Birmingham trade-mark might, 
no doubt, upon minute inspection, have been dis- 
covered ! ! 

In the second volume of Manning's " Surrey," published 



in 1809^, and edited by Mr. Bray, the cause of Coway 
Stakes finds another zealous defender. As to the posi- 
tion of Bamngton that the stakes were a fishing- weir, 
it is there asked by the writer (and, I must say, not 
without reason), why a weir of such strength should 
be foimd only in this part of the river, and nothing 
sunilar elsewhere ? Then, as to the objection lu^ed by 
Barrington, that the stakes stretched across the river, 
and so would not prevent a passage, a Mr. Crawter, 
who knew well the neighbourhood of Walton and the 
river, is called as a witness, and deposes that the ford 
was in a curve, and that the stakes cut the curve in 
two places, so that no one, as the stakes were fixed, 
could use the ford, as may be seen by the following 
sketch: — 

It is added, in confirmation of this being the ford 
in question, that spurs and firagments of spears, &c., 
had been dug up at difierent times in a field called 
Warclose^, in the parish of Shepperton ; but, before we 

* Page 759. 

* D. Barrington would probably suggest that " war-close " is a 
corruption of " weir-close." 


admit the argument from the spurs, it must be proved, 
which may be a matter of difficulty, that the Romans 
wore spurs I 

We have in this history the best account of the 
stakes themselves ; and the nature of them may lead us 
farther on the road to truth. It is said that "one 
Simmons, a fisherman, who had Kved there, and known 
the river all his life, told the editor (Mr. Bray) in 1807, 
that at the place called Coway Stakes he had weighed 
up several stakes of the size of his thigh, about six feet 
long, shod with iron, the wood very black, and so hard 
as to turn an axe. Their boats sometimes ran against 
them. The late Earl of Sandwich used to come to 
Shepperton to fish, and gave him half a guinea a-piece 
for some of them. There were none in any other part 
of the river that he ever heard of. One now remained 
in the river, which they were not able to weigh. It 
was visible when the water was clear. His net had 
been caught and torn by it. His tradition was that 
they formed part of a bridge built by Julius Ccesar, and 
he described them to have stood in two rows, as if 
going across the river, about nine feet asunder as the 
water runs, and about four feet asunder as crossing the 

1 beUeve that this poor fisherman of Shepperton has 
shown more good sense than aU the antiquaries, and 
that he has hit upon the right solution of the stakes, 
viz. that they were the piles of an ancient bridge. How 
could stakes in two rows nine feet asunder one way, viz. 
in the course of the stream, and four feet another, viz. 
across the stream, be intended as a barricade against 
an enemy, when a foot soldier, not to say a trooper, 
could pass through them in every direction] How, 
again, is it credible that th^ stakes, which must have 


been prepared in a hurry, should have been shod with 
iron in a systematic way, as in times of peace, for the 
foundations of a bridge ? It does not follow, however, 
that, because there had been a bridge, Ca3sar did not 
here ford the river ; on the contrary, the circumstance 
rather favours the supposition that he did. Assuming 
a bridge to have existed there in the time of Caesar, 
Cassivelaun would naturally retreat over it with his 
army, and then break it down and saw off the tops of 
the piles. The stakes which were driven by Cassive- 
laun himself must have been along the side of the north- 
ern hank. Cassar nowhere hints that they were across 
the river. Who can say that Caesar did not him- 
self construct the bridge? for he was proud of his 
mechanical skill, as is evident from his detailed account 
of the bridge thrown by him over the Ehine the prece- 
ding year.^ This, also, would account for the strong 
camp on St. George's Hill, viz. to protect the bridge, 
for the purpose of covering his retreat, should he find 
the enemy too strong for his daily-diminishing force. 
As for Daines Barrington's argimient that because the 
water here was nearly six feet, it was, therefore, too 
deep to allow the Koman infantry to ford, the an- 
swer is that the depth of the stream depends upon 
the season ; and we know from the Commentaries that, 
in fact, the year B. c. 54 was an extraordinarily dry one^, 
so that the river in the month of August, when Caesar 
was there, may easily be conceived to have been a foot 
and a half lower than it usually is at the same period 
under ordinary circumstances.^ 

» B. G. iv. 17. 

« " Propter siccitates." — 5. G, v. 24. 

2 Stow mentions a curious fact : " The river," he says, " has 
several times been blown almost dry, so that one on shore could not 
see any water in it from London Bridge to Westminster, particularly 


It is not to be forgotten that Coway Stakes agrees 
with Caesar's description in several curious particulars. 
In the first place, as the Thames is a tidal river up 
to Teddington (Tide-end-town), and as Caesar, who 
is a most accurate observer of natural phenomena, 
maikes no allusion to high or low water^ when he 
was almost necessarily led to it in speaking of the 
depth of the stream and the stakes driven into its 
bed, we may reasonably infer that the passage of 
the river was at least above the point to which the 
ebb and flow of the tide extends. Again, at the point 
of passage the river was fordable, uno omnino loco^ in 
only one place ; and, further, it was at the distance of 
eighty Eoman miles from Limne, the place of debar- 
cation, — both which circumstances concur at Coway 
Stakes. We may also add that, while the river has in 
many places shifted its channel, we may be sure that 
there has been a shallow here for more than eleven 
centuries at least, as the stakes are referred to by the 
Venerable Bede. 

We may close the discussion with an extract from 
Brayley's "History of Surrey," who gives the latest 
account of the ford. "Between Walton Bridge," he 
says, " and Halliford, in Shepperton parish, the river 
flows in a semicircular course of great extent, and in- 
cludes a large tract of low meadows within the bend. 
It was here that Coway Ford crossed the stream in a 

on Sept. 5, 1692, and again on Sept. 14, 1716 ; of the last I was an 
eyewitness. Thousands of people passed over it on foot." — Stow" 8 
London^ p. 16. 

^ The phenomenon of a tidal river would be particularly striking 
to an Italian, and accordingly Pomponius Mela remarks : " Flimiina 
altiemis motibus modo in pelagus modo retro fluentia." — Mela^ 
iii. 6. 


circuitous direction downward, and, within memoiy, it 
has been traced by persons wading through the current 
when the waters were low. Within the last thirty or 
forty years, however, the bed, or channel, of the river 
has been much deepened in this part, under the super- 
intendence of the City authorities, in order to improve 
the navigation, in consequence of which all remains of 
the ford have been destroyed, and every trace of Coway 
Stakes obUterated"^ 

Should any one happen to be at Walton or Wey- 
bridge, and desire to see the exact spot where these 
famous stakes formerly stood, he will find it at the dis- 
tance of a furlong to the west of the northern end of 
Walton Bridge.* 

CfiBsar was now on the northern bank of the Thames, 
and, as the British army had been dispersed, with the 
exception of 4000 charioteers, Cassar, with Mandubert, 
the exiled king of the Trinobantes, who was stiU in his 
camp, marched in the direction of the Trinobantes. It 
was hoped that, on the Eoman approach, they would at 
once throw ofi" their forced allegiance to Cassivelaun, 
and welcome back Mandubert as their king, and 
Csesar as his ally. Cassivelaun meanwhile, at the 
head of his 4000 charioteers, watched fi-om day to day 
the Boman line of march, and, when he was least 
expected, saUied forth fi-om the woods and fell upon their 
rear or intercepted their stragglers. Cassivelaun also 
showed his generalship by the adoption of the course 
which was to have been practised had Napoleon the 
Great ever thrown himself upon the British shore. By 
whatever route Cassar moved the coimtry was depopu- 

' Brayley's Hist, of Surr. vol. ii. p. 344. 

* Lyson's Environs of London, article " Shepperton." 


lated; stores were carried off, and the cattle driven 
into the woods.^ The Eoman cavahy were therefore 
obliged in foraging to range to a great distance, 
but no sooner did they part from the legions than the 
charioteers, who were superior in number, started from 
their hiding-places, and seldom failed to cut some of them 
off. The upshot was, that, if the cavalry went out to 
forage, they returned in diminished numbers, and if 
they remained with the legions the army wanted sup- 
phes. The latter alternative was thought the less 
evil, and Caesar issued a peremptory order that the 
cavalry should on no pretence quit the protection of 
the legions.^ Caesar is reluctant to confess it, but it is 
evident from this that his cavalry were beaten by the 
British charioteers. Indeed, the very name of essedum 
or war-car now became a bugbear to the Eoman troops ; 
and Cicero, in writing about this time to Trebatius, 
a young jurisconsult, who, having failed at the bar, 
had been recommended by the orator to Caesar's 
notice (but without much effect), playfully alludes 
to it by saying: "I hear that in Britain is neither 
silver nor gold, and if so, let me advise you to cap- 
ture one of the esseda^ and return as fast as you 
can."^ And agaii^: "You, whose profession is to 
cater for others, see that in Britain you be not 
caught yourself by the essedariV^ These letters 
assumed that Trebatius was in Britain, whither he had 

1 " Pecora atque homines ex agris in sylvas compellebat." — JB. G, 
V. 19. 

* " ReKnquebatur tit neque longius ab agmine legionum discedi 
Caesar pateretur," &c. — B, G, v. 19. 

3 " Id si ita est, essedum aliquod suadeo capias, et ad nos qnam 
primum recurras." — Cic, Ep, Div. vii. 7. 

^ " Tu qui caeteris cavere didicisti, in Britannia ne ab Essedariis 
decipiaris caveto." ^ Ep. Div, vii. 6. 


intended going ; but, in fact, on nearing the ocean, he 
had lost heart and remained in Gaul ; and Cicero, when 
he heard of it, again banters him good-humouredly 
about the essedarii. " Had you gone to Britain," he 
says, " you would have been the best lawyer in aU the 
island ! But (to have my joke, as you invite me) you 
seem in the camp to be much less forward than in 
the forum. You, who were so fond of swimming, 
had you no stomach for swimming on the ocean ? You 
who were so cunning of fence, could you not face the 
essedarii ? " ^ Caesar himself also about this time wrote 
to Cicero, but could not boast of any decisive advantage, 
observing merely in general terms that matters in Britain 
went on favourably enough. The letter was dated tlie 
1st of September, B. c. 54.^ 

The wise pohcy of Cassivelaim was now beginning to 
bear its finits, and Caesar was already reduced to great 
straits in his commissariat, when the Trinobantes, now 
that Caesar with his legions was in the vicinity, broke 
out, as had been anticipated, in open rebellion against Cas- 
sivelaim, and sent an embassy to Caesar with an offer of 
submission, if he would place Mandubert on the throne 
and guarantee them security against the arms of their op- 
pressor. Caesar snatched at the opportunity of rescuing 
his army from their present distress, and stipulated only 
that hostages should be given to secure good faith, and, 
what was of primary importance, that they should im- 

^ Cic. Ep. Div. vii. 10. So : " Sin fiestivorum timer te debilitat 
aliquod excogita, ut fecisti de Britannia." — vii. 14. "Quod in 
Britannia non nimis (jfiXodiufpoy te prabuisti plane non repre- 
hendo." — vii. 16. "In Britanniam te profectum non esse gaudeo, 
quod et labore caruisti, et ego te de rebus illis non audiam." 
—vii. 17. 

2 Cic. Ep. ad Quint. Fr. iii. 1. 


mediately fiimish him with a supply of corn.^ Man- 
dubert returned with the Trinobantian envoys, and the 
hostages and suppUes were despatched to the camp with 
all haste. 

The Eoman general turned this incident to the very 
best account. The Trinobantes were now his friends, 
and their houses and crops were spared, and the 
soldiery were strictly prohibited from offering the least 
violence within the dominions of Mandubert.^ As a con- 
trast to this, all the adjacent parts, where the population 
was still hostUe, were a smoking desert. First, Cassive- 
laun, in the execution of his well-laid plan, devastated 
the country in the line of the enemy's march, and 
then what little was left by Cassivelaun was sacked 
or destroyed by the legions of Caesar. The comparison 
was soon drawn, that the Trinobantes, who had ac^ 
cepted terms, were living under the king of their 
choice safe and immolested, while the clans that still 
adhered to Cassivelaun saw their houses burnt, their 
fields pillaged, and their cattle driven off.* The 
murmurs increased until eventually the Cenimagni*, 

' " His Cassar imperat obsides xl frumentumque exercitui.'* — 
B. G. V. 20. 

a " Trinobaatibus defensis atque ab omni militum injuria prohi- 
bitis." — B, G, V. 21. Ca>sar, therefore, was in th« country of the 

' The devastation of Britain must have been appalling, for Caesar 
is represented as saying : " T/c 5* o\)k ^v opQy o^vpairo r^v 'IraXiap 
ofxoita^ rp Bpcrraviigi wopdovfiivrivJ*^ — Dion, xli. 30. 

* Or Cenimani, the same as the Iceni (Norfolk and Suffolk). 
They are called by Ptolemy the 2t/i£voe, ahd are placed by him next to 
the Trinobantes on the north-west. FtoL ii. 3, 21. Probably also 
the same as Vevovyla fioTpa, placed in Pausanias next the Brigantes. 
Pans. viii. 43. 


SegontiadS Ancalites^, Bibrod^, and Cassi*, the clans 
round about the Catyeuchlani, sent envoys to Caesar 
and tendered their submission. The states which thus 
revolted from Cassivelaun had probably been not long 
before brought under his rule or subjugated by one of 
his ancestors, and were now, like the Trinobantes, en- 
deavouring to throw off the galling yoke. 

As Cassivelaim with his 4000 charioteers still kept 
the field, Caesar resolved on striking a blow, which at 
all events must shake the prestige still attaching to the 
name of the British patriot. The Cassi, who had turned 
traitors and were the nearest neighbours of Cassivelaun, 
offered to conduct the enemy to the capital of the 

^ Not known ; but on one of the coins of Cunobelin, successor to 
Cassivelaun as king of the Catyeuchlani, is the half word sego., no 
doubt indicating the Segontiaci, subjects of Cunobelin. (See JItfo/mm. 
HisU Brit) Caernarvon bore the name of Segontium, but this 
seems too distant. 

2 Not known ; but perhaps Oxfordshire, as the Dobuni were the 
subjects of the Catyeuchlani {Dion, Ix. 20); and the name of 
Ancalites has been thought to be still traceable in the town of Henley 
on Thames. 

* Not known; but perhaps Buckinghamshire. In the map of 
Richard of Cirencester (a. d. 1340) the Bihroci are placed in Berk- 
shire ; but they appear to have been subjects of Cassivelaun, and he 
had no territory to the south of the Thames. 

^ The hundred of Cassio, in Hertfordshire. Some think that 
Cassivelaunus is Belinus, or king, of the Cassi, as Cunobelinus is 
conjectured to be Belinus, or king, of the Iceni ; but if the Cassi 
were the immediate and proper subjects of Cassivelaunus, it is hardly 
credible that they should have revolted from him, and afterwards 
have urged the capture of Verulamium, their own capital. In the 
Monument. Ancyran. are the following words : " Ad me (Augustus) 
Bupplices confugerunt . . . Reges Britannorum Damno Bel- 
launusque." (See Mon. Hist. Brit cvi.) It is singular that as Bel- 
launus enters into the composition of Cassivelaunus and Cunobelinus, 
so Damno may be traced in the names of Cogidmnnus and Togo- 
dumnus, kings in the time of Claudius. 


Catyeuchlani, Vertdamium, or St. Albans ; and, as the 
place was at no great distance, Caesar led his legions 
thither, hoping that the loss of the chief city might 
bring his antagonist to reason. The town is described 
by Caesar as fortified by a rampart and a ditch, and as 
deriving additional strength from woods and marshes.^ 
The woods have long since been cleared, but the river 
Ver (from which the name of Verulamiimi) still runs 
to the north of the old site, and formerly stagnated 
in marshes.^ The inclosure within the rampart was 
very different from one of the continental cities, 
which usually consisted of narrow streets and many- 
storied houses. In the capital of Cassivelaun, on the 
contrary, was a freedom of space, and there were trees 
and pastures, or as we should call them parks.^ 

The place was indefensible against a regular and well- 
disciplined army Uke that of Caesar, and Cassivelaun 
dared not risk his fortunes upon the forlorn hope of 
withstanding an assault or sustaining a siege. The 
only possibihty of averting the blow was by creating 
a diversion to the south of the Thames, and he there- 
fore sent orders to the four princes of Kent — Cin- 
getorix, Camihus, Taximagulus, and Segonax — who 
still, remained faithftil to the British cause, to collect 
with dispatch the Kentish forces and make a dash at 
the Eoman camp. It was hoped that if the attempt 
did not succeed it might still distract the invader's at- 
tention. Quintus Atrius, who had been left in com- 

' " Silvia paludibusque munitmn . . . silvas impeditas vallo 
atque fossS. munierunt . . . locum reperit egregi^ natur^ atque 
opere mimitum." — B. G. v. 21. 

2 See Clutterbuck's History of Hertfordshire. 

' " Oppidum autem Britanni vocant, quum silvas impeditas vallo 
atque fossS. munierunt, quo incursionis vitandae causa convenire 
consuerunt." — B. G. v. 21. 

I 2 


mand of the camp, proved himself equal to the emer- 
gency. Following the example set him by Caesar 
himself in the former campaign, he did not await the 
enemy's attack, but making a sudden sally threw the 
Britons into confusion, and even captured Lugotorix, an 
officer of high rank. This damped the courage of the 
aUies, and any further attempt was abandoned as hope- 

We may here mention by the way, how improbable 
and untenable is the hypothesis that the camp of Caesar 
was at Pevensey. There is not the least reason to sup- 
pose that the boimdaries of Kent were ever different 
from the present, and to the west of the Cantii were the 
Eegni, or people of Sussex and Surrey.^ The injunction 
laid by Cassivelaun upon the kings of Kent to assault 
the camp of Caesar was evidently because the locahty 
of it was in Kent. Had it been at Pevensey, the order 
would have been sent to the Eegni, or at least to the 
Eegni and Cantii conjointly, but not to the Cantii ex- 
clusively. But on the assumption that Caesar landed at 
Eomney Marsh, and entrenched his camp at limne, 
the circumstance is just what would be expected. 

Caesar, meanwhile, undiverted by the hostilities in 
Kent, closed around the doomed capital of Cassivelaun, 
and, dividing his army into two bodies, delivered 
the assault at two different points. Cassivelaun him- 

1 B.G.v. 22. 

* The capital of the Hegni was Regnum, or Chichester; and, 
about a century after this time, Cogidunus, a feudatory of the 
Romans, was king of the Regni. Tac. Agric. 14. Some years 
ago, a most interesting tablet was discovered at Chichester, bearing 
the name of Cogidubnus (no doubt the same as Cogidunus), and in- 
dicating that under his auspices a temple, dedicated to Minerva and 
Neptune, had been erected in the reign of Claudius at the expense 
of the ironmasters of Sussex. See Horsleifs Britain^ and Monum, 
Hist Brit. 


self was not present, and probably the garrison was 
not numerous. On the other hand, the legionaries 
were now engaged on an enterprise which was famiUar 
to them, and advanced to the assault with their wonted 
alacrity. The Britons could not long bear the brunt of 
the disciplined valour of the Eomans, and were driven 
from the city with no great loss of life, but leaving as a 
spoil to the enemy the numerous flocks and herds which 
had been here collected from the adjacent country.^ 

The fortunes of Cassivelaun were now at their lowest 
ebb. With occasional gUmpses of success, he had been 
beaten in every general engagement. He had seen his 

* I have adopted the common notion that Verulamiimi was Cas- 
sivelaun's town ; but there are objections to it, for it was probably 
the capital of the Cassi^ and, if so, it is very unlikely that they 
should have stimulated Caesar to march against it (B. O. y. 21) ; 
and, besides, it does not veiy well answer to the description given by 
Caesar, viz. a place defended by woods and marshes, though both 
woods and marshes may at that time have existed. 

On the other hand, there are many plausible arguments in fevour 
of London. The latter was unquestionably a British settlement, as 
the name implies, and about 100 years after this was one of the 
first, if not the first, city in Britain, TacAnn, xiv. 33. The situation 
also exactly agrees, for Caesar says the place was " sylvis paludibusque 
mimitum" {B. G, v. 21); which Orosius expounds as follows: 
" oppidum inter duaa paludes situm, obtentu insuper sylvarum 
munitum" {Oro, vi. 9): and just such is London as painted by 
the old chroniclers. " An immense forest originally extended to 
the river side, and, even as late as the reign of Henry II., covered 
the northern neighbourhood of the city. It was defended naturally 
by fosses ; one formed by the creek which ran along Fleet Ditch 
(west), and the other afterwards known by that of Walbrook (east). 
The south side was guarded by the Thames ; the north they might 
think sufficiently guarded by the forest." — Encyc. Londin, art* 

If London was the place attacked, we can understand why the Cassi 
should have prompted it ; for their chief city, Verulam, was the old 
capital of the Catyeuchlani, and they were naturally jealous of the 
jising importance of the great commercial mart.. 

: 3 


capital taken and sacked; many of the states which 
owed him allegiance had revolted. On the other hand, 
Caesar also felt himself in a critical situation. True, 
he was master of the ground on which he stood, but so 
long as Cassivelaun was at the head of his 4000 cha- 
rioteers, the victor could not subdivide his army, and 
could not even detach his cavalry on any expedition, 
either for the annoyance of the enemy or defence of his 
alhes. The subsistence of his troops depended alto- 
gether on the Trinobantes, and should the party opposed 
to Mandubert gain the ascendency, even their fidehty 
could not be reckoned upon. He was also uneasy about 
the camp, which was too far distant to be under his own 
keeping, and where again the Britons might assemble 
in force and with better success. But above aU, it was 
now the month of September, and as it was quite im- 
possible that he should remain in Britain during the 
winter (for the Gauls would rise in his absence), it was 
necessary to take measures for his immediate return. 
If the equinoctial gales set in, some serious loss might 
occur. It was thus evidently Caesar's pohcy to patch 
up a peace and retire from the contest, if he could do 
so with credit, or at least without dishonour. In addi- 
tion to the chagrin arising from the want of his usual 
mihtary triumphs, Caesar had also a heavy heart from 
the news which now reached him of the death of 
his beloved daughter JuUa, the wife of Pompey, the 
disruption of the last frail tie which held the two ambi- 
tious chiefs together.^ 

It was about this time, when Caesar saw the neces- 
sity of coming to terms, that he wrote to Cicero 
to prepare the Eoman pubhc for the abandonment 
of Britain. " I learn from my brother's letter," writes 

^ " C. Caesar quum Britanniam peragraret, nee oceano felifcitatem 
snam continere posset, audivit decessisse filiam, piiblica secum fata 
ducentem." — Senec. de Consolat ad Marcianiy 14. 


Cicero to Atticus, "some extraordinary instances of 
Caesar's regard for me, and this is confirmed by a 
very full letter from Caesar himself. They are now 
looking forward to a termination of the war in 
Britain, for it is plain that the approaches to the island 
are defended by stupendous masses (the clifis). They 
have also found that there is not a scrap of gold in the 
whole island ! nor any prospect of booty except from 
slaves, amongst whom, methinks, you may look in vain 
for any skill in letters or music." ^ 

According to Caesar, the first overtures for peace 
came from Cassivelaim ; but one circumstance is men- 
tioned incidentally which leads us to conjecture that 
though ostensibly the groimd was broken by Cassive- 
laun, yet in fact the movement proceeded from Caesar 
himself. It is said that the proposition reached Caesar 
through Comius of Arras. Now Comius was the 
creature of Caesar and followed his camp, and it is not 
unlikely that the poUtic Eoman conveyed an intimatioA 
through Comius that if terms of peace were ofiered 
they would be favourably received. At all events, an 
arrangement was come to by which Cassivelaun was to 
give hostages for his good faith, and Britain was nomin- 
ally to pay a fixed annual tribute:^ The hostages were 
given, but no tribute was ever paid, and it was probably 
ujiderstood at the time by both parties that the tribute 
was not to be exacted. Any one might foresee that it 
would not be forthcoming except on compulsion, and 
as Caesar did not propose to leave any garrison in the 
island, he of course knew that the tribute would never 

* Epist. Attic, iv. 16. The letter to Atticus was written in the 
latter half of October ; and the letter of Caesar must therefore have 
been written in the latter half of September. 

2 Caesar speaks of Britain generally ; but Livy writes " aliquam 
partem insulae in potestatem redegit." — Liv, Epit. lib. 105. 

1 4 


reach his exchequer. Mandubert and his partisans 
amongst the Trinobantes had betrayed their country's 
cause, and attached themselves to the fortunes of Csesar, 
and the Eoman ought not to have negotiated a peace 
without providing for the safety of Mandubert and his 
friends. It would appear, however, that Caesar did not 
make it one of the articles of the treaty that Mandubert 
should be seated on the throne of the Trinobantes, but 
contented himself only with an idle threat if Cassivelaim 
should ever disturb him.^ Caesar must have felt that 
if he withdrew his army into Gaul, as was his fixed 
intention, it was impossible to secure to Mandubert the 
possession of his kingdom. Such, at all events, was the 
result, for a centiuy afterwards we find the kings of the 
Catyeuchlani, the descendants of Cassivelaun, ruhng 
over the Trinobantes.^ To what immediate successor 
was transmitted the crown which Cassivelaun had so 
manftdly maintained, history has not informed us ; but 
there must have been but Uttle space between him and 
Tasciovanus, who was the father of Cunobehn, or Cym- 
beline, who was the father of Caractacus, the British 
hero in the reign of Claudius.^ The coins of Tascio- 

' " Interdicit atque imperat Cassivelauno ne Mandubratio neu 
Trinobantibus beUum faciat." — J5. G. v. 22. 

* ** lUpioTov fiey KarapdraKov, etreira Toyo^ovfxvov KvvofieWlvov 
iralda^ eylicriaevy ahrog yap ertOyiiKei* iftvyoyrwr ^e Ueiyuty vpoff' 
ewoiiivaro hfioXoyiif. fiepog ri rwy BoSovvbiv, i3v Inripxoy KaroveWayoi 
6yr€i:," — Dion,]x. 20. 

* The pedigree of the kings of the Catyeuchlani would therefore 
stand as follows : — 



. L. 

Caractacus. Togodumnus. Admmius. 


vanns are stamped with the name of Verulamimn, the 
capital of the Catyeuchlani, and the coins of Cunobehn 
with the names of Vertdamiimi and Camulodmium, the 
capital of the Trinobantes \ and at the latter Cmiobehn 
seems eventually to have fixed his palace.^ 

Caesar now retraced his steps to the sea, and one 
is cmious to know what was his route; where he crossed 
the Thames, and through what towns he passed. But 
his narrative gives no details, and we may therefore 
conclude that the march was an ordinary one, and that 
no misadventure occurred. The Britons no doubt 
watched with satisfaction the retrograde movement of 
their powerful adversary, and were well enough content 
to let him depart in peace. 

How far northward Caesar had advanced before the 
conclusion of hostilities it is impossible to say. Strabo, on 
the one hand, affirms that it was no great way* ; Florus, 
on the other, speaks of his having penetrated even to 
the Caledonian woods.^ We collect from the Commen- 
taries that Caesar, with his army, was amongst the Trino- 
bantes, and subsequently at Verulam ; but we should 
imagine, from the short time spent in Britain, that he 
did not proceed much further — not probably beyond 

Caesar on reaching Limne was under some anxiety 
how to transport his troops. A large proportion of his 
vessels had utterly perished in the storm shortly after 
his arrival ; but he had left orders for the refitting of 

^ See the coins in Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 153. 

* "To KafiovXd^ovvov ro rov KvvojSeWivov /JaciXciov." — ZHVwi, 
Ix. 21. 

' " Ohii wpoeXOwr iirl woXv rrje vii^ov," — Strab, lib. iv. c. 5. 

* " Caledonias secutus in sylvas nnum quoque e regibus Cave- 
lianis (q. Cantianis, or Cassivelaunianis, see Cces. B. G, v. 22) in 
vincula dedit." — Florus EpiU iii. 10. 


such as had been damaged only, and had instructed 
Labienus, who had remained in Gaul, to bmld others 
with the greatest dispatch. The repairs of the old fleet 
had been completed, but no additional ships from La- 
bienus had arrived As, therefore, the whole army 
could not be conveyed at once in the vessels at com- 
mand, Cassar determined on making two successive 
shipments. The first part of the army was em- 
barked at once, and Caesar himself, like a prudent 
general, remained in Britain in charge of the second 

It was during this interval, while he was waiting for 
the return of his ships with the addition of those newly 
built by Labienus, that he wrote another letter to Cicero 
at Eome. It appears to have communicated no striking 
intelligence, but was a mere summary. Every word, 
however, written by Caesar, and from Britain, possesses 
a high degree of interest, and it needs no apology to 
give Cicero's notice of it in an epistle to his friend 
Atticus. " On the 24th October," he says, " I received 
a letter from my brother Quintus, and another from 
Caesar, dated from the shores of Britain^ the 26^A 
September. Britain was disposed of, and hostages 
received ; no booty, but a tribute imposed. They were 
bringing back their troops from Britain."^ 

The date of 26th September must not mislead us. 
The calendar had not been reformed, and the reckoning 
of time was extremely erroneous, and we shall see pre- 
sently that in reality the letter must have been written 

' " Ab Quinto fratre et a Ceesare accepi a. d. ix. Kalend. Novemb. 
litteras ; confect^ Britannia, obsidibus acceptis, nuU^ prasd^, imperatft 
tamen peciini^; datas a littoribus Britanniae, proximo a. Kalend. 
Octob. Exercitum Britannia reportabant." — Cic. Ep, Attic, iv. 17. 


at least some days previously, viz. before 24th Sep- 

In maritime matters Caesar throughout was most un- 
fortunate. As the return transports and the newly built 
vessels from Labienus were crossing the channel, they 
encountered such a storm that few of them only reached 
Britain, and the rest were driven back to the port which 
they had quitted. Nothing could be more mortifying. 
In a short time heavy gales were to be expected, and 
the navigation of the seas would become dangerous. 
As one division only of the army was in Britain, the 
islanders, encouraged by the enemy's weakness, might, 
as they had done the previous year, again commence 
hostilities, when who could foresee the result 1 Several 
days passed, and either from stress of weather or want 
of repairs, the expected vessels from Gaul did not 
amve. The equinox was just at hand^, and Caesar was 
afraid of any longer delay, and therefore determined on 
embarking the remaining forces at once in the stinted 
number of vessels which had reached him. The decks 
would of course be inconveniently crowded, but depar- 
ture from Britain was to be effected at any cost. At 
nine o'clock at night, in calm weather, Caesar hoisted 
anchor from the shores of Britain, leaving not a soldier 
behind 2, and never more to return. Boulogne was 
reached at break of mom ; and the day may be fixed 
with some degree of precision as follows : — The equinox 
was not over but was close at hand, and it must there- 
fore have been before, and not long before, the 24th 
September, which was then reckoned the day of the 

' " Quod equinoctium suberat." — B. G. v. 23. 

2 " Kal oiflev iyKaTeXiwe o'parev/ia iy a{>rp." — DioUj xl. 4. 

