Skip to main content

Full text of "Archaeologia aeliana, or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity"

See other formats








25, VOL 1X1. 










On page 163, line 10,, for Coecina" read " Csecina." 

been drawn by a law of gravity as sure ana as resistless as mat, wmuu 

guides the planets in their courses. They were leaving the open plain 
and secluded valley for the walled city, to live and learn, in the days of 
the Plantagenets. Youths were sent from distant parts, in Tudor and 
Stuart times, to be apprenticed to various crafts and acquire municipal 
freedom. The Broughams, before the famous Chancellor added to the 
lustre of their name, sent sons out of the West into the East for mer- 
cantile lore. The bells of our church towers fell with sweet surprise on 
the ears of young rustics who stole timorously into the busy town to 
become in future years the Whittingtons of the Tyne. In the words 
of an adage of our ancestors, 

At the West Grate came Thornton in, 
With a hap, a ha'penny, and a lamb skin. 




THE old nursery stories, the joy of our simple childhood, have their 
foundations deep down in sober fact. The venerable legend of " Jack 
and his Eleven Brothers," wherever it is told, or by what name soever 
it is known, how true it is ! The sons of men have been going forth 
from the homes of their fathers, .through all the ages, seeking their 
fortunes; waited upon in their wanderings by good spirits and bad; by 
Industry and Idleness, Wisdom and Folly, Duty and Pleasure, Good 
Luck and Evil Hap, and all the thousand imps and fairies that make 
or mar the adventurers in their journey through the world. To this 
good old town of Newcastle, in which we now play our several parts, 
young men have for centuries been bending their steps from country 
homes, braving its risks and striving for its rewards. Hither they have 
been drawn by a law of gravity as sure and as resistless as that which 
guides the planets in their courses. They were leaving the open plain 
and secluded valley for the walled city, to live and learn, in the days of 
the Plantagenets. Youths were sent from distant parts, in Tudor and 
Stuart times, to be apprenticed to various crafts and acquire municipal 
freedom. The Broughams, before the famous Chancellor added to the 
lustre of their name, sent sons out of the West into the East for mer- 
cantile lore. The bells of our church towers fell with sweet surprise on 
the ears of young rustics who stole timorously into the busy town to 
become in future years the Whittingtons of the Tyne. In the words 
of an adage of our ancestors, 

At the West Gate came Thornton in, 
With a hap, a ha'penny, and a lanib skin. 


"With this scant outfit, " the richest marchaunte that ever was dwellinge 
in Newcastle" found himself a stranger in our streets in the fourteenth 
century. At the same gate, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, came in 
" George Gilpin, son of Randolph Gilpin, of Fairbank, Westmoreland, 
Gentleman," and nephew of Bernard Gilpin, the Apostle of the North, 
who, in February, 1598-99, was bound apprentice to "William Riddell, 
Merchant Adventurer and Mercer. (Books of the Merchants' Company, 
Newcastle. Pedigree of the Gilpin Family, printed by the Cumberland 
and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.) " Henry 
Brabant, son of John Brabant, of Pedgebank, Durham, Gentleman," 
left the county palatine in 1636, and came along Tyne Bridge, to be 
indentured to Alexander Davison, who died in 1644 of the wounds he 
endured fighting at four-score against the besiegers of our walls; and 
the then apprentice of the octogenarian merchant, sharing his master's 
sympathies with the Stuart cause, rose to the offices of Sheriff and 
Mayor after the Restoration. His name is distinguished in our local 
annals; and long were the roll of not less renowned Newcastle appren- 
tices, written on a larger page, that might be extended from those books 
of the Merchants' Company, ever courteously open to the studious 
inquirer, which await the editor who shall one day make them the 
subject of a volume of Tyneside story. Gilpins many have been inden- 
tured since the days of Randolph, whose brother Bernard founded the 
grammar-school of Houghton-le-Spring, where a long succession of 
diligent lads have been receiving a good education for centuries. To 
George Blaxton, Merchant Adventurer and Boothman, was apprenticed, 
in the month of February, 1645-46, " Allen Gilpin, son of Isaac Gilpin, 
of the city of Durham, Gentleman," who was set over in March to 
Phineas Allen, churchwarden of All Saints' in 1642, 1646, and 1657; 
or " church officer," as it was at one time the pleasure of the Puritans 
to call the guardian of the temple. Allen Gilpin was a younger brother 
of Dr. Richard Gilpin, baptized at Kendal in 1625, Rector of Greystoke 
before the Restoration, and subsequently one of the Dissenting minis- 
ters of Newcastle; and in the next generation, in 1675-76, a son of the 
Doctor was bound to George Fenwick, Merchant Adventurer arid 
Boothman, and set over to William Hutchinson, a chief subject of 
the present paper. 

Two Yorkshire youths, in the reign of Charles the First, came from 


the banks of the Tees and the Swale to the Tyne, for training in trade 
and commerce, Ambrose Barnes and William Hutchinson, both of whom 
flourished greatly on their adopted river; and the latter, described as 
" one of the considerablest merchants of his time," was the founder of 
the first meeting-house built for Dissenting worship at Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne. The two young men arrived within a few months of each other, 
and in the same year. I call them young men, for such they were. 
Merchants' apprentices were in those days not uncommonly looking back 
on their boyhood before they were indentured; and as they were bound 
for a term of ten years, their manhood was well advanced ere their free- 
dom was won. Ambrose Barnes, apprenticed on the 1st of August, 
1646, was enrolled in the books of the company on the 10th of Sep- 
tember thereafter, " son of Thomas Barnes, of Stratforth, in the county 
of York, Gentleman." Bound to William Blackett, Merchant Adven- 
turer and Boothman, he was set over to Samuel Rawling, July 2, 1647, 
the Sheriff of 1649. Young Barnes, born towards the end of the year 
1627, in "a small town standing upon the river Tees, in the edge of 
the county of York," over-against Barnard Castle, was approaching the 
age of 19 when he became an apprentice; and in the year 1654-55, 
being then more than 27, and with eighteen months of his servitude 
yet to run, he was admitted to his freedom on petition, as an act of 
grace and favour. The Merchants' Company, however, maintaining its 
privileges, required that he should pay a not burdensome fine of 50s. 
(three-fifths for the abbreviation of his contract, and the remainder for 
having entered into trade during its existence). An able and faith- 
ful servant, he had won the confidence and affection of Mr. Rawling, 
who had encouraged him in occasional ventures of his own. A signal 
contrast in his conduct to one of his younger colleagues, Hogarth's idle 
and industrious apprentices had their prototypes in the same bed- 
chamber on the Sandhill. Early to bed and early to rise, was the motto 
. of Ambrose; but his bedfellow turned the maxim of " Poor Richard" 
the other way round. " He kept such disorderly hours, Mr. Barnes 
never knew when he came to bed; and Mr. Barnes was so assiduous in 
his master's business, the other never knew when he got up ; " one of 
those " pleasant passages" of Commonwealth days over which, in an 
after-time, Ambrose would make merry with " a fellow-apprentice, Mr. 
Anthony Salvin, a gentleman of good estate of the city of Durham," 


who " heads the pedigree of Salvin of Sunderland Bridge in Surtees's 
Durham." (Surtees Society, vol. 50.) Persevering and sagacious, 
Ambrose Barnes amassed seven or eight hundred pounds as an 
apprentice. Naturally of an industrious temperament, he was, 
moreover, all the more active and anxious in his endeavours because 
he had fallen in love. It was the lady's attractions that inspired his 
wish to be rid of his indentures; and in the summer of 1655, eman- 
cipated from his master, he bound himself for life to his fair mistress, 
Mary Butler. 

William Hutchinson was at this time still an apprentice. On the 
10th of October, 1646, the " son of Francis Hutchinson, late of Gilling, 
Yorkshire, Gentleman, deceased," had been indentured to Benjamin 
Ellison, Merchant Adventurer and Mercer; and in the autumn of 1656, 
when his term was expired, he was admitted to his freedom. He and 
Barnes, sons of old north-country families numbered among the 
gentry of the riding in which they were born, ran their course side by 
side in the town of Newcastle. Their names are written on the same 
leaf in those books of the incorporated company to which I have had 
kindly access, and are inscribed on the same stone in that churchyard 
of Pilgrim Street so long open to all. In the old enclosure of All Saints' 
lies a sculptured memorial, with time-worn coat of arms, marking " the 
burial-place of William Hutchinson, Merchant Adventurer, who de- 
parted this life the 6th of March, 1 689." The storms of six generations 
have chafed to a mere rudiment the tail of the closing figure of the 
year; no " Old Mortality" has restored the wasted line with his pious 
chisel; and 'tis little wonder that the local historian, copying the inscrip- 
tion, has not rendered it aright. The patient antiquary, kneeling on 
the ground for a " rubbing," would have a cipher given back to him 
for his reward; but, schooled by experience, he would check his tran- 
script in the neighbouring vestry, and learn from the parish register, 
sheltered within its closet from the elements without, that " 1680" was 
not the accurate date. " William Hutchinson, buried March 9, 1689-90," 
is the written word. The churchyard stone bears the name of his son 
Jonathan, who married Mary, daughter of Ambrose Barnes, and, having 
been returned to Parliament on the 9th of February, 1701-2, held his 
seat in the House of Commons till his death on the llth of June, 1711; 
after which time he was succeeded in the representation of Berwick- 


upon-Tweed by Richard Hampden, great-grandson of John Hampden, 
who fell on Chalgrove Field. Following the borough member on the 
family record comes his daughter Ruth, whose husband was Joseph 
Airey; and through the Aireys the library of the Literary and Philo- 
sophical Society derives the well-known " Barnes Manuscript," the sub- 
stance of which was printed by the Surtees Society in 1866. 

Under the old Puritan stone lie the ashes of the kindred dead. 
Ambrose Barnes, whose Memoirs, edited by Mr. W. H. D. Longstaffe, 
all may read with instruction and profit, and William Hutchinson, his 
brother-in-law, were linked together in life and death. They shared a 
common nativity, and were united by family ties. Hutchinson, with 
whom we are more especially concerned as the founder of the first 
meeting-house built at Newcastle for Dissenting worship, was brought 
up in the Church of England. In the troublesome times of his early 
manhood, he was known as " a moderate Churchman," but, " by accident," 
was " quite turned," as the biographer of Barnes relates, " to the Dis- 
senters; for, going one Lord's Day to his parish church, he was stopt 
at the porch, and forbid entrance, as being just excommunicated; which 
gave him such disgust that the worthy man, who was, before, the less- 
half of a Dissenter, never afterwards went to church." The thriving 
merchant lived in an age not over-comfortable for " moderate" men. 
Minds that are what is called well-balanced were often perplexed not a 
little among contending sects and parties in Church and State, and 
knew not always how to reply, off-hand, to the swaggering demand of 
" mine ancient Pistol" in the play, " Under which King, Bezonian ? 
speak, or die !" The excommunicated Hutchinson, " moderate Church- 
man," and " less-half of a Dissenter," was between two fires, and had 
stood for a time irresolute which way to turn. Now, however, he could 
halt no longer. The repulse at the porch drove him to a decision; and 
he cast in his lot with the Presbyterian Gilpin. At a period when the 
penal laws were in full swing against Nonconformity, he attended divine 
worship, at all risks and regardless of reproach, under the roof of the 
Doctor, in the quarter of Newcastle where the White Friars reared 
their new convent in the earlier years of the fourteenth century. 

The White Friars, or Carmelites, had their first settlement in Eng- 
land on the banks of the Aln. This was in the thirteenth century, 
when they found liberal benefactors in the Lords of Alnwick. The 



romance and the history of their introduction to Northumberland, to 
fan the flame of learning and religion in the land, may be read in the 
late Mr. Tate's instructive volumes, where he speaks of the catalogue of 
the library in Hulne Aboey, " which reflects honour on the convent; 
for the list of books is large for the period larger than the library of 
the house of Fame, and much larger than that of the priory of Lindis- 
farne." (History of Alnwick, by George Tate, F.G.S., 1866.) The 
Carmelites of Newcastle founded their house on the east side of the 
town, at the spot now known as the "Wall Knoll. It was an unfor- 
tunate selection; for when the new town-wall was projected, towards 
the latter end of the thirteenth century, the chosen line ran through 
their grounds and narrowed their boundaries. But when King 
Edward was on the Borders in 1307, and within a few months of 
his death, he gave them leave to cross over the town to the foot of 

the West Gate, by the Toot 
Hill, where Ada Page, one of 
the munificent women of her 
day, added a contiguous gar- 
den to their possessions. One 
wave of time flows after 
another, effacing old foot- 
prints. The Eomans had 
erected an altar on the wooded 
spot to the god Sylvanus. 
The White Friars Tower of 
the wall usurped its site. The 
tower gave way in its turn, 
in 1840-41, when Hanover 
Street was in course of con- 
struction; and the altar, once 
more restored to the light of 
day, was presented by Mr. 
Spoor to the Society of Antiquaries. (Transactions, vi., 231.) Some 
quarter of a century elapsed; and within the precincts of the priory 
the spade turned up further relics of Rome fragments of pottery, 
lumps of charcoal, an inscribed stone, human skulls, and a skeleton 
indicating a stature of six feet and a half. Reverently the remains 



of the Heathen dead, that had slept through so many revolutions, 
were restored to burial in a Christian churchyard. 

When the Presbyterian minister had his house near the White Friars 
Tower, and was assembling his followers in one of his rooms, every parish 
in the town had its forbidden conventicle, subject to entrance and dis- 
persion by the authorities. Cuthbert Nicholson, cordwainer, one of 
the town-sergeants, seems to have looked after such places with cheerful 
alacrity. He was keeping watch betimes, on the 1st of August, 1669, 
" about five or six of the clock in the morning," and " did see a great 
number of people go in to the house of Mr. Richard Gilpin, minister, 
in the White Friars." On Wednesday, the 4th, he appeared before the 
Mayor, and reported the fact. " After the doors were broken open," 
said he, " he did see several persons come out," to the number of about 
fifty, one of whom was William Hutchinson, now in middle life; and 
the witness, having closed his evidence, presented the Bench with a roll 
of the chief townsfolk in Newcastle who frequented conventicles, com- 
prising "Mr. William Hutchinson and wife," with several burgesses 
who had held office as Sheriff and Mayor. (Depositions from York 
Castle, Surtees Society, vol. 40, edited by Canon Raine.) 

Nonconforming families were at this period meeting for worship in 
private rooms, coming together in the early morning or under cloud of 
night. Sergeant-at-mace and churchwardens of the parish had scattered 
William Durant's congregation in Pilgrim Street, in the name of the 
authorities, on Sunday, the 18th of July, shortly prior to the breaking 
open of Gilpin's doors in the White Friars. The worthy cordwainer, 
going his rounds, had become aware that " a great multitude of people" 
were near at hand, " consisting to the number of one hundred and fifty 
persons, or thereabouts, under the pretence of religious worship and 
service, for he heard them sing psalms ;" and forthwith he had them 
dispersed " in the name of Mr. Mayor." But soon there came a change. 
A few years more, and the celebrated Declaration of Indulgence was 
launched from the Throne. In the Diary of Sir John Reresby there is 
a note of March 15, 1672, in which he says: "The King did issue out 
his proclamation for the indulgence of tender consciences. This made 
a great noise, not only in the succeeding Parliament (where at last it 
was reversed), but throughout the kingdom, and was the greatest blow 
that ever was given, since the King's restoration, to the Church of 


England, all sectaries by this means repairing to their meetings and 
conventicles, insomuch that all the laws, and care of their execution, 
against those Separatists afterwards, could never bring them back to 
due conformity." 

Never again could Humpty Dumpty be replaced on the wall. The 
King's hand had cast Exclusion down, and it was shattered beyond 
repair. The Cuthbert Nicholsons, in high estate and low, were afflicted ; 
but more moderate Churchmen were not disquieted. Evidence is not 
wanting that men in office, not a few, had been slack to enforce the 
laws against their friends and neighbours on the other side, tempering 
the wind to Nonconforming flocks by their passive shelter. The Crown 
was also interposing, and there were tender consciences that could not 
brook freedom by prerogative: they must have it, if at all, by right of 
law, and not by royal power. Others, however, inclined to the policy 
of the homely proverb, and looked not the gift horse too closely in the 
mouth. The general result was the breaking down of the exclusive 
privilege of public worship; and after the equivocal movement in highest 
place, meeting-houses began to rise up in various directions. Some 
congregations licensed rooms: others erected buildings. " Rooms in 
the house of George Beadnell," one of the Dissenters on the town- 
sergeant's roll of 1669, were licensed on the 5th of September, 1672, 
" to be a place for the use of such as do not conform to the Church of 
England, who are of the persuasion commonly called Congregational, 
to meet and assemble, in order to public worship and devotions." 
(Surtees Society, vol. 50.) This place of worship was probably intended 
for the people of William Durant, who was Congregational (or Inde- 
pendent) in his principles. (Calamy.) What course was taken, at the 
same time, by the adherents of Dr. Gilpin, does not precisely appear. 
It is likely that they, too, would in the first instance license a room; 
but, after an interval of time, longer or shorter, they built the " hand- 
some meeting-house" mentioned in the Memoirs written in 1791 by his 
descendant, Prebendary Gilpin. (Memoirs of Dr. Richard Gilpin, 
edited by William Jackson, F.S.A., for the Cumberland and West- 
moreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1879.) The building 
was founded on a site outside of the Close Gate of the town- wall, given 
for the purpose by William Hutchinson, not far removed from the resi- 
dence of Dr. Gilpin in the Friars. There was also a house for the 


minister or his assistant a " manse" belonging to the place of worship. 
In the present day, a pastor living on the now crowded spot, amid 
noise and dust, and smoke and steam, would be loth to acknowledge 
that his lines were cast in pleasant places; but when church and home 
were erected on Hutchinson's soil, in the reign of Charles the Second, 
the river flowed along by field and hedge-row, grove and garden. If 
we look on William Mathew's map of Newcastle in 1610, as printed in 
miniature by John Speed in his Theatre of Great Britain, we shall see 
the town-wall making for the Close Gate, descending a verdant slope 
with open ground on both sides; and in much the same condition was 
the margin of the Tyne when James Corbridge published his plan of 
1723; copied with abridgment into Bourne's history of 1736, and 
without note of the changes made in the interval. From the Postern 
Gate in Pink Lane an avenue of trees leads to the Forth House, with 
its double row of limes brought from Holland, as ordered by the Com- 
mon Council in 1 680. Thence runs a living fence to the Skinner Burn, 
and to the thoroughfare by the river-side that conducts us to the Close 
Gate, where the town-wall, climbing some seventy yards to the White 
Friars Tower, pursues its onward way, upwards of 214 yards, to the 
gate of the White Friars near the Neville Tower; and so, forward, 
by West Spital, Stank, and Gunner Towers (the last of which still 
lingers in Pink Lane), till we come again to the Forth Gate, where we 
began our round. Within these limits not a house is to be seen save the 
freemen's mansion surrounded by the limes. Nothing presents itself, 
in the enclosed area, but the recreation ground of the inhabitants, with 
its trees and gardens and grass-grown lawn, the traditionary gift of 
one of England's kings. On the inner or eastern side of the wall, down 
from the Neville Tower to the Tuthill Stairs, lies the domain of the 
Carmelites, comprising their second home among the trees ; a sylvan 
retreat, still appropriate, not more than two centuries ago, for the altar 
dedicated by the Romans to the guardian of rural haunts and woodland 

The Forth and its foliage, walls and towers, Close Gate and meeting- 
house adjoining, all are alike gone, leaving but faint traces behind; 
and he who would realize the transformation that has been accomplished 
between Now and Then, let him ponder Corbridge's plan of 1723 by 
the side of Reid's of 1878. It is impossible for any thoughtful man to 



look on such a scene, and think of what is gone, without some touch 
of sadness. Around the White Friars Tower, which kept its place in 
living memory, dwelt an order of monks cultured after the spirit of their 
age, one of whom, dwelling in the priory of Newcastle, Dr. Nicholas 
Durham, achieved a name as an opponent of John Wickliffe. From 
the gate in the wall neighbouring the Carmelite convent, in the mayoralty 

of 1342, issued a band of 
valorous warriors, under the 
shades of night, who fell upon 
an invading host of Scots, 
and made a sleeping com- 
mander captive, with many 
of his men, delivering them 
over to Lord Neville, then 
captain of the castle within 
the walls. Here, too, in a 
later day, outside the White 
Friars Tower, the Covenant- 
ing army of 1644 made one 
of their formidable assaults 
on the beleaguered town, and 
left behind them enduring 
marks of the fury of war 
rents and scars once visible to eyes not yet closed, but now obliterated 
by the ruin that has fallen on stone and mortar happily no longer 
needed for defence. 

The Close Gate, near which the Dissenters, outside the walls, built 
their first meeting-house two hundred years ago, bestrode the street for 
a period of five centuries, bearing its part in those extended barriers 
that were thrown around Newcastle in the days of the earliest Edwards; 
till at last, in the year 1797, it was cast to the ground, and carted away, 
as an obstruction to the increasing trade and intercourse of the district 
that could be tolerated no longer. Important it is that we should duly 
estimate the significance of this instructive fact. When walls and 
towers and gates were renewed, in wider circumference, round about 
our growing town, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with an 
added strength and magnificence that made them one of the wonders of 




Europe, the Heptarchy was gone, yet the island was divided between 
two hostile nations, often at war, but still more often wasting each 
other's border lands with fire and sword in miserable raids. The walls 
of the Edwards were still new when the Scots poured into England 
under King David, in 1342, burning and destroying Northumberland 
down to the Tyne, and lost the Earl of Murray by a sally of the defen- 
ders of the town. Inroads and reprisals were of common occurrence ; 
and visionary would the man have then been counted, on either side of 
the Tw r eed, who dreamt of the two countries ever living together in 
peace, or of their becoming one. Yet who dreams, now, of England 
and Scotland ever being divided and at war ? And is there no lesson 
for us here ? Is not the outcome of the centuries big with hope and 
encouragement ? The two kingdoms north and south of the Scottish 
Borders have long been one: the two countries north and south of the 
English Channel, once in almost perpetual conflict, have been for more 
than threescore years in perpetual peace. Is the vision too sanguine 
that the same pacific relations may one day be established all over the 
globe ? 

The old Close Gate, a 
jealous compromise between 
the needs of peace and war, 
afforded but a narrow way of 
intercourse for town and 
country, yet wide enough for 
the time in which it was con- 
structed. Three floors rose 
over the small aperture below 
the "needle's eye" of the 
venerable building as shown 
in the accompanying engra- 
ving, copied (with the pre- 
ceding cuts) from Eichard- 
son's Table Book. Fifty yards 
from the frowning tower, on 
the south, was a turret by 

the river ; and aloft, On the CLOSE GATE - EASTERN SIDE, REMOVED 1797. 

north, distant about two hundred feet, was the fort of the White 


Friars, connected with the gate by a hundred and forty " breakneck 
stairs," several of them still remaining, and worthy of a visit from 
the curious townsman or passing stranger. A massive remnant of the 
masonry where wall and gate adjoined, also keeps its ancient place by the 
wayside, marking the locality of what came to be known as " The Old 
Meeting House," erected after the royal declaration of 1672. The 
historian Brand, a century or more after it was built, has to say (1789) : 
" In the street that leads from the Close Gate to the Skinner Burn 
were several glass-houses, one of them formerly a meeting-house of 
Protestant Dissenters;" for such was the conversion that had happened 
to the first place built for public worship, apart from the Church of 
England, by the Nonconformists of Newcastle a change effected within 
a generation or two from its foundation. 

About the time when this primitive meeting-house was rising up in 
the West, under the direction of William Hutchinson and his fellow- 
Dissenters, Churchmen were active in the East, making further provision 
for worship and instruction . The ruined chapel of St. Ann's was having 
its resurrection, and a school was rising by its side, by the liberality of the 
Corporation, who were also to endow a lecturer. " The instruction of 
poor children, and such as were ignorant," was to have perpetual care; 
and in the spring of 1682 came the inaugural rites. The Vicar of 
Newcastle, John March, B.D., who has come down to us in gown and 
bands, and flowing wig, with contemporary testimony to his " worth and 
excellency," was the preacher of the day. Diligent " in instructing the 
youth of his parish," and "an excellent practical preacher," the " main 
objection this degenerous age had against him," observes Dr. John 
Scott, " was that he was a faithful son of the Church of England, and 
a zealous asserter of its doctrines and discipline;" or, as it is put by the 
biographer of Barnes, " he blemisht himself with a virulent animosity 
against Nonconformists ;" " clamouring against such Magistrates as 
showed them any marks of civility or good- will; telling them they let 
those frogs of Egypt creep into their halls and bedchambers, when 
orthodox divines could not be admitted." In a tract entitled " Th' 
Encaenia of St. Ann's Chapel in Sandgate," dedicated to the Mayor, 
Recorder, Aldermen, etc., who were present at the opening, the dis- 
course of the day was printed. The passing period is described as " a 
time of distraction;" " the loyalty and conformity shining forth" in the 


corporate body are commemorated ; and they are complimented on 
" the due exercise of their authority in suppressing conventicles, those 
notorious seminaries of Popery, schism, and rebellion." Nearer the end, 
however, of the reign of Charles the Second, the Vicar uneasily re- 
marked, from his own pulpit, that " he had observed of late that the 
Catholics had begun to nestle more in and about the town than formerly 
they had done." This was in 1 684, when England was entering within 
the shadows of the great crisis in which William Hutchinson was to 
play a conspicuous part. Parliament had been dissolved early in 1681, 
and for three years the King was reigning without Lords and Commons. 
He desired, also, to have the Municipal Corporations in his own hands, 
and intimated to the local authorities in Newcastle that a surrender of 
the old charter was expected of them. It was to be renewed, however, 
on condition that the Crown might appoint the Mayor, Recorder, Sheriff, 
and Town Clerk, or, at least, have the power to confirm their election. 
The clock of time was to be put back for centuries. Under the Plan- 
tagenets Newcastle had acquired increase of popular privileges. Its 
burgesses were empowered to choose their Chief Magistrate. Under 
the Stuarts the town was called upon to renounce its freedom of choice, 
retaining hardly a voice not more than a whisper of its own. Charles 
died on the 6th of February, 1685, and was succeeded by his brother 
James. The Duke of Monmouth, eldest natural son of the deceased 
monarch, rebelled. He flew to arms; and at Sedgemoor, in July, took 
place what Macaulay has described as " the last fight, deserving the name 
of battle, that has been fought on English ground." The rebels were 
overthrown. " James the Second," observes the unknown writer of 
the Barnes Memoir, "flusht with his success against the Duke, to usher 
in liberty to Papists, did, by his dispensing power, grant a toleration of 
Dissenters. Both sorts now opened their public meetings for worship, 
and the Magistracy was mixed with Papists and Protestants, Con- 
formists and Nonconformists. Men were at a loss to see how suddenly 
the world was changed; the cap, the mace, and the sword, one day 
carried to the church, another day to the mass house, another day to 
the Dissenting meeting-house; and those of the best penetration con- 
cluded so portentous a phenomenon must needs issue in some strange 
revolution." Palpable traces of this sudden overturn in the times of 
the second James, so characteristically hit off by the biographer of the 