3 " Summ^ tranquillitate consecut4, secund^ initfi. quum solvisset 
vigilia, prima luce terrain attigit." — B. O, v. 23. 


equinox. As the sun rises about that time a little 
before 6 A.M.5 he must have gained Boulogne about 
5 A.M., when dayhght would begin. But as Boulogne 
was a tidal harbour, it was necessary that he should 
enter it at, or a Uttle before, high water. On what day, 
therefore, would it be high water at Boulogne at 5 A. m. 
just before the 24th September ] The ftdl moon for 
September, B.C. 54, was on the 15th of the month, 
when it would be high water at Boulogne at 11*20 a. m. 
Consequently, if we reckon forward, we shall find that 
it was high tide at Boulogne at 5 A. M. on the 22nd 
September. It was thus on the evening of the preced- 
ing day, or the 21st September, that Caesar quitted 
Britain for ever. 

We must here draw an inference from the time occu- 
pied in crossing the Channel. As Caesar sailed at nine at 
night, and gained the coast of Gaul at 5 A. m., he was 
just eight hours on the passage. Now, if he steered for 
Boulogne, which is twenty- eight mUes, the rate of 
sailing was three and a half miles an hour, which is 
what might be expected from row boats in calm 
weather.^ But if he embarked, as the Astronomer 
Eoyal supposes, at Pevensey, and sailed to the estuary 
of the Somme, a distance of sixty miles, it would yield 
an average speed of seven and a half miles an hour, 
which for row boats, and in a calm, is inconceivable* 
The Professor urges, as an argument in his favour, that 
Caesar, on arriving in Gaul, held a council at Samaro- 
briva, or Amiens, which is on the Somme ^ ; but I can- 
not attach any importance to this, as it is expressly 

' They were all "actuariaB" {B, G. v. 1), and it was " summa 
tranquillitas" (B, G. v. 23). 

2 <* Subductis nayibus, concilioqne Gallomm Samarobrivse peracto." 
—B. G. V. 24. 


mentioned that he had previously laid up his vessels in 
ordinary at the port of his arrival, and might of course 
after that have departed for Amiens or any other town 
of Gaul. The very fact also of laying up the vessels in 
ordinary implies the presence of naval docks and yards 
on an extensive scale, which would be found in the 
great port of the Morini, but not in a mere estuary.^ 

I have now sketched the two Invasions of Britain by 
Caesar, and the Utile success of them is matter of sur- 
prise. In the first year, Caesar scarcely ventured a mUe 
from the sea-shore. He had wholly miscalculated the 
strength of the enemy, and being destitute also of 
cavalry, he acted throughout, after his first landing, on 
the defensive. On the second occasion he attempted, 
at the head of three times the force, and a numerous 
body of cavalry, to retrieve his credit ; but such was 
the obstinacy with which the Britons encountered him, 
that until the rebellion in his favour of the Trinobantes 
he was reduced by the tactics of the enemy to the 
utmost straits. Even after the civil dissension which 
threw the Trinobantes and the clans which followed 
them into the arms of Caesar, Cassivelaun, with his 
charioteers, was master of the country, except in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the legions. The Britons 
were no doubt far behind the Komans in discipline, 
and Cassivelaun may not have been a match for Caesar 
in strategy ; yet the islanders displayed such an indomi- 

' " Un fait me paxait trancher la question : c'est la mise k 
sec des vaisseaux apr^s le retour k Icius (B. O, iv. 21). Or ceci ne 
pent s' entendre que d'un veritable camp naval construit selon toutes 
les regies, c'est k dire, divis^ par quartiers, flanqu^ de palissades, 
entour^ d'un large fo8s6 {Tit, Liv, xxxvi. 45, xxiii. 28), proteg^ 
enfin, defendu avec toutes les ressources qu'ofirait k C^sar sa longue 
pratique de castram^tation." — Mariette, 84. 


table spirit, and Cassivelaun so much natural militaiy 
genius, that Caesar was content to retire fix)ni the con- 
test without any sensible advantage. The British gen- 
eral, instead of being led a captive to Kome, treated for 
peace on a footing of equality. Even the terms agreed 
upon in favour of Eome were probably never meant to 
be, and certainly never were, fulfilled. One thing is 
dear, that when Caesar quitted the island he left not a 
soul behind, and that for about 100 years afterwards 
the Britons were as free as if a Eoman legion had never 
trod the soil Caesar of course represents his exploits 
in the most favourable light, and would have us suppose 
that he succeeded in extorting hostages and imposing a 
tribute ; but had the British Annals descended to us by 
the side of the Eoman Conunentaries, we might then 
have heard of the destruction of Caesar's cavalry by the 
Essedarii, the weakening of the legions by successful 
saUies against their rearguard, and the thinning of their 
ranks from exposure and privation, untU at length the 
conqueror of Gaul was under the necessity of submitting 
to an ignominious peace. Even his own countrymen 
have done the Britons some justice, for Tacitus confesses 
that Caesar by his two campaigns made only the dis- 
covery of Britain, not the conquest of it ^ ; that although 
victorious in more than one fight, he had eventually 
been worsted and obliged to abandon the enterprise^ ; 
that the Britons, in short, retained their freedom. 

* "PrimuB omnium Eomanorum Divus Julius cum exercitu 
Britamiiam ingressus, quanquam prosper^ pugn& terruerit incolas, 
ac littore potituB dt, potest videri ostendisse posteris, non tradidisse/' 
—Vit. Agric. 13. 

* " BecessoTOB [Bomanos], ut Divus Julius recessisset, mode 
virtutes majorum suorum [Britanni] semularentur, neve proelii 
uuiuB aut alterius eventu pavescerent." — Tac, Agric, c. 16. 


and were never tributaries to Eome.^ Lucan even 
goes so far as to say that Csesar and his army had fairly 
shown their backs to the Britons ; and Horace^ and 
Tibullus^ both treat the Britons as still unvanquished 
in their time. Strabo observes that Caesar made no 
great progress ; * and Dion Cassius tells us that Csesar 
was repulsed^, and that he brought the war in Britain 
to a conclusion very Uttle to his liking.^ This we can 
readily conceive, for the expense of constructing 800 
vessels, and freighting them with a numerous army, 
must have been enormous ; and what was there to show 
for it 1 — Caesar in Gaul, and Britain without a Eoman ! 

* " Vacui a sectiribus et tributis." — Tclc, Ann. xii. 34. 

* " Intactus Britannus ut descenderet 

Sacr^ catenatus yiL" Epod, Lib. vii. 7. 

® " Te manet invictus Eomano Marte Britannus." — Lib Ay, y, 149. 

* " Ovlty fiiya ^ca7rpa£a/L£€voc." — StrahOj iv. 5. 

* " Tov Kaiaapa roy *lov\iov sKeivoy l^riXaaafjiey [the Britons]." — 
XiphilintiSj cited Mon. Hist, Brit. p. Ivi. 

® "Oi>x oloy l^ovXero r^ woXiii^ riXog IwidriKev" — Vit. Jul. Cobs. 


No. I. 

Since the preceding pages were written, the Eev. C. Merivale 
(author of the " Eoman History") has kindly placed in my 
hands a tract by Christopher Grodmond, Esq., published in 
1836, intituled ** A Memoir of Therrouane and a Discourse 
on the Portus Itius of Csesar." It is there contended that 
the port from which Caesar sailed was Wissant, and the 
poi^tus superior Sangatte, and that the debarcation was 
at Deal. The arguments by which these views are sup- 
ported contain little novelty, and do not shake the author's 
confidence in the theory submitted to the reader in the fore- 
going Essay. The only remarkable feature in the publication 
is, the copy of an old map, of which the following account is 
given: — 

" M. Deneufville, in an autograph MS. of the date 1724 and 
1725, intituled * Annales de la Ville de St. Omer,' shows an 
ancient chart of the coimtry of the Morini and of the Portus 
Itius, where Malbrancq places it, at Sangatte, including 
Therrouanne, as the country was in the 8th century. The 
original chart, however, is not now amongst other MSS. of the 
8th century in that Ubrary." And Mr. Godmond continues : 
** The author of this Memoir has seen the copy of M. Deneuf- 



ville attached to the MS. in the library of St. Omer, but on 
inquiry for the original amongst the MSS. of the 8th cen- 
tury, he was informed it had been lost." 

That the reader may judge for himself as to the genuine- 
ness of the map, a copy of it is annexed ; but the author 
cannot regard it otherwise than as a fanciful sketch, illustra- 
tive of the draftsman's idea that the sea once flowed up to St. 
Omer. For this purpose the geography of Ptolemy has been 
ingeniously applied. It will be seen on inspecting the map 
that the ''Ixiov "Axgov of Ptolemy is placed at Cape Blancnez 
instead of Cape Grisnez, and the Fijo-og/axov errivnov of 
Ptolemy at St. Omer. In aid of the latter view the three last 
syllables of Gresoriac are identified with the site of an old 
chapel near St. Omer called Soriack. That changes in this 
part of the coast may have taken place is not improbable, 
but it would require strong evidence to prove that the face of 
the country has undergone so total a transformation as here 
represented, not to mention that a map of the 8th century, 
existing in 1724, would be a topographical curiosity. 



No. n. 

Should the discussion in the foregoing pages 
upon the subject of the Coway Stakes have 
excited any interest in the reader, some fur- 
ther particulars may not be unacceptable. A 
so-called Coway Stake has been deposited in 
the British Museum, and may be seen there 
amongst the British Eoman Antiquities. A 
sketch of it is annexed. That it may have 
been brought from Coway ford is not impos- 
sible, but it can scarcely have been one of ^ 
those described by Bede, as cased with leadl 
and about the size of a man's thigh, or one of 
those which were taken by the fisherman Sim- 
mons to have served for the piles of an ancient 
bridge. The Museum stake is about four feet 
long, has no trace of either iron or lead, and is 
not bigger than a man's arm. The lower half 
apparently has been buried in the ground, 
and the upper half only exposed to the action 
of water. The wood is thought to be oak. 
If the relic be genuine, it must have been one 
of the stakes planted near the river's edge. 

However, Caesar speaks of acutce audesy while 
the head of the one in question has been flat- 
tened by the mallet or driver.* Indeed it has 
all the appearance of an ordinary stake used 
for a weir, or for some fishing apparatus. 

* A friend, who has examined the stake with some 
minuteness, observes that the fibres of the wood at the 
head lie all in one direction, and that this is the re- 
sult, not of mechanical force, but of the constant action 
of the stream. 














IN the number of the "Athenaeum" for lOth Septem- 
ber, 1859, the Astuonomer-Eoyal offered some re- 
marks upon my theory that Caesar sailed from Boulogne, 
and landed at Eomney Marsh ; and repeated his own 
conviction that Caesar sailed from the Somme, and landed 
at Pevensey. I feel greatly obhged to the Astronomer- 
Eoyal for having again directed his attention to the 
question, as the weight of his name has invested the 
subject with an 'interest which my own labours, how- 
ever just the reasoning, could not have secm-ed to it. 
The delay on my part in not earlier replying to his 
observations, has not arisen from any want of respect 
towards the Astronomer-Eoyal, still less from any 
distrust of my own hypothesis, but simply from my 
having been unusually occupied during the interval 
by other engagements. 

L* The first question between the Astronomer- 
Eoyal and myself is, as to the sense of the passage 

♦ The remarks of the Astronomer-Royal are given verbatim in 
the notes. 

I. ^' Cssar, in speaking of his march to the coast, uses the expression j 
*in Morinos proficiscitur ;' and in my paper in the 'ArchsBologia' 
I have maintained (supporting my' opinion by some citations) that 
the true meaning of * proficiscitur ' is * sets out.' Mr. Lewih 

A 2 


"in Morinos proficiscitur," which he interprets, that 
Caesar only set out for the Morini without arriving there, 
and, " after examining a large proportion of all the in- 
stances in which Caesar uses the inflections or deriva- 
tives of ^ projiciscor^' " he concludes that " in all, without 
any exception, another sentence or another clause is 
required to denote arrival at a journey's end." I 
should say, on the contrary, that there are many 
instances of Caesar's use of the word ^'projiciscor*' in 
the sense not only of setting out for, but also of arriving 
at a place. For example, in speaking of Druidism 
amongst the Gauls, he states that they derived it jfrom 
Britain, and adds, " et nunc, qui dihgentius eam rem 
cognoscere volunt, plerumque ill6, discendi caus4, pro- 
Jiciscuntur,'' B. G. vi. 12. These words close the section, 
and pronciscuntur is not accompanied with "another sen- 
tence or clause," and yet necessarily signifies an arrival 
in Britain where only the study was to be prosecuted. 
Again, " Quietfl, GaDi^, Caesar, ut constituerat, in Ita- 
liam ad conventus agendos proficiscitur : ubi cognoscit 
de P. Claudii caede," vii. 1. How could Caesar hear in 
Italy of Claudius's death, unless he had arrived in Italy ? 
Again, "Divitiacus, auxilii petendi caus4 Eomam ad 

disaents fix>m that translation. A question of verbal criticism can- 
not be settled by a single case ; and I must occupy a little space in 
treating this. 

" I have examined a large proportion of all the instances in which 
Csesar uses tlie inflexions or derivatives of * proficiscor,' and I find 
that their applications are the following : — (1.) In some they refer 
simply to the act of setting out. (2.) In some a purpose of setting 
out is mentioned. (3.) In some a direction is indicated, or a spot at 
which the journey is to end is named. (4.) But in all, without any 
exception, another sentence or another clause is required to denote 
arrival at the journey's end." And the Astronomer-Royal then pro- 
ceeds to adduce supposed examples of the several meanings of the 
word suggested by him. 

Senatuin profectus^ infect^ re redierat," vi. 11. How 
could Divitiacus have returned jfrorn Eome unless he 
had first arrived there ? And similar examples will be 
found elsewhere, as in v. 25 ; iii. 23 ; vii, 90. 

But in assiuning that Caesar arrived in the country of 
the Morini, I did not rely merely or even chiefly upon 
the words, in Morinos proficiscitur (for no doubt one 
sense of proficisd is to set out for a place), but upon 
the whole context^ and more particularly upon the 
subsequent passage, dum in his locis Caesar navium 
parandarum caus4 moratur, which leads me to the next 
head; for 

n.* The Astronomer-Eoyal parries the force of the 
last extract by observing, " The expression [in his locis] 
appears to me to be studiously indefinite. I conceive 
that it is rendered in English with perfect precision, 
' While Caesar was in this part of the country.' " But 
let me ask in what part of the country ? Not in the 
part jfrom which he had set out, for he could not go 
and stay (proficisci and morari) at one and the same 
place, at one and the same time. Nor (as he was 
marching fi:om the confluence of the Moselle and the 
Rhine in the direction of the Morini) could he have 
made his sojourn (moratus) on the road, inasmuch as 
the reason assigned for the halt is navium parandarum 
caus^ and naval preparations could not have been 
carried on in the heart of the continent. In short, in 
his locis clearly points to the country of the Morini, 

* n. " Mr. Lewin attaches importance to the words, * Dum in his 
locis Caesar moratur,' as if the words *in his locis' meant that 
Caesar was certainly in the country of the Morini. To me they 
convey no such meaning. The expression appears to me to be 
studiedly indefinite. 1 conceive that it is rendered in English with 
perfect precision, * While Caesar was in this part of the country.' " 

A 3 


i. e. he had gone (profectus) to the Morini, because, as 
he tells us expressly, thence was the shortest passage to 
Britain, quod inde erat brevissimus in Britanniam trans- 
jectus, iv. 21; and on his arrival there he occupied 
himself about what he came for, viz. the equipment of 
his vessels ; and when he had actually sailed it was 
matter of congratulation that the Morini had previously 
tendered their submission, so that he did not leave an 
enemy behind him^ which also impKes that he had started 
jfrom amongst the Morini. " Quod neque post tergum 
hostem relinquere volebat," iv. 22. 

But the Astronomer-Boyal adds, " It appears to me 
that the word proficisci permits that Caesar did not 
enter the country of the Morini. It appears to me 
that Caesar's reception of delegates jfrom the Morini, 
when there is no account of any preceding transaction 
with them, renders it probable that he had not entered 
their country; and it appears to me that the order 
(after his second return) for legions to march from the 
Portus Itius, makes it certain that he was not in their 

Of die meaning to be attached to the word proficisci 
we have spoken already. As to the second step in this 
argument, that "Caesar's reception of delegates from the 
Morini makes it probable that Caesar was not then in 
their country," I do not see how, admitting the fact 
that the Morini sent delegates, the conclusion could be 
fairly drawn that Caesar was not in their country. Take 
the analogous case of Caesar's passage over the Ehine. 
He crossed from the Treviri on the western bank 
(Pirmo in Treviris praesidio ad pontem reKcto,vi. 8), 
into the country of the Ubii on the eastern bank 
(partem ultimam pontis, quae ripas Ubiorum contingebat, 
&c. vi. 28), when the Ubii despatched envoys to him : 


'^Ubii, . . . purgandi sui caus4, ad eum legates 
mittunt," vi. 8. Here Caesar was amongst the Ubii, 
when, according to the Astronomer-Eoyal's reasoning, 
his reception of the Ubian delegates would indicate his 
presence elsewhere. However, the statement that 
Caesar was waited on by the delegates of the Morini is 
not quite an accurate representation of the fact. The 
words of Caesar are, " ex magnd parte Morinorum ad eum 
legati venerunt," iv. 22. The delegates came not from 
the Morini, as an entire state, but only from a section of 
them ; and there is not the least inconsistency in Caesar 
being in one part of Morinia and envoys arriving from 
another part. I observe, moreover, that whilst Caesar 
is still amongst the Morini, he invariably speaks of them 
with soriie qualification. Thus, a few lines after, on 
quitting Gaul, he directs a part of the force which he 
left behind to be led not against the Morini, but *' in eos 
pagosMxyrmorum ab quibus ad eum legati nonvenerant," 
iv. 22. And again, on his return to Gaul, he orders a 
detachment, not in Morinos, without qualification, but 
in Morinos qui rebellionem fecerant^ iv. 38. 

But how are we to deal with " the order (after his 
second return) for legions to march from the Portus Itius 
in Morinos which makes it certain that he was not in 
their country." If the premises were simply such, 
there would be some sUght ground for the inference, 
but where does the Astronomer-Eoyal find that legions 
were ordered to march from the Portus Itius to the 
Morini. One would suppose from the language of the 
Astronomer-Eoyal that Caesar, inunediately on his return 
to the port from which he had embarked, sent ofi* 
some legions " in Morinos." But here a circumstance 
has been omitted which entirely destroys the force of 
the reasoning. Caesar tells us that on his return from 

A 4 


Britain the vessels were laid up in ordinary, and that he 
then held at Samarobriva, now Amiens, a town of the 
Amhiani and not of the Morini^ a general council of 
the Gauls, and that it was not until the council broke 
up that he delivered over one legion (not legions) to 
C. Fabius to be marched to the Morini. " Subductis 
navibus, concihoque Gallorum Samarobrivae peracto, 

unam (legionem) in Morinos ducendam 

C. Fabio legato dedit, v. 24. When the legion, therefore, 
was ordered in Morinos, Csesar was no longer at Portus 
Itius, but amongst the Ambiani, and the expression in 
Morinos, has, therefore, not the least bearing upon the 
question one way or the other. It cannot even be 
urged that though Caesar himself was at Amiens, yet the 
army had not accompanied him, but remained behind 
at the port ; for it is said that Caesar, who was certainly 
himself at Amiens, "unam in Morinos ducendam C. 
Fabio legato dedit^^ v. 24, which implies that this legion 
at all events was with Caesar, and committed by him 
personally to the charge of his legate Fabius. 

m.* The next question between us is as to the true 

* in. " Mr. Lewin is at variance with me on the interpretation of 
the celebrated passage (referring to the Portus Itius) * quo ex portu 
commodissimum in Britanniam transjectunx esse cognoverat circiter 
mi Ilium passuum xxx h. continenti.' (I purposely omit pimctuation.) 
On this I say, and I have not the least doubt of receiving the sup- 
port of any good Latinist who will repeatedly consider the sentence, 
first, that the * ex portu commodissimum transjectum,' and the 
* transjectum circiter millium passuum xxx k continenti,' must 
refer to two different things; and that, if Caesar had intended to refer 
doubly to the same thing, the words *a continenti^ would not have 
been written. Secondly, that the form of the sentence is so bad, that 
I think it nearly certain that the sentence was originally terminated 
at * cognoverat,' and that the rest was an interlineation. I have 
stated this before ; but as Mr. Lewin has not alluded in detail to 
my reasons, I repeat them with the remark, that their force is un- 


interpretation of the passage, "quo ex portu (Itio) 
commodissimum in Britanniam transjectum esse cogno- 
verat circiter millium passuum xxx k continenti," v. 2. 
According to my hypothesis the Portus Itius was 
Boulogne, and the place of debarcation was Eomney 
Marsh, and the distance between the two would be 
thirty statute miles, and therefore upwards of thirty- 
two Eoman miles ; but, according to the Astrono- 
mer-Koyal, the Portus Itius was the estuary of the 
Somme, and the landing-place Pevensey, and this pas- 
sage would be more than twice thirty statute miles, or 
sixty-five miles Koman. How then was this difficulty 
to be met ? The expression, as I had pointed out, is 
not mille passus xxx, which might refer to the dis- 
tance of Britain generally from the Continent, but it is 
millium passuum xxx, and, so plainly governed by 
transjectum. The Astronomer-Eoyal, apparently as- 
senting to this, maintains : First, that the " ex porta 
commodissimum transjectum, and the transjectum cir- 
citer millium passum xxx, must refer to two different 
things ! " In other words, that transjectum does double 
duty, and signifies two passages, one from the Itian 
port, which was the most convenient, and the other 
from a different place, whence the traverse was thirty 
miles. This surely is putting the screw upon the 
sentence, and extorting a meaning which it will not 
justly bear. Besides, the interpretation, if admitted, 
would fasten upon Caesar a most palpable error, for 
Caesar would be made to say that the distance from 
Gaul to Britain (viz. at the nearest point) was thirty 
miles, whereas it is httle more than twenty miles. As 
the two coasts were plainly visible from each other, 
and Caesar crossed the channel four times, he can 
scarcely have fallen into the blunder of making the 

traverse half as much agam as it really was. The As- 
tronomer-Eoyal then argues : " Secondly^ that the form 
of the sentence is so bad, that he thinks it nearly certain 
that the sentence was originally terminated at cogno- 
verat, and that the rest was an interlineation." But this 
is mere surmise, and there is not the least authority for 
a different reading of the text ; nor (under favour), ex- 
cept for the purpose of giving countenance to the Astro- 
nomer-Eoyal's theory, is any different reading required. 
IV.* The Astronomer-Eoyal tells me, that I " need 
not give myself the smallest trouble about the exact 
agreement of Caesar's measure of the nautical distance 
[thirty miles] (ah eye estimation) with that which we 
have now obtained from geodetic measures," meaning, 
as I understand him, that before " the triangulation of 
1787," the reckoning was so loose that every estimate 
was purely conjectural, and must go for nothing. It 
no doubt coincides with the views of the Astronomer- 
Eoyal to hold this doctrine ; but surely if Caesar telk 
us that Fortius 'Itius was thirty miles from Britain, and 
the distance between Boulogne arfd Folkestone is found 
to be about thirty miles, no inconsiderable weight is due 
to the coincidence. 

♦ IV. " Mr. Lewin is anxioiis about the exact agreement of C8esar'& 
measure of the nautical distance (an eye-estimation) with that which 
we have now obtained from geodetic measures. On that point he 
needs not to give himself the smallest trouble. Before the trian- 
gulation of the year 1787, it was a fair and an insoluble question, 
whether the distance from the Continent to Britain was less than 
twenty or greater than forty miles. In the note to a Variorum edi- 
tion of 1651 now before me, the distance from Boulogne to the 
nearest part of Britain is given as forty miles. Dion's measure 
(fifty miles) seems to me the most exact of those cited by Mr. Lewin, 
because I conceive it to be founded on some tradition of Caesar's 
actual sea-passage from St. Valery to Pevensey." 


Now the actual distance from Boulogne to Folkestone 
is, by the Admiralty charts, thirty statute mUes + 2622 
feet, so that if Eoman miles and English miles were the 
same, the result would be very striking ; but as Koman 
miles are somewhat less than English miles, the distance 
is no doubt a little beyond thirty miles Eoman ; but the 
approximation is just such as we should expect from 
the guarded expression of Caesar, *'of about thirty 
miles," circiter millium passuum xxx, v. 2. 

v.* The next question is as to the meaning of the 
words, infra delates. On Caesar's first return to Portus 

• V. " Mr. Lewin objects to my suggested translation of * infra de- 
late.' I will beg Him to remark, first, that I do not offer this translation 
with any strong confidence ; and, secondly, that the fate of no hypo- 
thesis as to Ga^sar^s voyage depends on it. It is not given to reconcile 
any theory with Caesar's words, but to reconcile Caesar with himself. 
It appears to me that the word *proficiscitur' permits that Caesar 
did not enter the country of the Morini: it appears to me that 
Caesar's reception of delegates from the Morini, when there is no 
account of any preceding transaction with them, renders it probable 
that he had not entered their coimtry ; and it appears to me that the 
order (after his second return) for legions to march from the Portus 
Itius * in Morinos' makes it certain that he was not in their country. 
With this, I have to reconcile the statement about the drifted ships ; 
and the conjecture which I have offered is, I think, plausible. But 
if any reader thinks that the reasons for excluding the Portus Itius 
from the land of the Morini are not sufliciently cogent, the whole is 
easily reconciled with the hypothesis, that the Portus Itius was the 
mouth of the Somme, by supposing that in the time of Caesar the 
Morini stretched south-west of the Somme. In Caesar's time, the 
Morini were a powerftd tribe; their contingent for the Belgian 
association (lib. ii.) was 25,000 men, while that of the Ambiani 
was only 10,000, and that of the Caletes 10,000. The geography 
which limits their territory to the north of the Somme is 120 years 
later. Any one who reflects on the change of boundary of Russia, 
of Prussia, of Turkey, and of other European States, within a period 
of much less than 120 years, will find no difliculty in admitting this 
change in the limits of the Morini." 


Itius two ships were unable to make the same port with 
the rest of the fleet, and paullo infra delatae smit. I had 
contended that infra signified down channel, or south- 
ward, and that, consequently, as the crews of the two 
ships were immediately on landing attacked by the 
Morini, the country of the Morini must have extended 
to the south of Portus Itius. This would be the case 
if Portus Itius were Boulogne, but not if it were the 
mouth of the Sonune. To encounter this argument the 
Astronomer-Eoyal advances the novel idea that infra 
delatae means " drifting before the wind." I need not 
repeat the parallel passages in Caesar, which prove 
beyond doubt that infra means " down channel." The 
Astronomer-Eoyal himself almost accedes to the cri- 
ticism by saying that " he does not offer this translation 
with any strong confidence." But he subjoins, that 
" the fate of no hypothesis as to Caesar's voyage de- 
pends on it." I beg respectfully to suggest that the 
Astronomer-Eoyal's own theory hinges upon this trans- 
lation. If infra mean down channel, and Itius Portus 
be the Somme, the Morini, according to the Astronomer- 
Eoyal, must have reached beyond the Somme south- 
ward ; but as other authorities show that the Morini 
did not extend beyond the Somme, it follows that the 
Somme cannot be the Portus Itius. " But," observes 
the Astronomer-Eoyal, " the geography which limits 
their territory to the north of the Sonune is 120 years 
later than Caesar," and he offers, as a solution of the 
difficulty, that " in the time of Caesar the Morini 
stretched south-west of the Somme'' If so, then the 
Somme itself, from which Caesar sailed, and to which he 
returned, was, according to the Astronomer-Eoyal, in 
the country of the Morini ; and yet, a few lines before, 
the Astronomer-Eoyal had stated " that the order (after 


Caesar's second return) for legions to march into the 
country of the Morini made it certain that he was not 
in their country'' Thus to avoid Scylla, it is laid down 
as certain that Caesar did not sail from the Morini, and 
then to avoid Charybdis the reader is invited to assume 
that the place of embarcation was amongst the Morini! 
VI.* Caesar speaks of a Portus Superior to the north 
of Portus Itius, and eight miles from it; and assuming 
Boulogne to be the Portus Itius, I had pointed to 

* VI. " I now come to Mr. Lewin's hypothesis, that Boulogne was 
the Portus Itius. I pass over the citation from Florus (who wrote in 
the time of Trajan) and the railway compiany's estimate of distance 
(as being unimportant when Caesar's necessarily vague estimate is 
to be compared with it) ; and I come to the estimation of distances 
along shore, which leave no room for great uncertainty. I premise 
the following pretty accurate measures : — 

The French /tcwc </e ^os^e 4263 yards. 

The nautical mile, or minute of latitude . . 2025 yards. 

The Roman mile, about 1630 yards. 

Mr. Lewin learned that the distance from Boulogne to Ambleteuse 
is 2J leagues, which he concludes (I know not by what arithmetic) 
to be 8 Roman miles. By applying the numbers above, it will be 
found to be only 6^ Roman miles. But in reality this is not much 
to the purpose, for the estimate, which was given by a hotel-keeper, 
evidently relates to the distance hy road. On measuring, upon the 
beautiftd Admiralty Chart, the distance between the centre of the 
entrance to Boulogne and the centre of the entrance to Ambleteuse, 
I find it to be not quite 4^ nautical miles, or 5^ Roman miles ; 
instead of the 8 miles given by CsBsar. 

" I conclude that Boulogne and Ambleteuse will not be cited again 
in conjunction, as representing the Portus Itius and Portus Superior 
of Csesar. 

" The ports which I have assigned (the mouth of the Somme and 
the mouth of the Authie) correspond very well, as regards their 
geographical distance, with Caesar's estimate. Caesar gives no frac- 
tional parts, and the measure 8 Roman miles answers better than 9, 
and much better than 7, for the distance between the centres of the 
estuaries. I should fix it at 8^ miles. " 


Ambleteuse as the Portus Superior, and had represented 
the distance between the two as eight miles. The 
Astronomer-Eoyal takes the Admiralty chart, and mea- 
sures from the centre of the entrance to Boulogne to 
the centre of the entrance to Ambleteuse, and finds it 
about " four and a half nautical miles, or five and a 
half Eoman miles," and adds, "I conclude that Boulogne 
and Ambleteuse will not be cited again as representing 
the Portus Itius and Portus Superior of Caesar." Here 
as elsewhere the question is whether the Astronomer- 
Eoyal has rightly apprehended the meaning of Caesar. 
The Astronomer-Eoyal would have the eight miles to in- 
dicate the distance by sea, whereas Caesar, as I conceive, 
is giving the distance by land. I had treated the latter 
interpretation before as matter of course, but as the 
Astronomer-Eoyal resorts to the sea line I must state 
my reasons for adopting the road line.* The men- 
tion by Caesar of the eight miles is introduced as 
follows : — He is giving an account of the manner in 
which the fleet was distributed amongst the army. The 
eighty transports which had been collected at Portus 
Itius were assigned to the infantry, i. e. the two legions 
which were to constitute the expedition. The few 
long ships or triremes were allotted to the quaestor, 
legates and prefects, and then he proceeds : "Hue acce- 
debant xviii onerariae naves, quae ex eo loco milUbus 
passuum viii vento tenebantur, qu6 minus in eundem 
portum pervenire possent : has equitibus distribuit," iv. 
22. Thus he is explaining why the eighteen vessels 
were appropriated by him to the cavalry. It was quite 
immaterial what was the distance by sea, for the 
eighteen transports were wind-bound, and could not 

* I observe that Mr. Dougall (see post, p. 97) agrees with me in 
taking Caesar to mean the road line. 


reach him ; but as he could not dispense with the ves- 
sels, he had to consider what portion of his force could 
be most conveniently dispatched thither, and as the 
transports lay eight miles ojQf he thought it best in order 
to save time to send thither his cavalry. 