Puritan Alderman, were long afterwards visible in an Elizabethan 
residence at the foot of the Tuthill Stairs, on the eastern side, known 
for many years as " The Mayor's Chapel," and occupied in the eighteenth 
century by the Baptists, who were therein ministered unto, in the year 
1792, by John Foster, the admirable essayist. Affixed to the old pews 
were hands for holding the sword and mace, the lingering evidences of 
its corporate use up to the time of the Revolution. (Douglas's 
History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England. 
Ryland's Life and Correspondence of John Foster.) " Some Account 
of the House in the Close," with " the orchard belonging to it," written 
by Mr. Longstaffe, may be read in the first volume of the Society's 
Transactions, N.S., pp. 140-48. A pleasant home on the bank-side, 
overlooking the river and the opposite shore, with flowers and fruit- 
trees blooming around, " the light of other days" has gone out. Panelled 
walls and decorated ceiling are eloquent of what has been, and carry us 
back to the year in which the stately room resounded with joy and 
triumph over the scattering of the Armada. A pointed archway in the 
Close, and a narrow passage in the Tuthill Stairs, lead up to the walls 
of the mansion " whose owner in 1587 was Henry Chapman, merchant 
and alderman," elected Mayor in 1586, and one of the Parliamentary 
Burgesses, with Henry Mitford, in 1597. At what time the Baptists 
entered upon it as a meeting-house is uncertain, but it became theirs 
by purchase in 1 720, and had probably been in their occupation long 
before. From the anecdote told of Colonel Axtel in volume 50 of the 
Surtees Society, it is to be learnt that they had the use during the 
Protectorate of the chapel of St. Thomas on Tyne Bridge, and that 
Ambrose Barnes was at that time one of the congregation of All Saints', 
when William Durant was lecturer. 

In the course of the mayoralty succeeding the overthrow of Mon- 
mouth, when the King felt securely seated on his throne, the Common 
Council was removed by royal mandate, and new members were nomi- 
nated. Sir Henry Brabant, the zealous royalist, the Mayor of 1685, 
having been succeeded in 1686 by Nicholas Cole, John Squire was 
chosen in 1687, but was removed by mandamus in favour of Sir William 
Creagh. The Sheriff also, William Ramsay, had to give place to Samuel 
Gill. Creagh had previously been made free of the Corporation, by 
royal command, with a view to the exercise of the pleasure of the Crown 


after Michaelmas. Mayor and Sheriff were both removed. Nor was 
this all. Six of the Aldermen, the Deputy Recorder, and fifteen Com- 
mon Councillors, were superseded by nominees. In the ensuing month 
of January, 1 688, an address to King James, couched in terms of lofty 
adulation, was signed by the Mayor, and by some of the Aldermen who 
were Catholics, and by others, also, who were Dissenters, but not sent. 
Not even as composed by the Crown was the Council complaisant; and 
so, on the 9th of March, the Mayor and Sheriff, and upwards of twenty 
of their colleagues, signed a surrender more complete than had been 
made under King Charles; whereupon a new charter was sent down, 
not only altering the mode of choosing the Mayor, but of the Burgesses 
representing the town in Parliament. The choice was to be centred, 
chiefly, in the Mayor and Aldermen. 

The King, moreover, was writing to the Governor of the Merchants' 
Company, near the end of August, 1688, requiring him to have one 
Edward Grey, on whose loyalty he had great reliance, made a Free 
Merchant of Newcastle. No shadow of title had Grey to the privilege, 
either by birth or servitude, or in any other way whatsoever ; and the 
Company might well demur to his admission. The Court of September 
1 6 appointed a Committee to take counsel and prepare a petition setting 
forth " the evil consequences that would fall upon the fellowship" by 
such a proceeding. A letter was also to be sent, on " this so great and 
important affair," to the Lord President of the Council, the Earl of 
Sunderland, an official party to the arbitrary measure, and, at the same 
time, of loyalty hardly perhaps so reliable as that of the King's protege. 
The Committee met on the day subsequent to its appointment. Ambrose 
Barnes was one of its members; and still an early riser he and his 
colleagues were in conference at eight o'clock in the morning. Petition 
and letter were in readiness for consideration on the 20th, and adopted. 
They were sent off, accompanied by a memorial from the apprentices, 
whose interests were involved in the endeavour to have merchants made 
by royal ordination, while the indentured youths must undergo a pre- 
liminary ten years' training. What finally became of the demand 
does not appear. Grave as was the emergency, it was doubtless 
swallowed up by the " so great and important affair " on foot in other 
quarters, the upshot of which is apparent enough. The King's ad- 
herents on the Tyne had designed the appointment of Mayor and Sheriff 


of their own party on the coming Monday after Michaelmas, falling on 
the 1st of October, 1688. " But the electors, though of the Mayor and 
Aldermen's own making, refused to choose them, and elected two Pro- 
testants, who continued till November 5th following." (Surtees Society, 
vol. 50.) The two burgesses thus chosen were William Hutchinson 
and Matthew Partis. 

The drama had been moving on from act to act ; and the great 
scene-shifter, Time, was about to let fall the curtain. Michaelmas 
Monday came and went; and the Prince of Orange was shortly afterwards 
taking leave of the States of Holland. Then, all too late, proclamation 
was made restoring the overthrown constitution of the Municipal Cor- 
porations of England. The new charters had been found void through 
want of enrolment. Some form, essential to their validity, had been 
overlooked. Such was the plea, but it failed of success. The Stadt- 
holder was on the seas, and on the 5th of November landed on our 
shores. On the same day, Nicholas Ridley and Matthew White were 
appointed, by ancient form and usage, to be Mayor and Sheriff to the 
end of the municipal year; corporate life had flowed back to its old 
channels ; the new statue of James the Second was cast down by the 

The Merchants' Company, at one of their customary Courts of the 
coming year, were quietly remodelling " the oaths of the governor, 
wardens, clerk, beadle, and admission of freemen," who were no longer 
to swear allegiance to King James, his heirs and successors, but to 
William and Mary, "our Sovereign Lord and Lady, the King and 
Queen, their Majesties ;" a practical commentary on the nomination of 
Edward Grey before the Revolution. Good Vicar March found Con- 
formity now hard. He could pray for King and Queen, but name them 
not. The Corporation were exacting: "July 15, 1690. Mr. Mayor, 
etc., ordered by the Common Council to acquaint Mr. March, Vicar, 
that his salary will be stopt unless he pray for King William and Queen 
Mary by name." 

William Hutchinson, not long surviving his election to the office of 
Mayor, was now dead. His brother-in-law, Ambrose Barnes, born for 
greater length of days, lived down to 1710, when his years were more 
than four-score. The companion of his youth died in March, 1690, at an 
age little beyond sixty. He was a follower of Dr. Gil pin to the last; and 


his pastor's son Isaac closed an apprenticeship in his service in 1686. 
In the early days of the young man's servitude the meeting-house of 
which his master was so liberal a benefactor would probably be built. 
We know nothing of the laying of the foundation-stone nor of the 
opening ceremony; but some of the circumstances connected with the 
erection are to be learnt from a letter of the year 1698, first printed in 
1867 by the Eev. A. B. Grosart, in his handsome edition of the Doctor's 
" Daemonologia Sacra ; or, a Treatise of Satan's Temptations." The 
letter, written by Gilpin, on the 13th of December, to the Rev. Richard 
Stretton, minister of the Gospel, Hatton Garden, London, throws light 
on local history. It affords us a stray glimpse of the inner life of the 
Old Meeting House, and is our only informant as to the donor of its 
site. Stretton had been ejected from a church-living in 1662, and was 
thereafter chaplain to Lord Fairfax until his lordship's death in 1672. 
A leading man among the Dissenters in his latter years, he was formed 
for the office of referee and arbitrator in emergencies. In time of 
trouble and difficulty he was a counseller and comforter, and the bene- 
diction of the friend and peacemaker was his. The world and its affairs, 
always and everywhere, run oft awry; and all was not perpetual plain- 
sailing at the first Dissenting meeting-house erected on the Tyne. 
When the aged Doctor wrote to his confidant in 1698, he had but 
recently lost his beloved associate, the Rev. William Pell, M. A., " a sad 
stroke (says he) upon us all ; but it falls at present most heavily upon 
me. Ever since his sickness it became necessary for me (such are our 
circumstances) to preach twice every Lord's Day; and I must continue 
to do so at least twice every other Lord's Day for some time, because 
there are a small party (and but a very small party) who have formed 
a design, and are now encouraged upon this sad occasion to open it. 
This party were the few remainders of Mr. Durant's congregation, who 
have kept communion with ours, in all ordinances, without making any 
exceptions, about fifteen years." 

These fifteen years carry us back to 1683, when Durant, who died 
in 1681, was but lately dead; and the fact becomes pretty evident that 
down to his death the Independents had a congregation altogether 
separate and apart from the Presbyterian flock. After his decease the 
two churches seem to have flowed amicably into one, worshipping 
together at the Close Gate. In the course of time, however, a schism 



arose. Hutchinson was gone. " Old Mr. Barnes," who remained, was 
" the politic engineer" (as the Doctor calls him) of the Durant section; 
and, furthermore, he had a son Thomas, named after his grandsire on 
the Tees, the youngest born of seven children, studying for the ministry, 
who, in due season, had been brought home from London. The " few 
remainders" "presently showed their intention to choose him for their 
pastor;" and, "as introductory to that, they, in my absence," Gilpin 
continues, " thrust him into the pulpit, without so much as asking my 
leave. I was silent, and suffered him to preach in the evening; but 
they, being weary of that, few people staying to hear him, thought it 
more conduceable to their design to separate from us, and set up at the 
Anabaptists' meeting-house; but no great party would follow them, and 
now they have chosen him to be their pastor, though before this he had 
in our pulpit vented some unsound Crispian notions." 

The " unsoundness" is probably that of the Rev. Tobias Crisp, D.D., 
Rector of Newington in Surrey, a divine of the earlier years of the 
seventeenth century, whose venerable volumes lie in dusty repose. 
" That the design" of Barnes's followers, adds Dr. Gilpin, " is to worm 
us out of our meeting-house, and to break our congregation, is visible 
to all. They now openly claim the meeting-house for their pastor's use 
(when he pleaseth), and pretend old Mr. Hutchinson (upon whose 
ground the house is built) promised them so much when they con- 
tributed towards the charge of building; but Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson, 
his son, denies any such promise, and stands firmly to us, though Mr. 
Barnes (his father-in-law) surprised him with solicitations; but we offer 
to repay them all the money they contributed towards the building." 

Thus much is to be gathered from the letter of 1698, written when 
its author had completed the three-score and ten, and advanced three 
years into the decade of labour and sorrow. He was suffering in mind 
from a sore bereavement, and the peace of his church had been invaded. 
Seeking the sympathy of a distant friend, he thereby admits us, at the 
distance of long generations, to the interior of the Old Meeting House, 
and supplies the historian with facts as to its foundation not known to 
our local annals until his letter was printed by Mr. Grosart. How the 
controversy that disquieted him ended is unknown, and it were bootless 
to inquire. It has had its solution long, long ago. Troubles and trials 
all come to a close in this world; and when we learn how the good 


Doctor, the first minister of the Old Meeting House, who had resigned 
a benefice and refused a bishopric for conscience' sake, had his worries 
and vexations, all now in the deep bosom of the centuries buried, we 
may the more readily be reconciled each to his own crosses, that are 
hastening away to the same sea of the ages that are no more. G-ilpin 
sought in his trials the counsel and consolations of Stretton, and had 
no doubt the advantage of his good offices. Stricken in years, and 
drawing nigh to his rest, the anxious pastor hoped for " the nomination 
of a man of parts, prudence, piety, and authority, to assist him at pre- 
sent, and succeed him when he was gone." " Much," he remarks, " of 
the Dissenting interest in the North depends upon the welfare of our 
own congregation. The Episcopal party have long since made their 
prognostics that when I die the congregation will be broken, and then 
there will be an end of the Dissenters in Newcastle." 

The prognostics were not fulfilled. As the Doctor in his prime, 
when a meeting-house was needed, had the Yorkshire boy by his side, 
who had come from his home on the Swale to seek his fortune, ready 
with heart and hand to supply the site; so, when anxieties were gather- 
ing round him in his decline, and care for the future, and the pastoral 
staff was about to fall from his relaxing fingers, the man of parts and 
worth whom he had longed-for was at his elbow to take it up, and carry 
forward the work. The world, with its thorns and flowers, its lights 
and shadows, and its manifold lessons of experience and discipline, is 
ever bidding us be of good cheer; animating us, by its unfoldings, 
with the assurance that the harvest will come as the reward of the 

The seventeenth century ran coldly and negligently to its end. The 
religious world was not too munificent in the dawn of a new day. 
Bishop Fleetwood was predicting, in the reign of Queen Anne, that 
unless the good public spirit of building, repairing, and adorning 
churches prevailed a great deal more, and were more encouraged, a 
hundred years would bring a huge number to the ground; and Bishop 
Butler, quoting his words, forty years later, from the pulpit long occu- 
pied by Vicar March, remarked that the good spirit invoked in 1710 
was absent still. " A wonderful frugality" was observable "in every 
thing which had respect to religion, and extravagance in everything 


The good spirit, however, if it slumbered as soundly as their lord- 
ships feared, was not dead. While the Bishop of St. Asaph was deliver- 
ing his charge, a new church was rising up on the southern verge of 
our northern diocese; and with the coming of the young King, after 
the reign in which " the greatest of the Bishops of Durham" stood in 
the church of St. Nicholas, our forefathers on the Tyne were rolling- 
two good works into one. England had seen the last of its civil wars; 
and the governing body of Newcastle were removing the ancient wall 
from the Quayside, where it was out of place, and effecting its romantic 
metamorphosis into a church, where new walls were wanted. St. Ann's 
had again become ruinous, and the discarded defences were converted 
into a substitute on a neighbouring site. It was a day of rejoicing over 
the wall that was gone and the church that had come. The Mayor and 
his Brethren were once more assembling, in 1768, within the walls of 
" St. Ann's Chapel in Sandgate" on an opening day, when another 
century had been added to the record of time. We turn to the map of 
Corbridge, and the site of the suburban church, whose builders had 
made a quarry of the town-wall, bears little resemblance to its aspect 
of to-day. " How idyllic is the scene ! From Pandon Gate to the Eed 
Barns all is woodland. Sheep and cattle are grazing by the Keelmen's 
Hospital and St. Ann's. A dashing horseman scours the fields that lie 
outspread by the Ropery; a coach of the Georgian era is rumbling past 
a stob-mill of the antique mould; and the boys of Newcastle are flying 
kites in the pleasant suburbs !" (Reid's " Prospectus of a New Plan of 
Newcastle," 1878.) 

When the Centenary of St. Ann's came round, in the autumn of 
1868, the daring rider, and the fields over which he flew, were gone, 
with also the coach and the cattle and the kites. The Mayor (Henry 
Angus), the Magistrates, Aldermen, and Councillors, were repairing to 
the old church by a " new road." All around was change. Men were 
looking back, in an age of trains and telegrams, on the wondrous 
revolution that time had wrought; nor was the least of its evolutions 
the development so appropriately alluded to by the Vicar of Newcastle 
(Clement Moody, M.A.) in his discourse: " Another century has passed 
away, and we find the Right Worshipful the Mayor with honour be it 
spoken, because he does not belong to our communion supported by 
his colleagues, assembled again in this church, celebrating its anniversary. 


The Mayor and members of the Corporation are not by law required to 
be members of the Church of England." All persuasions were now 
eligible to seats in the Council Chamber; and within three or four days 
of the celebration of the Centenary on the New Road, the Dissenting 
Mayor was presiding over a meeting in vestry of the Committee of 
Management of the St. Nicholas' Steeple Restoration Fund ! In the 
days of proscription and repression, " Vicar March would step privately 
out by night, and make Ambrose Barnes respectful visits, throwing the 
blame of these rigorous proceedings upon the misfortunes of the times '* 
But, at last, not only were the rigours gone in their place honours and 
dignities were come the obligations and responsibilities of municipal 
office were shared among the burgesses without distinction of church. 

All Saints' had been rebuilt since Vicar Fawcett, in 1768, preached 
in St. Ann's before Alderman Mosley (the Mayor whose name is asso- 
ciated in our thoroughfares with one of the greatest improvements of 
the eighteenth century); and now, all round "The Burial Place of 
William Hutchinson, Merchant Adventurer," the town is studded with 
towers and spires, and fanes of every form and fold, with a grace and a 
profusion that would have gladdened the catholic heart of Bishop Butler; 
and even the worthy Vicar of 1682, with his beloved St. Nicholas still 
stately and secure, and fairest among the throng, might have paused 
ere he decided " that the former days were better than these." 






EARLY in the month of March last, in removing from the south face of 
the Wall of Hadrian (usually called the Roman Wall;* a mass of 
soil and debris, the accumulation of centuries, there was found in the 
face of the wall, in the third course of stones from its base, a 
centurial stone, a copy of the inscription of which was laid before 
our monthly meeting on the 31st day of that month. 

At that meeting the writer of this article mentioned that erroneous 
opinions on the subject of centurial stones were entertained by some 
antiquaries outside of our Society, and that as this centurial stone was 
probably the last that would be found in the Wall of Hadrian, he was 
collecting materials for a paper on this class of inscribed stones, which 
he probably might be able to submit to a future meeting of the Society. 

The precise locality in which this discovery was made is about half- 
a-mile east of the station of Cilurnum, and within thirty yards of a turret 
in the wall, similar to those described by Gordon and Horsley, as 
existing early in the last century, and similar to that now existing on 
the farm of Blackcarts, between the stations of Cilurnum and Proco- 
litia, described in the seventh volume of the " Archasologia ^Eliana," 
page 256. This newly-discovered turret had been partially exhumed 
more than a year before ; and the operations of the spade which have 
produced to us this centurial stone in, situ had the object of com- 

* The Roman Wall of the Lower Isthmus may be considered as comprehending 
the lines of fortification across the island, extending from the Tyne on the east to 
the Solway Firth on the west. In early times a portion of these works, that is to 
say, the stone wall, with its ditch to the north, was ascribed to the Emperor Severus, 
whilst the earthen rampart and its ditches were treated as a previous erection by 
the Emperor Hadrian. But antiquaries are now agreed, with considerable unani- 
mity, that both the works are to be ascribed to the Emperor Hadrian, and that 
they were executed simultaneously. 



pleting the exhumation of the turret and bringing to light the remains 
of the Wall of Hadrian existing in its vicinity. An engraving of 
the stone is here introduced. 

The inscription, being ex- 
panded, is read Cohortis nonce 
Centuria Pauli Apri. 

The cohort to which the com- 
pany of the Centurion Paulus 
Aper belonged was without doubt 
a legionary cohort. Had it been 
an auxiliary cohort its nation- 
ality would have been expressed. 
Probably this cohort was a cohort 
of the sixth legion, one of the three legions employed by Hadrian in 
the construction of the Wall, which legion has left many traces of its 
presence in the neighbourhood. 

The centurial stones which have been found in the four northern 
counties, Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and Westmorland, 
up to the year 1875, are described in the "Lapidarium Septentrionale," 
published by this Society in that year. Since that time one more 
centurial stone has been found besides the stone above described ; it 
was found amongst the debris on the south side of Hadrian's Wall, at 
a high elevation, near 
the Limestone-corner, 
between the stations of 
Cilurnum and Proco- 
litia. The letters upon 
it are confined to the 
name of the centurion. 

An engraving of 
the stone is here intro- 
duced, which being expanded, reads Centuria Helleni. 

The name Helenus, spelt with a single "1" (as is the HelenusPria- 
mides of Virgil), occurs frequently in Gmter. 

The present seems a fitting occasion for placing on record the 
views of our Society on the subject of Centurial stones, found on the 
Roman Wall. 


The centurial stones which have been found on the Roman Wall in 
Northumberland and Cumberland, according to our views, were placed 
in the courses of masonry both of the wall and the stations, on their 
original construction under the direction of the centurion whose com- 
pany was employed in that portion of the work. The object of the 
centurion was to record his own name, as that of an individual who 
had taken a part in the great work, hence the particular cohort to 
which the centurion belonged, or the extent of the work done, is 
rarely recorded on the stone. In each of these inscriptions the name 
of the centurion, is preceded by the centurial mark, resembling an 
inverted " C," which represents a twig of vine, the official badge of a 
Eoman centurion. The name of the centurion is for the most part in 
the genitive case, as in the two inscriptions before us. When in the 
genitive case the centurial mark must be read " centuria." It sometimes 
happens that the name of the centurion is converted into an adjective, 
agreeing with and used as an epithet to centuria, as in centuria 
THRUPONIANA inscribed on a stone found in a wall of a balistarium on 
the western rampart of Procolitia, an engraving of which is here 
introduced. (Vide "Lapidarium Septentrionale," No. 932.)* 

* This stone and the stone of Paulus Aper, above described, were found by the 
writer of this article in the face of the wall in which each had originally been 
placed, and were taken out and removed to Cilurnum for protection against damage 
by weather or mischievous hands. Their vacant places were filled up by stones 
found among the debris, and which had fallen from the upper courses of the wall. 


According to Horsley, the name of the centurion is sometimes in 
the nominative case, and the centurial mark must be read centurio. 
As an example of this Horsley gives us a plate of a centurial stone, 
which had been taken from the face of the Roman "Wall, but was then 
built into an interior wall of the cottage of Towertay, and was partially 
concealed by a weaver's loom. Upwards of fifty years ago this cottage 
was puiled down, and, under the guidance of the information given 
by Horsley, the stone was found in the interior wall of the cottage, 
and was carefully removed and deposited at Cilurnum, where, in the 
year 1866, it was inspected by the learned Dr. Emil Hubner, and was 
afterwards drawn and engraved for the " Lapidarium Septentrionale" 
of our Society. The engraving of it is No. 130 of the " Lapidarium 
Septentrionale" here represented. 

The last letter of the second line would seem to have escaped the 
eye of Horsley, and probably the inscription is rightly described by 
Dr. Hubner, in Vol. VII. of the great German work, " Corpus Inscrip- 
tionum Latinarum," and by us in the " Lapidarium Septentrionale," 
as representing the name of the centurion in the genitive case. 

We have no reason to doubt the soundness of these our views ; but 
they are not universally accepted, and other views are propounded by 
other antiquaries. We need not notice the twinkling of the " Minor a 
sidera ;" but as the expression of erroneous opinions by men of high 
reputation may lead to the propagation of error, we must test the 
opinions of Mr. Henry Charles Coote, a learned and laborious Fellow 
of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and of Dr. McCaul, the dis- 
tinguished President of University College, Toronto, who each of them 
differs from the other, and both differ from us. 



In 1867, Mr. Coote communicated to the Society of Antiquaries 
of London, a very comprehensive essay, under the title of " The 
Centuriation of Roman Britain." 

The learned writer gives in detail an account of the Roman system 
of colonization on the continent, and tells us that in the vocabulary of 
the Roman Agrimensores the .word "centuria" means a fundus or farm 
of one hundred acres, and that centurial stones are land marks which 
the writer divides into three categories. We need not notice the first 
and second categories, but confine ourselves to the third, which Mr. 
Coote expressly applies to the centurial stones on the Roman Wall. 

The learned writer then gives expression to his views with respect 
to the stones included in his third category in the following terms "The 
stones which illustrate my third division are comparatively plentiful. 
Gough's "Camden" supplies many of them, which, being found in 
Northumberland and Cumberland, will, like Dr. Bruce's specimens, 
belong to the territories of the various stations. Though Gough's 
invaluable work is readily accessible, I do not hesitate to transfer those 
inscriptions to these pages, because the reader will then have the 
evidence in one context before him." 

This passage, and the circumstance that Mr. Coote takes all his 
examples from Camden and Gough, might possibly produce an impres- 
sion that Camden or his translator Gough countenanced the theory of 
Mr. Coote, that the centurial stones found in the Wall of Hadrian were 
landmarks ; for this supposition there is not the slightest foundation, 
as will be shown by tracing the origin and progress of the knowledge 
of centurial stones. 

The edition ol Camden's "Britannia," published A.D. 1600, im- 
mediately after his visit to the Roman Wall in company with Sir 
Robert Cotton, contains no mention of a centurial stone or anything 
to indicate that Camden had any knowledge of the centurial mark. 
He probably afterwards acquired that knowledge from Gruter, with 
whom both he and Sir Robert Cotton were personally acquainted. 
Gruter published his great w r ork, the " Inscriptions Antiquse totius 
Orbis Romani" in 1601, in which he acknowledges his obligations to 
Camden and Sir Robert Cotton for Latin inscriptions in England 
communicated to him. 

In the folio edition of Camden, published in 1607, page 611 



Camden describes two centurial stones found near Manchester, one of 
which he misreads, and both of which he misunderstands. 