Assuming then that Csesar is speaking of the road 
distance, we have now to ascertain what that is. Little 
rehance can be placed on the ordinary books of reference, 
as will be seen from the following table : — 

Distance of Ambleteuse from Boulogne is, according 

to : — 

Encyclopaedia Metropohtana - 9 miles. 

Landmann's Gazetteer - - 8 „ 

Johnston's General Gazetteer 6 „ 

Gazetteer of the World - - 5 „ 

In stating the distance to be just eight miles Eoman, 
I had cited as my authority the eminent antiquary so 
celebrated for his recent discoveries in Egypt, Mariette, 
who, being a native of Boulogne, could not fail to know 
the exact distance, and I am glad to find on further 
inquiry that he is perfectly correct. I have before me 
the French ordnance map, the Tableau de Guerre for 
Boulogne, and measuring by the nearest road from the 
port of Boulogne, through Wimille and Slacq to the 
church at Ambleteuse, the distance is twelve kilometres, 
that is, seven and a half miles English, or somewhat more 
than eight milesEoman,the distance which Caesar assigns. 
The Tableau de Guerre must be regarded as a decisive 
authority, being the result of a Government survey, but 
I may add, that whenever I asked at Boulogne what was 
the distance of Ambleteuse from Boulogne, the answer 
invariably was twelve kilometres, that is, seven and a 
half miles EngUsh, or eight miles Eoman. To prevent 
. mistake, the reader should be apprised that since the 


Tableau de Guerre was published, and about five years 
ago, a new miKtary road called Chemin Napoleon TTT- 
was made by and partly at the expense of the present 
Emperor, from Boulogne to Ambleteuse along the shore. 
This line, which does not appear upon the Tableau de 
Guerre^ is of course much shorter, but can have nothing 
to do with the measurement of the road as it existed 
in ancient times. 

VTL* I had argued, that if Napoleon I. found 
Boulogne the fittest port for equipping and assembling 
a fleet of invasion, Csesar, another commander of equal 
mihtary talent would probably be induced by similar 
motives to give the Uke preference. The Astronomer- 
Eoyal bids me "study the invasion of William the 

♦ Vn. " Mr. Lewin considers that Napoleon's selection of Boulogne, 
as a port of embarcation, is a strong argument for adopting it as Csesar's 
port. I consider that it is no argument whatever, for this reason ; 
that the dominant motive, which determined Napoleon's selection of 
Boulogne, was wholly wanting in the instance of Caesar. With 
Napoleon, every thing depended on the quickness, and therefore on 
the shortness of the passage. * Give me six hours' command of the 
Channel, and England is mine,' was the sentence of Napoleon. 
With Caesar, any moderate delay, that did not actually starve his 
soldiers and sailors in their ships, was imimportant. 

" But if Mr. Lewin really relies on the parallelism of instances, I 
can produce one which will not fail to direct his decision. What if 
I refer him to the history of a large armament ; prepared in an age 
when weapons, ships, and navigation, without the compass, were 
similar to those in Caesar's time; collected at the mouth of the 
Sorame ; detained for about three weeks by north-west winds (as 
was Caesar's) ; sailing, at length, about six hours earlier in the day 
than Caesar's (because the moon was a week youHger, and the tides 
were six hours earlier) ; the captain of the armament reaching the 
English coast after a passage of ten or eleven hours, and waiting for 
the remainder of the fleet ; and, finally, debarking, in the afternoon, 
on the beach of Pevensey ? If Mr. Lewin is really true to his own 
principles, let him study the invasion of William the Norman ; and 
he will find ample a priori reason for believing that Caesar took the 
same course." 


Norman," whose annament was " collected at the mouth 
of the Somme." One would suppose from this, that 
William had chosen the mouth of the Somme for his 
port of equipment and embarcation, as Napoleon did 
Boulogne. But WiUiam was not,Uke Csesar or Napoleon, 
master of all France, but was merely Duke of Nor- 
mandy. How happened it, then, as the mouth of the 
Somme, or rather the port of St. Valery, was not within 
his dominions that WiUiam made it his port of pre- 
paration ? The fact is, that the place where the arma- 
ment was fitted out and the fleet assembled and the 
army put on board was not at the mouth of the Somme 
but at St. Pierre de Dive, a Kttle to the south-west of 
Havre, and within the Kmits of Normandy ; and a pubhc 
monument has lately been erected there in commemo- 
ration of the event. This was the general rendezvous, 
and hence the armament set sail for England, but en- 
countered some violent gales and was obhged to takie 
temporary shelter in the port of St. Valery at the mouth 
of the Somme. How then can putting into a port on 
the way from stress of weather be brought forward as 
a parallel case to the selection of Boulogne as the most 
suitable port for equipment and embarcation ? 

ViiL* Caesar remarks that Kent was the common 

* VIII. "We should suppose," says Mr. Lewin, " that Caesar followed 
the usual track, and made for one of the ports which then, as now, 
were the most frequented, viz. Dover or Folkestone." This is not 
the manner of attempting debarcation on a country possessed by an 
enemy. Sir Ralph Abercrombie's troops did not attempt to force 
the harbour of Alexandria, but landed on the sands of Albukeer. 
Sir Arthur Wellesley made no attempt at Lisbon, but put his troops 
on shore on the Mondego Beach. The French landing in Algeria 
was at a distance from Algiers. In the expedition to the Crimea, 
no attempt was made on Sebastopol, Balaklava, or Kamiesch, but 
the boats were brought all abreast to the long beach near Old Fort." 



landing-place for vessels from Gaul, " qu6 fere omnes 
ex Gallic naves appelluntur," v. 13, and I had therefore 
suggested that Caesar himself probably sailed for the 
same part. But the Astronomer-Eoyal objects that 
invaders do not generally make for the ordinary port, 
and instances Abercrombie at Aboukir, in Egypt ; 
Wellesley atMondego, in Spain ; the French in Algeria; 
and the French and English in the Crimea. This, no 
doubt, is true in general ; but in all the cases enume- 
rated the invaders had charts and maps which gave 
them a perfect knowledge of the country ; but Caesar 
tells us that he could get no information about the 
coast of Britain (iv. 20), except what he gleaned from 
Volusenus, who was only absent from the army five 
days (iv. 21), and whose report, therefore, must have 
been meagre enough. Caesar also, though prepared 
for opposition, did not expect to meet with it ; for, 
while he was yet in Gaul, very many states of the 
Britons had sent over envoys, and tendered their sub- 
mission, with an offer of hostages, and Conamius, the 
partisan of Caesar, had accompanied them back with a 
message from Caesar that he would soon follow in 
person (iv. 21). It was not therefore to be supposed 
that his very landing on their shores would be dis- 
puted, and, when it was so, Caesar complained of it as 
of a breach of faith : " Caesar questus, qu6d, quum ultro 
in continentem legatis missis pacem a se petissent bel- 
lum sine caus4 intulissent," iv. 27. However, I am 
satisfied that even had he anticipated resistance, he 
would not have altered his plans; for in his second 
invasion, when he could not doubt that his debarcation 
would be opposed, he nevertheless steered for the very 
place where he had disembarked the year before : " Ut 
eam partem insulae caperet, qua optimum esse egressum 


superiore aestate cognoverat," v. 8. One reason, perhaps, 
was, that Caesar in Britain depended for his suppUes 
from Gaul, and he had left Labienus in Gaul for the 
very purpose of providing for the commissariat : " P. 
Sulpicium Eufum legatum cum eo praesidio, quod satis 
esse arbitrabatur, portum tenere jussit," iv. 22. " Labieno 
in continente . . . rehcto, ut portus tueretur, et rei fru- 
mentariae provideret," v. 8 ; " frumentum his in locis 
(Britain) in hyemem provisum non erat," iv. 29. It 
was therefore of paramount importance to secure the 
nearest and most convenient ports of communication 
between the two coasts, 

EX.* I had referred to Cajsar's montibus (iv. 23) 
as agreeing better with the cUffs between Dover and 
Folkestone than with those at Hastings, but the As- 
tronomer-Eoyal thinks otherwise, inasmuch as from the 
latter, which are lower, a javelin could be better aimed. 
Caesar says nothing about aiming the javelin, but only 
that the sea was hemmed in by mountains, so close, 
adeo angustis, that a javelin could be thrown from the 
height to the shore, in littus adjici, iv. 23 ; and nothing 

* IX. " In regard to Caesar's " montibus," as I have said elsewhere, 
our interpretation must be guided by consideration of the character of 
place under which an officer would think of attempting to land. It 
must also depend upon the possibility of aiming a javelin from the 
heights. Both considerations exclude such lofty cliffs as those of 
Dover and Folkestone. 

" I am surprised at the citation of Cicero, and the illogical inference 
from it. Because an officer who joined his regiment B.C. 54 says 
" there are wondrous high cliffs on the coast of Britain," therefore 
(says Mr. Lewin), Ciesar, in the year B.C. 55, attempted to land 
under those very cliffs. It is most probable that (assuming, as I do, 
that Csesar landed at Pevensey) the precipices which Q. Cicero had 
in his mind were the stupendous cliffs at Beachy Head, which are 
Avithin two miles of the landing-place, but which had no influence 
on the circumstances of landing." 

B 2 


can more exactly describe the bluff cliffs between 
Dover and Folkestone, which rise perpendicularly from 
the shingle, and their greater height, as giving the more 
force to the missile, would be an advantage. Besides, 
as Cajsar had gone to the Morini, the Pas de Calais, to 
prepare for the expedition, and saUed, as I contend, 
from Boulogne, he must constantly from the heights of 
Gaul have looked upon the inviting white cliffs of 
Britain between Folkestone and the South Foreland. Is 
it not the more natural supposition that, ignorant as he 
was of the British line of coast, he should make for the 
shore which he had daily watched, rather than for Fair- 
light Downs, of which it does not appear that he even 
knew the existence ? 

The Astronomer-Eoyal is surprised at " the citation 
of Cicero and the illogical inference from it. Because 
an ofl&cer who joined his regiment B.C. 54, says, " There 
are wondrous cliffs on the coast of Britain, therefore 
(says Mr. Lewin), Caesar, in the year B.C. 55 attempted 
to land under those very cliffs." I see nothing illogical 
in this. I was quite aware, and particularly pointed 
out that Q. Cicero was " one of the generals in Caesar's 
army on the second expedition," page 31. But as 
Q. Cicero was referring to the coast where the second 
debarcation had been effected and the second debar- 
cation was at the same point as the first, as the Astrono- 
mer-Eoyal himself admits, the remark of Cicero was 
applicable to the first as well as to the second. I cannot 
give a better answer than in the very words of the 
Astronomer-Koyal himself. " I understand," he says, 
" that Caesar landed at precisely the same point in the 
two expeditions, and shall apply to one point indis- 
criminately the remarks suggested by the occurrences 
in both expeditions." 


X.* Caesar, on his second return from Britain, put to 
sea soon after 9 p.m. in a calm, and reached Gaul at 

*X. " Caesar records that, on the return from the second expedition, 
* summam tranquillitatem consecutus,' he approached the coast of 
Gaul (* attigit' in Caesar does not mean that he reached it) in about 
eight or nine hours ; and Mr. Lewin, inferring from the expression 
describing the weather that the fleet was rowed all the way, con- 
siders that the distance of the Somme from Pevensey was too great 
to be passed over by rowing in eight or nine hours. The reply to 
this will require some consideration of the character of ancient 

" We are so much struck with the importance of the oars in ancient 
nautical battles, and in other critical circumstances, that we almost 
forget that, in general navigation, sails played a much more impor- 
tant part. Yet, if we look in the Iliad (which I cite without hesi- 
tation as accurately describing the realities of the age), we find that the 
galleys at that time were borne along by sails on the open sea ; but 
that, on entering a port, the sails were furled, and then only were the 
oars used to bring the vessels to their moorings. In what may be 
called the trireme period, though oars were used exclusively in the 
shock of battle, yet the exploit by which Conon hoped to cripple the 
victorious Spartan fleet after the affair of iEgospotami was the 
carrying off* their mainsails. For the Roman times, we find little 
information in Csesar (though in contrasting the ships of the Veneti 
with his own, he adverts to the difference of the materials of which 
the sails were constructed) ; and the notices in other authors are 
very much scattered. On the whole, I am inclined to refer to 
Virgil, in his account of the voyages of ^neas, as giving a better 
account of navigation in Caesar's time than is to be found elsewhere. 
Several remarks in the ^neid convince me that Virgil was a prac- 
tical sailor. So far as his poetical bent would carry him, he would, 
I suppose, incline to the row-boat side." 

The Astronomer-Royal then adduces some supposed illustrations 
of his views from Virgil, and then proceeds thus : 

* * Mr. Lewin has been led to the supposition of rowing by interpreting 
'summam tranquillitatem' to mean * dead calm.' But there are 
two elements to which * tranquillitas ' can apply, the air and the 
sea, — and if we consider which of these elements alone, in a dis- 
turbed state, is more likely to be injurious, we shall soon arrive at 

B 3 


break of day, or 5 a.m. '^ summam tranquiUitatem con- 
secutiis secund4 inM quum solvisset vigili^ prima 
luce terrain attigit," v. 23. From this I had drawn 
the inference that as it was a cahn the vessels were 
rowed, and that as the voyage occupied eight hours 
only, it could not have been from Pevensey to the 
Somme, a distance of more than sixty statute miles. To 
meet this argument the Astronomer-Koyal answers that 
the vessels were under sail^ for that in the most ancient 
navigation, as exemplified in the Diad, oars were used 
only " on entering a port ;" that in the trireme period 
" oars were used exclusively in the shock of battle," 
and that " for the Koman times we find Uttle informa- 
tion in Caesar, and the notices in the other authors are 
very much scattered," but he refers more particularly 
to Virgil, whom he calls a " practical sailor." But the 
testimony of all the poets in the world would not weigh 
against the narrative of Caesar himself, who tells us 
first of all that these very vessels had been specially 
made for rowing (actuariae) ; and in the next place that 
they were not only made for rowing, but that they were 
also used for rowing. Thus, in Caesar's second voyage 

a conclusion. If, as frequently happens after a heavy gale, there 
had been a high swell without a breath of wind, the over-loaded 
fleet would have been in great danger. On the other hand, if with 
smooth water there had been a brisk breeze, the steerage would 
have been good, the course would have been held well, the voyage 
would have been easy, — and, the fresher the breeze blew, the better 
would everybody have been pleased. Now for this we have only to 
suppose a stiff north-west wind, capable of carrying the ships seven or 
eight miles an hour ; for several miles after leaving Pevensey the 
water would be smooth as a mill-pond ; aft«r that, there would be a 
little sea, but with the easy motion of a vessel going nearly before 
the wind it would scarcely be felt ; and the voyage would be most 
tranquil and pleasant. This, I believe, is exactly what happened.*' 


to Britain, lie was drifted by the tide out of his course, 
and at daybreak, or a Httle before 4 a.m. they rowed 
the fleet to the former landing-place, which they reached 
at noon : " Ort4 luce, sub sinistra Britanniam reUctam 
conspexit. Turn rursus aestiis commutationem secutus, 
remis contendit^ ut earn partem insulae caperet, qu4 
optimum esse egressum superiore aBstate cognoverat. 
Accessmn est ad Britanniam omnibus navibus meridiano 
fere tempore," v. 8. Here, then, we have these vessels 
rowed for eight hours together in one direction, and if 
so, they could surely be rowed for eight hours together 
in the opposite direction. If poets are to be cited as 
authorities, why does not the Astronomer-Eoyal refer 
to Lucan, who addressing himself not loosely to the 
practice of navigation in general, but to this very ex- 
pedition of Caesar, speaks of the fleet not as under sail 
but as impelled by oars. 

" Hgec manus ut victum post terga relinqueret orbem, 
Oceani tumidas remo compescuit undas." — Phars, lib. i. v. 369. 

But let me concede, for argument's sake, that the 
vessels were not rowed, but were under sail, could they 
even then have run from Pevensey to the Somme in 
eight hours ? Captain Beechy remarks that " seven 
miles per hoiir would be reckoned a good rate of sail- 
ing for ships of the present day (Smith's Voyage and 
Shipwreck of St. Paul, p. 179) ; and the Astronomer- 
Koyal had observed, in his original essay, that " the 
distance from the mouth of the Somme to Hastings, is 
about fifty-two nautical miles, and that to Dover about 
fifty-five. These are such distances as may fairly be 
traversed in te7i hours with idonea tempestas'' How 
then, I ask, could the voyage have been made in eight 

B 4 


hours without the idonea tempestas^ and in a cahn. 
We must also bear in mind the defective state of ancient 
navigation, and that Caesar's vessels were, to use the 
Astronomer-Eoyal's own expression, " flat-built," L e. 
not constructed for fast going, but broad and barge- 
like : " Ad onera, et ad multitudinem jumentorum trans- 
portandam, paull6 latiores, qukm quibus in reUquis uti- 
mur maribus," v. 1 ; " vectoriis gravibusque navigiis," 
V. 8 : not only so, but Caesar, having been disappointed of 
the additional transports expected from the Continent, 
was obliged to crowd the vessels he had to the great 
inconvenience of the troops on board? How then 
could these flat-built, overloaded transports have accom- 
pUshed the distance of sixty miles (statute) in eight 
hours? The Astronomer-Eoyal says they could, for 
"we have only to suppose a stiffs north-west windy 
But this is the very thing that cannot be supposed, 
unless the Astronomer-Eoyal would translate summa 
tranquillitas by " a stiff, north-west wind !" 

XI.* I had asked how it happened, if Caesar landed 
at Pevensey which was out of the common course, that 
the Britons, nevertheless, were there to oppose him ? 

♦ XI. " Mr. Lewin raises the question, How it could happen that the 
Britons expected the landing at Pevensey. To this I reply, that 
Pevensey is known now, and probably was known for many genera- 
tions before Caesar's time, as the weakest point in the whole circuit 
of Britain. In the great war of the beginning of this centoiry there 
were erected for its defence thirty-six martello towers. (Upon the 
edge of Romney Marsh, to which Mr. Lewin calls particular atten- 
tion, there are only sixteen.) Caesar, who never made a step in 
ignorance, steered, as I conceive, for Pevensey Beach, but was drifted 
(as in the following year) by the tide imder the Hastings cliffs. The 
Britons had probably expected him at Pevensey ; but, on seeing 
him approach towards Hastings or Bcxhill, immediately moved in 
that direction." 


The Astronomer-Eoyal answers that, "Pevensey was 
the weakest pomt of Britain," and therefore that Caesar, 
" who never made a step in ignorance, steered for Pe- 
vensey Beach ;" and that the " Britons had probably 
expected him at Pevensey." Now this assumes several 
things which are unsustainable : viz. that Pevensey 
was at that time the weakest point, whereas, being 
backed by the Andred Forest, it was less favour- 
able for a landing than Eomney Marsh, just out of 
the Andred Forest ; and further, the argument im- 
plies that Caesar knew the nature of the southern coast, 
whereas he was probably acquainted only with the part 
between Eomney Marsh and Deal, for he could procure 
no information whatever (iv. 20), except what had 
been gathered by Volusenus during a five days' absence. 
Again, how, if Caesar fixed on Pevensey, could the 
Britons have known his intentions ? for it is very un- 
likely that he should have pubUshed them abroad, 
more particularly as he did not communicate his plans, 
in part, even to his own officers until the last moment, 
on arriving in Britain (iv. 23). But supposing, as must 
have been the case, that the Britons were ignorant 
of Caesar's intended naovements, they would naturally 
conclude that he would land (not in Sussex, but) in 
Kent, for the reasons, 1. that this part of the coast 
was the nearest to Gaul ; 2. that Kent was the part 
almost universally frequented by ships from Gaul 
(v. 13); 3. that Caesar's naval preparations had been 
made amongst the Morini (iv. 22), the people just op- 
posite to Kent ; 4. that, even if Caesar had equipped his 
fleet, as the Astronomer-Eoyal conjectures, at the mouth 
of the Somme, Eomney Marsh would be nearer than 
Pevensey to the Somme, and was in itself more favour- 
able for landing, as not shut in by the Andred Forest. 


Xn.* I had made it an objection to the theory of 
Pevensey, that Caesar in that case must have landed 
in the heart of the Andred Forest. The Astronomer- 
Eoyal answers that WiUiam the Conqueror disembarked 
at Pevensey, and if WiUiam did, why not Caesar ? The 
why not, is that from Caesar to William was an interval 
of 1000 years and upwards, and it cannot be conceded 
that the forest remained at the end of that period in 
the same condition as at the comimencement. The 
Eomans, a highly civilised people, had been in posses- 
sion of this part of Britain more than 360 years, and 
clearances must have been made during their occupa- 
tion. The Saxons, also, who followed them, must have 
contributed something to the same end. Had Peven- 
sey Marsh been the only practicable landing-place, 
Caesar might have been willing to encounter the diffi- 
culties ; but Komney Marsh was more favourable, and 
nearer to the port of embarkation, even assuming it 
to have been the Somme. 

* XII. " Mr. Lewin says, * Is it not also strange and unaccountable 
that CaBsar should have landed in the heart of the dense forest of 
Anderida ? ' I reply by the question, * Is it not strange and unac- 
countable that William of Normandy should have landed in the 
heart of the dense forest of Anderida ? ' I assign the same road to 
both. As £ir as we know, the character of the forest had not sen> 
sibly altered in the interval. In my paper, I have sufficiently 
recognised the woody character of the ground east of the Roberts- 
bridge road, and Mr. Lewin, if he reads the account of the conflict 
of Battle, will find abundant mention of the woods. But this is 
different from forest, where there are no roads or habitations, and 
where wood grows neglected upon soils so barren that they will 
rarely pay for the trouble of clearing. Such is the character of the 
elevated ground in which the Rother, the Cuckmere, and other 
small rivers, have their sources. At the present time, that region 
is called by the people of the country * The Forest,' but I believe 
that the same term is never applied to the country east of the road." 


Xm.* To prove that the camp of Caesar was in Kent 
I had appealed to the fact that the orders of Cassive- 
launus to assault the camp were sent to the four kings 
of Kent (v. 22). The Astronomer-Eoyal accounts for it 
by saying that " the greater part of Sussex was occu- 
pied by the Andred Forest" (which is what I had been 
contending for), " and the population of Kent was pro- 
bably many times as numerous as that of Sussex." The 
latter fact does not appear from Caesar, who remarks 
only that Britain in general was densely peopled (v. 12), 
and as the Astronomer-Eoyal thinks that even in Caesar's 
time the Andred Forest did not extend eastward beyond 
Eobertsbridge, there is no reason why that part of 
Sussex should not have been at least suflSciently popu- 
lous to furnish a contingent to the British force. As 
the men of Kent were distinct from the Eegni, or men 
of Sussex (which is not disputed), the natural inference 
to be drawn from the assault of the camp by the men 
of Kent surely is that the camp was in Kent. 

XrV.f Caesar, on his second voyage to Britain, started 

* XIII. " Mr. Lewin thinks it a capital objection to the landing at 
Pevensey that the chieftains of Kent (instead of Sussex) were 
directed to attack the naval camp. The distance of that camp at 
Pevensey from the boundary of Kent is perhaps, in a straight line, 
13 miles, no very great march for a patriot. The reason for calling 
on the men of Kent instead of those of Sussex is obvious : the 
greater part of Sussex was occupied by the Andred Forest, and the 
population of Kent was probably many times as numerous as that 
of Sussex." 

I XIV. " When Caesar was drifted eastwardly by the tidal current, 
he remarks that he found the coast of Britain on his left hand. And 
Mr. Lewin actually interprets this as if Caesar had kept his ships' 
heads strictly in the same azimuth, and that the * left hand ' had re- 
lation to the larboard side of the ship, and therefore that he had passed 
the Straits of Dover. I cannot conceive that the expression refers 
to any direction but to that of the drift ; it asserts that, in reference 


at micbiight, and being drifted by the tide, he, when 
morning broke, beheld Britain on his left hand. This 
to me (as before to the learned D'Anville) was a con- 
vincing proof that the vessel with her head towards 
Britain had been carried by the current oflf the South 
Foreland. In that case the sea only would be visible 
on the right hand, and Britain would be observed on 
tlie left. The Astronomer-Eoyal answers that " left " 
in this passage has reference to the tidal current, — in 
other words, that Caesar having remarked the current, 
and tiu'ning his face in the same direction saw Britain 
on his left hand. The truth, of course, is, that Csesar 
did not first discover the diift, and then take the bear- 
ings of the land, but seeing Britain on his left hand, 
discovered the drift. The head of the vessel must 
liave been turned towards Britain in any case, for 
Ca3sar was saiUng for that coast ; and the vessel, even 
if committed to the action of the current only, would 
drift broadside to the stream, i. e. with the head towards 
Britahi. Besides what a truism is otherwise fastened 
upon Cicsar, viz. that a person going up Channel, and 
looking in the same direction with the tide, would have 
Britain on his left hand, as if by any possibiKty he could 
have Britain on the right I 

XV.* The only remaining question is this : — Accord- 
to the direction of tidal current, the coast was on the left hand. It 
is therefore indecisive as to the place." 

* XV. " Mr. Lewin has fixed upon Challock Wood as the post de- 
fended by the Britons in their battle at the second invasion, and the 
Wye (here a very petty rividet) as the river concerned in the defence. 
It is perfectly evident in Caesar's account that the river was the im- 
portant part of the defence ; and I have no hesitation in saying that 
the Wye here presents no aptitude for military defence, no singu- 
larity of any kind, which could give it the most trifling value in 
the struggle with Csesar. In this respect it differs very widely from 


ing to my hypothesis Csesar, oh his second invasion, 
landed in Eomney Marsh, opposite limne, marched 
inland to Wye on the Stour, and then crossmg the 
river, drove the Britons from their stockade in the 
wood, at Challock, on the opposite hill. Not a few 
arguments in support of this are conceded by the 
Astronomer-Eoyal, for he admits that Eomney Marsh 
is "very favourable" for a debarcation; that Wye 
is twelve miles from the sea-shore at limne; and 
that Canterbury was then in existence, so that the 
Britons would naturally, on retiring from Eomney 
Marsh, pursue the road to their capital, and stockade 
the wood which commanded the defile leading to it. (I 
may here add that the circular hill at the end of the 
wood towards Godmersham is remarkably streaked by 
several successive tiers of lines, and is itself free from 
wood. This may have been the position of the British 
war-chariots, and the streaks referred to may have been 
at the same time ramparts against assault and roads for 
descent to the cars). To this theory the Astronomer- 
Eoyal offers two objections. In the first place, he says, 
that " in Caesar's account the river was the important 
part of the defence," and that the Stour (which, in his 
original Essay was a " small river" and is now a " very 
pretty rivulet^'' could not have had " the most trifling 
value in the struggle with Caesar." I have repeatedly 
seen the Stour at Wye, and I have more than once 

the place which I have assigned (Robertsbridge), where a compara- 
tively narrow ford crosses a river that spreads on both sides of the 
road into broad soft marshes (probably river in that age), and where 
the hill-banks of the marshes are generally steep. The existence of 
such a place, on the road which Csesar must have taken (as coming 
from Pevensey), and at the distance which Csesar has specified, pre- 
sents one of the strongest evidences for deciding on locality that I 
have ever seen." 


seen the Bother at Eobertsbridge, and I have no hesita- 
tion in saying that the Stour always appeared to myself 
of at least twice the magnitude of the Bother. The 
quantity of water at Wye may be judged of in some 
degree by the feet, that in the month of September 
1861, when I last visited it, the mill had constantly 
at work four pairs of stones from 5.30 A.M. till 8 p.m., 
except for a short time at noon. However, I do not 
consider the relative magnitudes of the two rivers very 
material, because Csesar, as I conceive, does not make 
the river " the important part of the defence." On his 
debarcation he j&rst learned from some captives where 
the enemy had posted themselves, " quo in loco hostium 
copiae consedissent," v. 9. He then, after a twelve miles' 
march, and at break of day, came in sight of their 
position, which Caesar describes as a stockaded wood. 
Upon Caesar's approach the Britons did not march 
down in force to the river, but only sent the cavalry 
and war chariots to harass the enemy in crossing the 
stream and ascending the hill: "Uli equitatu atqice 
essedis ad flumen progressi, ex loco superiore nostros 
prohibere, et proelium committere coeperunt," v. 9. And 
on the Eoman side, not the legions, but the cavalry 
only, were engaged : "^Eepulsi (the Britons) ab equitatu," 
V. 9. In the same way, after Cassar had been recalled 
to his fleet, and when he again returned to Wye, the 
Britons harassed him along his whole march with their 
cavalry and war chariots : " Equites hostium essedariique 
acriter proelio cum equitatu nostro in itinere conflixe- 
runt," V. 15. It would therefore appear that the Britons, 
though they sent down their skirmishers to the river, 
meant to make their final stand, as they did, in the 
stockade ; and it was not until after a desperate struggle 
that the Bomans were able to dislodge them. 


In the next place the Astronomer-Koyal insists that 
the river referred to by Caesar was the Bother, inas- 
much as at Eobertsbridge, " a comparatively narrow ford 
crosses a river that spreads on both sides of the road 
into broad soft marshes (probably river in that age), 
and where the hill banks of the marshes are generally 
steep ;" and in the " Archaeologia" he remarks that Caesar, 
in advancing from Pevensey to Eobertsbridge, would 
have on his left the forest of Andred, and on his right 
" a partially wooded country, terminated by the impass- 
able marshes of the Bother," and that at Eobertsbridge 
only, where " the soimd grounds on the north side 
and on the south side approach nearer than anywhere 
else," could Caesar have advanced — that Eobertsbridge 
was in short " the gate of Britain." In order to form 
a judgment myself of the capabiUties of Eobertsbridge 
as a defensive post, I visited it at about the same season 
that Caesar was in Britain, that is, in August. As to 
the forest which Caesar would have on his left, i. e. to 
the west, there is no observable difference at present 
between the west and east; and I may add by the 
way that even in the days of the Saxons the Andred 
Forest extended as far as Eomney Marsh, as we learn 
from the Saxon Chronicle, a.d. 893. As to the " im- 
passable marshes" on Caesar's right, it is true that at 
Eobertsbridge, a corruption of Eotherbridge, there are 
no less than seven bridges, from which the place takes 
its name ; but at four of them only was any water at 
all. At the other three the channels were perfectly 
dry. Where water was running so far from any 
" embankment," preventing its overflow, it ran along 
the bottom, many feet below the natural surface of 
the groimd. As when Caesar was in Britain the 
second time it was an unusually dry summer (v. 24), 

any marsh (to judge from present appearances) would 
be quite out of the question. The streams, such as 
they are, unite at a point about half way between 
Eobertsbridge and Salehurst, and even below the 
confluence at Salehurst, I walked across the Bother, 
without wetting more than the soles of my shoes.* As 
to the nearer approach of the sound grounds at Eo- 
bertsbridge than elsewhere, I observed no ground that 
was not sounds but if the high groimds as opposed to 
the flats be referred to, they are in much greater pro- 
pinquity at Salehurst than at Eobertsbridge. The 
"narrow ford" at Eobertsbridge and the "broad soft 
marshes" on each side were not to be seen. In short, 
an inspection of the ground at Eobertsbridge dissipated 
at once the theory which the Astronomer-Eoyal had 
suggested to my imagination. Eobertsbridge, so far as 
I am capable of forming a judgment, does not possess 
the miUtary advantages attributed to it. 