The first of these stones he describes as having been seen by him- 
self near to a square fort in a park belonging to the Earl of Derby, 
which he took to be the Roman Mancunium. The following is a 
fac simile of Camden's drawing of it : 

*0 C AND ID I 
I I I I . 


the centurial mark being expanded by Camden as " centurionis." 
The other stone was found in the same place, and a copy was sup- 
plied to Camden by Mr. John Dee, Warden of Manchester College, of 

which the following is a fac simile : 




and Camden gives his description of these stones in these words : 

"Posita videantur centurionibus illis ob fidem et probitatem tot 
annos spectatam." 

Thus translated by Philemon Holland, the friend and contemporary 
of Camden : 

" Both of which may seem erected in honor of those centurions for 
their loyalty and honesty so many years approved." 

In the first of these inscriptions the word Fides was obviously read 
in mistake for Pedes, and the centurial mark is expanded by Camden 


" centurionis," so that Camdeu cannot be legitimately quoted as an 
authority for Mr. Coote's view of the centurial mark, as representing a 
farm of one hundred acres. 

The reading and meaning of both these inscriptions are sufficiently 
clear. They are as follows, the concluding figures in each case repre- 
senting the extent of the work done by the century : 

1. Centuria Candidi Pedes xxiiii. 

2. Cohortis primae Frisiavonum.* 
Centuria Masavonis. 
Pedes xxiii. 

In the first case clearly we have the name of the centurion in the 
genitive, and probably also in the second. 

On those centurial stones found on the Koman Wall in which 
the extent of the work done by the century or company is defined, the 
figures are preceded by the letter " P," which may be expanded passiis if 
the stone is in the Wall itself, and pedes if it is in the walls of fortresses 
or stations. 

Both these stones appear to have come from the ruins of the Roman 
fortress or station of Mancunium, and the initial " P" is properly expanded 
as Pedes. 

The learned writer, Mr. Coote, then gives us the following singular 
interpretation of the first of these inscriptions : 

" This is an inscription of extraordinary interest. FIDES is indubit- 
ably a bad reading. This however, is of less consequence, as it in no 
way disguises the character of the stone or interferes with its attribution. 
It is a stone showing the numerus limiium" (viz., the decumanal and 
cardinal limes of road by which the estate was bounded). " The xx 
express the number of decumanal limes, as the mi is the number of 
the cardinal limes, upon which severally the centuria" (viz., the 
Fundus, a farm of one hundred acres) " of Candidus was situate." 

It is remarkable that a simple memorial of a centurion, and of 
the work performed by the troops under his command, should afford 
materials for lucubrations such as these. 

If the learned writer had transferred to his pages the second centurial 

* Horsley refers to this inscription, and also to an inscription of the Cohors 
quarta Frisonuni, and suggests that both should be read Frisiorum. Vide Brit. 
Rom., p. 90. 


inscription described by Camden, as well as the first, he would have 
probably been sensible of the fallacy of the above-quoted passage, 
and escaped the error into which he has fallen in using the first in 
support of his theory. 

There are also two centurial stones which will be found under the 
head of Monmouthshire in the edition of Camden's " Britannia" of 
the year 1607, and which are described as being found at Caerleon, 
the Isca Silurum of the Eomans. One of them as expanded by 
Camden is read Centurio Veciliana, but when properly expanded will 
be read Centuria Yeciliana. 

This is an example of the conversion of the name of the centurion 
into an adjective agreeing with the substantive Centuria. 

The other of these stones contains the number of the cohort to 
which the century belonged, together with the centurial mark > and 
the name of the centurion. It is thus given (the letters COH in the 
first line being obviously erased from the stone or omitted in the 
transcript) : 



which, being properly expanded, is read Centuria Valerii Maxsimi.* 

The edition of 1H07 was the last edition of Camden's ''Britannia," 
tvhich was published in his lifetime, and it seems to be abundantly 
proved that Camden must be acquitted of all complicity in misleading 
Mr. Coote. 

Before we consider how far his translator, Mr. Gough, was guilty 
of misleading Mr. Coote, we must further pursue the history of the 
knowledge of centurial inscriptions on the Eoman Wall. 

In the twenty-third volume of the Philosophical Transactions, No. 
278, A.D. 1702, Dr. Christopher Hunter describes several centurial in- 
scriptions which he copied from the face of the Eoman Wall between 
the stations of Cilurnum and Procolitia, but he does not express any 
opinion upon them. 

Bishop Gibson, the next translator of Camden, interpolates very 

* Mr. Lee, the able and accurate expositor of the remains of " Isca Silurum," 
supplies descriptions of some additional centurial stones which have since been 
found at Carleon, which he reads precisely as we would read them. ( Vide " Isca 
Silurum." By John Edward Lee, F.S.A., F.G.S. 1862.) 


largely, and copiously introduces new matter. His lordship, living a 
century later than Camden, had access to those parts of the country 
from which Camden was excluded by a well-founded dread of the pre- 
datory habits of its inhabitants. The new matter interpolated by the 
Bishop in the text of Camden is not of an instructive or reliable 
character. In his progress along the Wall from the west he came 
upon the ruins of the mediaeval castle of Sewing Shields, known as 
the castle of the " Seven Shields," which he suggests was derived from 
" Ala Saviniana," and on that ground pronounces the mediaeval castle 
of Sewing Shields to be the Roman station of Hnnnum, the 5th per 
lineam valli, where the Ala Saviniana was in garrison ! The Bishop 
copies the two inscriptions on the stones of the Centurions Candidus 
and Masavonis, and suggests no alteration in the reading of Camden 
or in the translation of Holland, but in substance adopts both. 

The Scottish antiquarian, Alexander Gordon, familiarly known to 
us as "Sandie Gordon" through Sir Walter Scott's novel of "The 
Antiquary," published in 1726 his " Itinerarium Septentrionale," in 
which he gives a detailed account of the Roman Wall and its inscrip- 
tions, but does not give us a copy of a single centurial stone, nor 
make any mention of that class of inscriptions. 

We are indebted to that sagacious and laborious Northumbrian, 
John Horsley, for the brightest light which has been thrown upon the 
subject of centurial stones on the Roman Wall. In his "Britannia 
Romana," published in 1732, after adverting to stones of a similar 
character on the Antonine Wall between the Firth of Forth and the 
Firth of Clyde, on which are inscribed the name of the emperor, and 
the extent of the work executed by the troops employed in it, Horsley 
proceeds to state that, in his opinion, the inscriptions found on the 
Roman Wall, which he has called centurial, had been erected upon 
the same occasion as the inscriptions in Scotland and to the same pur- 
pose, though they were not so full and pompous.* 

* There was found on the Antonine Wall in Scotland, A.D. 1841, a centurial 
stone precisely similar to those found in the Roman Wall in Northumberland : 


which inscription is expanded COHORTIS . BEXTJE . CENTFKIA . ANTOXII . AKATI. 
Antonius Aratus might have been a centurion employed twenty years before on the 
Wall of Hadrian. (Vide "Archaeology of Scotland." By Daniel Wilson.) 


Horsley adds that the centurial inscriptions were found in the face 
of the Eoman Wall and seldom in the stations, and as far as he could 
learn were upon stones of the same shape and size as the facing stones 
of the Wall. These inscriptions, he adds, were doubtless inserted in 
the face of the Wall when it was built, and were in all probability 
erected by those centuries or cohorts who built that part of the Wall 
where they are found, or by their commanders. 

The author then proceeds to take a general view of all the stones of 
this description which he had been able to discover on the Wall or 
near to it, including twenty in his own possession, and he begins at 
the east end of the Wall and ends at Carlisle, and he states that the 
greatest number of these inscriptions that anywhere occur together had 
been found about half-way between Walwick and Carrawbrugh near to 
a cottage called Towertay. He uniformly reads the centurial marks 
' centuria" when the centurion's name is in the genitive case, and as 
"centurio" when he supposes the centurion's name is in the nominative 

Towertay, near to which Horsley describes the greatest number of 
centurial stones to have been found, is about midway between the 
stations of Cilurnum and Procolitia.* 

Gough, the latest translator of Camden's "Britannia," (to whose 
invaluable work Mr. Coote refers) places before his readers a collection 
of centurial inscriptions which have been gathered from Horsley and 
other sources, and amongst them an example of the name of the 
centurion being converted into an adjective and used as an epithet 
to centuria, which Gough seems not to have understood, as he appends 
to the inscription the monosyllable " ic" as if he suspected the 
accuracy of the version from which he was taking his transcript. 

Mr. Gough makes no comment of his own upon any of these 
inscriptions, and none of them afford the slightest countenance to the 
theory of Mr. Coote that the centurial stones found in the Roman 
Wall and its fortresses are land marks; and we necessarily arrive 
at the conclusion that Gough is as guiltless as his principal Camden 
of misleading Mr. Coote. That gentleman, therefore, must be re- 
garded as the originator of the theory which rests on his sole authority. 

* Vide Horsley's " Britannia Romana," page 127, 128, and 129, and " Collection of 
Roman Inscriptions and Sculptures in Northumberland and Cumberland." 


Pursuing the history of the progress of the knowledge of centurial 
stones between the time of the publication of the " Britannia Rom ana" 
of Horsley, A.D. 1732, and the "History of Northumberland" by the 
Rev. John Hodgson, A.D. 1840, we do not find that the subject of 
centurial stones of the class of those of the Roman Wall has been 
treated by any writer of authority. 

The Rev. John Hodgson, one of the founders of our Society (of whose 
diligence, sagacity, and genial nature we cherish a fond recollection) con- 
curred entirely in the view of Horsley, and he was followed by our learned 
colleague Dr. Bruce, who published his first edition of the " Roman 
Wall" in 1852, and having before him all that had been previously said 
or written on the subject, and aided by his own great experience, 
arrived at the same conclusion which Horsley had arrived at more 
than one hundred years before, and which every subsequent discovery 
had tended to confirm. 

The publication in 1873 of the seventh volume of the great Ger- 
man work, " Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum," containing the Latin 
inscriptions in Britain, enables us to refer for a confirmation of 'our 
view to Dr. Emil Hiibner, of Berlin, one of those distinguished scholars 
selected for the compilation of the work. We have the satisfaction of 
knowing that his views on the subject of the centurial stones found 
in the Roman Wall are entirely in concurrence with our own. 

We cheerfully acknowledge the learning and industry of Mr. Coote, 
and do not question his knowledge of the centuriation of the Roman 
colonies and agricultural districts, but he must excuse us when we say 
that we cannot consider his authority on any questions of Roman 
military centuriation of any weight. His theory must, therefore, rest 
solely on its own merits, and we must proceed to consider whether it 
be probable or possible that the centurial stones found on the face of 
the Roman Wall and of its fortresses are land marks of farms of 
one hundred acres, that the names inscribed on them are the names of 
the possessors of those farms, and, in every case in which numerals are 
added, they represent "the numerus limiium, viz., the numbers of 
the decumanal and cardinal lines of road by which the estate was 

Mr. Coote must also excuse our taking the liberty of observing, that it 
would have been prudent on his part to have placed more reliance upon 


the researches of other learned men than he has done ; if he had con- 
sulted Smith's " Dictionary of Roman Antiquities " he would have been 
aware of the difference between the military and the civil centuria of 
the Romans.* The attention of antiquaries of Europe has since the 
commencement of its publication been directed to the great German 
work, " The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum," the Latin inscriptions 
of the world. Those of Italy are described by the distinguished 
scholar, Dr. Mommsen, in the first volume, published in 1863. This 
volume contains inscriptions existing on pillars of stone, which had 
been used as landmarks to define the Agri allotted by Gracchus and 
his associates to the Roman plebs, and they bear upon their vertical 
faces the names of Gracchus and his colleagues. In addition to this 
they have upon the horizontal plane on their tops curious incised 
markings consisting of convergent lines, forming probably a kind of 
ground plan or forma of the limits of each ager, and to these are 
appended some letters much defaced and difficult to read. It is 
scarcely necessary to point out how totally different these inscriptions 
are from those of the Centurial Stones on the Roman Wall.f If any 
similar stones had existed in Britain they would probably have been 
found in the lands belonging to the Roman Colonia of Camelodunum 
(Colchester) or Eboracum (York). 

The locality described by Horsley as having been the most produc- 
tive of centurial stones has continued to be so up to the present time, 
probably arising from the exceptionally heavy character of the works, 
which would lead to the employment of a larger force than was required 
for other portions of the line, and perhaps also from the circumstance 
of the Roman Wall in that space having remained undisturbed to a 
later period than in other parts. According to Gordon, writing in 1 726, 
for three miles west of Walwick the Roman works " are to be seen in 
greater perfection and magnificence than upon any other track from one 
sea to the other." 

This locality is described by Horsley as extending between Wal- 
wick and Carrawbrugh, a distance of about three miles. For one-half 
of this space the lines of fortification, the Murus and the Vallum, 

* Vide pages 30 and 504 of Smith's " Dictionary of Roman Antiquities," 2nd 
Edition, 1851. 

f See Numbers 552 to 556 inclusive. Vol. 1. " Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum." 



are within ten yards of each other, and for the rest of the distance 
they are not more than one hundred yards apart. Yet within this 
space at least twenty centurial stones can be traced to have been found. 
The whole space between the lines of fortification would be required for 
military purposes, the lands north of the lines of fortification would be 
open to the raids of the Caledonians, and the lands south of the half- 
subdued Britons. If, then (according to Mr. Coote) the names in- 
scribed on the centurial stones are the names of the possessors of farms 
of one hundred acres each, where are those farms to be found ? And, 
further, if these stones were land marks is it not probable that the 
possessors of the land would have placed them on the land and not in 
the face of the wall of a fortress ? 

As much as is necessary has been said on the subject of the theory 
of Mr. Henry Charles Coote, and the theory of Dr. McCaul must now 
be considered. Dr. McCaul has for many years been in the habit of 
communicating to the Canadian public through the "Canadian Journal" 
articles under the designation of " Notes on Latin Inscriptions found 
in Britain." 

In the year 1863 these notes, with many more which had not pre- 
viously appeared in print, were collected and published in one volume, 
under the title of " Britanno-Roman Inscriptions, with Critical Notes." 
Through this publication Dr. McCaul's views, which were for the most 
part very creditable to him as a man of sense and a scholar, were first 
circulated in Europe. Dr. McCaul's views on the subject of centurial 
inscriptions on the Wall of Hadrian, as enunciated in this publication, 
must, however, be admitted to have no other merit than that of 

On this subject the learned president of University College, 
Toronto, expresses himself in the following terms : 

" For my part I have no doubt there was not one of such inscrip- 
tions that was 'in honour' or 'in memory' of any one, and that the 
meaning of the centurial mark, under other circumstances often used 
for 'centurion,' stands in all such inscriptions for ' century.' "* 

' The true explanation of such inscriptions, as, I think, is, that they 
were intended to mark the space set apart for quarters in an encamp- 
ment, id eat, to define the pedatura, not in the sense in which it is used 
by Vegetius in N the passage cited by Horsley, but in that in which 
Hyginus employs it."| 

* ride page 114. f Vide page 117. 


We have before us one of the stones, which is inscribed Centuria 
Heleni. This stone does not record to what cohort the century belonged ; 
was obviously placed in the Wall in honour or memory of the centurion 
Helenus, and as a record of the fact that the centurion Helenus had 
taken a part in so great a work as the Wall of Hadrian. This is the 
sole purpose of the inscription, and there is no mention of the number 
of " passus" or " pedes" of the work which had been executed under 
command of centurion Helenus. Hundreds of centurions have along 
the whole length of the Wall sought in the same form to commemorate 
their names, and if any oracular sage of their time had like Dr. 
McCaul pronounced the dictum " For my part I have no doubt 
there was not one of those inscriptions that was in honor or in memory 
of any one," not one of these officers would have lost a particle of his 
self-esteem, or lost any confidence in the permanency of the memorial 
of himself inserted in the Wall. 

Dr. McCaul having told us what these inscriptions are not, proceeds 
to tell us what they are. He says : 

" That the true nature of these inscriptions is to mark the space for 
quarters in an encampment." If such were the case, the quarters of 
the centurion Helenus must have been the reverse of comfortable his 
foot would be on the bare heath, his couch would be rocked by the 
winds and sheltered by the snow drift. Helenus has placed his stone 
where he had done his work on the Wall, which happens to be at a very 
high point about a thousand feet above the level of the sea, and 
more than a mile distant from any station or permanent encampment. 
It is somewhat remarkable that the space in which the greatest number 
of centurial stones has been found is a high ridge of land distant from 
station or encampment. 

The soldiers' quarters on the Wall are not on these stormy heights, 
but in comfortable camps or fortresses, in which all possible care has 
been taken to mitigate the severities of a Northumbrian climate ; the 
floors of the rooms are laid on pillars, and under those floors are hot 
air passages communicating with the rooms. 

On the grounds which have been stated, we arrive at the inevitable 
conclusion that the theories of Mr. Henry Charles Coote and Dr. 
McCaul, with respect to the centurial stones found on the Eoman Wall, 
are equally untenable. Both these theories have been extant for more 


than a dozen years, and we do not find that they have been retracted 
or qualified by their authors on the contrary (at least in the case of 
Mr. Coote), there has been an expressed persistence in error. Antiquaries 
in general have regarded both theories with indifference, relying on the 
authorities of Gruter, Horsley, Hodgson, Bruce, -and Hiibner, and un- 
disturbed by the dicta of Coote and McCaul. 

Within our Society there has never existed a shadow of donbt or a 
symptom of hesitation on the subject, and we have been strengthened 
in our course by the concurrence of our distinguished colleague, Mr. 
Charles Roach Smith, whose connection with antiquarian bodies on 
the Continent as well as in Britain, and whose large experience both 
at home and abroad, entitle his opinion to special weight. 

It may be deemed presumptuous on the part of an individual 
holding no position in antiquarian lore to have dealt so freely with the 
opinions of professed and acknowledged antiquaries ; but that in- 
dividual has one advantage over those learned men he has passed a 
long life a resident on the Roman Wall, and in close proximity to that 
part of it where the greatest number of centurial stones has been found, 
and who has in his possession the largest collection of those stones that 
anywhere exists, and who is satisfied that if Mr. Coote and Dr. McCaul 
had spent one day on the Roman Wall, they would not have re- 
mained for one hour unconvinced of the error into which they have 
respectively fallen. 




AT our meeting of the 26th of May last, a paper was read on the sub- 
ject of Centurial Stones found on the Roman Wall. Some notice of 
that paper seems to have been carried across the Atlantic, and has pro- 
duced a letter addressed to the Editor of the Newcastle Journal, dated 
from Toronto, and bearing the anonymous signature of " A Graduate," 
presumed to be of that university. That letter, so far as the matter it 
contains, would not have required or received our notice, but, as the 
writer professes to write with the authority of Dr. McCaul, the Presi- 
dent of that University, our respect for that name forbids our allowing 
the letter in question to pass unnoticed. 

It will be recollected that Dr. McCaul, in his book on " Britanno- 
Roman Inscriptions," when treating of the centurial stones found in 
the Roman Wall in Northumberland and Cumberland, places before the 
public two propositions one of them affirmative and the other negative, 
to which, we are assured by the Graduate, Dr. McCaul still adheres. 

The affirmative proposition is, " that the object of these stones is 

to mark the soldiers' quarters." 
The negative proposition is, " that the inscriptions on these stones 

are not in honour or in memory of any one." 

In support of the affirmative proposition, Dr. McCaul uses no 
argument, neither does the Graduate who addresses the Editor of the 
Newcastle Journal. Dr. McCaul has been informed, as is the fact, 
that these stones are, with a trifling exception, not found in stations or 
encampments but in the face of the open wall, and frequently in localities 
quite unfit for soldiers' quarters ; and if he still adheres to this pro- 
position, then, as there are now 110 Roman soldiers to be frozen to death 
in the quarters he allots to them, we must be content to leave the learned 
Doctor original and alone in the enjoyment of his theory, and proceed to 


deal with the negative proposition that these stones, each bearing the 
name of a Centurion, are in honour or memory of nobody. Assuming 
for a moment that this is the case, that they were erected in honour or 
memory of nobody, they must notwithstanding have been erected by 
somebody ; but this the Graduate declines to admit unless we can show 
that the words fecit or posuit, or their initials, are inscribed on the 
stones, as well as the name of the Centurion. By a parity of reasoning 
Dr. McCaul would be deprived of the credit of being the author of the 
work bearing the title of " Britanno-Roman Inscriptions, with Critical 
Notes," by the Rev. John McCall, LL.D., because the word "written." 
is not interpolated. The Graduate also requires that the measurement 
in paces or feet of the work performed by the Centurion and his com- 
pany should be inscribed on the stone, as essential to the expression of 
its purpose. By a parity of reasoning, when a monument shall be 
reared in honour or in memory of Dr. McCaul, in order to give effect 
to its object, the number of lectures delivered by the learned Doctor 
must be expressed on the face of the monument. 

Ordinary mortals who have inspected these centurial stones, and 
the localities in which they have been found, believe they have been 
placed in the wall by the Centurion whose name they respectively bear 
in honour of himself, and that for that purpose it was quite superfluous 
to refer to the work done by the Centurion and his company its 
extent or dimensions. 

The Graduate of Toronto brings to our notice what Dr. McCaul 
calls in his book, the " astonishing expansions" by Horsley, of the 
inscriptions on the two centurial stones found at or near the Roman 
Mancunium in Lancashire, but he omits all reference to the still more 
astonishing expansions by Camden of those inscriptions. Camden was 
head master of "Westminster School, and Clarencieux King-at-Arms in 
the Heralds' College, and he wrote his u Britannia" in the sunshine of 
roval patronage. Horsley was a schoolmaster and Presbyterian minister 
at the small market town of Morpeth, where by the exercise of his 
talents and industry, and unaided by patrons or subscribers he achieved 
the composition of his immortal work, " Britannia-Romana." It is 
obvious that Horsley has not read these two inscriptions correctly ; 
but we can easily see how he was misled. No centurial stones found 
upon the Wall or in any part of England, having numerals upon them, 


had, with the exception of these two, been discovered in his day. It 
was not surprising, therefore, that he thought the inscriptions to be 
sepulchral, the numerals expressing the number of years the indivi- 
duals lived. If in any case his usual sagacity fails him, we may well 
apply to Horsley the language of the Latin critic, " Aliquando bonus 
dormitat Homerus" 




" BEQUEATHING his deposed body to the ground," the fallen monarch 
moralizes : " Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs." 

In the year when the play of " Kichard the Second," from which 
these words are taken, was printed, Shakspeare's great contemporary, 
Camden, author of the " Britannia," received his appointment of 
Olarencieux King-at-Arms. Round about the historian in his study, 
odds and ends of notes and extracts were accumulating day by day, 
growing into materials for some new and more miscellaneous work. 
Epitaphs that had caught his fancy, in course of reading or conver- 
sation, were of the number. Prose and verse, grave and gay, church- 
yard rhymes and records lay among the studious litter ; and in the 
increasing heaps were lodged the droll conceits of a literary aquaintance, 
one of which has come down, with verbal variation, to our own time 
and town. In jingling measure it keeps alive the name of a parochial 
officer of uncertain date, flourishing at the foot of Pilgrim Street we 
know not exactly when ; although, were Dryasdust to give his mind 
to the search, he might worm the secret out. Few memorial lines are 
better known. The world is familiar with them everywhere, and will 
not willingly let them die. They enter into books of epitaphs ; they 
form a portion of the history of Newcastle ; Bourne and Brand and 
Mackenzie treasure them ; and yet, unconscious of their pedigree, how 
few of our townsmen suspect them to have been struck off, in one of 
his lighter moods, by " the most ingenious and admired poet of his 

History, local and general, has its enigmas for the ingenious. The 
Roman Wall, after serving the purposes of its builders, leaves problems 
to posterity, some of them still awaiting solution. Gateshead and 
Pandon, and the Tyne that flows between, are names whose derivations 
must be numbered with the nuts yet uncracked by the curious. Who 


shall declare to us the builders of our ancient churches? St. Andrew's 
was it present to the mind of King James when he embalmed " the 
sair sanct for the Croon " in a proverb ? St. Nicholas' who was its 
architect, retiring behind his work, and leaving in shadow the author 
of its crowning grace the outflowering glory that inspired the admira- 
tion of Robert Stephenson, and moved him to the remark " that he 
knew not whether more to marvel at the genius that conceived the 
design, or the courage that dared to fling it into the air ? " The curate 
of All Saints', Henry Bourne, could neither discover by whom his 
church on the hill was founded nor in what year it was built, having 
no other certainty than that it was standing on the spot before 1286. 
And the cautious chronicler, preparing for print the inscriptions gathered 
within its walls, could give no better authority than blank hearsay for 
the unsculptured rhymes thrown in at the close, commemorating the 
existence of a traditional parish-clerk. 

Copying the worthy curate's prudence keeping well within my 
tether intermeddling neither with Pandon nor Pons 2Elii it may 
not be too presumptuous to take up the question of the parish-clerk and 
his epitaph, and see if it cannot be more successfully assailed and 
solved than some of the more ambitious riddles that lie strewn along 
the line of the Eoman Wall. The controversy is humble; yet is 
there a pleasure in antiquarian chase, even though the game to be run 
down is insignificant. It has a zest and an amusement for the family 
of Monkbarns. It runs up to high prices the first edition of an old 
ballad. Some venerable chap-book, published originally at a penny, 
will fetch a pound; and as the prototype of the All Saints' epitaph 
was in print when the English press was little more than a centenarian, 
to place a copy of it in the hands of every member of the Society of 
Antiquaries of Newcastle may be no unacceptable boon. 

" An epitaph said to have been made upon Robert Wallas, formerly 
clerk of this parish," are the words with which the lines were introduced 
to the public in 1736 : 

Here lies Kobin Wallas, 

The king of good fellows, 
Clerk of All Hallows, 

And a maker of bellows : 
He bellows did make till the day of his death, 
But he that made bellows could never make breath. 