Having answered all the objections of the Astro- 
nomer-Eoyal, I shall now advert to some facts which 
escaped my notice when I wrote my Essay, but which, 
I think, materially affect the Astronomer-Eoyal's theory. 
According to the Astronomer-Eoyal, Caesar first an- 
chored off the Hastings cliffs, and then sailed eight 
miles to Pevensey Marsh. The nature of this part of 
the coast is as foUows : — From Hastings eastward to 
Cliffs End, a distance of five miles, are the Fairlight 
Downs, and these, rising to a maximum height of 240 
feet, are suflSciently imposing to answer the description 
of " montibus angustis." From Hastings westward to 

♦ I was also there on one occasion in midwinter, and the stream 
was only ankle deep, and there was a cart-road across it in constant 
use. There are, of course, occasional floods, and then the scene is 
very different. 


the flat of Pevensey Marsh (say at Pevensey Sluice) is 
a distance of about eight miles English, or nearly nine 
miles Eoman. The intervening space has occasionally 
low chfis, as at Bexhill, but would not at all answer to 
the " montibus angustis," so that Caesar could not have 
anchored opposite them. Neither, on the other hand, 
as this part is undulating, can it be considered the 
planum or flat shore on which Caesar landed. If, there- 
fore, Caesar approached this coast at all, he must have 
anchored, in the first instance, somewhere oflf the high 
cliffs between Hastings and Clifis End ; but if so, eight 
Eoman miles would not carry him so far as Pevensey 
Marsh. The line of coast, therefore, does not, to my ap- 
prehension; tally in this respect with Caesar's account. 

However, the matter to which I wish more particu- 
larly to draw attention is the nature of the tidal cur- 
rents at Hastings. The argument of the Astronomer- 
Royal is this : first, that Caesar arrived off the Hastings 
Cliffs, which he says, " in my judgment, appear to suit 
Caesar's account better than those of Dover or Hythe "? 
secondly, that Caesar reached Britain on the third day 
before the full moon, L e. (as fiill moon was on the night 
of the 30th August, B.C. 55), on the 27th August, b.c. 55. 
" The day of Caesar's landing," he says, " may be the 
second, third, or fourth day before the full moon. I will 
consider it as the third" ; and then, thirdly, after laying 
down that the turn of the tide on that third day would 
be " two and half hours earher than on the day of the 
full moon, he cites the authority of Sir F. W. Beechey 
as to the turn of the tide off Hastings on the day of 
fiill moon, who states that " close in shore off Hastings 
the stream turns to the west at 11.0, but the turn be- 
comes later as the distance off shore increases, and at 
five miles' distance the stream turns to the west at 1.0." 


In other words, as I understand it, for a mile off shore 
the stream tiuns at 11.0 ; at two miles off shore at 11.30; 
at three miles offshore at 12.0 ; at four miles off shore at 
12.30 ; at five miles off shore at 1.0 ; and at six miles off 
shore at 1.30. On the third day before the full, this turn 
of the tide would be, according to the Astronomer-Soyal, 
two and a half hours earlier, i.e. dose in shore at 8.30 ; 
at five miles off at 10.30 ; and, consequently, at six miles 
off at 11.0 : and the Astronpmer-Boyal concludes that, 
" If we suppose Caesar to have first attempted the neigh- 
boiu-hood of St. Leonards, the tide, which a few miles 
fi-om shore had turned to the west at 1.10, was, at 3.0, 
running in full stream to the west" Now, by assuming 
the tide, on the third day before the fuU moon, to be at 
11.0, the Astronomer-Boyal places Csdsar's anchorage 
at no less than six nautical or nearly seven statute 
miles firom the shore. But who can believe that Caesar 
was at this distance ? He says that he had reached 
Britain^ and that he saw the forces of the enemy ar- 
rayed upon the heights, and he describes the very spot 
with great minuteness. ^^Britanniam attigit^ atque ibi 
in omnibus coUibus expositas hostium copias armatas 
conspexit. Cujus bci haec erat natura," &a iv, 23, 
and then, not finding that point a suitable landing- 
place ("Hunc ad egrediendum nequaquam idoneiun 
arbitratus locum,'' ib.\ he weighed anchor and ad- 
vanced, evidently along the shore, eight miles further, 
until he reached an open level ; drciter millia passuum 
viii ab eo loco progressus," &c. ib. Is not all this at 
variance with the Astronomer-Eoyal's assumption that 
Cajsar anchored " a few nules fi:om shore," i.e. as appears 
from the context six or seven nules firom the shore ? 

The late Camden Professor of Ancient History at 
Oxford, Dr. CardweU, in his article on the subject in 
the third volume of the " Archasologia Cantiana," makes 


Caesar anchor (and I agree with him) about half a mile 
from the shore. I will concede, however, that Caesar's 
moorings were a mile from the shore ; and what, then, 
are the facts ? When last at Hastings I made very par- 
ticular inquiry as to the tidal currents there, and was 
surprised to find how materially they differed from those 
off Dover or Folkstone. At the latter places the stream 
continues to run east for about three and a half hours 
after high water; but at Hastings the current turns 
west about the very same time with high water, and 
(including slack water) runs west for about six and 
a half hours, and then runs east for about six hours. 
At what time, then, was it high water on the day of 
Caesar's landing? The full moon was^ at 3 a.m. on 
31st August, and according to the tide-tables, high 
water at Hastings at the full of the moon is at 10.53. 
We may assume, therefore, that the high water next 
preceding the full moon, viz. in the evening of 30th 
August, would be about that time. But high water in 
the morning of 27th August Would be seven tides 
earlier, Le. 2.48 earlier, or about 8 a.m. At this time, 
therefore, the current off Hastings would turn west, 
and would run so for the next six and a half hours, or 
until 2.30 P.M., and would then turn east. At 3 p.m. 
therefore, Caesar, if he went with the tide, must have 
proceeded, not westward towards Pevensey Marsh, but 
in exactly the opposite direction. To guard myself as 
much as possible against error, I wrote to Captain 
Fennings, a resident at Hastings, who possesses great 
nautical experience, and, as professor of navigation, com- 
bines with it the advantage of science, and he Was cour- 
teous enough to give me the information I desired, and 
for which I beg to offer my best thanks. The ques- 
tions and answers were verbatim as follows : — 

c 2 



1. ''At what time does the 
current turn west a mile from the 
shore between the Hook " (near 
the eastern end of the Hastings 
Clifi&) " and Pevensey ? Before 
high-water? or after it? or at 
the same time with it ? 

2. " How long usually is it 
slack-water ? 

3. " When does the current 
turn east and how long does it 
usually run in that direction ? 

4. '' Is there any and what dif- 
ference between the currents 
west of the Hook and the cur- 
rents between the Hook and the 

5. '' Many years ago some 
ti*ansports lay off the cliffs be- 
tween the Hook and Hastings 
about a mile from the shore. It 
was high-water about 8 a.m. 
They started at 3 p.m. and went 
in the same direction as the tide. 
Which way did they go? Up 
Channel or down Channel ? East 
or west ? " 

1. '' The tide turns west about 
high-water a mile fit)m the shore 
between the Hook and Pevensey. 

2. '' In spring-tides it is slack- 
water half an hour, and one hour 
in neap-tides. 

3. '' The flood or current b^ins 
to run eastward up Channel when 
it is low- water on shore and runs 
six hours, between the Hook 
point and Pevensey a mile from 
the shore. 

4. " The tide runs three hours 
later between the Hook and 
Dungeness than it does to the 
westward of the Hook. 

5. " If it was high-water at 
8 A.M. about a mile from the 
shore between the Hook and 
Hastings, it would be low- water, 
slack, or say the young flood at 
3 o'clock P.M. Therefore, when 
the ships weighed anchor at 3 p.m« 
they proceeded with the flood up 
Channel to the eastward" 

Among these questions I had omitted to ask how 
long the current continued to run west, and though the 
fiact might be collected from the answers to the other 
queries, I again troubled Captain Fennings by request- 
ing to be informed, as each high water is twelve hours 
twenty-four minutes later than the preceding, how the 
interval of twelve hours twenty-four minutes was to be 


distributed as between the current westward and the 
current eastward ? and his reply was as follows : " In 
reference to dividing the tides, I have consulted the 
oldest fishermen, also Captain William Phillips, the 
oldest shipmaster in Hastings. They agree with me 
that the flood a mile ofi* shore runs eastward six hours, 
and the ebb runs west six hours twenty-five minutes." 
This made no allowance for slack water between the 
two currents, and as to this he writes, " In spring tides 
it is slack water about half an hour, and in neap tides 
about one hour. We have four slack waters in twenty- 
four hours. Therefore we must take half an hour from 
each eastern or western current in spring tides, and one 
hour from each eastern or western tide in neaps." In 
other words, the eastern current (including slack water) 
runs six hours, and the westeni current (including slack 
water) runs six hours twenty-five minutes. But at 
every change of the current from east to west, or from 
west to east, there is slack water, during which there is 
no positive current. This interval, amounting to half 
an hour in springs, and one hour in neaps, is to be 
deducted. Thus, supposing it to be high water at the 
springs at 11 A.M, the current at 11 a. M. turns west 
and runs so tiU 4.55 p. M. It is then slack water tiU 
5.25 P.M. and then turns east and runs so till 10.55 p.m. 
and then it is slack water again till 11.25 p.m. 

K this information, so kindly conununicated by 
Captain Fennings, be correct, it is clear that upon the 
footing of the tidal current alone, independently of 
other objections, the theory that Csesar anchored oflF 
the Hastings Cliffs and then sailed to Pevensey Marsh, 
cannot be maintained. 

c 3 


IN the third vpliime of the " Archaeologia Cantiana," 
a distinguished scholar, the late Camden Professor 
of Ancient History at Oxford, Dr. Cardwell, advanced 
some objections to my theory that Caesar, upon his 
invasion of Britain, embarked at Boulogne, and landed 
on B<)mney Marsh. The opinions of one who occupied 
so prominent a position in the world of letters cannot 
be passed over in silence, and as, though withdrawn 
from us, he still lives in his works, I now proceed to a 

The embarcation is assigned by the Professor to 
Wissant ; but he does not enter upon any formal 
argument upon this head, nor shall I here contend at 
length to the contrary. But as Wissant is somewhat 
out of the way, and seldom visited, I may take the 
opportunity of stating the result of my own personal 
observation. In the Bay of Wissant the sea is con- 
tinually throwing up a quantity of fine white sand, 
whence the name of Witsand (Dutch), corrupted into 
Wissant. When the sea retires the sand dries, and 

c 4 


the wind lifts it upon the ledge of the seaboard. 
Wherever there is any cleft or fissure, the increased 
force of the wind in the gully carries up the sand, and 
lodges it in a heap on the upper surface. This heap 
soon becomes a hill, and in the course of time a suc- 
cession of sand hills forms a kind of rampart round 
the bay. It is a mistake to suppose that this part is a 
gently sloping shore upon which ships could be drawn 
up in safety, for they could not be transported over the 
belt of sand, and, lying before it, they would be exposed 
to the inclemency of the sea. 

The village of Wissant stands on a little eminence 
about half way along the bay, and between it and the 
sand ridge is the old port now quite dry, and half filled 
with sand, but the configuration of it may still be 
traced. I was informed by a native that it was two 
kilometres, or one mile and a quarter long firom west 
to east, and half a kilometre, or two furlongs and a half 
broad fi:om north to south. A stream which has water 
enough to turn a mill runs through the village into the 
port, and thence forces its way through an opening into 
the sea. First appearances would lead one to sup- 
pose that the belt of sand has been the bulwark of the 
port on the north, and that the only entrance had been 
where the watercourse now runs ; but in the Museum 
at Boulogne is a painting (copied fi:om one preserved 
among the archives of Wissant) representing the port 
as a little inlet or bay scooped out of the shore, having 
a breakwater in fi:ont of it, and open at each end, 
so that a few ships could find shelter behind the break- 
water, and others at the east or west end of the port, 
according to the quarter of the wind.* The tradition 
is that the old town of Wissant stood at the east end 

* A copy of the plan is annexed. 

i "W-W^^' 


of the port, and that it did so, at least in part, is 
evident, for an excavation had been recently made 
when I was there, and the walls of houses were visible 
at the depth of twelve feet. About a quarter of a 
mile to the south of the village is what is called Caesar's 
camp, seated on a chalk hill (though there are no traces 
of chalk between it and the sea), and consisting of four 
successive tiers of ramparts. They were all earth- 
works, and no remains of masonry were traceable. 
The inmost and most elevated circle was, speaking 
from recollection, about thirty yards across. The im- 
pression which the whole leaves is not that of a Eoman 
camp, but of a mediaeval fortress. A plan of the camp 
and other military works will be found in M. Henry's 
^ Essay on Boulogne." 

The port of Wissant was never heard of until seven or 
eight centuries ago, and flourished only for a very brief 
period.* In fact, the line of shore, consisting of those ever- 
moving heaps of sand, does not admit of any permanent 
celebrity. I should doubt whether in the time of Caesar 
Wissant was a port at all ; but, supposing its existence, 
it never could have contained the fleet with which 
Caesar sailed on his second expedition. As Caesar cer- 
tainly started from a port^ and not from a bay, and 
the port of Wissant was of such narrow dimensions, it 
could not have been the Portus Itius. There are also 
the two following objections to Wissant: — First 
Caesar tells us that the passage from Portus Itius to 
Britain was about thirty miles : " transjectum circiter 
millium passuum xxx." Bell. GalL iv. 30, whereas the 
distance of Wissant from Britain is only about twenty 
miles. Secondly. When Caesar returned from Britain 
the first time, two of his transports were drifted a httle 

♦ Somner's " Roman Ports," p. 38. 


to the south of Portus Itius : " Paullo infra delatae sunt," 
iv. 37 ; and when the troops were put on shore, and 
were marking their way back to Portus Itius, they were 
attacked by the Morini, and only saved after a four 
hours' fight by the arrival of some cavalry, and these 
Morini were chastised the next day, because it is said 
they could not take refuge as they had done the year 
before in the marshes which were then dry. Supposing 
Wissant to be Portus Itius, where are these marshes, 
as none are to be found at present between Wissant 
and Boulogne ? But assuming, not Wissant, but Bou- 
logne to be the Portus Itius, we meet with the marshes 
where they should be, viz. a little to the south of 
Boulogne. I visited that part in the month of Sep- 
tember 1861, in a dry season, and the marsHes were 
stiU very distinguishable between Camiers and Dannes. 
There were several large pools of stagnant water, with 
a low flat tract many miles in length, which would 
clearly be a marsh in a rainy season. In fact, the 
whole country, from Etaples to Hardelot, consists, 
where there are no marshes, of the dunes or drifted 
sea sand, and the probabihty is, as history states, that 
anciently this was one continuous marsh. 

The point to which Dr. CardweU directed his chief 
attention was Caesar's place of landing^ which he con- 
sidered to be Deal In maintaining that the debar- 
cation was on Eomney Marsh, I had relied on the 
Tide Tables pubhshed by the Admiralty, which, if 
correct, are decisive, that at three o'clock on the 27th 
August, B.C. 55, the day of the debarcation, the tide, 
which Caesar says he followed (ventum et aestum uno 
tempore nactus secundum, iv. 23), was running, not 
eastward, towards Deal, but westward, towards Eomney 
Marsh. The Professor of course felt the weight of this 


argument, and makes some very candid admissions. 
" A basis," he says, " resting on such authority as the 
directions issued from the Admiralty, is primd fade 
beyond the reach of cavil or objection : it is only when 
the problem is worked out, and found to terminate in 
incongruities and contradictions, that the inquirer feels 
his confidence shaken, and considers himself at liberty 
to examine for himself ;" and he then proceeds to point 
out some supposed contrarieties in my hypothesis, and 
which he daases under four heads. 

The first and main objection urged by him* is as 

* The Professor makefi the following pre&tory remarks, " Besides 
his war vessels, Csesar had collected eighty transports to convey the 
two legions, consisting probably of about eight thousand men, whom 
he appointed to accompany him. Eighteen other transports were 
detained at a haven eight miles furtiher north (' portus ulterior, 
superior,' BeU. Grail, iv. 23 and 28), being prevented by contrary 
winds from joining him. So that the wind was blowing steadily 
and strongly from the south-west, and the eighteen transports were 
detained on the coast near Calais. These vessels did not leave the 
harbour till the fourth day after CflBsar's arrival in Britain ; and we 
may thence infer (and this is a point of importance) that the wind 
continued blowing from the same quarter. That they were detained 
by some such difficulty is evident from the fact that Caesar had 
ordered all his cavalry, consisting probably of about eight hxmdred 
men, to go thither and to put to sea as soon as possible." And he 
then states his first objection thus : — 

'< First, then, I have already stated that the wind during the whole 
of the 27th of August was probably blowing up the Channel. That 
it was so for some time previously is evident from the feet that the 
eighteen transports were detained by the wind in a harbour eight 
miles frirther north than Caesar's starting-place, and the only words 
connected with this matter on the day of departure are, * nactus 
idoneam ad navigandum tempestatem,' which merely say that the 
wind had moderated. It is true that tJiree days afterwards the wind 
blew fririously from the north-east, and drove the eighteen transports, 
when they were on the point of joining Caesar, to a considerable 
distance down the Channel : but there is no evidence of any change 


follows : — that Caesar set sail with a south-west wind ; 
that the same wind continued to blow for the next 
foiu: days; that Caesar, when he weighed anchor off 
Dover cliffs, and sailed eight miles, had the wind in 
his favoiu:, and, therefore, as the wind was south-west, 
he must have steered to the north-east, which would 
bring him to Deal. To take the argument by steps, 
what evidence, in the first place, is there that Caesar 
sailed with a south-west wind ? In the second invasion, 
it is no doubt mentioned expressly that the wind was 
Africus, or south-west, " leni Africo," v. 8 ; but we are 
now upon the first invasion, and the only circumstances 
from which the quarter of the wihd can be collected 
are the two following, viz. that it was " idonea tem- 
pestas," a wind suitable to a passage from Gaul to 
Britain, which would place it south-east ; and again, 
that the eighteen vessels at a port eight miles to the 
north of Boulogne were prevented by the wind from 
reaching Boulogne, a fact which would point to a 
south wind. What objection, then, is there to the 
supposition of a south-east, instead of a south-west 
wind ? A breeze from the south-east would be more 

during the interyal, and the expression, ' ventum et sestum iino 
tempore nactus secundum/ which, according to Mr. Lewin, implies, 
by the meaning of the word * nactus,' that the wind had undergone 
a change when Caesar left his anchorage, may, for anything that we 
know at present, denote a change in the tide and not in the wind. 
In another part of his argument (p. 58) Mr. Lewin says, * The day 
after the transport of the in&ntry the wind had shifted from the 
south-west to the north-east ; ' and if he means that the shifting 
took place on the 28th of August, although I see no intimation of it, 
I am not required to gainsay it, being only concerned with the 
direction of the wind on the afternoon of tibe 27th. If then the 
wind waa still blowing up the Channel when Caesar quitted hia 
anchorage off Dover, we have already an incongruity in the suppo- 
sition tliat he was carried westward by tide and wind together." 


favourable for a voyage from Boulogne to Folkestone 
than one from the south-west ; and if the wind blew 
from the south-east, Caesar, on arriving off the coast 
of Britain, would have the wind more suitable for a 
tack westward towards Eomney Marsh, than eastward 
towards Deal. If, as is equally probable, the wind 
was direct south, it would then make Uttle difference 
whether, on reaching Britain, he tacked east or west. 
As Caesar sailed from Gaul to Britain on his second 
invasion with a south-west wind, he would find no 
difficulty, when he moored his ships off Britain on 
his first invasion, in tacking westward with a south 
wind. Even assuming with the Professor, but which 
is not necessary, that the wind was from the south- 
west, Csesar, on quitting his moorings at the distance 
of half a mile or a mile from the shore, might very 
well have proceeded westward for a debarcation. 
However, the question from which quarter the wind 
blew when Caesar set sail the first time is, after all, 
unimportant, as, in fact, the wind shifted, as we shall 
see, not long after his embarkation at the Portus Itius. 
The next step in the argument is the assertion that 
the wind with which Caesar sailed continued for the 
next four days. The only ground suggested by the 
Professor for this is, that the eighteen transports were 
detained for that length of time in the port eight miles 
to the north of the Portus Itius. " Those vessels," he 
says, "did not leave the harbour till the fourth day 
after Caesar's arrival, and we may thence infer (and 
this is a point of importance) that the wind continued 
blowing from the same quarter." But what are the 
facts? Caesar set sail himself from Portus Itius at 
midnight with a favourable wind for Britain, and the 
cavahy which he had despatched to the haven eight 


miles to the north, was to have embarked with the 
same wind. There was some miaccountable delay at 
the latter port, and Caesar, after waiting for the 
eighteen transports in vain for some time in the ofl^g, 
was obliged, aiter all, to pursue his voyage alone, and 
reached Britain at 10 iuM. Now, whatever was the 
real cause of this tardiness at the northern port, it is 
dear that the wind, if it continued blowing from the 
same quarter, was not in fault ; for, unless thd eighteen 
transports could have left the port with the same wind 
with which Cassar sailed, he would not have sent the 
cavalry thither for embarkation, and have waited for 
them in the offing. Besides, it is manifest, as the two 
ports were only eight miles apart, that a wind favour- 
able to a passage to Britain from the one, would be 
almost equally so from the other. 

Instead, however, of a contmaance of the same wind 
for four days, it is quite plain from the whole narrative 
that, very shortly after Caesar's departure from Gaul, the 
wind veered about Caesar and his officers in the tri- 
remes were no less than ten hours on the passage, and 
if we allow an hour, or even two, for Caesar's waiting 
off the coast of Gaul for the eighteen transports, and 
take into consideration the deflections caused by the 
currents, the length of time is still inexplicable if the 
wind was favourable. The entire fleet did not reach 
Britain imtil three o'chch in the afternoon of the next 
day (iv. 23), and therefore consumed no less llian fifteen 
hours on the passage, being at the rate of only two 
miles an hour. The Professor was nmch struck by this 
himself. " Observe," he says, " the slowness of their 
movements, for the transports had not all reached the 
ground where Caesar anchored until five hours after his 
arrival." How then can these facts be reconciled with 


the hypothesis, that CsBsax sailed with a fair wind, and 
that it so continued during the whole voyage. Is it 
not manifest that, though, when the fleet started, the 
breeze was in then* favour, it afterwards shifted, and 
they were obliged while in mid channel to beat up 
against a contrary wind. 

Look again at the account given of the eighteen 
transports. Dr. Cardwell states that "those vessels did 
not leave the harbour till the fourth day after Caesar's 
arrival in Britain." But the words of Caesar are 
^ equites cursum tenere aique inmlam capere non potu- 
erant, iv. 26, that is, the eighteen transports carrying 
the cavalry, set sail, according to orders, but had been 
forced to put back by stress of weather. 

There is also another circumstance. When Caesar 
weighed anchor at 3 P.M., it is said that he had " got 
both wind and tide in his favour " (iv. 23) ; and as the 
word nactus imphes a change either in the toind or the 
tide ; and, as we shall show conclusively hereafter, that 
the tide had been running westward for some time 
before, and continued to run westward for some time 
after 3 p.m. on the day of Caesar's arrival, it follows that 
the change alluded to must have been in the wind. 
For these reasons, even admitting the wind to have 
been south-west when Caesar started, I cannot assent to 
the proposition that it continued to blow from that 
quarter for the next four days. 

11. The second inconsistency* imputed to me is 

* " Secondly, Caesar landed, as he says, at the distance of seven 
miles from the place where he lay at anchor. At that distance 
going westward you stand beneath the church at Folkestone ; and 
neither there nor as you pass onward to Sandgate, with reefe on the 
one side, and a lofty ridge of rock and clay on the other, do you see 
any groimd more ^vourable for a landing than the shore beneath the 


this. The Professor suggests that Caesar cast anchor off 
Dover, and " landed at the distance of seven " (accord- 
ing to other MSS., eight miles) " from the place where 
he lay at anchor ;" and that Eomney Marsh is " not at 
the distance of seven, but of nearly fourteen miles from 
the place of anchorage." This assumes that, according 
to my hypothesis, Caesar anchored off Dover ; but my 
theory was that Caesar anchored not off Dover, but off 
Folkestone, which would be the natural port from 
Boulogne, as we learn from the quaint language of 
Leland, "Folkestan," he says, "by al gesse stondeth 
very directly upon Boleyn." Now, from Folkestone to 
the seashore, off limne, is just eight miles. All that 
Caesar relates of his first anchorage is, that the coast 
which he approached was hemmed in by steep cliffs, 
"montibus angustis continebatur," iv. 23; and thi& 
description answers equally weU to any part between 
Sandgate and the South Foreland. It must be confessed 
that in my Essay I had spoken in rather unguarded 
language of Csesar's fleet being off Dover, and a cursory 
reader might easily mistake my meaning, but the whole 
context showed clearly that the anchorage was placed 
by me not off Dover, but off Folkestone ; and, accord- 
ingly, in the chart prefixed to the work, the lines of 
both voyages were drawn by me from Boulogne to 
Folkestone. The second objection of the Professor, 
therefore, falls to the ground, as based upon a misap- 
prehension of my theory, though, of com^e, I take 
no small blame to myself for not having employed 
more definite language. 

cliffs at Dover. In short, the nearest point at which Mr. Lewin ia 
contented to place the landing is in Romney Marsh, at the distance, 
not of seven, but of nearly fourteen Roman miles from the place of 

I may here observe, that although the landing 
was placed by me on the part of Eomney Marsh 
which Ues opposite Limne, it is impossible, in my 
opinion, to point out with any certainty the precise 
spot. The debarcation may, perhaps, have been at 
Hythe, which is also twelve miles from the Stour at 
Wye, and agrees in eveiy particular with Caesar's 
description. At whatever point the debarcation was 
effected, the first arrival and anchorage must be fixed 
eight nules to the east of it, and therefore somewhere 
between Folkestone and Dover. 

The third alleged inconsistency * is of a more com- 

* " Thirdly, Caesar drew to land, * aperto ac piano littore,' iv. 23, 
or, as elsewhere described, * in littore molli atque aperto,' v. 9, 
that is, on a gently sloping coast, free from rocks and overhanging 
hills. The rfiore of the present Romney Marsh, and a considerable 
part of the Marsh itself, are evidently of recent formation. The 
deposits from the river by land, and shingle from the sea, appear to 
have employed themselves in past ages in converting a shallow bay 
into what is now a drained and cultivated level, but was in mediaeval 
times a trackless swamp. Beyond Hythe, the low ground, together 
with the promontory beyond it, is still advancing into the sea, and 
the line of shore turns towards the south, leaving the ridge of hill, 
which accompanied us from Folkestone, to continue in its westward 
direction and to run inland. Here, doubtless, in the days of the 
Romans, was a considerable creek, the northern shore of which was 
boimded and overlooked by the same ridge of which we have been 
speaking, and the other sides would probably be swamp. That the 
ridge was the boundary on the north may be inferred from the fact 
that on this same ridge, at the distance of about three miles from 
the present shore, stands the village of Lympne, the ancient Partus 
Lemanis, one of the three principal harbours on this coast resorted 
to by the Romans in later times, and recorded in the Itineraries of 
Antoninus. Would such a creek, either on its northern rocky 
margin or elsewhere, afford such a landing-place as Caesar describes 
in the words * aperto ac piano littore ' ? Mr. Hussey says of it, 
* At Hythe, or rather at Lympne, a reasonably good harbour pro- 



plex character. The Professor states the requirements 
of Caesar's landing-place to be, that it should have '' a 
gently sloping coast, free from rocks and overhanging 
hills;'' — that " a considerable part of the Marsh itself 
(Eomney) is evidently of recent formation ;" — that at 
Hythe, " doubtless, in the days of the Eomans, was a 
considerable creek, the northern shore of which was 
bounded and overlooked by the same ridge (viz. the 
line of chffs running from Folkestone), and the other 
sides would probably be swamp ;" — and then he asks, 
" would such a creek, either on its northern rocky mar- 
gin or elsewhere, afford such a landing-place as Caesar 
describes in the words ' aperto ac piano littore' ? and in 
the Marsh itself," he says, " it is impossible to suppose 
that Caesar would have disembarked." The upshot of 
the argument, then, appears to be, that Caesar could 
not have landed in the creek, because the northern 
margin was rocky, with an overhanging hill ; and that 
he could not have landed on the Marsh itself, because 
it was a swamp. Let me first speak of the rocks. 
The Professor had apparently not visited limne, and 
he has therefore fallen into the not unnatural error of 
supposing that the ridge of rock from Folkestone to 
Hythe was continued to limne, whereas just before 
Limne the formation changes, and at Limne itself, in- 
stead of the supposed rocks, there is a soluble clay. I 
may mention, as a curious instance of the softness of the 

bably existed ; but the ground abutting upon it does not in any de- 
gree possess, or appear to have possessed, the requisite peculiarities ; 
and a movement from hence would have brought the Roman fleet 
to the shore of Romney Marsh, where it is impossible to suppose 
that Cajsar would have disembarked. Neither is it credible that he 
could in the first instance have steered to Romney or any other spot 
within the limits of the Marsh.' (Archaeol. Cant. vol. L p. 101.) 
I assent to these observations of Mr. Hussev." 



soil, that the Eomans erected on the slope at the north 
of the supposed creek an extensive fortress, now known 
as Stuttfall, and from the repeated sUps of ground carry- 
ing along with them houses and trees, the walls of 
Stuttfall are now so dislocated that the original form of 
the castrum can scarcely be traced. It is even a cur- 
rent tradition that Stuttfall once stood on the summit of 
the hill, and has sHd halfway down ; but, although 
this is a vain imagination, no one can look upon the 
ruin without acknowledging the loose character of the 
soil. So much for the rocks at Limne, which do not 
exist. But as to an " overhanging hill," the Professor 
is quite correct, and I agree with him that a descent 
from ships at the foot of such a hill would have been 
unfavourable; but I had never asserted that Caesar 
did land there. My theory was that Caesar landed on 
the sea-shore opposite Limne, and a mile and a half 
from it. The debarcation of an army would require 
a long line of open shore, and such was that which 
presented itself upon Eomney Marsh. 