" Said to have been made," is the careful statement of Bourne, who had 
clearly never seen the rhymes in stone; yet they have since found free 
course in print as an actual churchyard inscription, though nothing 
more than a social joke, the offspring of a poet's playfulness prior to 
the Armada. The wisest and most serious of men can stoop to 
humour. The author of " Paradise Lost " could so far unbend as to 
write, not one epitaph only, but two, on the Cambridge carrier " whose 
wane was his increase;" and as Milton could amuse his friends with 
tributes to the memory of the inexorable Hobson, so a contemporary 
son of song indulged before him in jocular verse over an Oxford 

Our north-country edition of the epitaph had long kept sole pos- 
session of the field, till an earlier variety turned up in 1868, in the 
commonplace-book of a young subject of Queen Elizabeth, begun near 
the close of her reign, and continued for a short time after her death, 
John Manningham had entered the Middle Temple on the 16th of 
March, 1597-98, with two members of the inn as his sureties, one of 
whom was Sergeant Hoskyns. The observant student fell into a habit 
of making jottings of all kinds in his leisure moments. Men and 
books, pen and ink, filled up the passing hour. Editing the omnium 
gatherum for the Camden Society, the late Mr. Bruce remarks, as to 
the anecdotes comprised in it, that the peculiarity which will strike the 
reader, in this case as in all others of the same description, is their 
singular want of originality : " Good things, which were current in 
the classical period, are reinvented, or warmed up, for the amusement 
of the contemporaries of King James. And the same thing occurs over 
and over again, from generation to generation. Mots, which descended 
to the time of Manningham, reappear in the pages of Joe Miller; are 
recorded among the clever sayings of Archbishop Whately ; and, in 
one instance at least, may be found among the pulpit witticisms of 
Rowland Hill." 

It is even so. Chaucer remarked, and Sir Walter Scott quoted, 
and there will always be somebody repeating, that there is nothing new 
but what it has been old. The familiar sayings the stock stories that 
wear so well are for ever renewing their youth. They come up again 
and again, for the delight of the present hour, as juvenile as before 
the old acquaintances of some, the new friends of others and secure 


from the tooth of time. Those quarterjacks of the grey church tower, 
heard too often in the Spital Sermon of Dr. Parr, have sounded with 
over-frequent reiteration in the ears of prolix speakers, with a difference 
of note, from the time of the clepsydra; and in one form or other, as 
we may feel quite assured, the joke will exist so long as protracted 
addresses are delivered, and listeners grow impatient for their close. 
The ancients compete with the moderns in wit and wisdom. Scrope 
Davies, writing to Raikes of the Diary in the first year of the present 
reign, and alluding to the limits of a dinner party, copies the saying 
ascribed to Lord Chesterfield, " Not fewer than the Graces, and not 
more than the Muses," and adds "It is as old as Aulus Gellius." And 
the Wallas epitaph must be counted in its turn with the " good things " 
that have higher antiquity than is commonly supposed by the readers 
of Bourne. The student of the Middle Temple had pen in hand on 
the 16th of October, 1602 ; and having first entered a small joke in 
his Diary of an attorney concerning " an action brought to trie the 
title of one Rooke, an infant, for a house and certaine land" viz., 
that "all this controversie was but for a little rooke's nest" he 
closes his acquisitions of the day with " An Epitaphe upon a Bellowes 

Here lyes Jo. Potterell, a maker of bellowes, 
Maister of his trade, and king of good fellowes; 
Yet for all this, att the hower of his death, 
He that made bellowes could not make breath. 

In the course of years, Manningham's manuscript fell under the eye 
of some critical reader, who annexed " B. J." to the epitaph, probably 
conjecturing Ben Jonson to have been the author, and, as commonly 
happens, guessing wrong. 

At the time when the young Templar was making his notes, Camden 
was gathering together his stray papers, and compiling his famous 
" Remaines of a Greater Worke, concerning Britaine, the Inhabitants 
thereof, their Languages, Names, Surnames, Empreses, "Wise Speeches, 
Poesies, and Epitaphes." The dedication was written on the 12th of 
June, 1603 ; and in the year of Gunpowder Plot the small quarto 
volume, destined to run through a succession of editions, was printed in 
London by " G. E." 


The " Epitaphes " cover thirty or more pages, passing " to lively 
from severe." The Head Master of "Westminster could lay aside the 
sceptre for a season. Mirth mingles with his wisdom. Fearing to be 
drowsy, he lights up his "Wise Speeches" with Merry Sayings; and so, 
too, he can brighten his budget of " Epitaphes." Lest he had " over- 
charged the reader's minde with dolefull, dumpish, and uncomfortable 
lines, for his recornfort" he ends the chapter " with a few conceited, 
merry, and laughing epitaphes, the most of them composed by Maister 
John Hoskines when he was young, and will begin with the bellowes- 
mender of Oxford." 

Here lyeth lohn Cruker, a maker of bellowes, 
His craf tes-master and king of good f ellowes ; 
Yet when he came to the hower of his death, 
He that made bellowes could not make breath. 

So, then, in the autumn of 1602, Manningham was unconsciously 
copying the rhymes of one of his own sureties, John Hoskyns, a choice 
wit of the age of Elizabeth. 

"It 's a far cry" from Robin Wallas, hero of a parochial legend, 
to Sergeant Hoskyns of the Middle Temple; yet the parish-clerk of 
All Saints' and the Oxford scholar are drawn together by a thread of 
history ; and the learned gownsman, now that we have hold of him, 
may be detained over a page or two of the " Archseologia ^Eliana," and 
domiciled for all time on the hearthstone of Tyneside. Born in 
Herefordshire about the time of the Northern Rebellion, his days ran 
down to the eve of the Long Parliament. The heir of small fortunes, 
he was of large natural endowments ; and when his father would have 
sent him to trade, he besought him that he might be a scholar. The 
wish was gratified, and the youth gradually raised himself in the social 
scale by the ladder of learning. Oxford was quitted with unwonted 
distinction. Somersetshire then received him, and he had for some 
time the life of a country schoolmaster, his toils as a teacher enlivened 
by the compilation of a Greek lexicon. The diversion, perchance, was 
somewhat severe; but the pedagogue was assiduous, and worked his 
way to the letter " M." Was the initial a mere coincidence, or a por- 
tent of Matrimony ? Certain it is that a rich widow, willing to wed 
again, and happily named Beuedicta, now came in his way, and the 


remainder of the alphabet was left in the lurch. From the lexicon he 
turned to the law; was called to the Bar; got into the House of Com- 
mons and the Tower. "In speaking his mind" in the short and 
only session of the Parliament of 1614, " he made a desperate allusion 
to the Sicilian Vespers," and, with a couple of other members, Christopher 
Neville and Walter Chute, was thrown into prison. Two more of his 
countrymen coming under suspicion, went hurrying after ; so that, 
now, there were five victims of the rhetorical flourish; and already the 
State stronghold had illustrious inhabitants. The Earl of Northumber- 
land was there; and so, also, Sir "Walter Raleigh, whose great historical 
work was published in this very year. Hoskyns had long months of 
durance, extending far away down into 1615 ; and at this period, 
probably, " he who polished Ben Jonson" was revising Raleigh; for 
" 'twas he," says Anthony Wood, " that viewed and reviewed the His- 
tory of the World before it went to press." He had leisure, too, long 
lingering on the Thames, to indulge in verse; and his wife, who had 
released him from one-half of the Greek alphabet, strove also, assisted 
by his Muse, to free him from the Tower. Lines that were written, 
professedly, by herself, but in reality by her husband, she brought 
under the eye of King James, to move his mercy. Two or three of 
them may be reprinted from the biographical sketch in "Lardner's 

What if my husband once have erred, 
Men more to blame are more preferred. 
He that offends not, doth not live, 
He erred but once : once, King, forgive. 

How it came about whether by virtue of this appeal or otherwise 
does not appear ; but Hoskyns, at the end of a year or more, resumed 
his wonted place in society, and rose in his profession. 'Tis said he 
was more profound in Divinity than in Law; yet, however this may 
have been, he became a Justice Itinerant for Wales, and was also 
appointed to the Council of the Marches. " Always facete and pleasant 
in company," and much valued and sought after for his critical judg- 
ment, he had troops of friends; and if, by an oratorical escapade, he 
could lessen the number, he could so winningly add to it as to make a 
duel the stepping-stone to a life-long attachment with his foe. He had 
the love and respect of Camden and Selden, Daniel and Donne, and 


many others of the like kind. " Few or none that published books of 
poetry but did celebrate his memory in them." If less remembered in 
the present day (for Time effaces memories and revises verdicts), he is 
set down in the " Athenae Oxonienses " of Wood as " the most ingenious 
and admired poet of his time" and that time the age of Elizabeth. 
In what esteem he was held by Sir Henry Wotton, and on what terms 
they dwelt together, may be learnt from their Dialogue *' Riding by 
the Way," included among the " Reliquiae Wottonianse" brought out 
by Izaak Walton in. 1651. Here are the concluding stanzas of the 
cantering conversation. 


Thus, with numbers interchanged, 
Wotton's muse and mine have ranged, 

Verse and journey both are spent. 


And if Hoskyns chance to say 
That we well have passed the day, 
I, for my part, am content. 

" Epitaphs in Latin and English" flowed from the scholarly Ser- 
geant's pen; and Wotton's rhymes could run in the same vein. Sir 
Henry wrote in 1639, for the tomb of Sir Albert Morton and his wife 
(who died in close succession), the lines so often afterwards adopted in 
similar circumstances : 

He first deceased : she for a little tried 
To live without him : liked it not, and died. 

Wotton's verses, " How happy is he born and taught, That serveth not 
another's will," must ever keep his memory green ; and the epitaph of 
his friend on John Cruker, trifle as he thought it at the time, has 
made him, by its transfer to the parish-clerk of All Saints', a con- 
tributor to our local annals ; in which, henceforward, he will have an 
enduring niche assigned to him by all future historians of Newcastle. 

The three friends, Wotton, Walton, and Hoskyns, were a congenial 
group. The author of "The Complete Angler," biographer of "that 
undervaluer of money," Sir Henry now Ambassador abroad, now 
Provost of Eton at home lovingly passes him onward to posterity. 
He pictures before us his "brother of the angle" with rod and line, 


" sitting quietly of a summer's evening on a bank a-fishing. A calm 
content did cohabit in his cheerful heart with a world of blessings;" and 
he was wont to say, " 'Twas an employment of his idle time, which 
was then not idly spent;" an apology which, if one be needed, the writer 
hopes to have extended in his direction, as he casts his line, and brings 
home the Wallas epitaph to the angler's friend, Sergeant Hoskyns. 
Living to a fair old age, transcending the three-score and ten of the 
Psalmist, the venerable lawyer, who had filled so large and honourable 
a place in the public eye, died in the year 1638, and was buried in an 
abbey-choir of his native shire, on the banks of the Dour ; where over 
his grave was reared an altar tomb bearing no fewer than four-and- 
twenty Latin verses ; for he that wrote epitaphs for others was not 
unremembered himself. 





As the understanding of some designations of Roman Roads is 
easily attained by Anglo-Saxon students, so that of Watling- Street 
is avowedly difficult. Yet, though we may have to leave it not 
fully determined, something will be gained if any new path of in- 
vestigation can be indicated, and this I believe is not impossible with 
a sufficient knowledge of the mode in which the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary 
came to be largely augmented and enriched by continual translations 
from Latin authors, both classical and ecclesiastical, and of the modes 
in which many unwonted and often very complex terms and expressions 
were translated into Saxon, and therein naturalised by repeated use. 
Instead of importing Latin nouns, adjectives, and verbs into Anglo- 
Saxon, as they were afterwards introduced in crowds into English, our 
Saxon forefathers translated them into their own tongue, forming some- 
times very uncouth vocables indeed. The copious vocabulary of the 
German language has been amplified by translation from Latin equi- 
valents in the same manner, as every classical scholar accustomed to 
read German is well aware ; and it is not from such men, or from Ger- 
mans themselves, that my present reasoning needs fear either impatience 
or incredulity. It will, nevertheless, appear quite fantastical to those 
who have not applied themselves either to Anglo-Saxon or to German. 
The Latin title of Consul is probably untranslateable by any real 
equivalent. The Saxons expressed it merely by the word for General 
namely " heretog," which corresponds to Dux. But they had no word 
that would convey also an idea of the civil functions and dignity of 
the great officers of State who bore that title. If, however, Consul 
could only be rendered by heretog, equivalent to Dux, it is obvious 
that the delicate distinctions of the high official titles of Consul, Prsetor, 
Propraetor, could not be easily reproduced in Saxon. But there was 



one attribute common to all of these, and even to the Vicarii and Prse- 
sides of the latest times. They all were distinguished by the presence of 
the lictors with i\\Q fasces and the insignia of the spear and the axe, borne 
therewith in solemn and conspicuous procession along the great roads of 
primary communication. Like the Consuls they were all Viri fascigeri, 
and in my opinion this last is the term of which Wsetlingas and Gewast- 
lingas is the Saxon translation and equivalent. The Wastlinga-straate 
was the street or road of the men of consular dignity, whether entitled 
Praetors, or Propraetors, or otherwise; the road along which they made 
their solemn judicial progresses. And the sights which most struck 
the imagination of the provincial and Romanised Britons were the 
insignia of the spear and sword and axe of capital punishment; and 
the Fasces, scarcely less formidable to minor offenders, and which gave 
a name to these insignia collectively. From the Eomanised Britons the 
Saxons would hear the term of Via Fascigerorum, Via Consularium, 
and would translate it for themselves. 