But here is interposed the objection, rather imphed 
than directly asserted by the Professor, that although 
Eomney Marsh is now terra. Jirma^ it was in Caesar's 
time a mere, swamp. This difficulty suggested by 
the Professor has given me some trouble, as I could 
not return a suitable answer without thoroughly in- 
vestigating the formation of the level. By good luck, 
my friend Mr. Briggs, of the Chancery bar, who is 
fortunate enough to own an estate in the Marsh, 
introduced me to Mr. Elliott, who has been the 
engineer of the Marsh for the last twenty-five years, 
and his local knowledge, with other aids, has enabled 
me to arrive at, I hope, a satisfactory conclusion. 
I cannot here refrain from expressing the great obli- 



gations I am under to Mr. Elliott for his extreme cour- 
tesy and kindness in transferring to me the finiits of his 
long experience, and without which I should have been 
quite unable to unravel the history of the Marsh.* 

It is now certain, though it was long doubted, that 
the Marsh is absolutely and exclusively a sea deposit. 
This is evident from the marine shells which pervade 
the whole mass. The sea along this coast is commonly, 
and more particularly in the spring, charged with a 
quantity of earthy matter stirred up by the tide from 
the mudbanks along the shore. Occasionally the water 
is so foul from this cause that to bathe in it would 
scarcely be deemed an act of cleanliness, stiU less of 
pleasure. The sluices from the Marsh into the sea 
have invariably an intervening basin to break the force 
of the waves against the lock-gates, 'and in one of these 
basins, excavated only twenty years siQce, the deposit 

* A stranger without local knowledge would fall into the greatest 
mistakes. Thus he sees west of Hy the a field in the Marsh clothed 
with verdure, and, observing the depression of the ground, imagines 
that here must have been the port of Limne, and begins to calculate 
how many centuries would suffice for the formation of the soil. In 
fact, the field was excavated many feet in depth very recently, the 
shingle being carried away along the canal to repair the roads ; 
and the site of the shingle quarry was then purchased by- a Mr. 
Marshall, who covered it with soil at a great expense, and on his 
death it was sold for one half what it had cost. Again, there is seen, 
running along the southern border of the triangular level to the south 
and east of Hythe, a long bank of earth, apparently for shutting out 
extraordinary tides ; but, if so, how could the bank end, as it does, 
at the Elm Avenue, so that to the west of the avenue the sea would 
have ready entrance ? The answer is that the bank originally was 
continued to the high shingle bed which formed the western lip of 
the port, and which is seen at the end of the avenue on the west ; 
but a few years ago the bank was levelled in this part to fill up some 
hollows ; and the mayor of Hythe, in consequence, found one day 
lo his surprise ten inches of water in his drawing-room. 



i^^ , 


from the sea has been no less than ten feet, or an 
aiverage of half a foot per annum ! This is under 
-extraordinary circumstances, where the water being 
dnclosed has time to settle ; but as a general average 
"the deposit may be taken as at least one-tenth of an 
±ich annually. It has been ascertained, by boring at 
"the west end of the Marsh, that the depth of the de- 
^posit is ninety feet, so that the length of time required 
ifor its elevation to the present level would, if this rate 
^were assumed, be upwards of 10,000 years. But, in 
:£act, such a rate is inadmissible, as the amount of deposit 
depends on the quantity of superincumbent water, and 
(the sea level being always the same) as the surface of 
fche deposit below rose higher, the measiu-e of water 
above it would become proportionably less. Besides, 
the precipitation of the silt is variable according to 
the force of current; and, from the configuration of 
the Marsh, the waters at a considerable depth might 
liave been comparatively much more quiescent, and 
"therefore less capable of holding the silt in sus- 
pension.* Had the sea not been excluded artificially, 

♦ On the subject of sea deposit, the following extracts from 
Captain Washington's Report to the Commissioners for inquiring 
into the State of the Tidal Harbours, ftimish some valuable informa- 
tion : — " The maximum quantity of suspended matter in Dover Ba}f 
was found at high water spring-tides, in a strong off-shore wind at 
west-north-west, when as much as 473 grains per cubic foot were car- 
ried along by a tide stream running at the rate of 2^ knots an hour. 
The minimum quantity observed was on a calm day, at slack water, 
when 11 grains only were fotmd. The average quantity of matter 
borne by the stream, if we include these extreme cases, amounts to 
61^ grains, and, rejecting the extreme cases (which, I have no doubt, 
is nearer the truth), to 33^. . . . Although this amount of 
suspended matter seems large, there is reason to believe that an 
equal or greater quantity will be found along the whole of this 
coast. In Ramsgate Harbour, to the eastward, with an area of 

p 3 


the deposit would in the course of time have risen to 
the sea level ; but at present the surface of the Marsh 
(with the exception of Lydd and Eoniney, which are 
three or four feet above high-water mark) is on an 
average from eight to ten feet below it 

In walking along the sea-shore from Sandgate to 
Dungeness, a person will observe for the first three 
miles a continuous bed of shingle, then Dymchurch 
Wall reaching to the neighbourhood of Eomney, and 
then again a bed of shingle running out eastward to 
Dungeness Point. All this shingle has been laid on 
the top of the marine deposit which constitutes the 
Marsh. The accumulation of shingle along this line 
may be thus accounted for. The rocky cliffs to the 
west, at Fairhght and further down Channel, are from 
year to year worn away by the action of the sea, and the 
debris by the roll of the water is roimded into pebbles. 
The run of the shingle in this part of the Channel 
is from south-west to north-east*, and as Lydd and 

42 acres, the deposit is 2 feet in depth a year ; at Folkestone, to the 
west, with an area of 14 acres, it is the same. In Dover Harbour, 
with an area of 28 aci*es, there is every reason to believe it is qtiite 
as much. . . . With respect to the rate of stream that bears a 
certain quantity of matter in suspension, ... a stream of 
2-^ knots an hour held the largest amount of silt yet taken up 
(viz. 473 grains per cubic foot) in suspension. But we find also 
that a tide stream of half a knot carried 30 grains (the average 
amount) in suspension ; and even in slack water, on the surfece, we 
foimd from 20 to 30 grains suspended in a cubic foot of water. 
There was probably, however, an undercurrent in motion. . 
With respect to the time required to deposit, • . . from some 
trials in tall glass jars, I found that, in still water, full one half of the 
particles (all the sand) dropped to the bottom in a few seconds." — 
Report to the Commissioners for inquiring into the State of Tidal 
Harbours, Appendix, p. 196. 

* At Romney Hoy there is at present an eddy of the sea from the 


Eomney were always either islands or a submarine 
ridge, the shingle from the west struck upon this bank 
and there accumulated. Lydd and its Ehypes were 
probably above the sea in the times of the Eomans, for 
both Lydd and Ehypes betray a Latin origin, the former 
being the corruption of Littus, or shore, and the latter 
of Eipae, or banks, both words corresponding very 
exactly to the facts. Much of the shingle, roimding 
Dungeness, travelled further on in a north-east direction, 
and formed a spit across the front of the Marsh. Ever 
and anon, however, as violent winds set in from the 
south-east, the head of the shingle spit was turned, and 
branches of the shingle called " fulls" were thrown out 
from time to time into the Marsh to the north. Thus, 
in ordinary weather the spit advanced north-east, and 
during adverse winds was wrenched aside into the Marsh. 
As the spit approached the hills to the east, the entrance 
into the estuary became contracted, and the current of 
the tides in and out of the estuary became stronger, and 
the violence of the south-eastern gales, combined with 
the increased force of the currents, produced corre- 
sponding effects upon the shingle spit in its progress 
eastward. Thus, from Dymchurch to West Hythe we 
find the fulls, or offshoots from the spit, running further 
and further into the Marsh ; and what is most remark- 
able is, that all these deviations of the shingle are curvi- 
linear, and bend westwards^ showing that they were 
acted upon and swept round by the current into the 

projection of Dungeness Point ; and, in consequence of this eddy, 
the eastern horn of the Hoy, called Little Stone End, advances gra- 
dually westward, i. e. just in the opposite direction to the run of the 
shingle elsewhere. The existence of the eddy is proved by the fact 
that fragments of wrecks which occur on the west of Dungeness Point 
are carried round to the bay on the east of the point. 

D 4 


estuary; At West Hythe Oaks (about halfway be- 
tween Hythe and Limne) the shingle fulls were in 
time thrown up to the very foot of the hills, and thus 
the mouth of the estuary was closed. Had this been 
the only outlet, the river Limen and other streams that 
flowed into the Marsh would have found a vent and forced 
the bar ; but there was another break in the shingle 
spit between Lydd and Eomney, and when the estuary 
was closed at the eastern end, the waters from the 
hills poured themselves southward by Wainway Creek 
to Promehill, and thence to Eomney Hoy. Along this 
hne are still pools of stagnant water, which are never 
dry, called Fleets. There was probably no opening in 
the shingle bank between Lydd and Eye, the harbour of 
Eye being formed not by any stream from the east, but 
by the Brede and Udamore Channels from the west. 
The hypothesis that when the mouth of the estuary ''i 

was closed towards the east, the sea for many centuries 
still flowed into the Marsh, and found an entrance and 
issue towards the west, is proved incontestably by this 
remarkable phenomenon. While Eomney Marsh Proper 
slopes northward towards the hUls, it also slopes west- 
ward towards the Ehee Wall, the surface at West Hythe 
Oaks being highest, and gradually descending towards 
the Dowles, which is the lowest. So long as the 
eastern mouth of the estuary was open, the current 
from the inset and outset of the tides would prevent 
tl\e deposit of sUt, and keep the parts adjacent lower 
than those more distant. The greater elevation of the 
soil towards the east of Eomney Marsh Proper can, 
therefore, be only accounted for by the fact that when 
the shingle " full " had been thrown quite across the 
Marsh at Westoaks, and so closed the mouth of the 
estuary at that end, the sea still entered from the west. 


and that, thenceforth, the process of silting went on for 
many centuries in usual course, viz. most rapidly to- 
wards the east, where the water was tranquil, and less 
rapidly towards the Ehee Wall, in which direction was 
the scour of the current. 

At West Hythe Oaks, where the shingle has touched 
the hills, the fertile soil of the Marsh ends towards the 
east, and the jurisdiction of Eomney Marsh Proper ex- 
tends no further. To the west of this, the Marsh is a 
rich mould deposited by the sea, while all to the east, 
as far as Sandgate, is (with the exception of a narrow 
strip to the south and east of Hythe, between the sea- 
beach and the hiUs) one vast bed of shingle. The 
military canal runs round the whole Marsh, and it will 
be seen that the spoil thrown up to the west of West 
Hythe Oaks is Marsh mould, while that thrown up to 
the east is almost all shingle. Another circumstance 
which must not escape observation is this : — Up to West 
Hythe Oaks all the shingle fuUs curve, as we have said, 
westward, as bent round in that direction by the inset 
of the tides ; but from West Hythe Oaks to Sandgate 
all the shingle ftdls curve eastward ; that is, the mouth 
of the estuary, when they were formed, had been closed, 
and the fulls therefore he in ridges as they would be 
deposed by the action of the sea, uninfluenced by 
any stream inwards. 

While Eomney Marsh, to the west of West Hythe 
Oaks, is considerably below high-water mark, all this 
shingle bed from West Hythe Oaks to Sandgate is 
above high-water mark, and the latter area is so exten- 
sive that it cannot have been cast up since the days of 
Caesar. The supply of shingle from the sea, at the or- 
dinary rate, would not yield anything like so much. 
Besides, we know that, at least for many centuries past, 


the sea, instead of accumulating shingle in this part, 
has, from the growth of Dimgeness Point, which inter- 
cepts any new supply, been yearly carrying away the 
shingle eastward, and so wasting the beach between 
Dymchurch and Hythe. 

The narrow strip to which we alluded as lying at 
Hythe, between the shingle spit and the hills and an 
exception out of the shingle bed, is a low tract of sea 
deposit kept free from shingle by the action of the three 
streams which descend down the three valleys at the back 
of Hythe. As the waters must always have run to the 
sea, they prevented the shingle spit in front from closing 
upon them, and the tide, of course, entered by the same 
channel by which the streams discharged themselves, 
and thus ^ong the foot of the hills at Hythe, there was, 
behind the shingle spit, a narrow gut which served as a 
port. Two islands were anciently formed by the chan- 
nels of the streams on their way to the sea, and the 
traces of them have only recently disappeared (see 
post). The mouth of the gut, that is of the port, was 
at the end of the present Elm Avenue, which connects 
Hythe with the seaside, and on the right hand, or west. 
A few years since, the corporation, at a great expense, 
filled up the hollow to nearly a level with the adjoining 
ground, but the channel, with a high shingle bank on 
each side, is still very distinguishable. In tiie sixteenth 
century, Leland describes the haven accurately as 
" crooking so by the shore along, and so backed from 
the main by shingle, that small ships may come up a 
large mile as in a sure gut." Eventually the streams 
were found insuflScient to keep the harbour scoured, and 
it was silted up, and so became useless. West Hythe 
suffered first, as the silt at the extremity of the gut, 
where there was the least scour, accumulated at the 


greatest rate. Hythe, in the course of a few centuries, 
was also consigned to its fate, and when the mihtary 
canal was cut, the three streams were turned into it, 
and all between the canal and the sea then became, as 
it still is, dry ground. 

That the great shingle spit which we have been de- 
scribing once reached aU along the border of the Marsh, 
from Lydd on the west to Sandgate on the east, but 
with a break between Lydd and Eomney, and another 
at Hythe, at the harbour mouth, cannot be doubted. It 
still stretches across Lydd and Eomney (which are both 
built on it), and runs as far as to the western end of 
Dymchurch Wall. From the eastern end of Dymchurch 
Wall to Hythe it spreads itself out as far as the Kills, a 
breadth from two miles on the west to half a mile on 
the east ; and then, shutting in a miniature Eomney 
Marsh to the east of Hythe, continues on to Sandgate. 
The only interruption at present of the shingle spit is 
along the course of Dymchurch Wall ; but that it 
anciently existed along this tract also is evident ; 
for " where Dymchurch Wall is now erected, there 
are shingle banks imder and inland of the present 
wall, throughout the whole length, nearly at right 
angles to the line of coast, exactly in the position into 
which they would be thrown by an adverse wind and 
strong current on the end of the 'full,' while in a 
state of formation."* The cause of interruption of the 
shingle spit along Dymchiu-ch Wall was this : — At the 
same time that the shingle spit extended itself longitu- 
dinally towards Hythe, it also, at Dimgeness, advanced 
laterally to the south. At the present day, it has elon- 
gated itself as far as Dungeness Point, and is still pro- 

* Elliott's paper on Romney Marsh in sixth vol. of Transactions 
of Civ. Eng. 


gressing in the same direction at the rate of two or 
three yards per annum.* The consequence of this 
gradual projection of Dungeness Point was, that the 
headland thus thrown out intercepted more and more 
the run of the shingle from the west to the eastern 
parts of the Marsh ; and while the shingle in the centre 
of the Marsh continued moving on eastward, and accu- 
mulating towards Hythe, there arrived no new supply 
of shingle from the west ; and thus the shingle bank 
about Dymchurch, which had originally been a high 
and sufficient rampart against the sea, became weaker 
and weaker. The diminution of the shingle about 
Dymchurch was at first remedied by what are called 
" insett walls," i. e. subsidiary walls behind the shingle 

* " It appears that since the erection of Dungeness Lighthouse, in 
1792, the Ness has advanced seaward about 121 yards, or at the 
rate of seven feet a year. . . Dungeness Lighthouse was rebuilt, 
in 1792, at 600 yards nearer the shore than its old site (as we learn 
from an inscription in the lighthouse), at 100 yards' distance irom 
the sea (whether at high or low water is not stated, but we wiU 
assume the latter). The date of the erection of the old building is 
not known ; but from Jeake's Charter of the Cinque Ports, written 
in 1678 (p. 124), it is conjectured that it was built in the time of 
James I., say 1603. Supposing that the old lighthouse was erected 
at the same distance from the sea as the present one, that is 100 
yards, it would give us 7 ft. 10 in. as the annual rate of increase of 
the Point during 190 years. Now, from actual survey of Dungeness 
Point made in Her Majesty's ship * Blazer ' in November 1844, we 
find that the distance from the centre of the lighthouse to low- water 
mark of ordinary spring- tides is 221 yards. Consequently, if, as 
stated above, the present lighthouse was built, in 1792, at 100 yards 
from the sea, it is manifest that the Ness has advanced seaward 
121 yards, or at the rate of seven feet a year. This is certainly a 
remarkable coincidence." — Extract from Captain Washington's Re- 
port to the Commissioners for inquiring into the State of Tidal 
Harbours, Appendix, p. 196. 


spit, for the purpose of preventing any extraordinary 
floods from the sea. Then " groynes," or " knocks," 
were employed to check the nm of the shingle eastward. 
Then, as the natural barrier stiU diminished, recourse 
was had to brushwood piles and overlaths, called 
" arming." Then, stronger timbers, brought from the 
hills surrounding the Marsh, were introduced. But still 
the mischief grew until about a quarter of a century 
ago, when the present wall was constructed of stone 
under the superintendence of Mr. Elliott, the eminent 
Marsh engineer. Such is the power of the sea that the 
repair of the waU still costs annually about 5000Z. 
The time may perhaps come when the pressure of the 
ocean can no longer be resisted, and the Marsh, which 
was formerly reclaimed from the waste of waters, may 
again be submerged. 

By whom, or at what time, Eomney Marsh (all of 
which, within the shingle spit^ is under high-water mark) 
was reclaimed, we have no historical record, except as 
to the western portions. We have, however, materials 
for forming a judgment. The Marsh is distributed into 
two grand divisions by what is called the Ehee Wall, 
running from Appledore to Eomney. All on the east is 
Eomney Marsh Proper, and the western portion con- 
sists of Denge Marsh to the south, Guildeford Marsh to 
the west, and Walland Marsh to the west of Eomney 
Marsh and the north of Guildeford Marsh. Eomney 
Marsh Proper was certainly inclosed the first, and, what 
is very observable, the whole of it must have been 
reclaimed at once, for there are no internal walls or 
fencings on the eastern, as there are on the western side 
of Ehee WaU. The exclusion of the sea from Eomney 
Marsh Proper was a grand work, and the general, and 
probably the correct, belief is, that the enterprise was 


undertaken and carried out by the Komans.* It is cer- 
tain that, during the time of the Eomans, this part of the 
Marsh was long under cultivation, as Eoman remains 
are found over the whole. At Dymchurch, for instance, 
was an extensive Eoman pottery. The sea there had 
thrown up a fine white putty-hke clay, and also a clean 
sharp sand, and these two materials offered peculiar 
facihties. Even at the present day the area of the 
manufactory is easily traceable, and fragments of the 
art are found scattered about in great abundance, many 
of them as fresh as if they had only just parted from 
the fingers of the potter. At Ivychmrch also, in the 
very centre of the Marsh, the plough has very recently 
turned up considerable quantities of Eoman pottery, 
relics of the former occupiers. 

The mode of reclaiming Eomney Marsh Proper was 
this : — On the souths the shingle spit was of itself, at 
that time, a sufficient rampart against the sea ; as regards 
the east^ we have seen that the shingle spit, in its pro- 
gress from Lydd eastward, had been ultimately thrown 
quite across the Marsh at West Hythe, up to the foot 
of the hills, and thus closed the mouth of the estuary 
at this end. But though the shingle field reached 
here to the foot of the hills, yet as the bed of shingle 
in this part, for about sixty yards from . the hill, 
was, from the streams descending from the uplands, 
kept lower than elsewhere, there was danger lest 
extraordinary floods might sweep over the shingle 
into the Marsh. In order, therefore, to guard against 
any mishap of the kind, a waU was carried across 

* Mr. Smiles, in the " Lives of the Engineers," expresses an opinion 
that the Marsh was reclaimed before the invasion of Caesar by the 
Belga;, who had brought the art of embanking with them fix>m the 


as a barrier against sudden irruptions : at least, oppo- 
site West Hythe Oaks, at the end of the jurisdiction of 
Eomney Marsh Proper, is a bank of earth at right angles 
to the hill, and running out southward till it joins the 
shingle of a higher level. On the west it' was neces- 
sary, for shutting out the sea from Eomney Marsh 
Proper, to carry a wall from Appledore to Eomney. 
The Marsh also, when inclosed, would require to be 
drained by numerous sluices, and the main channel in 
which they terminated could only be kept open and 
free from silt by constant scouring. These objects 
were attained by one remarkable piece of engineering. 
The river Limen, now called the Eother*, was the 
drain of the Andred Forest, and in its course eastward 
divided itself at the Isle of Oxney into two branches : 
one, the smaller, flowing along the south of the island 
into the estuary, and thence into the sea, between 
Lydd and Eomney ; and the other, the main channel, 
flowing along the north of the island into the estuary, 
a Kttle below Appledore, towards Snargate. The old 
bed of the Limen, along the north of Oxney Island, 
can still be distinctly traced to near Snargate, where 
its course abruptly ends. The reason is, that here was 
the mouth of the river into the estuary. This is no 
vague surmise, but can be proved to demonstration. 
Thus, to the south of Appledore, is the very lowest part 
of the Marsh, either excavated by the torrent from the 
river, or exempted, by the current, from the process 

* Ravennas (in the seventh century) mentions, amongst the rivers 
of Britain, Durbis (Dover), Lemana, Rovia. The Lemana was the 
Limen, which then discharged itself along the Rhee Wall at Romney, 
and the Rovia was the river at Rye, consisting of the Brede and 
Udamore streams, which scoured the harbour there until the time 
of Edward I., when the Limen also fell into the same channel. 


of silting, which was continually raising the level in 
the neighbourhood. Not only so, but we now find 
the whole country about the mouth of the river, near 
Appledore, in the circuit of about a mile (and at no 
other part) replete with trees of oak, alder, and birch, 
some of great size,*and evidently, from their position, 
drifted from a distance, and deposited where now 
foimd.* The presence of oak trees is remarkable, and 
decides at once that the trees are not in situ, for, 
singularly enough, there is something in the Marsh 
mould uncongenial to the oak, so that not a single 
specimen of it can be discovered throughout the whole 
level, with the exception of one or two, at the spot 
called West Hythe Oaks, and so named from this 
unusual phenomenon. 

The plan pursued by the Eomans was the exca- 
vation of a deep channel, with high banks or walls 
on each side, and nearly in a straight line across 
the Marsh, from the mouth of the Limen, near Ap- 
pledore, to Eomney. The width was from eighty to 
one hundred feet, and the height of the walls varied 
according to the level of the land, being highest towards 
Appledore and lowest towards Eomney. The Marsh, 
ako, was at the same time intersected by sluices, which 
emptied themselves into the new cut ; and the latter 
was scoured by the river Limen, which was at least 
partially diverted into it, and so conducted to Eomney. 

By these means, nearly 24,000 acres of rich fertile 
ground, now called Eomney Marsh Proper, were at 
once reclaimed, and the possession of them must have 
amply repaid the labour and expense of the bold 
adventurers. The new Marsh, from those who had 

♦ Report of Roman Castrum at Lympne, by C. R. Smith and 
J. Elliott. 

reclaimed it, was called the Eoman, or Eomney Marsh, 
and the cut from Appledore to Eomney wafi called, in 
the language of the Eomans, " Eivi Vallum," or Ehee 
Wall. This new inclosure, intersected by coimtless 
sluices, is perhaps what is referred to in the inflated 
account of Nennius, who wrote A.D. 858. In his 
" Catalogue of British Wonders," he says, " The first 
marvel is the Lommon (lege Limen) Marsh, for in it 
are 340 islands, with men living in them ! It is girt in 
by 340 rocks ! and in every rock is an eagle's nest I ! 
and 340 rivers flow in it I and there goes out of it 
into the sea but one river, which is called the Lemn 
(lege Limen) ! " * 

The changes introduced by this diversion of the 
river, and the exclusion of the sea, were striking. The 
issue of the Eother at Eomney formed a bay, ofiering 
safe anchorage to vessels ; and, at the same time, the 
bed of the river served as an inner haven, and masts of 
ships might be seen in long array, stretching across the 
Marsh to Appledore. Ptolemy the geographer, a.d. 
120, in describing the southern coast of Britain from 
west to east, speaks of xaivog XiftTjv, or New Port, as 
lying at about equal distances between the Aran and 
North Foreland; and we may hazard the conjecture 
that the port intended was the one newly formed at 
Eomney. It was probably up this channel called the 
Limen Mouth that the Danes sailed in the ninth cen- 
tury. The Saxon Chronicle relates (a.d. 893) that they 
embarked at Boulogne, and " came to land at Limen 
Mouth with 250 ships. ... On this river they 
tugged up their ships as far as the Weald, four miles 
from the outward harbour . . . then, soon after 
that, Hasten, with eighty ships, landed at the mouth of 

♦ Nennius, c. 80. 


the Thames, and wrought himself a fortress at Middle- 
ton, and the other army did the like at Appledore." The 
distance of Appledore from Eomney is no doubt some- 
what more than four miles, viz. about five miles ; but 
great exactness is not to be expected from a record of 
the mediaeval times. The remains of the fortress erected 
by the Danes at Appledore are still to be seen about a 
quarter of a mile to the west of the church. 

As to the portion of the Marsh to the west of Rhee 
Wall^ the whole of it is a complete network of seawalls 
and sluices, without any uniform or systematic plan, 
thus showing that it has been reclaimed by piecemeal at 
different times, and by private enterprise. As no Eoman 
remains are found in this part, the drainage of it was, 
presumptively, after the time of the Komans. Denge 
Marsh was probably the first reclaimed. Yet, even as 
late as the eighth century, it is said that Lydd was ex- 
posed to the sea, not only on the east, but also on the 
north* ; and the hollow of an arm of the sea may be 
traced to the present day in this direction. Walland 
(or more properly Wall-end Marsh, i. e. the marsh at 
the end of the old Khee WaU) was the next to be 
reclaimed ; and the last to be inclosed was Quildeford 
Marsh. The innings of Walland Marsh teU some of 
them their own tale. Thus, there is St. Thomas's In- 
nings, so called as inclosed by Thomas k Becket f, about 

♦ In A.D. 774 King Offa made a grant of land, " in occidentali 
parte regionis quae dicituf Mersware ubi nominatur ad Lyden. Et 
hujus terrsB sunt haec territoria : mare in oriente in (qu. lege et) 
aquilone ; et ab austro terrae Regis Edwy (nominant Dungmere) usque 
ad lapidem oppositum in ultimo terrae (Stone End) ; et in occideute et 
aquilone confinia regni ad Bleecbinge." — Somner^s Roman Ports^ 50. 

j- " A veiy large portion of Walland Marsh did belong to the 
Church, but this is not the case now to any great extent." — I^ote by 
Mr. Elliott, 


A.D. 1162 ; Baldwyn's Innings, so called from Baldwyn, 
another Archbishop of Canterbury, who flourished 
A.D. 11 84 ; Peckham's Innings, from another archbishop 
who flourished a.d. 1229 ; Boniface's Innings, from an- 
other archbishop who flourished a.d. 1250. The Low 
tract from Snargate to Appledore, and running thence 
towards the south-west, was inclosed a,d. 1447, by Sir 
John Elrington. The more recent reclamation of the 
part to the west of Ehee Wall, as compared with that 
to the east of Ehee Wall, is evinced also by this circum- 
stance, that while in very early times, viz. a.d. 1257, 
Eomney Marsh Proper is stated to have been " governed 
time out of mind by ancient and approved customs,'* 
the portion to the west of Ehee Wall had no law until 
A.D. 1288, when a commission was issued directing 
proceedings to be taken according to the customs of 
Eomney Marsh Proper.* 

It was in the reign of Edward I. that the western 
portion of the Marsh experienced a complete metamor- 
phosis. At that time an extraordinary irruption of the 
sea occurred, destroying whole villages, and breaking 
down the artificial banks of the Limen. The river being 
thus set free, poured itself into Walland and Guildeford 
Marshes, and found its way through the shingle bank 
into the sea towards Eye, and so fell into the same chan- 
nel with the Eother, which had previously consisted only 
of the Brede and Udamore streams, but now absorbed 
the Limen also, which thenceforth lost its ancient name. 
The old bed of the limen from Appledore to Eomney 
still exists, and the dry channel in the Marsh, when I 
saw it, was a long extended corn-field, shut in between 
high banks covered with verdure. The bed of the 

* Somner's Ports and Forts, p. 55. 
E 2 


channel was actually higher than the level ground on 
either side, but whether from the silt of the sea in 
ancient times or from the falling in of the banks may 
be left to conjecture. 

Now that we have sketched the early history of the 
Marsh, we can picture to ourselves with some confi- 
dence, what were the features of the coast at the time of 
Caisar's arrival. From Dungeness to the eastern end of 
Dymchurch Wall, extended a long spit of shingle, inter- 
sected only by a channel between Lydd and Eomney, 
being the mouth of the estuary which lay behind the 
shingle spit. From the end of Dymchurch Wall began 
a broad shingle field, reaching in width in an irregu- 
lar line to West Hythe Oaks, halfway between Hythc 
and Limne, and stretching in length fi:om the end of 
Dymchurch Wall to Sandgate, but broken at Hythe by 
an opening, which led to a narrow gut which ran along 
the foot of the hills and was fed by the three streams 
which descended fi:om the heights at the back of Hythe. 
All this shingle field from the end of Dymchurch Wall 
to Sandgate was perfectly flat and above high-water 
mark. The devious courses of the streams fi:om the hills 
formed, by their tortuous channels through the shingle, 
two or three small islands. This narrow gut was the 
port afterwards known as " Portus Limanis." Hythe, 
in Saxon, is nothing more than the translation of the 
Latin Portus, and was substituted for it by the Saxons. 
The notion that Portus Limanis was at the foot of 
Limne Hill is wholly untenable. The sea could not have 
flowed to the foot of Limne Hill without inundating the 
whole Marsh. There could not, therefore, have been a 
port at Limne after the inclosure of the Marsh. On the 
one hand, from the remains found scattered over Homney 
Marsh Proper, it must evidently have been long under 



cultivation in Eoman times ; and, on the other hand, the 
Portus Limanis must have continued such until the aban- 
donment of Britain by the Komans, or nearly so, as we 
find mention made of Portus Limanis in the Antonine 
Itinerary, and by the name of Limanis, in the Notitia, 
and in Eavennas. The inclosure of the Marsh, and 
the Portus Limanis were, therefore, co-existent; that 
is, the Portus could not have been at the foot of 
Limne Hill, as in that case the sea would at the same 
time have covered the whole Marsh. It is observable 
that the straight line of Stone Street, the old Eoman 
road from Canterbury to the coast, strikes West Hythe, 
and not Limne. As to the great Eoman castrum of 
StuttfaU, which stands on Limne Hill, it was for the 
protection, not of the port, but of Saxonicum littus, 
ie. to guard the coast against the Saxon buccaneers, 
who, in the latter days of the Eoman domination, had 
commenced their incursions, and might land equally 
weU upon any point along the great level of the Marsh. 
The breadth of the Marsh at present is, at the end of 
Dymchurch WaU, about two miles, and at Hythe about 
half a mile. But in the time of Caesar the shingle 
field must have been considerably wider. The supply of 
shingle from the west has been cut ofi* by the gradual 
elongation of Dungeness Point, while the movement of 
the shingle eastward along Eomney Marsh still con- 
tinues, and the spit about Hythe, no longer replenished 
from the west, has for some centuries been losing ground. 
On comparing a map of the Marsh, in a.d. 1617, 
with the present state, it would appear that, dur- 
ing the last 250 years, the sea has carried away the 
shingle at Hythe to' the extent of about a quarter of a 
mile.* At the same rate the shingle, in the time of 

* See the map in sixth vol. of Transactions of Civil Engineers. 


Caesar, would have extended out to sea a nule and three- 
quarters further than at present However, according 
to Mr. EUiott, Dungeness Point now advances about 
seven feet annually, but, in ancient times, it advanced, 
in Mr. EUiott's opinion, much more rapidly — say three 
'yards annually — and he estimates that the projection 
from Lydd to the existing point has been the work of 
about 1900 years. As the abstraction of the shingle 
at Hythe would be constant, but the new supphes of 
shingle from the west would be less and less as the 
point of Dungeness was pushed forward, we should not 
be justified in assuming the present rate of abrasion at 
Hythe as the measure of abrasion for the whole period 
since the age of Caesar. If we assume that the triangular 
level, from the end of Dymchurch Wall to Shomdiflfe, 
has been wasted to the extent not of one mile and 
three-quarters, but of at least half a mile, we shall 
probably be within the mark. 

It is plain from the foregoing facts that the probable 
state of the Marsh in the time of Caesar, so fer from 
offering any objection to the hypothesis that he landed 
there, furnishes the strongest argument in support of 
the theory. Let us follow the accoimt of the com- 
mentaries step by step. Caesar tells us that at the place 
of debarcation was a flat and open beach, " aperto ac 
piano littore," iv. 23, and what can answer better to this 
description than the perfectly level and bare shingle field 
between Sandgate on the east, and the end of Dymchurch 
Wall on the west? But the shore was also "open and 
soft " (" molli atque aperto," v. 9), which I take to mean 
free from rocks, and all along the Marsh not a rock or 
reef is to be seen. Again, when the Komans reached 
the shore, they stood " in arido," iv. 26, and drew up 
their ships " in aridum," iv. 29, and this shingle field is 


sound and dry, without any mixture of ooze ; though 
where the streams from the hills formed the port, there 
was no doubt marshy ground, as is also required by 
the accounts of Lucan, Plutarch, and others. It is a 
circumstance not to be passed over, though shght, that 
Caesar, in his first expedition, and when he scarcely 
moved from his camp, describes the British esseda or 
war-cars as running down steep and precipitous places, 
" dedivi ac prsecipiti loco," iv. 33, and just such dechvi- 
ties are in this part of the Marsh on the north. Again, 
what is Caesar's account of the debarcation itself? We 
read that the shore sloped so gradually into the sea, that 
the heavy transports could not approach the seabord, 
and that the Britons, partly on horseback and partly on 
foot, rushed into the water towards the ships, and, pour- 
ing in a volley of darts and javeKns, so cowed the 
Eomans that they were afraid to leap overboard (iv. 24). 
As the triremes drew much less water, and could come 
nearer to the beach, Caesar ordered them to retire far 
enough back to get their full impetus, and then to 
charge, beyond the transports, on the flanks of the 
Britons. This movement had the desired effect, and 
the Britons, startled by the novel and formidable ap- 
pearance of the triremes, and scared at their rush 
through the water, and receiving a storm of stones, 
arrows, and javelins from the mihtary engines on board, 
were fain to give ground ; when the standard-bearer of 
the famous tenth legion seized the favourable moment, 
and throwing himself into the sea made for shore, 
and his own men and the troops from the other ships 
were obliged from shame to follow his example (iv. 25). 
That there was some Httle space between the transports 
and the beach is evident from the expression that the 
Eomans, after leaping into the water, " hostibus appro- 

E 4 


pinquarunt," iv. 25. As the Komans struggled to land 
in detached parties, they were sorely pressed here and 
there by superior numbers, and Caesar sent succour in 
small boats where it was most wanted. As soon as the 
legions stood firmly on the beach, and formed in rank, 
they drove the enemy before them. This descent was 
made between 5 and 6 p.m., with high water at 8^ p.m., 
and, therefore, at the commencement of the flood, i. e. 
when the tide began to rise ; and at this time there 
would be ofi* Hythe just such a gradually shelving shore 
as Caesar depicts. The heavier vessels would not be 
able to near the shore, and only small boats could 
advance to the water's edge. To this day the coUiers 
which come to Hythe, and which may be taken to 
represent very fairly the transports of Caesar, cannot 
approach the shore near enough to unload, except at 
spring-tides. It was this flatness of the shore which in- 
duced Caesar, when preparing for his second expedition, 
to construct his vessels of greater breadth and of less 
draught of water, that the difficulty which had attended 
his former debarcation might not be repeated.* 

Again, Caesar, after landing, pitched his camp on the 
sea shore, and Valerius Maximus relates an anecdote 
that Scaeva, with four others, was posted as a picquet 
on an ait for observing the enemy who were in occu- 
pation of a neighbouring island separated only from 
the ait by a channel subject to the flux and reflux of the 
tide. When the sea had sufficiently receded, the Britons, 
who were familiar with the locaUties, rushed across 
the channel to capture the detachment; but Scaeva, 
after prodigies of valour, swam back to the camp (Val. 
Max. lib. iii. c. 2), and presented himself before Caesar, 

• "Ad celeritatem onerandi subductionesque panllo facit humi- 
liores," v. 1. 


who is said to have personally witnessed the exploit 
(Plut. Caes. 16). On the assumption that Cfeesar landed 
at Hythe, the islands thus referred to would be those 
formed by the streams from the hills in this part and 
only lately effaced, and as the camp was close at hand, 
CsBsar could very well have been a spectator. 

Again, the triremes which Caesar had drawn up upon 
the beach, " in aridimi subduxerat," iv. 29, were filled 
with water by the spring-tide, increased by a violent 
gale, " tempestas affictabat," iv. 29 ; and this is just what 
would occur at Hythe, where the shingle bank keeps 
out the ordinary tides ; but if there be a strong south- 
east wind at high tide, the sea pours over the shingle, 
so that vessels lying on their sides upon the flat beach 
would be filled with water. 

About a fortnight or three weeks after Caesar's 
arrival on the first invasion, the Britons, taking heart, 
formed the design of storming the camp, when Caesar, 
thinking it better poHcy to dehver rather than to 
sustain the assault, drew out his army in battle array, 
and a fierce engagement followed. Eoman discipline 
prevailed, and the Britons were routed with consider- 
able slaughter (iv. 35). No traces of the camp itself 
can be found,"as it was probably pitched by the water's 
edge, and this part of the coast has for centuries 
been abraded by the action of the sea. But it is at 
least a singular coincidence that, wherever you dig in 
the field to the south and east of Hythe, on the triangular 
level there, himian bones, and unquestionably of men 
slain in battle, are brought to Kght. They are exclu- 
sively the bones of grown men, buried only a few feet 
below the surface, and without any care, in all con- 
ceivable positions.* I do not affirm that these are 

* I am indebted for this information to Mr. Elliott. 


the remains of the Britons who fell in the conflict 
with Caesar, for they may be the bones of either 
Saxons or Danes who afterwards landed at the same 
place ; but, even on the latter supposition, we may 
fairly draw the conclusion, that if Saxons or Danes 
chose this spot as favorable for a debarcation, Caesar, 
ages before, may have made a similar descent It may 
be objected that the field to the south of Hythe is 
distinct fi:om the great shingle bed, and below high- 
water mark, and must, therefore, have formed part of 
the port, or have been an estuary; but as the port 
continued until Leland's time, in the sixteenth century, 
and no battle has been fought there since, the field 
must, at all events, have been dry ground contempo- 
raneously with the existence of the port. Why may 
if not have^ been so even in the time of Caesar ? It 
was certainly dry at low water, and if the Britons in 
his day could send a navy to aid the Veneti in Gaul *, 
they could unquestionably have possessed the sVill to 
embank the port and drain the land in the immediate 

I cannot help thinking that this port of Hythe, the 
old Portus Limanis, was amongst the inducements 
which led Caesar to disembark on this part of the coast. 
If the survey made by Volusenus was worth anything, 
it must have contained a notice of the haven just 
opposite Boulogne. Besides, we read that Caesar con- 
sulted the merchants who traded with Britain, and to 
whom the port of Hythe was familiar, and what 
was the result? Caesar writes that he could not 
learn fix)m them "what ports were adapted to the 
reception of a multitude of vessels of the larger wrt"f 

♦ B. G. iii. 9. 

t " Qui essent ad majorum navium multitudinem idonei portus,'* 
iv. 20. 


that is, what ports there where in which a fleet of war 
vessels could anchor without being left; aground by the 
ebbing tide. Does not this imply that Cassar was well 
enough informed of the smaller havens on the British 
coast, such as that at Hythe ? The narrow and winding 
gut which constituted the port was, of course, little 
capable of receiving a fleet. Indeed, as it was a tidal 
harbour, and could only be entered and quitted at high- 
water, and as its banks were lined by a hostile popu- 
lation, the mooring of the Eoman vessels within it 
would have been certain destruction. On both inva- 
sions, the Britons assaulted the very camp of Caesar, 
(iv. 34, V. 22) ; and had his fleet entered the haven, 
it must infallibly have been burnt, and perhaps the 
Eoman Empire had not been founded on the plains 
of Pharsalia. Cassar's ships were his fortunes and 
his life, and, accordingly, the wary commander first 
stationed them in the oflSng ; and then, when the ele- 
ments were found irresistible, he drew them up on 
shore, and united them to his camp by strong lines of 
fortification. But though the narrow and winding 
harbour of Hythe was no asylum for his fleet, it would 
be highly useful for keeping up his communication with 
the Continent, fi-om which all, or the greater part of 
his suppHes, were to be drawn, and Hythe and Boulogne 
must, fi-om their situations, have always been the most 
convenient ports of passage between the two coimtries. 
4. The fourth objection* of the Professor presents 

♦ " FoTirthly, in his second expedition, CsBsar departed from the 
same harbour, and landed on the same shore, as in the former in- 
stance. He put off at sunset, * leni Africo provectus * (v. 8), and 
if he sailed in the direction of the wind, he went up the Channel. 
He was carried onward by the wind until midnight, when, the wind 
dropping, he allowed himself to float with the tide. The tide 


no difficulty. He argues that Ctesar, on his second ex- 
pedition, set sail with a south-west wind, " leni Africo,'' 
and, therefore, up Channel ; that at midnight the wind 
dropped, when " he allowed himself to float with the 
tide," which " carried him so far out of his course that, 
at dayhght, he found himself leaving England in the 
distance, on the left hand ;" and then he asks, " Is this 
consistent with the intention of sailing from France to 
Komney Marsh, a place nearly due west, and for which 
he must make across the stream instead of floating 
along with it?". The meaning of the Professor, I 
understand to be, that Csesar intended to go along -with 
the tide, but that it carried him too far in tibiat direction. 
But who can assent to this construction ? Caesar tells 
us plainly that the tide drifted him from the first out of 
his course, " cursum non tenuity' v. 8, and that, when he 
discovered the drift, he followed the change of tide back 
again, "tum rursus aestAs commutationem secutus," v. 8- 
The drift, therefore, eastward, and Caesar's resimiption 
of his former course by rowing back, prove that the 
landing-place for which he was making was some point 
to the west. Besides, how could the drift of one tide, 
by any possibihty,have carried him through the straits 
of Dover so far beyond Deal, that he should consume 
eight hours in rowing to Deal, though the tide is said to. 
have been in his favour ? 

. These are all the supposed inconsistencies pointed 
out by the Professor, and, unless I deceive myself, they 
have been satisfactorily explained. We have now to 

carried him so fer out of his course, that, at dayh'ght, he found him- 
self leaving England in the distance, on his left hand. Is this con- 
sistent with the intention of sailing from France to Romney Marsh, 
a place nearly due west, and for which he must make across the 
stream, instead of floating along with it ? " 


follow him into a much wider field, viz. the currents 
of the Chamiel. I had argued that on 27th August, 
B.C. 55 (being the fourth day inclusive before the full 
moon on the night of 30th August, iv. 28, 29), the tide, 
at 3 P.M., was running, off the coast between Dover and 
Folkestone, towards the west^ and that Caesar conse- 
quently sailed in that direction ; towards Komney Marsh, 
and not towards Deal. 

The Professor* admits the primA facie credibility of 

* " I am well acquainted with Folkestone and its harbour ; and 
there are there shrewd and sensible men whose business lies upon 
the water, and is constantly impeded or promoted by its currents. 
To men of this description I put several questions, and received 
from them deliberate answers. I give the two following, merely 
observing that the questions were given and the answers returned 
in writing : — 

" How soon after high- water does the stream begin to run down 
Channel ? Answer : In two hours. 

" How long afterwards does it continue to run down Channel ? 
Answer : Five hours. 

" This information differs materially from the notices of the tide- 
tables. It gives two hours less for the turning of the stream after 
high-water, and again two hours less for the continuance of the 
stream down Channel afterwards. 

" We will take as our basis, for the moment, the information obtained 
from Folkestone, and see what effect it would have upon the solution 
of the problem. There can be no difference of opinion as to the 
time of high-water. On the 27th of August, 55 b. c, it was 7.31 A. m. 
In two hours, that is at 9.31, the stream began to run down Channel. 
It continued so to run for five hours longer, that is, until 2.31 p.m. 
It was then slack- water for about a quarter of an hour, and at 3 
o'clock p. M. the stream had turned, and was running up the Channel. 

" But in the course of the inquiries made at Folkestone, I met with 
certain distinctions which appeared to be of great importance in the 
determination of this question. I foimd that there was a difference, 
and in some cases a great difference, between the times of the stream 
in-shore and in mid-channel. I had reason to believe that though 
tlie tide in mid-channel turned four hours after the Folkestone high- 
water, the tide in-shore turned two hours and a half after that time. 


the Admiralty Tables, which I had made the basis of my 
argument, but informs us that, being well acquamted 

Is it not possible that the basis obtained from the tide-tables ex- 
presses the rule which prevails in the open Channel, and that Cseaar 
having anchored off Dover, and probably within a short distance 
from ihe land, was governed bj the exceptionable tide which pre- 
vailed in-shore ? 

" It is evident that the nile which holds generally in the Channel 
is the one which it was the express business of the tide-tables to 
record. But it is indispensable for the purposes of an inquiiy con- 
nected with Cssar's departure from his anchorage, that the circum- 
stances of the in-shore tides should be known and taken into 
account. Captain Beeehej, who made the survey of the Channel, 
under the direction of the Admiralty, was applied to on this point 
by the Astronomer-Royal, and gave him the following answer: — 
^ At full and change of the moon, the stream makes to the westward, 
off Dover, at the distance of a mile and a half from the shore, about 
three hours ten minutes ; and there does not appear to be much dif- 
ference, in this part of the Channel, between the turn of the stream 
in-shore and in the centre* (ArchsBol. vol. xxxiv. p. 239). In tiiis 
answer, the latter portion, which bears upon our present point, cannot, 
I think, be considered as conclusive, although the ABtronomer-Eoyal 
was induced by it to disregard the amount of the in-shore difference. 
The language employed by Captain Beechey appears to state that he 
was not aware of any noteworthy difference, rather than that he 
had ascertained that no such difference existed. Knowing, then, that 
an important difference of the kind was acknowledged to exist at 
Folkestone, I could not accept Captain Beechey's evidence as con- 
clusive against the existence of a corresponding difference at Dover. 

" How, then, was this problem to be solved ? There is one person 
above all others at Dover, on whose judgment reliance would be 
placed in a disputed question of this nature. Accustomed to cross 
the Channel in command of an important service, he has a personal 
knowledge of its currents, and much responsibility attaching to that 
knowledge ; connected by long experience with the harbour and the 
ofl^g at Dover, he is locally acquainted with the times and direc* 
tions of the stream in-shore. His authority is more valuable than 
that of the tide-tables, because it embraces the exception as well as 
the rule, and can be brought to bear upon the question not merely 
as a general principle, but as a direct answer to an individual case. 


with Folkestone, he submitted " several questions " to 
the seafaring people there, and put and received the 
" Iwo " following questions and answers : — Question : 
" How soon after high water does the stream begin 
to run down Channel?" Answer: "In two hours' 
Question : " How long afterwards does it continue to run 
down Channel." Answer : " Five hoursJ' The statements 
in the answers selected (for we evidently have not the 
whole) are entirely at variance with the actual obser- 
vations which will be laid before the reader presently; 
and it would seem that the Professor himself placed no 
great faith on the answer that the stream began to run 

" I have had the good fortune to obtain the information I desired 
from this authority. I leam that the tides at Dover are very com- 
plicated ; that the stream begins to run down Channel at half-ebb, 
that is, about three hours after high-water, and that it continues to 
run down Channel until half flood ; that the stream begins in-shore 
about an hour sooner than in mid-channel, with spring-tides, and 
with neap-tides is often two hours earlier in changing. From this 
statement it follows that from the nine hours intervening between 
the time of high water and the return of the flood up the Channel 
we must deduct, imder common circimistances, one hour and a half 
to satisfy the in-shore difference. The interval remaining is seven 
hours and a half, the exact interval which passed between high water 
and the three o'clock when Csesar started. May not the state of the 
tide have been one of the reasons which made him remain so Jong 
and no longer at his anchorage ? 

" But the matter was brought to a crisis by the following ques- 
tion :— 

" Many years ago some transports lay- off Dover, say, half a mile 
from the sliore ; on that day it was high water at 7.31 a.m. ; the 
transports lay off till 3 p.m., and then sailed with the tide : which 
way would they go, up the Channel, or down the Channel ? 

" The answer was as follows : — 

" On the day in question the transports, if started with the tide 
in their favour at 3 p.m., with a 7.31 a.m. tide, must have gone up 
Channel on the first of the flood, and proceeded to the eastward." 


down Channel " two hours^' after high water; for he re- 
marks himself, directly afterwards, " I had reason to 
believe that, though the tide in mid-channel turned four 
hoiu^ after the Folkestone high-water, the tide in-shore 
turned two hours and a half after that time." How- 
ever, two hours and a half is much under the mark. 
But further, he acquaints us (and this is the main anchor 
by which he holds) that " there is one person above all 
others, at Dover, on whose judgment reliance would be 
placed" — " accustomed to cross the Channel " — having 
" a personal knowledge of the currents," and '^ con- 
nected by long experience with the harbom: and offing 
of Dover," &c., and that the matter was brought to a 
crisis by the following question : — 

" Many years ago some transports lay oflf Dover, say 
half a mile from the shore ; on that day it was high- 
water at 7.31 A.M. ; the transports lay off Dover till 
3 P.M., and then sailed with the tide. Which way would 
they go — up the Channel or down the Channel?" 

The answer was as follows : — 

" On the day in question, the transports, if started 
with the tide in their favour at 3 p.m., with a 7.31 
A.M. tide, must have gone up Channel on the first of the 
flood, and proceeded to the eastward." 

I confess that this question and the answer to it 
greatly surprised me, and made me think that, after 
all, the local information obtained by myself, and even 
the statements of the Admiralty Tables*, might be 

♦ " I have for years directed my attention to the turn of the tide, 
and have tested the time of it by noting when a vessel, brought to 
in the offing and waiting for the stream, would swing at her anchor, 
and I never knew it vary half an hour from the time given in the 
Admiralty Tables. There is but very little difference in the stream 
in-«hore and in mid-channel between Sandgate and Dover." — Note 
by Mr, Elliott^ of Dymchurchi the Engineer of Romney Marsh. 


wrong. I had no alternative, therefore, but to test 
the assertion by actual observation. For this purpose, 
I wrote to my kind Mend, Mr, Barton, of Dover, 
who has so repeatedly lent his assistance, to employ 
some experienced pilot or fisherman to note for me 
the time of high water at Dover, with the turn of the 
current, for a month, and the following table was for- 
warded to me* : — 



High Water 

Direction of 



Nov. 28. 



East. . 



„ 29. 





1 >» 

„ 30. 

S. by E. 





Dec. 1. 

S. by W. 




• » 

„ 2. 






„ 3. 






,, 4. 






„ 5. 






„ 6. 






« 7. 






„ 8. 






„ 9. 






» 10. 




3i „ 

„ 11. 




3 „ 

„ 12. 




3 „ 

„ 13. 




3| „ 

„ 14. 




3f n 

» 15. 




4 „ 

„ 16. 




4 ,, 

„ 17. 




3j » 

„ 18. 




H „ 

,, 19. 




^ 1 J9 

„ 20. 




3 1 » 

„ 21. 




8 '' 

^2 " 

» 22. 




„ 23. 




^i >j 

„ 24. 




3- „ 

„ 25. 




H J » 

* One column, relating to theyaW, and not to the current of the 
tide, has been omitted as irrektive, and tending only to confuse. 



It will be seen fix)m this table that, at the time of 
high water, the tide is numing eastward, and continues 
usually to run so for three and a half hours, so that if 
it was high water at 7.31 A.M. the tide would run east 
till eleven, and then would turn west, and continue to 
run so (even according to the Professor) for five hours, 
but in reality much more, so that at 3 o'clock, 
with high water at 7.30 A.M., the tide could not, as he 
supposes, be running east^ but would be running west 

The preceding table was, in some respects, defective, 
as not showing the duration of the current wrestward. 
I had also omitted to give any specific direction as to 
the distance from the shore at which the observations 
were to be made. I therefore forwarded another table 
to be filled up from actual observation, and the result 
was as follows* : — 

Time of 

High Water 

at Dover 


'Hme when 

Time when 

Tide turned 

How IcHIg 

Tide tamed 





east, half-«- 

mile from 


mile from 




July 1. 






„ 2. 






„ 3. 






„ 4. 


8. 6 








* Tlie table was returned, with the columns as I had arranged 
them, in the order of the numbers at the foot ; but, for the sake of 
clearness, the columns have been printed as they ought to have 
been arranged, viz. so as to show the successive changes seriatim as 
they occurred. 

It will be observed that, in the last colimin but one, the seven first 
items indicate the hour when the current ceased to run west, while, 
all the other items in the same column indicate the durcUion of the 
current west. Both exhibit the same result under different forms. 




Time of 

High Water 

at Dover 


Time Then 

Time when 



Tide turned 
west, half.B- 

How long 

Tide turned 
east, hiilf-a- 

mile ^om 


milfl from 




July 5. 






„ 6. 






„ 7. 






„ 8. 




51 hotlTB. 


„ 9. 

N. by W. 



4 » 
4 ,. 


„ 10. 





„ 11. 




4 „ 


„ 12. 




4 „ 


„ 13. 




tf :: 


„ H. 





„ 15. 




4 .. 


„ 16. 




5ii „ 


„ 17. 




4 » 


„ 18. 




5 „ 


„ 19. 




5 „ 


„ 20. 




5 .. 


„ 21. 




5 „ 


„ 22. 




5^ „ 


„ 23. 




4 » 


„ 24. 

S.W. by S. 



5;. „ 


» 25. 




4 .. 


„ 2C. 




4 " 


„ 27. 




5: „ 


„ 28. 


3. 5 


5J „ 


„ 29. 




s „ 


„ 30. 




4 . 



W. by S. 



4 „ 






From this table it appears that, at the time of high 
water, the tide, at half a mile from the shore oflf Dover, 
is rumdng east, and continues to nm so from three 
hours to three hours and a half, say three and a quarter, 
and that it then runs west from five to six hours, say five 
and a half, so that if it were high tide at 7.31, it would 
run east tiU about 10.46, and then run west till about 
4.16. Again, the shortest interval at which the tide, 

F 2 


according to the table, turns east after liigli water, is 
8h. 55m., and the longest 9h. 50m. With high water, 
therefore, at 7.31 A.M., the tide could not turn east at 
the earhest until 4.26 p.m., and at the latest not until 
5.21 P.M. Clearly, therefore, at 3 p.m. the tide would 
be running west towards Eomney, and not east to- 
wards Deal. 

At the same time that I forwarded the last table to 
be fOled up, I thought it right to check these limited 
observations by general experience, and I therefore re- 
quested my friend to put the necessary questions to 
some one upon whose nautical and scientific knowledge 
he could safely rely ; and Mr. Druce, the resident engi- 
neer, on being applied to for the purpose, has been 
kind enough to furnish the following information ; and 
I beg here to return my gratefiil acknowledgments 
for the very careful and precise manner in which he 
has answered the queries. 

Harbour of Refuge, Dover, Aug. 1, 1861. 

Questions. Answers. 

1. Many years ago Bome 1. High water at 7.31. Con- 
transports lay off Dover, say half sequently the tide ran eastwards 
a mile from the shore. On that ^ a little after 11, and then 
dayit was high water at 7.31 a.m. to the westward till about 6. 
The transports lay off till 3 The transports would therefore 
oVlock p.m., and then sailed go to the west at 3 p.m., or down 
with the tide. Which way did Channel. 

they go : up the Channel or 
down the Channel ? 

2. How soon (usually) after 2. At 8.40, after high water 
high water at Dover Pier does at the springs^ the tide b^ins to 
the tide, at half a mile from the run downwards, or to the westj 
shore, turn at springs, and in and flows in that direction for 
which direction ? arid how long rather more than six hours, 
does it run in that direction ? 


3. Same question at neaps. 

4. How soon (usually) after 
low water at Dover Pier does the 
tide, at half a mile from the shore, 
turn at springs, and in wliich 
direction ? and how long does it 
run in that direction ? 

5. Same question at neaps. 

6. How much may the turn 
of the tide be retarded or has- 
tened by accidental causes, as 
wind, &c. ? 

7. What difference is there 
between the turn of the tide in- 
shore, and the turn of the tide 
half a mile from the shore, and 
the turn of the tide in mid- 
channel ? 

8. Is there any difference be- 
tween the turn of the tide off 
Dover and the turn of the tide 
bff Folkestone ? and what is the 
difference ? 

3. At neap tides the ebb 
stream b^ins about ten minutes 
sooner after the time of high 
water than at the springs, the 
direction of the stream being, in 
ordinary cases, the same (see 
No. 6). 

4. At 2h. 45m. after low water 
the stream begins to run east- 
ward, and runs in that direction 
for about 6h. 20m. 

5. At neap tides the stream 
begins about the same time, and 
flows for about six hours. 

6. The tides in the Channel 
are influenced to a very great 
degree by the weather outside 
the Channel, and especially by 
the wind and its direction. The 
effect is felt considerably more at 
the neap than the spring tides, 
half an hour being, perhaps, the 
difference at the spring tides; 
but at the neap tides very strong 
wind will almost neutralise the 
stream at the sur&ce. 

7. In mid-channel the flood 
stream turns about l^h. later 
than near the shore. 

8. The stream turns at Folke- 
stone about five minutes before 
it does at Dover. 

Edward Druce, Resident Engineer. 
Thus, rejecting minute differences, we find the two 

V 3 


series of actual observations and the answers of Mr. 
Dnice in harmony with each other, and they establish 
in general terms these facts, that the tide sets east for 
about three hours and a half after high water, and then 
after slack water for a quarter of an hour sets west 
for five hours and a half ; and then after slack water 
for a quarter of an hour turns east If so, on the 
assimiption that high water was at 7.31, the tide would 
not turn east until about 6 p.m. Under any circum- 
stances we could not allow less than three hours for 
the run eastward after high water, or less than five 
hours for the run westward, and then, between the 
two would be slack water for a quarter of an hour, 
and again, after the run westward, would be slack 
water for another quarter of an hour, before the turn 
eastward. Thus, even by this computation, the turn 
eastward in the afternoon with 7.31 high tide would 
not take place till 4 o'clock. It will be observed 
that Mr. Druce allows somewhat more than three and a 
half hours after high water* for the stream eastward, 
and then somewhat more than six hours for the stream 
westward. These I believe to be the most correct 
estimates ; and with these data, with a 7.31 high tide, 
the stream would not turn west until after 5 p.m. 

Hitherto I have assumed that it was high water at 
Dover on 27th August, B.C. 54 (the fourth day before the 
fiill), at 7.31 A.M., and my reason for adopting this time 

* Captain Washington, in his Eeport to the Commissioners ap- 
pointed to inquire into the state of Tidal Harbours, states that 
" the stream of tide runs for four hours to the N.E., afteo* it is high 
water at Dover Pier." The observation appears to have been made 
" at about three quarters of a mile off shore," and he adds the rate 
of the tide — **on springs thre.e miles and a half, on neaps two 
miles ; and it sets fairly along shore both on the flood and on the 
ebb." — See Eeport of Commissioners^ Appendix ^ pp. 196, 198. 


was that in August of the year when I wrote my essay 
it was high water at Dover on the fourth day before 
full moon in August (Caesar's month), at 7.31 A.M. The 
Professor followed me in this, observing : " There can 
be no difference of opinion as to the time of high water. 
On the 27th of August, 55 B.c.,it was 7.31 a.m." How- 
ever, this requires some qualification. High water at 
any place at the full of the moon, or on any particular 
day of the moon's age, is not the same in different 
months of the same year, and is not the same in the 
same month of different years. As the tides are regu- 
lated by the joint action of the sun and moon, they 
vary according as the moon is in the same plane with 
the earth, or is above or below it. In the former case 
the full force of the joint attraction is exerted ; in the 
latter, it is proportionally weaker. Again, it is material 
to consider in what part of her orbit the earth is, as the 
earth and her satellite are at one period of the year 
much nearer to the sun than at another. In short, the 
exact time of high water at a particular place on 
a particular day is matter of abstruse calculation. 
At the same time, as the sun, moon, and earth resume 
as nearly as possible their relative positions, after a cycle 
of nineteen years, called the Metonic cycle, if we can 
ascertain the variations in the time of high water in 
August for every year during that interval, we shall see 
the maximum and minimum amount of variation, and 
thence collect the mean. The following table represents 
the time of high water at Dover on the day of the fiill 
moon in the month of August for nineteen years, viz. 
from 1842 to 1860, both inclusive.* 

* For this table I am indebted to Mr. Hastings Parker, of the 

7 4 



Date of Fan 


Time of High 
Wmter. MJML 



8.57 ajn. 

11. 5 



4.34 pjn. 

11. 2 



2.12 pjn. 








5.55 pjD. 

11. 4 



1.21 pjn. 




1.17 pum. 




10.55 pan. 




3. 6 p.m. 







f ^• 

9.12 pjn. 




3.52 a.m. 




8.16 p.Tn. 




6. 9a.Tn. 



« . 

6. a.m. 




1.17 p.m. 





11. 6 



2.35 pan. 




2.14 aon. 


From this table it will be seen that the earliest time 
of high water at Dover at the full is 10.30, and the 
latest is 11.18, giving a difference of 48 minutes, and 
the mean time of high water at Dover at the fiiU is 10 
hours 51 minutes. As it was full moon in August, 
B.C. 55, on 31st August at 3 A.M., the nearest high water, 
viz., in the evening or night of 30th August woxild be at 
the earliest 10.30 p.m., and at the latest 11.18 p.m., and, 
if we take the mean, at 10.51. High water on the 
morning of 27th August woidd be seven tides previously, 
or 2h. 48m. earlier, that is at 7h. 42m. a.m. at the ear- 
liest*, and 8.30 at the latest, and at 8.3 for the mean. 

• In August 1859 it was high urater at Dover on the 9th of 
August (the full being on the 13th of August) at 7.31 a.m., the time 
adopted in my essay. This is still earlier than 7.42, and the reason 
is that the full moon on the 13th of August 1869 was jslI 4.34 


Assuming that the tide ran east for 3^ hours after high 
water, and then, after a quarter of an hour's slack water, 
ran west for 5^ hours, the tide on 27th August would, 
at the earliest, run east till 11.12, and then after slack 
water would run west till 4.57 p.m., and at the latest 
would run east till 12 at noon, and then after slack 
water would run west till 5^ p.m., and as a mean would 
run east till 11.33, and then after slack water would run 
west till 5.18, so that in no case could Caesar, if he went 
with the tide at 3 p.m., have gone eastward. Even if 
we allow half an hour's difference for the effect of the 
wind, he still at 3 P.M. could not have sailed, with the 
tide, towards Deal. 

All the arguments in favour of a debarcation at Hy the 
are, of course, so many objections to a debarcation at 
Deal, but the latter theory is open to some difficulties 
peculiar to itself, and to which they who support this 
hypothesis should direct their attention, 

1. Supposing Caesar, when in Gaul, to have made 
himself acqiuzinted with the coast immediately opposite, 
either from the survey of Volusenus, or from the inter- 
view which he had with the merchants, what advan- 
tage, in the first place, could Caesar have discovered 
in Deal over Hjrthe ? If, indeed, he sailed from Wissant, 
the distance to Deal and to Hythe would be about 
equal, but, if, as is the general opinion, and, I think, 
correctly, he embarked at Boulogne, Hythe would be 
much nearer than Deal, and was the natural port for 
vessels from Boulogne. Besides, Hythe possessed a 

in the afternoon, whereas on the 31st of August, B.C. 55, it was full 
moon at 3 a.m. In my essay, therefore, I had assumed against myself 
that high water on the 27th of August, B.C. 55, was earKer than it 
could possibly have been. 


haven, but Deal did not ; and though the winding har- 
bour at Hythe was quite unequal to the accommodation 
or even reception of a niunerous war-fleet (ad mor 
jorum navium multitudinem, iv. 20), yet it could not 
fail to be extremely usefiil for keeping up a constant 
communication with the continent from which Cassar's 
supphes were to be drawn. 

2. If we assume that Csesar was wholly ignorant of 
the British coast (which is somewhat coimtenanced by 
the fact that he made for the cliflfs which were visible 
from Boulogne, though when he arrived they presented 
no convenient place of debarcation), in this case it 
becomes almost impossible that he should have sailed 
to Deal and not to Hythe, for on approaching the 
coast, and as he lay at anchor off Folkestone or Dover, 
he could not have discerned the level at Deal, so that 
if he sailed in that direction he must have done so at 
a venture upon speculation. How improbable this is 
when the favourable landing-place of Hythe was dis- 
tinctly visible from his moorings, and lay within an 
easy distance ! How could he have neglected a shore 
which suited his purpose, and was near at hand, to 
go in search of one the very existence of which was 
problematical ? 

3. I think it established beyond all controversy that if 
Caesar sailed with the tide at 3 p.m. he must have pro- 
ceeded not eastward, but westward. I^ therefore, it be 
contended that he sailed towards Deal, a new interpre- 
tation must be given to the Commentaries, viz. it must 
be insisted that CsBsar not only waited till 3 p.m. for the 
arrival of the whole fleet, but that the words " TTia 
dimissis, et ventum et aestum imo tempore nactus 
secundum " (iv. 23), imply a further interval of about 
two hours, that is until about 5 p.m., at which time the 


current might have turned eastward. This interpreta- 
tion, so far as I am aware, has never been before 
suggested, and is certainly not the natural one. He 
waited, we read, till 3 p.m., and employed the interim in 
giving instructions to his officers, and then — His dimissis, 
&c. Thus the dismissal of the officers was unquestion- 
ably at 3 P.M., and the direction of the wind and tide is 
spoken of in one breath as contemporaneous with it 
Had another interval of two hours occurred, Caesar 
could not fail to have mentioned it. 

4, In the next place the chalk cUflfs reach all the 
way from Dover to Walmer, though between Kings- 
down and Walmer they are comparatively low. From 
Walmer to Deal there are no cliffs, but the land is 
neither flat nor open, and therefore not in accordance 
with Caesar's description of the landing-place. If, 
therefore, Caesar sailed eastward, he must have passed 
Deal, and consequently the moorings from which he 
started, and which were eight miles off, must have 
been, not, as commonly supposed, at Dover, but con- 
siderably to the east of it. 

5. On his second expedition, Caesar set sail at sunset 
(about 8 P.M.), with a gentle south-west wind, and 
held on his course till midnight. The wind then 
dropped, and the tide drifted him so far up Channel, 
that when morning broke he descried Britain on his 
left hand. The tide then turned, and he followed it 
back with oars to his former place of landing (aestfls 
commutationem secutus, v. 8.) Assuming that Caesar 
sailed from Boulogne (and the argument applies almost 
equally to an embarcation from Wissant), a gentle 
south-west wind, "from 8 p.m. to 12 at night, would 
carry him, if he steered for Deal, nearly halfway 
across. He was then borne out of his course by 


the tide, the set of which in this part is from S.W. to 
N.E., and the greatest velocity of the tide is, according 
to the Tidal Tables, 3*3 knots an hour, or about three 
miles and three quarters an hour. The drift would, of 
course, be less than the velocity, and we may allow for 
this about 4;hree miles an hour. From midnight till 
daybreak, at 4 A.M., would, therefore, give a drift 
of twelve miles. To find then the position of the 
vessel at 4 A.M., we must draw a straight line from 
Boulogne to Deal, and then another line twelve miles 
long, from about the middle of the Channel, at right 
angles, in a north-eastern direction. The end of the 
latter line will represent the extreme limit of the 
drift. Now, if we look at the bearings of this point 
with reference to Deal, I very much doubt whether, 
when the tide turned, the fleet, with a tide running 
south-west at the rate of three miles and three quarters 
an hour, could^ by rowing only, without any vraid, 
have reached Deal at all; but, certainly, if they made 
for Deal, they could not be said to follow liie tide 
which was running south-west. Their course must 
have been north-west, and across, if not actually against, 
the current. This is the argument which induced the 
learned D'Anville to consider the landing of Cassar 
at Deal untenable. 

6. Again, if Caesar from the extreme point of his 
drift made for Deal, how could his fleet have crossed 
the Goodwin Sands, which lay between him and Deal ? 
What was the state of the tide as regards flood or 
ebb? This we can ascertain from the remark that 
Caesar availed himself of the turn of the current back, 
i. e. the turn of the current westward.- This takes place, 
as we know from the Admiralty Tables and the prece- 
ding observations, at about three hours and a half after 


high water. Caesar, therefore, began his course towards 
the old landing-place at three hours and a half after high 
water, and as the passage must have occupied some 
hours, and he arrived at noon, low water must have 
occurred by the way. How then could a fleet of eight 
hundred vessels, either at low water or just before or 
after it, have crossed the Goodwins without a single 
wreck? If, on the contrary, as we suppose, Caesar 
"followed the tide" in the proper sense of the word, 
i. e. in a south-west direction towards Hythe, he would 
altogether avoid the Goodwins. This may have been 
one reason, in addition to the convenience of Hythe in 
itself, why under the circimistances he preferred the 
locality of his former debarcation. 

7. The shore where Caesar landed, shelved so gradu- 
ally into the sea, that with even a three hours' flood 
(viz. at 5 P.M., with high water at 8 A.M.) the transports 
could not approach terra firma ; and though the tri- 
remes could advance nearer, the boats only could touch 
the beach (iv. 24). There is also mention made in Va- 
lerius Maximus (iii. 2, 23) of some islets close at hand, 
and almost all the writers refer to the marshes ; and 
the British esseda, or war-cars, are described in the first 
invasion, when Caesar did not move from his camp, as 
running down steep precipitous places. We have seen 
that all these facts agree remarkably with the shore 
at Hythe, but at Deal, the beach, instead of sloping gra- 
dually, descends so steeply that with a three hours' 
flood transports can come up to the water's edge ; and 
as for any islets, or marshes, or decUvities in that 
quarter, I am not aware that the existence of them has 
ever been suggested. 

8. Caesar marched twelve miles from his camp on the 
sea shore, and then came to a river. The common 


idea of those who support the hypothesis of Deal is, I 
believe, that the river referred to was the Stour. This 
can never be, for the Stour at Canterbury is distant 
eighteen miles English, or nearly twenty miles Eoman. 
The Stour does not come within the compass of twelve 
miles until it approaches Stourmouth; and in the days 
of Cassar the sea flowed up to Stourmouth (as the name 
impUes), and round the Isle of Thanet* It is incon- 
ceivable that the Britons could have marched in this 
direction, as they would, of course, retreat upon Can- 
terbury, their capital; and this is confirmed by. the 
expression of the Commentaries, that they retired 
fi:om the shore into the interior, se in superiora loca 
abdiderant (v. 8). The only river, therefore, that would 
at all answer the requisites is the Little Stour, which 
runs by Patricksboume, Beakesboume,and littleboume, 
and of these three places I should give the preference 
(if to any) to the last, as lying on the high road jBx)m 
Deal to Canterbury! The Little Stour, however, is, 
after all, but a brook, and too insignificant to have been 
designated by Csesar as a river.f 

* At the end of the sixth century (a.d. 597), this strait, called 
the Wantsom, was three furlongs across, and only fordable in two 
places. ** Tanatos insula . . . quaxn a continenti terr^ secemit 
fluvius Yantsumu qui est latitudinis trium stadiorum, et duobus 
tantum in locis est transmeabilis." — Bede, lib. i. c. 25. 

f My note of the above places, on a visit ia September 1861, is 
this : — 

Littleboume, — The stream at the Priory, where, apparently, it is 
ornamental water, and made to assume the most imposing aspect^ is 
about twelve paces wide and a foot deep, and creeps along at tie rate 
of less than half a mile an hour. The groimd rises from it both 
east and west ; and on the west, at the distance of less than half a 
mile, is a wood called Pine wood, lying on the north side of the road. 
I observed no signs of entrenchments there, unless the deep ditch 
between the road and the wood can be classed tmder that category. 


The ground from the wood to the river is a gentle slope, and tolerably 
clear and open. 

Beakesboume. — ^The road from the west descends to it down a 
deep hollow road, and there is a thick wood on the north side at 
about half a mile distance from the stream. As the wood is not 
noticed in the Ordnance map, it is probably very small. The space 
between the wood and the river is remarkably clear and open. The 
stream at the bridge is only four paces wide and half a foot deep, 
and rims less than half a mile an hour. 

Fatricksboume. — Stream somewhat less, but swifter. No high 
ground on the west side. Much wood in the neighbourhood, and 
reaching to the stream itself. 

N.B. — The notion of some is that Cassar and the Britons met at 
Kingston, This is quite imtenable, as at Kingston, in summer, so far 
from there being a river, there is no running water at all, — a mere 
dry channel serving to convey the winter floods to the Little Stour. 



Page 2. 

That Caesar expected to meet with gold in Britain may be 
inferred from the language of Cicero : " They have found 
that there is not a scrap of gold in the whole island." (Cic. 
Ep. Attic, iv. 16.) And again, " I hear that in Britain is 
neither silver nor gold." (Cic. Ep. Div. xxvii. 7.) Csesar 
himself attests that their coinage was not silver or gold, but 
either copper or stamped iron. *' Utuntur aut cere^ aut taleis 
ferreis ad certum pondus examinatis, pro nummo." (Bell. 
Gall. V. 12.) However, silver has been obtained in Britain 
from very ancient times, and a gold mine is now in operation 
at Llanaber, in Merionethshire, and yields a considerable 
profit to the adventurers. 

Page 13. 
There is another conclusive argument against Dunkirk and 
Gravelines, and even Calais, which I cannot state better than 
by an extract from a little book placed in my hands by a 
zealous antiquary, Mr. Nathaniel Gould, written by the late 
John Dougall, and intituled, ^^ Observations on the Port of 
Gaul from which Csesar sailed on his Expedition against Bri- 
tain." The tract was never published, but was printed and 
circulated after his death by his widow. " Allowing," Mr. 
Dougall writes, *^ that turning up to windward had been 
occasionally practised by the Romans with their lee-boards as 
now, and long in use among the Dutch, still no commander 
of a numerous fleet of transports, destined for a hazardous 
expedition, would ever have gone to sea with a contrary 



wind.*' ..." From the Liane (Boul(^e) to the South 
Foreland the true, not the magnetic course, is about 
N.N.W., or two points to the westward of north. Had the 
wind been on the beam, as it is called, or perpendicularly to 
the course of the fleet, it must have blown from W.S.W. 
But such a wind could not be r^arded by Csesar as quite 
*feir, favorable, and proper for him.' We may, there- 
fore, allow it to have blown from a quarter or two points 
still further to the southward, or from S.W. With this last 
wind, and lug, or, perhaps, latine sails and oars, the Roman 
fleet might have easily run from the Liane to the South 
Foreland, or even to the ancient inlet of Dover. . . . 
The south-westerly winds blow in the British Channel on 
an average 120 days, or for one third part of the year. 
. . . From Calais to Dover the course is nearly W.N.W., 
or within six points of the wind from the S.W. ... No 
ancient fleet of transports, or even of war-galleys, departing 
from the port of Calais, had it existed in Caesar's time, could 
ever have arrived at Dover, or indeed at any point whatever 
of the coast of Kent. If this be true with respect to Calais, 
the objection becomes proportionally stronger if applied to 
any other point of the Morinian coast still further eastward 
from the narrow pass between Grisnez and Dover cliflFs." 

Page 15. 

As to the similarity of sound between Portus Itius and 
Wissant, the argument cannot carry the least weight, as it is 
well known that Wissant is not derived from Itius, but is a 
corruption of the Dutch Wit-sand, or white sand, which is 
there so conspicuous. 

Page 20. 

According to the Admiralty chai-ts, the exact distance from 
the mouth of Folkestone Harbour to the mouth of Boulogne 
Harbour is thirty statute miles and 2622 feet, or thirty and 
a half statute miles. This measurement has been kindlv 
furnished to me by Mr. Hastings Parker of the Admiralty. 


Page 21. 

As to the exact distance of Ambleteuse (see ante, p. xv.), 
Mr. J. Dougall makes the following just observations upon 
the relative positions of the Portus Itius and the Portus Su- 
perior : ^' From the Liane to Grisnez the coast lies from S. 
to N. When the S.W wind blew, therefore, no ancient ship 
could possibly sail along it from N. to S. Had that farther 
place or port been capable of receiving a numerous fleet, at 
the same time that a voyage from it must have been eight 
miles shorter than that from the port where Caesar embarked, 
he would unquestionably have selected it. That he did not 
select it is therefore a proof that the farther port was quite 
unfit for his purpose. The bold cliffs of the Morinian coast 
continue for two miles to the northward of the Liane or of 
the harbour of Boulogne. Then the shore lowers down to 
the mouth of the little river of Wimereux, at which the 
sandy downs re-appear. They extend beyond Ambleteuse at 
the mouth of the Slacq, and terminate at Andreselles, a 
fishing village seven miles from the entrance of the Liane : 
seven English miles are about seven and three quarters 
Eoman; but this is the direct lineal distance along the 
beach. By the land road the distance from Boulogne to 
Andreselles is nine English, or nearly ten Eoman miles. 
Besides the excess of the distance the stream at Andreselles 
is a mere brook. The Slacq is much better adapted to form 
a small port accessible by ancient ships, for at high tides the 
water rises in it to thirteen feet. ... In front of the 
entrance extends St. John's roadstead, which affords good 
anchorage in winds from the N.E., E., and S.E. At the 
entrance is situate Ambleteuse, six and a half Eoman miles 
along the coast, but nearly eight by the road. The lowness 
of the shore and the depth of the water in the river, made it 
peculiarly proper for embarcation of cavalry." 

Page 23. 

On the subject of the estuary of the Liane, the late Mr 
J. Dougall writes i " The whole course of the liiane, from the 

G 2 

village of the same name^ where its branches are collected 
into one bed, is in right lines between seventeen and eighteen 
English miles, or a little more than seven post leagues of 
France, flowing everywhere through a hilly country. The 
Liane is confined in a narrow hollow until near its first angle; 
then the first angle gradually widens by the retreat of the ris- 
ing grounds on towards St. Leonards, and from that village to 
the sea the course of the river presents the form of a spacious 
well-sheltered haven. The haven, however, now unites with 
the sea sooner than in ancient times. . • • How much 
the Channel has gained on the land since the days of Julius 
Caesar is a matter wholly conjectural. But if we compute on 
the result of the experiment made at Treport on the coast 
of Picardy, we may, perhaps, arrive at something near the 
truth. It appears from that experiment that the waves 
consumed seventeen feet of solid building stone in thirty 
years, or more than half a foot yearly. At that rate the en- 
croachment would, in 2000 years, exceed 1100 feet. But if 
we consider that the waves and winds act almost perpendi- 
cularly against the cliffs of Boulogne, while they act but very 
obliquely on those of Treport; that the cliiBf of Treport is of a 
natm-e much more compact than those of Boulogne ; when 
it is recollected that no vestige now remains of the projecting 
cliflF which supported the Pharos of Boulogne, although 170 
years only have elapsed since its fall, less than a quarter of 
a mile cannot well be allowed for the advance of the waters 
at the entrance of the Liane. By so much, therefore, has 
the small bay which received the river now lost of the depth 
it possessed when Caesar sailed from it in his voyage to the 
British shore ; by so much is that bay less adapted for the 
sheltering or anchoring a numerous fleet of such vessels as 
he employed. . • . The extent of the road or bay of 
Boulogne, from S.W. to N.E., is about three miles, and the 
tide, at low ebbs of new and full moon, falls back from the 
land about half a mile. . . . From the preceding obser- 
vations, the valley of the Liane must, in ancient times, have 
formed an inlet or haven accessible to aU tides, and conse- 
quently extremely commodious and secure for ships of anti- 


quity which required but three or four feet in depth of 
water. The length of the haven was three miles, and its 
breadth gradually increased from 300 to 900 yards. With 
such dimensions the area of the haven would be 3,168,000 
square yards, or somewhat more than an English square 
mile, which contains 3,097,600 square yards. If now we 
allow for each transport in the second fleet of Caesar a space 
of thirty yards long and ten yards broad, the haven of the 
Liane would contain 1000 of such vessels. ... A fleet 
of 600 flat-bottomed vessels, all moved by oars, must have 
employed several successive tides, after the troops and neces- 
saries were embarked, to be able to get out of port. When 
all had quitted the haven they must have done as transports 
on any expedition now do. They must have anchored in the 
road at convenient distances, to keep clear of one another, to 
be in readiness to set sail and ply their oars together when 
the signal was displayed. Stationed in this way, Caesar's 
fleet must have covered the shore all the way from towards 
the promontory, now Cape Alprech, on S.W., to the northern 
boundary of the bay in front of the Liane, a space of three 

Page 26. 

The words of Caesar are : " Eadem nocte accidit, ut esset 
luna plena, quae dies maritimos aestus maximos in oceana 
efficere consuevit." (Bell. Gall. iv. 29.) The Astronomer-Eoyal 
suggests that Caesar may have had no almanack to indicate 
the day of full moon, and that as **the spring-tide is a day 
and a half later than the full moon," the day referred to may 
have been that of the spring-tide. This would be 1st Aug., 
B.C. 54 ; and the fourth day before it, or day of Caesar's arri- 
val, would then be the 28th August, and not, as we have 
supposed in the text, the 27th August. The only conse- 
quence would be, that on the day of Caesar's arrival (28th 
August) it would be high tide about an hour later than on 
27th August, i. e. about 9 A.M. instead of 8 A.M., and then, & 
fortioriy the tide would be running west at 3 p.m. I cannot, 

G 3 


however, assent for a moment to the notion that CflBsar did not 
know the actual day of full moon, or that he refers to the 
day of the spring-tide. The words are not *^ luna plena, quas 
maritimos," &c. ; but " lima plena, quae dies maritimos," &c. 

Page 33. 

The length of the passage from Boulogne to Folkestone, 
viz. ten hours for the triremes and fifteen for the transports, 
was no doubt owing in great measure to the deflections in 
their route, caused by the set of the currents in the Channel. 
From midnight, when they started, till 6 A.M., the tide would 
be running west, and for the next six hours it would carry 
them east. Some time also must have been lost while they 
waited in the offing for the eighteen transports to join them 
from Ambleteuse, but which they never did. 

Page 35. 

The following rules for ascertaining the time of high water 
at any particular place may be useful : 

When the time of high water is given for any particular 
place in Tide tables, it is imderstood to be the time of high 
water at that place on the days of the syzygies, or of new and 
full moon, when the sun and moon pass the meridian of the 
place at the same time. 

To find the time of high water at any place on any other 
day than at new or full moon, find the time of the moon's 
southing on the given day, and then add the time which the 
moon has passed the meridian on the full and change days 
(or the time given in the Tide tables for high water at the 
place on full and change days, when the sun and moon pass 
the meridian of the place at 12 o'clock) to make high water 
at that place, and the simi shows the time of high water on 
the given day. 

e.g. At what time was it high water at London Bridge 
on the 25th December, 1 784 ? The moon southed at 9h. 36m., 
to which add 3h. (the time of high water at London Bridge 


-on full and change days), and the sum shows it was high 
water at Oh. 36m. 

To find the moon's southing or being in the meridian, 
multiply her age by four, and divide the product by five. 
The quotient gives the hour^ and the remainder, multiplied 
by twelve, the minutes. 

The meridian of a place is the great circle in the heavens 
of which the plane passes through the zenith and nadir of 
the place and the poles of the earth, and is called the meri- 
dian because when the sun is in this circle it is noon. 

Page 42. . 

The author has since obtained more accurate information 
as to the early state of Eomney Marsh, for which see ante, p. lii. 
A valuable paper upon this subject was contributed by Mr. 
Elliott, the engineer of the Marsh, to the sixth volume of the 
" Minutes of Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers," 
from which the following extracts are taken : 

" No satisfactory account exists of when, or by whom, the 
Marsh was reclaimed from the sea; the Eomans, however, 
have, in popular opinion, the credit of this great work ; at all 
events, it is evident from recent discoveries, that they occu- 
pied a considerable portion of the country between Dym- 
church and Eomney, and there is reason for believing that 
it was in a habitable state at that early period. The remains 
alluded to, which were discovered whilst making some altera- 
tions in the line of the sea wall, extended over a space of 
several acres ; they consisted of an enormous mass of pottery, 
from the coarsest imbaked kind to the finest Samian ware ; 
much of it in a perfect state of preservation. The presence 
at this spot, of beds of very fine white clay and layers of 
clean sharp sand, would lead to the inference that it was the 
site of an extensive manufactory of pottery, particularly as 
the eflfects of fire are evident in all directions. 

"These remains, taken in connection with the ancient 
Eoman fort at the foot of Lympne Hill, on the borders of the 
Marsh, within a distance- of five miles, and the Stone-street 


Soad, another Boman work^ leading firom thence to Canter- 
bury, may fgdrly lead to the inference that the Romans were 
the originators of the work. But it is not quite so clear 
where this work was commenced^ or how it was executed. 
It is probable that the sea was not absolutely excluded by 
the erection of Dymchurch Wall, but that^ where the wall 
now stands, a natural barrier of shingle and sand i^as formed 
in the first instance, the sea still flowing over the land at the 
back, and that it was gradually restrained by the erection of 
cross walls or embankments stretching from this natural 
barrier up to the base of the hills. 

" This natural barrier commenced at the chalk hills to the 
westward, and, before the waters of the Bother discharged 
themselves at Eye, formed a continuous 'full' of shingle 
from thence to Hjrthe, and also formed (prior to the extension 
of Dungeness Point) nearly a straight line of coast, from 
Hastings to Dover ; a consid^able Kne of this ancient 
coast may be plainly traced at the present day, extending 
a distance of eight or ten miles, from the eastward of New 
Komney to the westward of the town of Lydd, which ^aa 
built about half a mile in advance of the first formed * ftilL' 
That this Une was formerly kept up across the bay of JRye 
Harbour, may be fairly inferred from the fewt, that the old 
town of Winchelsea, which was destroyed by a great inunda- 
tion in the reign of Edward I. (1250 to 1287), formerly stood 
about the centre of this bay, and most probably on the then 
line of coast. 

*^ There is reason to believe that the shingle at Hythe was 
connected with that at Eomney, on the line where Dym- 
church Wall is now erected, as there are shingle banks run-^ 
ning under and inland of the present wall, throughout its 
whole length, nearly at right angles to the line of coast, 
exactly in the position into which they would be throvra by 
an adverse wind and strong current on the end of the ' full,' 
while in a state of formation. The vast accumulation of not 
less than two square miles of shingle, between the eastern 
end of the wall and the town of Hythe, is worthy of atten-? 
tive observation, as it is evident, from the position of the 

nc: iiingle, which all lie at right angles to 

^ji. f a very strong current of water must 

B- z. ' and out of the great estuary which now 

jj_ ; s many of these ^ falls ' are carried up- 

'tcrs of a mile inland, in a continuous 

ident that the extension eastward of the 

ry slow, as those inland, or right-angled 

: close upon each other, with but just ridge 

A to define the course of formation. 

it ion must have been the work of ages, and 

::r on, the sea was gradually raising the sur- 

sh, behind the *full.' It is also worthy of 

land gradually falls from the line of coast, 

ills forming the northern boimdary of the 

ar the foot of which are all the low lands. On 

■ tide, all the waters were, by this natural incli- 

(i surface, directed to this part, thus forming 

ipposed to be the river Lymene, but which was 

the lowest part of the great estuary. .... 

vas most probably the state of Eomney Mai'sh when 

us took possession of this coimtry, or, at all events, 

t progressing towards it; and it must have oflFered a 

itlucement to that enterprising people to obtain pos- 

of so large a tract of open country, when it is con- 

i how slight would be the labour of bringing such 

into cultivation, and that all around was an extensive 

Presuming this opinion of the origin and state of Eomney 

sh to be correct, all the artificial works that would be 

jessary to shut out the sea, would be to erect walls run- 

ag from the * full ' to the hills, and evidence exists to 

low that it was by such means the object was attained. 

" The Ehee Wall, running nearly in a straight line from 

Eomney to Appledore, bears strong evidence of being a 

fioman work ; and it is, probably, at this spot that the main 

work for excluding the sea was performed. It is evident 

that in the construction of this work two objects were kept 

in view ; one to exclude the sea, the other to provide an easy 


exit for the hill waters, and also a drain for the reclaimed 
land ; these objects were attained by a cutting about 80 feet 
or 100 feet wide, running the whole length of Bhee Wall, 
the parallel banks of which can still be plainly traced, and it 
was this cutting that, in the course of time, formed the haven 
and port of Eomney. 

*^ It is further evident that Romney Marsh was reclaimed at 
once, from the fact that there is not a single internal wall of 
any description between Ehee Wall and Lympne, where it 
would appear that the eastern wall was built, although it is 
not so clearly defined as the other. 

" In the construction of Ehee Wall comparatively little 
labour was required, that part next the sea, by Romney, 
demanding little beyond cutting the dyke, the natural surface 
of the land being higher than most other parts of the Marsh; 
indeed, a considerable extent of land about Eomney is con- 
siderably above high-water mark, and has always been 
exempt from the * Wall Scott,' paying for the drainage only. 
This high land is rather a remarkable feature, as it bears 
strong evidence of its being composed of the natural strata, 
the ^ Hastings sand,' consisting of sand of various shades of 
colour, from yellow to grey, interspersed with layers of iron- 
stone. It can be traced over a very considerable space, ex- 
tending westward to Lydd, and northward towards St. Mary's, 
and probably is the remains of an island in the bay between 
Hythe and Fairlight. 

*' From Brenzett the Marsh gradually falls towards the hills, 
and in this part considerable labour was required in the con- 
struction of the walls, which are in many places from twelve 
feet to fifteen feet high ; this is particularly the case towards 
Appledore. This part, called * Appledore Dowles,' is at the 
present time the lowest part of the Marsh, and it can only 
be effectually drained by artificial means, which have from 
time immemorial been used for that purpose. 

*^ The course of the mass of shingle, on that part of the 
coast, appears to be invariably to the eastward, which is the 
direction of the flood-tide and of the prevailing wind. A 
considerable amount has been lost, both east and west of 


Dymchurch, since the date of the survey (made A.D. 1617), 
while Dungeness Point has been extended considerably within 
the same time. 

" Under what circumstances and at what period that extra- 
ordinary formation took place, is a difl&cult problem to solve. 
It is very evident that at some period the line of coast was 
inland of the town of Lydd, which is now upwards of three 
miles from the sea. 

**It is worthy of remark, that the timbers, &c., from any 
wreck on the west coast, are generally carried round and 
landed on the east of Dungeness Point, proving that a very 
considerable eddy exists in that direction ; the impetus given 
by the current in the main channel being evidently lost, and 
the force, or rather the loss of force in this eddy, causes the 
accumulation of shingle at, and round, the point to the east- 
ward. No certain record has ever been kept of the increase of 
the coast line ; but, from the best existing data, it appears to 
be about two yards annually, and allowing the accumulation 
to have been rather more rapid at first, say three yards per 
annum, a period of about 1900 years will have elapsed since 
the sea first left the original * full ' at Lydd. This would 
be about the time of the first landing of the Eomans in 
this country, and it is not improbable that some of their 
works at the then Port of New Eomney formed the nucleus 
of what is now Dimgenesd Point." 

Mr. Elliott has since been kind enough to furnish me with 
the accompanying maps of the Marsh, and also with the fol- 
lowing well-digested notes explanatory of the times at which 
the diflferent parts of the Marsh were inclosed. It will be 
observed, that subsequent investigation, through a period of 
fifteen years, has induced him to qualify some of his former 
statements. I cannot thank him too much for the time and 
extraordinary pains that he has bestowed upon this ^* labor of 
love." As regards the subject immediately on hand (The 
Invasion of Britain by Caesar), it would be sufficient for me 
to elucidate the eastern end of the Marsh only ; but the 
information which Mr. Elliott has supplied from the local 
records under his control and his own long experience is so 


^jaiAb, ^hax I iiaJl be dcn&g a Boriee as ^peD to godi^ 
nc IdtiUjtnr, hj javizig it before tiie puLlic. 

^ 7i>e £nft KLep tc/wards tLe indaBiire of tike Ifansh vaf die 
vrork of tL<r eleia^^ife, liz. iLe xtsronl birner formed bj the 
iiiizkg'I^ £pit, viiidi vaif grftdasJlj podied alaog the fiomfaan 
edgse c^f the 3LmL from Ranmej to Hxtfaeu Ab BCM>n as the 
^2t tz/Tscbesd tbe LiUs at West Hrthe Oaks, all entranoe £roiii 
the Ka va£ barrtd, from Bamner to Hythe, and the only 
openmg was on the west. The exdnson of the sea on that 
nde abo was effected by the Bhee Wall from Appledoie to 
Bomnej. 24/XlO acres, now known as Bomney Marsh Pn^wr, 
were thus inclosed. This was most probably the work of 
the Romans, who were certain] j Icmg in the oocupatioii d 
the ^iarsh, as is evident from the remains of Boman potteiy 
found in all directions. It is particularly laentioned by 
Tacitus that the Britons were compelled by the Bomans to 
labour in the embankment of the marshes. (Tac Agric. cited 
by Dugdale.) 

^ Becent investigations in taking a series of levels over the 
whole of Bomney Marsh have established the fact, that the es- 
tuary must have been closed at the eastern extremity (where the 
Portus Lemauis is commonly looked for) many centuries before 
the sea was shut out from the area of Bomney Marsh Proper; 
for at the extreme eastern end of Bomney Marsh, by Hyihe 
Oaks^ the surface of the land is 18 inches higher than it is a 
mile westward, a state of things that could not have existed 
bad there been any outlet towards the east after the closing 
of the Marsh westward. The inset and outset of the tides 
twice a day to and from the estuary would have counteracted 
the silting, and produced not an elevation, but a depression 
of the surface. There is found to be a regular and continu* 
oufl fall of the land next the hills, from Hythe Oaks into 
Appledore Dowles, which was, and is to this day, the lowest 
part of the Marsh, being 6 feet 6 inches lower than the land 
ttt ITytho Oaks. There could have been no silting after the 
incl()8iirc of the Marsh, and the present level is such as it 
waiH when the Marsh was reclaimed. For centuries, there- 
furO| before this event, the eastern channel, from the estuaiy 


to the sea, had been blocked up. The barrier which sealed up 
the eastern mouth of the estuary was the accumulation of 
shingle from the west, and which long before the historic 
period had reached the hills at Hythe Oaks. 

"Stuttfall Castle, at Lymne, is usually taken for the a.d 
garrison of the Portus Lemanis, but was probably one 
of the castra referred to by Grildas as built in the reign 
of Theodosius the younger for the protection of the Saxon 
shore. If Eomney Marsh, at the foot of the castrum, was 
dry land at that time, and occupied by the Eomans (as we 
know to have been the case), Stuttfall could not have been 
the ' Portus Lemanis ' of Eoman times, as it was not acces- 
sible from the sea, and lay a mile and a half at least from it. 
The sea could not have flowed there without putting the 
whole of Eomney Marsh Proper under water to the depth of 
eight or ten feet every spring-tide, a state of things that 
could not have existed without leaving some traces behind 
which could be seen at the present day. 

*' Lydd at this time was bounded on the north and east by a.d. 774. 
the sea, as appears by the grant of King Ofia to the Archbishop 
Janibert (see Somner's ^ Eoman Ports and Forts'), which 
proves that there was an opening to the sea from the estuary 
west of the Ehee Wall, between Lydd and Eomney, and which 
the present surface of the land shows to have been the case. 
This is the opening probably to which Holinshed refers in 
speaking of the shortest route from England to the Main. 
After naming Dover and Sandwich, he says, * or some other 
places of the coast more to the west, as between Hide and 
Lid, to wit Eomneie Marsh, which in old time was called 
Eomania, or Eomanorum Insula.' There would have been 
probably from 15 to 20 feet water spring-tides at this 
opening, when the sea had full run over the Marsh and up 
the valleys into the Weald. There is at the present day a 
succession of ' fleets,' cut off from each other by a series of 
embankments for innings, but suflBciently continuous and con- 
nected to show that at one time they formed the bed of the 
then channel of the river from Appledore to Fairfield and 
Midley, and thence to the haven at Eomney. These * fleets,' 


which can now be traced several miles, are on an average 
13 feet below high-water mark. They lie west of the 
Great Wall, shutting in Peckham's, St. Thomas'Sy Baldwin's, 
and BonifiEtce's Innings. 
j^ j^ ^ It was probably up this estuary that the Danes sailed 

866-892. when they destroyed Stone and Newenden, and it may have 
been up this estuary that the Danes tugged their 250 ships 
to Appledore. 

A.0.895. . "In this year, Somner says ('Eoman Ports and Forts'), 
*I find the first mention of Eomney in a grant of land 
by Plegmond, archbishop of Canterbury, caUed Wesing- 
marsh, beside the river called Eumenia.' This Hasted takes 
to be the manor of Aghonie, which was given in a.d. 791 by 
King Offa to Christ Church, Canterbury. If this was so, all 
this refers to Old Eomney, in which parish, about half a mile 
west of the church, Aghonie Court stands, where, in a.d. 1495, 
Thomas Goldstone, the prior, built a new hall and other apart- 
ments. It is evident that at this time (a.d. 895) neither Old nor 
New Eomney was of much note, as no mention is made of the 
Danes having committed any mischief at either place, when 
passing to Stone and Appledore, only a few years before. 

" Somner, speaking of Old and New Eomney, assumes them 
to be the Old and New Lamport of more recent times. But 
this is a mistake : the manor of Old Langport (as it came 
to be spelt) lies near New Eomney, but on the other side the 
estuary, which was then open to the sea (Hasted says near 
Belgar), whilst New Langport was west of Lydd, at Septvans 
Court, on the Beach Full opposite Scotney, where. Hasted 
says, Eoger de Septvans died in 37 Henry IIL 

"Leland writes (a.d. 1509) of New Eomney, *The very 
town of Eomn^, and two miles about it, was always by like- 
lihood dry land, and once, as it is supposed, the sea came 
about her, or the greatest part of her.' Eomney, at high 
water, must have been on an island not more than 5 feet 
above high-water mark spring-tides, with a considerable 
strip of land about level with high-water mark, and extend- 
ing towards Hope, being a tongue of land carried in by the 
stream entering the great estuary in very early times. It is 



evident that before the erection of Ehee Wall the great run 
of the sea out and in was to the westward, towards Lydd. 
The small opening east of Eomney was, at the time of build- 
ing Ehee Wall, nearly swarved up, but it was necessary to 
exclude the sea by erecting an earth wall for about 40 rods, 
which is to be seen at this time. 

" Eomney, during the last 100 years, had become a place of a d. io86. 
some note, as may be gathered from Domesday Book ; but it 
is very doubtfal whether Old Eomney was ever anything more 
than at present, as no disturbance of the soil exists as at 
other places where buildings had stood, and all to the west of 
Ehee Wall was under water at spring-tides up to the fifteenth 

" The first innings of land west of Ehee Wall were made by ^^J^ ^J-^ 
the ecclesiastics. The famous Thomas a Becket, archbishop 
of Canterbury, led the way, and his innings are still known 
as * St. Thomas's Innings.' They lie immediately north and 
west of Old Eomney. To show his connection and acquaint- 
ance with this part, in a.d. 1168, *He took boat secretly at 
Eomney, minding to have escaped over, but he was driven 
back by a contrarie winde, and so compelled to land against 
his will.' (Lambarde.) 

" Baldwin was archbishop a.d. 1 1 84 to 1 1 90, and his innings a.d. 
are called Baldwin's Innings, unless, as is not improbable, these 
innings were made by Baldwin Scadeway, to whom * Wi- 
bert, a prior, gave, about a.d. 1150, as much land,' Somner 
says, ' about Mistelham, in the Marsh, as he could inne at his 
own cost against the sea.' Somner says, * This Mistleham I 
take to be about Ebeney.' But it is more likely to have 
been at Brookland, where the Innings of Baldwin lie, as in the 
early records of Walland Marsh, a.d. 1549, constant reference 
is made to land lying at Mistleham Street and Mistleham 
Lane, at Brookland. 

" Peckham was archbishop at this time, and he probably a.d. 1229. 
inned the small marsh near Midley. In the records of Wal- 
land Marsh, a.d. 1549, reference is made to this as Peckham's 

'' Boniface, archbishop, probably inned the marsh adjoin- 1240-1270. 

1184-1 190, 


ing Baldwin's about this period. It was now that the first 
great inundations took place referred to by all the early his- 
torians, and which stopped the entrance of the Kother at 
Eomney, and opened another at Bhee. That the sea was not 
now entirely excluded is evident from two fietcts — first, from 
the wording of the inquisition of Nicholas de Hanlou (see 
infra) ; and, secondly, from the circumstance, that if it were 
not for the artificial walls erected, probably in the fourteenth 
century, across the mouth of the estuary from Eomney west- 
ward to Belgar, the sea would still flow over and cover the 
whole of Walland Marsh. So far from the haven of Eomney 
having been blocked up, as supposed, with shingle and sand 
by the sea itself, there would at present, but for the sea walls, 
be from seven to eight feet water in the haven to the north 
of Lydd at high-water spring-tides. 
A. D. 1257. " Henry III. issued his precept to Nicholas de Hanlou (who. 
Hasted says, lived at Court at Street Lyme) to inquire as 
to the best plan to restore the haven at Eomney, then much 
injured by the great storm and inundation of the year before, 
recorded by Somner from an old French chronicle belonging 
to the church at Canterbury. Nicholas de Hanlou in his an- 
swer to this precept states that the haven could not be restored 
unless certain works were carried out. The words of Nicholas 
de Hanlou are, Hhat certain obstructions which were in the 
old course of the river of Newendene should be removed, 
and that a new channel should be made near to the same 
old course, viz. from a certain cross belonging to the hospital 
of infirm people at Eumenale (standing by Aghenepende) unto 
Effetone, and from Eff*etone to the house of William le Byll, 
and so to Melepend, and thence descending unto the said 
port ; so that a sluice be made under the town of Apeltre 
for reception of the salt water entering into the said river 
by the inundation of the sea from the parts of Winchelsea, 
and for retaining thereof in its passage and recourse to the 
sea, to the intent that the same water might come together 
with the fresh water of that river by the ancient course unto 
the before-specified new course, and so by that passage di- 
rectly to descend and fall into the said haven; and that 


another sluice should be made at Sneregate, and another near 
to the said port, where that water might descend into the 
sea, for restraint only of the sea-tide on that part that it 
enter not into the said course, but reserving the. ancient and 
oblique course from the said cross to the before-specified 
haven.' (Dugdale's ' Imbanking,' p. 20.) 

"In the early records of Walland Marsh, A.n. 1549, con- 
stant reference is made to repairs of certain pindes or 
pendes (for it is there spelt both ways) in the common sewers. 
These are now known as pinnocks, or under-drains for con- 
veying water under roads, &c. Aghenepend would there- 
fore be Aghenepinnock. This pinnock would be the one shown 
in Poker's map of the Marsh, A.i). 1 61 7, as lying imder the wall 
between Aghonie Marsh and All Soul's College land, north- 
west of Lydd. The channel was to go from Aghenepend to 
Eflfetone. In Domesday map the manor of Eflfetone is shown 
as lying east of Lydd. The next point that can be at all 
fixed is Melepend, probably a pinnock at the extreme end of 
Millwatering Sewer, still further east of Lydd, towards the 
haven of Eomney. From Melepend or pinnock it was to 
descend obliquely into the said haven. This would give a 
course from south-west to north-east from Aghenepend to 
Eomney, and would pass obliquely into the haven of Eomney. 

** The object was to bring a vast body of water to bear 
upon the old channel and port to scour them. For this pur- 
pose a sluice, with folding-doors to open and close with the 
tide, was to be made at Appledore, to receive the salt waters 
from Winchelsea, and prevent their regress ; and the waters 
thus accumulated, with those from the valley of the Eother 
towards Newenden, were to be conducted to the port by the 
following means : — In the first place, the old channel, from 
Appledore to the cross at Agheniepend, was to be cleared of 
the obstructions, and then a new cut was to be made from 
the cross to the port, through the mass of silt, which had no 
doubt been collected by a succession of storms during the 
previous years. In order that the water from Appledore 
might scour this channel and the port with the greatest 
efifect, all other vents were to be stopped. A sluice, there- 



fore, with folding-doors, was to be made at Shargate, to pre- 
vent the water from running at the ebb along the trench of 
the Shee Wall, and another sluice at Romney, to prevent 
the water from passing up the trench of the Rhee Wall, at 
thefiow of the tide ; and thus all the water, both at ebb and 
flow, would be compelled into the new cut and the port. 

A.D 1288. " A commission was issued to John de Lovetot, 16 Edw. L, 
to oversee the banks within the county of Kent, and it is 
shown that * there had been no certain law of the Marsh exist- 
ing beyond the course of the water of that port (Eomney ) run- 
ning from Snargate towards Bumenale^ on the west part of the 
same port, till it come to the county of Sussex/ In this com- 
mission the trench of Ehee Wall, between Snargate and Rom- 
ney, is not called or treated as the river Limen or Rother, but 
as the C(yu/r8e of the water running from Snargate to Ronmey. 

A.D. 1325. *' Great complaints were made, 18 Edward XL, and a com- 
mission appointed to inquire as to the cutting a trench be- 
tween Appledore and the port of Eumenale. 

*' This complaint was between the commonalty of Romney 
Marsh Proper and the barons of the Cinque Ports, and was 
probably a question of drainage of Romney Marsh by Apple- 
dore Dowles, from which, as the lowest part of the Marsh, there 
must have existed an outlet for the fresh waters of Ronmey 
Marsh from very early times. The cutting the trench v^as, no 
doubt, the work of the barons of the Cinque Port of New Rom- 
ney, and in some way interfered with the drainage of the lands 
in Eomney Marsh. Dugdale, from whom this account is taken, 
observes, that the contention ran so high, that each party were 
preparing to fight it out ; but that, as the king wanted both par- 
ties to fight for him just then, the inquisition was withdrawn. 

A.1). 1339. *' 12 Edward III. Upon a writ of ad quod damnum the 
jury certify, ' That it would not be prejudicial to the king, 
or any other, if licence were given to John, archbishop of 
Canterbury, and the Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, to 
suffer an ancient trench, leading from an arm of the sea, 
called Apuldre, towards the town of Eomeney, which passed 
through the proper soil of the said archbishop and prior, and 
which was then newly obstructed by the sea sands that ships 

Rh«pW«a ^^H» Appit,im 


A.D 1288. 

A.D. 1325. 

A.D. 133! 


could not pass that way as they had used to do, to be wholly 
stopped up and fiUed, so that they, the said archbishop and 
prior, might make their benefit thereof as they thought fit, 
in regard that there was a certain other trench, leading from 
the said arm unto Eomeney, lately made by the force of the 
6ea, by which the boats and ships might pass as they had 
wont to do by the other, before it was filled up.' (Dugdale's 
* Imbanking,' p. 43.) 

" This change was probably caused or completed by the 
great storm referred to by Lambarde as occurring in A.©. 1334, 
three years before. Somner takes this trench to be that by 
Rhee Wall ; but it must be noticed that Somner, in reciting 
the grant of the trench, says, * One part passed through the 
lands of Margurite de Passele.' Now Margurite de Passele, 
according to Hasted, was daughter and heir of Sir Thomas de 
Normanville, of Kenardington, who died 11 Edward L, pos- 
sessed of the manors of Palestrie and Kenardington. Mar- 
garet, his daughter and heir, married Sir William de Basing, 
who died sheriflf of Kent, 1315. The manor of Palestrie 
lay in the Isle of Oxney, and extended from Smallhythe 
to Eboney. As this manor of Passelie, or Palestrie, be- 
longed to Margurite de Basing in her own right, in the grant 
she is styled Margurite de Passele, and not Margurite de 
Basing. South of Eboney lay the lands of the Archbishop and 
the Prior of Christ Church, as can be seen from the dispute 
at the innings of the Becard in A.©. 1339 (Dugdale's * Im- 
banking,' p. 86) ; this would fix the limits of the lands of Mar- 
garet de Basing at Eboney. In giving the direction of the new 
trench lately ^ made by the force of the sea,' Dugdale adds 
the name of the Abbot of Robertsbridge, as concerned in 
the new trench, but not m the old. The Abbot of Roberts- 
bridge's lands lay about Fairfield Church and the Becard (now 
Becket), as is shown in the dispute before referred to at the 
innings of the Becard in 1339. This shows pretty clearly the 
direction of the new trench made * by the force of the sea.' 
Taking Eboney as one point, and Fairfield Church as the 
other, we have the course of the stream south-eastward, 
which would be the direction of the chain of fleets before re- 

H 2 


ferred to, just outside (west) of the innings of Baldwin^ Boni-* 
face, and St. Thomas to Agheniepend, and so by the course 
appointed by Nicholas de Hanlou in A.D. 1257, about eighty 
years previous, into the haven at Eomney. It is worthy of 
note, that when the trench by Ehee Wall was given to the 
corporation of New Eomney, 5 Elizabeth, 1562, it was not 
called the bed of the river Eother, but simply * all and 
singular those lands called the land between the walls, ex- 
tending from Eomney to Eedhill between two walls, one of 
which is called Eomney Marsh Wall, and the other Walland 
Wall, which said land, lying between the said two walls, is 
in manner of a creek or waterway swarved or dried up.' 

A.D, 1384. " In 7 Eichard II. a commission was granted to examine 
the state of the sea walls at ' Lyd, Promhill, Midelea, and 
Old Eomeney.' These must have been the walls of Aghonie 
Marsh, the innings of Peckham and St. Thomas, and the 
Ehee Wall from Old to New Eomney. It is a great mistake 
to take the Midelea of Domesday for modem Midley, as in 
A.D. 1086 the site of Midley must have been all sea at high 
water spring-tides, and there could not have existed any place 
to find pannage for ten hogs. The position also in Domesday 
will not answer, for Midelea, if the bearings of the different 
manors are to be at all depended on (and the others in the 
Marsh are tolerably correct), would be at Brookland, and 
even there, where the pannage for ten hogs could be found is 
a mystery. 

A.D. 1389. " 1 Henry IV. The land called the Becard, lying about 
Fairfield and between that and the Isle of Oxney and Apple- 
dore, was inclosed about this time, and is now known as the 
Becket Land. 

A.D. 1447. " Sir John Elrington inclosed another large tract of land, 
thrusting the river Eother, as it was then called, from the 
Becard and the Appledore Channel, towards the Gnildeford 
Level, Wainway Creek, and Eye Harbour. Sir John Gnilde- 
ford wag probably inning, or had inned, a portion of Gruilde- 
ford Marsh at this time. 

A.D. 1479. "18 Edward IV. Commission granted to Sir John Fogge, 
where the bounds of Walland Marsh, as now existing, ar^ 


stated. The whole of Walland Marsh was then inclosed, 
except the district now known as Wainway Watering, Wain- 
way Creek, and other creeks leading in, as shown in M. Poker's 
or Cole's map of a.d. 1617. At this time (a.d. 1479) the land 
lying between Kent Pen and Jury's Grut Wall was open to the 
sea from Wainway Creek. Dugdale, in his map, marks Wain- 
way as New Innings of Wainway, probably about A.D. 1600. 

" From the accoimts of the innings in Gruildeford Marsh, in a.d. 1534. 
HoUoway's * History of Eomney Marsh,' it appears that 
large grants of land to Sir John Guildeford were inned be- 
tween 1478 and 1534. 

*'From the records of Walland Marsh, A.D. 1660, we collect a.d. 1560. 
that the sea still flowed up the Wainway Creek to Aghonie 
Marsh Walls, as a view was then ordered to be taken of the 
sea wall there, and certain repairs directed to be made. 

" An inquisition taken at Eye before Edward Lord Clinton a.d. 1562. 
proves that Sir John Guildeford had then inned the land 
about Wainway Creek. 

" Wainway Creek itself was shut in under a grant from a,d. 1661. 
Charles IL, 1661 ; and thus the final stroke was given to the 
innings of the whole of Eomney Marsh, including Walland 
Denge, and Guildeford Marshes, to the mouth of Eye Harbour. 

" In the case of the owners of the upper levels (about ^i>« I70i. 
Newenden and Bodiam), in a Bill depending in Parliament 
about the harbour of Eye, it is stated that the lands were 
sewed, and always had been sewed, into the Eother, which 
anciently passed into the sea through Eomney Marsh, several 
miles distant from Eye, towards the north-east; but that, 
having lost its passage about the year 1610, it was turned into 
the channel of Appledore, which channel had at that time no 
communication with the ancient or present harbour of Eye, 
but passed into the sea through Guildeford Marsh, at the 
distance of two miles from Eye to the north-east, and in the 
year 1623 was turned over from the Guildeford side into a 
small channel on the Eye side ; that the true and natural 
harbour of Eye, in the year 1644, and always before, lay on 
the south-west side of the town of Eye, towards Winchelsea. 
. " This requires a little explanation. When the petitioner^ 


speak of Romney Marsh, it must be taken in the general 
sense. The time when the waters of the Eother were turned 
into the Appledore Channel was at the inning of the Becard 
by Fairfield, in 1389. The innings of Sir John Elrington, 
1447, would force the Bother still further westward by Apple- 
dore Channel. About the same time Sir J. Gruildeford was 
inning land in the vicinity of Guildeford Church (1478 to 
1534); this carried the Appledore Channel to Wainway Creek, 
so that the only course the Eother could have had from 1389 
to 1634, and of course to 1610 (the date of this petition), 
must have been by the Appledore Channel into Wainway 
Creek. The outlet by the Appledore Channel and Wainway 
Creek was probably close to the north end of the sand 
hills at the Camber, between that and the present light- 
houses. This would be where it is shown in the map of 
Sussex, in Camden's * Britannia,' if the channel between the 
land at Eye and Playden were closed, and there was no 
channel between Playden and Eye until 1787. *In 1623 
(the petitioners say) the channel of Appledore passed into the 
sea through Gruildeford Marsh, two miles from Eye,' which 
would be the point at the sand hills before referred to, and 
would run thence by the Wainway Creek to Appledore 
Channel, a short distance west of Guildeford Church, a tract 
which the sea flowed over up to 1833. 

'' It is evident that very great changes must have occurred 
in the coast from Fairlight to Promhill. Norden, in his pre- 
face to the ' History of Cornwall,' says of Winchelsea, ' The 
ruins thereof now lie under the waves three miles within the 
high sea.' Tradition, he goes on to say, gave the same 
site in 1330. The bounds of Winchelsea, as stated by 
Cooper in his * History of Winchelsea,' were on the Camber 
(Wainway Creek) side to 'a point on the coast where a 
man can see Beachey Head by Bourne, past Fairlight Head.* 
Allowing for waste of Fairlight Head, which would be 
considerable in 500 years, we should draw the line of 
ancient shingle spit, as shown in the map at p. Hii.^ and 
this would also be the extent which Norden describes, when 
he says, Hhe ruins thereof (that is, Old Winchelsea) now 


lie under the waves three mUes within the sea." It is 
highly probable that both Old Winchelsea and Promhill 
stood, as Lydd does, on an ancient shingle spit, and not higher 
above high-water mark than three to four feet, and that they 



(From Camden* i Britannia). 

The dotted lines show the course of the Kother at this time, there being no 
opening between Playden and Rye. , 

were destroyed by some great storms for want of the fore- 
shore which protected Lydd and Romney, viz. Dungeness 
Point. The sea probably, at some early period of which we 
have no record, severed the spit somewhere between Old 
Winchelsea and Promhill. There cannot be much doubt 
that at one period this shingle spit formed a communication 
across the bay, part of the parish of Winchelsea being still 
on the east of Eye Bay, and extending to a point on the coast 
where a man can see Beachy Head. HoUoway, in his * His- 
tory of Eomney Marsh,' speaking of Camber Castle in 1540, 


observes that the sea flowed very close to the walls of the 
castle^ on the souths east, and north sides. In 1626, only 
eighty-six years after, it is stated in a commission granted to 
Lord Tufton and others, 2 Charles I., that the castle of 
Camber, in Sussex, was grown into great decay, being for- 
saken by the sea, and left distant from the water two miles 
at the least. (Cooper's ' History of Winchelsea.') 

** On the old map of the Marsh in the Cottonian collection 
at the British Museum (see ante, p. 44), the coast line is 
shown as it then existed. There is no scale to this map, but 
on comparing fixed points with the Ordnance Survey I find 
the scale to be five furlongs to the inch. If so, it appears that 
the coast line has come inland about two furlongs, or eighty 
rods. The Ordnance Survey was executed 1817, and assum- 
ing that the old map in the British Museum was made about 
A.1). 1550, we have in 267 years a loss of eighty rods in the 
breadth of the shingle, or about thirty rods in a ceutury. At 
this rate the shore, b. c. 65, would have been a mile and a half 
further seaward than at the present time. It is probable, 
however, that the alteration of this part of the coast was not 
so rapid before, as since the growth of Dungeness Point. It 
is pretty certain that the coast line has retreated inland ten 
rods in fifty years, which would give nine furlongs loss in 
1800 years. But this probably is too much, as the line of 
coast to the westward would continue to feed Hythe with 
shingle for many years, after the great supply from Dungeness 
had been cut off. It is within the limit of probability that 
B.C. 55 the coast line at Hythe was nearly a mile wide from 
the hills. 

*^ In the old map above referred to, the channels of the 
haven are represented as forming two small islands. The 
traces of them were not obliterated until about ten years since, 
when I was engaged in levelling the land at the south of 
Hythe. On that occasion, for the purpose of filling up the 
ditches, I removed and carted away two knolls or eminences 
which were no doubt anciently the two islands in question. 
The knolls were pretty close together, about halfway between 
the military canal and the shingle fall, and about thirty rods to 


the east of the Elm Avenue leading from Hythe to the sea. The 
larger one was oval, thirty yards by twenty and about five feet 
above the general level. The smaller one was not more than 
half the size of the other, and a foot and a half lower, and 
lay to the north-west of the other. I had no conception at the 
time that I was annihilating two important ancient landmarks. 
^' I may add that in excavating for a drain at the east end 
of Hythe, we came to the foundations of a Roman building 
in the main road, about two feet under the surface, and turned 
up at the same time a great quantity of broken Soman 

Page 50. 

Of the writers who allude to the Marshes, at the part 
where Caesar landed, no one, perhaps, uses more pointed lan- 
guage than Lucan, in a passage which was accidentally 
omitted by the author : 

^ Oceanumque vocans incerti sta^a profundi, 
Territa qossitis ostendit terga Britannis.'* 

Lucan, Phars. lib. ii. y.571. 

Page 51. 

It has since occurred to me that another argument, though 
slight, may be urged in favour of Deal, viz. that Caesar, hav- 
ing come from Boulogne, and anchored ofif the cliffs between 
Sandgate and the South Foreland, " went forward,^ ab eo loco 
progressus (iv. 23), which may be thought to mean, that he 
went up Channel towards Deal. But to this it may be 
answered, in the first place, that if Caesar sailed from Bou- 
logne he would approach Folkestone nearly at right angles 
to the shore, and that if he anchored half a mile or farther 
from the shore he would be said to go forward, whether he 
turned to the right hand or the left. In the next place, 
though the coast towards Dover might in reality be some- 
what more remote than the coast in the opposite direction, 
yet, as a person approaches Britain from Boulogne, the line 
of shore towards Dover, from the greater height and white- 
ness of the cliffs, presents the appearance of being nearer 



than the line of shore westward, where the cliflFs trend inland 
and the low level of Eomney Marsh succeeds. Again, the 
word *' progressns " has reference to the object in view, viz, 
the island of Britain ; and this, to a person arriving from 
Boulogne, would lie on the left and not on the right. When 
CaBsar, on his second ex.pedition, was drifted through the 
strait, he no sooner discovered his error than he tacked back 
again, i. e. the Britain which he was seeking lay to the west. 

Page 70. 

It is here assumed that the two ships which missed the 
Portus Itius put into another port more to the south, but 
on referring again to the Commentaries, I am satisfied 
that Caesar's meaning is, that the two ships, without reach- 
ing any port, put the soldiers on shore either by boats or by 
running the vessel agroimd. This also was the imderstand- 
ing of the late Mr. J. Dougall, whose observations are well 
worth transcribing : ** When they arrived," he says, " under 
the lee shore at Grisnez, the fleet would keep as close as 
possible to the land. Two of the transports, however, the 
farthest oflf the shore, and probably in very bad condition, 
unable to stand in for the Liane with the others, were forced 
to run before the wind southward. The high rocky shore 
extends for above four miles south from the Liane to the 
commencement of the sandy downs, which reach for nine 
miles more to the river Canche. On any part of that sandy 
beach the two transports, flat-bottomed, and in smooth water, 
with the wind obliquely from the land, might easily run 
aground and set the troops on shore. . . . While the 
troops were busied in landing within the haven of the Liane, 
the fate of the two transports could not be discovered, and 
might not attract immediate attention ; nor could Caesar's 
cavalry proceed to their assistance without going up some 
miles above the haven to find a ford near the Liane." 

Page 79. 

Corns is generally considered as identical with Caurus, but 
Vitruvius distinguishes them, and dividing the compass into 

twenty-four (not, as we do, into thirty-two) points, makes 
Gaums the N.W. and Septentrio the N., and between them 
places Corns next Caurus, and Thrascias next Septentrio* 
Corns, therefore, would be nearly N.N.W. " Ad latera Cauri 
Circius et Corus : circa Septentrionem Thrascias et Gallicus." 
— Vitruv. lib. i. c. 6. 

Page 86. 

I assumed in my essay that the camp which Csesar pitched, 
immediately on his second landing, was the camp, but with 
increased dimensions, in which, on returning from Wye, 
he drew up his fleet. But, on further reflection, I doubt 
whether there were not two successive and distinct camps. 
On his second landing he selected a suitable spot, ^^ loco castris 
idoneo capto " (v. 7) ; and the word " idoneo " leads to the 
inference that the camp was as usual on high, and naturally 
strong ground ; and if so, what is called Caesar's camp, at 
the edge of Shomcliffe, and overlooking the Marsh at Hythe, 
if ancient, would exactly answer the description. The lan- 
guage, as to the subduction of the ships, is that he decided 
*^ omnes naves subduci, et cum castris und. mimitione con- 
jungi " (v. II) ; not that they should be hauled into the ca/mp 
before chosen, but that both ships and men should be col- 
lected into one ccrnip, and protected by the same ramparts. 
This united camp he calls, by way of contra-distinction, 
the *^ castra navalia " (v. 22) ; and, from the nature of the 
case, it must have stood on the sea shore. As for many 
centuries the action of the sea has been wasting this part of 
the coast, the site of the camp, if originally at the seaside, 
must long since have disappeared. 

Page 94. 

I have since examined more closely the mounds in the 
Marsh near to, and just opposite, Stuttfall, and I find that 
they are not artificial, but banks of sand ; and, in the opinion 
of Mr. Elliott, were not thrown up by the sea, but drifted 


thither by the wind. They lie north and south, increasing 
in height towards the south, and reach, say sixty yards. They 
are quite isolated, and not connected with the Shingle Falls, 
but rest on the ordinary mould of the Marsh.