My object in bringing this aspect of the question as regards the 
name of Watling-Street before our Society is to obtain for it the most 
thorough examination both by antiquaries in general and by Anglo- 
Saxon scholars. That the name imports " Roads of those concerned 
with rods, or bundles of rods, or woven rods," or the like, is certain. 
But the question is, In what sense ? I have turned the question often 
over, in every way, to discover how such rods, or wicker-work, could 
come into prominent use in such a manner as to implant their character 
upon one of the greatest Avorks of the Romans in Britain. It is now 
three years and more since I became convinced that we had to deal, not 
with rods or sheaves of rods in their humble natural meaning, but in their 
transitive and almost figurative sense of the Roman Fasces. Let any 
one try to translate Watlinga-straete into Latin, as I was doing when I 
stumbled upon my present interpretation, and how can he do it, except 
as "Yiavirorum cumvirgis, vel fascibus proficiscentium?" But if so 
why not "Via Virorum Consularium" the Consular Road ? 


In considering this expression we must remember that though to 
our present English acceptation it seems to mean either virgin-road, in 
the sense of newly-constructed and untravelled road ; or again in the 
strange and unintelligible sense of pmllarum via, that is, road of 


maidens, whereas it was certainly a military highway. But besides 
signifying a maiden or daughter, maegth was used to express off- 
spring generally, a family or tribe, as in Maegth-laga, a family law, 
and thence associated population, such as that of a province, or even 
a nation. By resorting to the dictionaries of Lye or Bosworth examples 
of such usage will be seen, such as " Maegth West-Seaxna onfeng 
Godes word" the province of the West Saxons received God's word : 
" Biscop Suth-Saxna-Masgthe" Bishop of the Province of the South 
Saxons, or Sussex. Hence we may perceive that Maegthen-weg in 
Anglo-Saxon would be understood just as via provincialis or via pro- 
vincialium in Latin, and would be an obvious translation of such 
Latin, and signify a provincial or national highway, made and main- 
tained at some time by the ruling authorities, whether Roman or 
Saxon. In the same way Maegthen-Castel, or Maiden castle, would 
simply mean the chief stronghold of the province, as the castle of 
Edinburgh for Lothian, and we need not inquire how it came to be 
Latinized by " Castellum puellarum," when we know that the ori- 
ginal Anglo-Saxon speech and idiom were never consulted for infor- 
mation. We have likewise our own Maiden-castles in the North of 
England, whether by the side of a Maiden-way or not. They were cer- 
tainly each a stronghold of the province or district in which they stood. 
The modern military use of the term "maiden fortress" or "virgin fort" 
in the wars of the 15th century, implying the invincibility of the pi ace, 
as in the case of Peronne-la-pucelle, has of course nothing in common 
with the comparatively remote designations of Saxon times which we 
have been considering. 

In reference to Watling-Street, the meeting of Antiquaries was re- 
minded that the Saxons gave this name also to the Via Lactea, or Milky 
Way, in the starry heavens. They did so, in my opinion, because they 
likened it, in its direct course athwart the heavens, to the great pro- 
cessional road of the Roman Governors in Britain, traversing the island 
as it was seen to do. And there cannot be a stronger testimony to the 
admiration of the Saxons for this great work of Imperial Rome than 
that they should have transferred its popular Saxon designation to one 
of the sublimest objects in the celestial firmament, as if the latter seemed 
to their imaginations a stately line of inter-communication for the 
heavenly hierarchy. 




" August 23rd, 1880. 


" It seems right that the circumstances of the remarkable find of 
Bronze Weapons and Female Ornaments, near this place, on the 14th 
May in last year, should be communicated through you to our New- 
castle Antiquarian Society. 

"At the evening roll-call of the ewes and lambs at Prior Hall 
Farm, about a mile north-east of this place, a lamb was missing, 
and a young shepherd, named Ephraim Hedley, was sent to look 
for it. He found it sitting on a patch of turf in a water-course, and, 
stepping down to lift it out, he observed something shining in the 
water. This was a bronze axe-head; and, looking at the bank, he saw 
several others sticking out from it. He collected all he saw; and, 
when I heard what had happened, I went to the spot with three stout 
labourers, and thoroughly searched the ground, turning up the bed of 
the water-course for some distance down stream. Altogether fifteen 
axe-heads, four spear-heads, three sword-blades (two with handles), and 
three female armlets, were found; and later in the year, you, Sir, and 
the Rev. Canon Greenwell, were so good as to examine the ground 
with me, when we had another still more extensive search, with the 
result that only a fragment of another spear-head was found in the soil 
which had been already excavated. 

" It thus became apparent that all these objects were deposited in a 
single place, in one pocket, so to speak. The locality used to be known 
as ' Middleton Moss,' an ancient swamp underneath Middleton Hill. 
A straight cut was made for the stream through the swamp more than 
thirty years ago in order to drain it. This cut almost hit the pocket, 
which the abrasion of the bank by the action of the water ultimately 
disclosed. On the top of the adjoining hill are the nearly obliterated 
lines of what appears to have been a fortified village of the primaeval 


Andrew Reid.LiUi.Newcastle. 


Andrew Held, L 


inhabitants. On a further ridge of the same hill is a distinctly-marked 
Roman Camp of no great size ; and further still are North Middleton, 
remarkable for the pure Arian form of village-community, precisely as 
it is in Russia and India, having survived there until A.D. 1806, and 
the ruins of South Middleton. It may reasonably be conjectured 
that these weapons and ornaments were hidden in some time of 
trouble, and that the hiders died without having had an opportunity 
of recovering them. As for the age to which they belong-, all, I 
suppose, that can be safely predicated, is that they are older than the 
Roman Period, when iron was in general use, and not so old as the 
Stone Period. They are not all equal in execution, but most of them 
are highly-finished castings which would do credit to any workman of 
the present day, and they may, therefore, be presumed to belong to 
the later period of the Bronze Age probably after the partial intro- 
duction of iron. They are all deposited in a glass case in the hall at 
Wallington, where they may be inspected at any time. 

" Believe me, 

" Dear Dr. Bruce, 
" Sincerely yours, 

" Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries 
of Newcastle-on-Tyne." 



In referring to the Black Gate I cannot do better than quote in the first 
instance from Mr. Longstaffe's valuable paper on " The New Castle," 
printed in Vol. IV. of the New Series of the " Archseologia ^Eliana." 
The 18th section of that document is devoted to the Black Gate, 
the second Gate, and their appendages ; and the text is as follows : 


" The Black Gate and its accompanying works are now the sole relics 
of the extensive works of Henry III. in our Castle. Up to June, 1247, 
the works of a certain new Gate in the Castle of Newcastle cost 514 
15s. lid. A further sum of 36 Os. 8d. was afterwards laid out on 
the repair of a Gate at Newcastle." 

We proceed to remark that the existing remains of this part of the 
Castle show that its importance in the fabric was very great forming 
as it did the principal and very strongly constructed and fortified 
entrance to the Castle. 

The general plan of the enceinte of the Castle may be roughly de- 
scribed as a triangle with its apex pointing northwards, and with the 
keep, which we now know as " The Old Castle," situated within its 
western boundary about half-way towards the south. The second Gate 
spoken of above was near the northern angle of the enceinte, and issuing 
under it along the line of the present old street inside the Black Gate 
you made a sharp turn to the west, as you do now, and so passed under 
the archway of the Black Gate, which we still see. This outer archway 
was defended by a moat spanned by a draw-bridge, and the ultimate 
protection of the approach was by a further work or Barbican, which 
has now disappeared, but which may be supposed to have resembled the 
outer gate still existing at Alnwick Castle, or the Barbican outside 
Walmgate Bar, at York. 

The original architecture of the Black Gate that remains is of very 
high interest, contemporary as it is with the Abbey Church at West- 
minster, and it is specially valuable to the antiquary as being a dated 
example of which the cost is known. The equivalent value in our 
money of the recorded expenditure would probably be about 8,500, 
and the great bulk and fine construction of the monument fully accord 
with this large amount. The ground around has been so much raised 
that it is only on the north side that the full height is visible; but the 
whole bulk of the Black Gate above is nearly 60 feet from north to 
south, 35 feet from east to west, and about 60 feet high. The walls 
are of great thickness, and most solidly built, and the architecture of 
the lower stage with its vaulted chambers on either side of the central 
passage, its trefoiled arcades, and its pointed barrel vault above the 
passage, is of very great beauty. The general form of the ground plan 
may be roughly described as an ellipse with the longer sides flattened. 


Massive remains exist of the walls connecting this work with the second 
gate. At the accession of the house of Stuart this gate had fallen into 
great decay, and there was a grant of it to one Stevenson, who built up 
between the original buttresses of the 13th Century on the west front, 
putting in the pointed arch we now see outwards, and the mullioned 
windows above it, and building up the east side in a similar manner. 
The lines of the addition on the west front are very clearly visible, the 
masonry being vertically jointed for some height between the old 
buttresses, and the rough-pointed arch rudely joined up against the 
more graceful work of Henry III., almost entirely concealing the outer 
order of the entrance arch of that date. 

In 1739 part of the eastern side of Stevenson's work fell with a great 
crash, and was repaired in a poor way in brickwork. Very likely the 
incongruous additions in brick at the top of the building were made at 
the same time. We have thus before us, notwithstanding subsequent 
additions and mutilations, a very noble piece of the military architec- 
ture of the time of Henry III. ; and 'not only so, but as far as I know, 
the only architectural remain of that period that is left in the town. 

Its present condition, divided into wretched tenements hardly fit 
for human habitation, yet still largely occupied, is very distressing, and 
its appearance hardly appropriate for its position or creditable to the 
town. Fortunately, however, its massive construction has for the most 
part defied time and neglect, and the main walls of the original build- 
ing are sound and substantial, though much weather worn. 

It remains to enquire what can be done to make the building more 
seemly, and how to apply it to some useful and congruous purpose. 

Externally the temporary boarding, the shattered brickwork, and 
the defective tile roofs, should be removed, and the walls should be 
levelled up in ashlar work to a height rather above that of the top 
window of the west front. The windows should be repaired, as well as 
the arcades of the vaulted passage. Little would be required in con- 
nection with the main walls, save that on the south side the buttress 
that has been torn away should be reinstated. The walls being levelled 
up should be finished with a battlement of suitable character; and the 
atmosphere of Newcastle would very soon, fortunately or unfortunately 
as we may choose to look upon it, destroy any great difference in colour 
between the new and old masonry. 


Internally the upper stories of the building should be entirely gutted. 
New floors being put in, and the walls repaired as might be found 
necessary, three spacious apartments would be formed, to which ample 
light could be obtained from the eastern side, and for the upper one, if 
necessary, from above. 

These rooms would be admirably suited for the long-contemplated 
Museum of the Antiquarian Society. A commodious access would be 
necessary, and this could easily be made by forming a staircase on the 
east side of the gateway, utilising for the purpose a considerable portion 
of the wall still remaining that connected the Black Gate with the 
second Gate. 

I have prepared a sketch showing the appearance that the building 
would present were these alterations carried out, and have embodied in 
it the suggestions as to the approaches and levels that are given by a 
plan of the late Town Surveyor, Mr. Lamb. 

According to that scheme a parapet-wall would be built on the east 
side of the High Level Approach, and the way up from the side to the 
High Level Bridge would be made by an easy incline which would ex- 
pose to the bottom the masonry of the Black Gate. A bridge would 
be thrown over that road, leading into the Black Gate, and thus the 
original arrangements of the moat and draw-bridge would be suggested 
and a picturesque addition made to the architecture of the town. 

It is difficult, in the present state of the fabric, to offer an opinion 
as to the cost of the work; but considering that the main walls are 
sound, I think a sum of from 1,200 to 1,300 would suffice for the 
repair and adaptation of the Black Gate. Arrangements could perhaps 
be made with the Corporation whereby the Antiquarian Society should 
have a grant of the building at a nominal rent on condition of their 
repairing it, and using it as their Museum. Or, under the Museums' 
Act, the collections of the Society, subject to their retaining the custody 
of them and the Corporation repairing the tower, might be made over 
to the town. 

The arrangement of the approaches would remain with the Corpo- 
ration ; but it is above all things earnestly to be desired that no scheme 
should be sanctioned for erecting buildings on this side of the High 
Level Approach, as that would destroy one of the most picturesque 
combinations of mediseval architecture existing in any English city. 



BY JOHN V. GREGORY. Read Aug. 31st, 1881. 

THERE is a wide-spread belief in the popular mind in the North of 
England that the inhabitants of the County of Northumberland are, 
in a large measure, descendants of the Danes, who, in old time, so 
often ravaged the English coasts, and who undoubtedly did settle in 
very great numbers in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and adjacent parts. 

The object of this paper is to attempt to prove, from the nomen- 
clature of the County, that such a popular belief is a mistake, and that 
the Danes did not settle in any numbers in what is now the County 
of Northumberland. 

That this mistaken opinion does exist, and is wide-spread, is 
evident when we read in different local newspapers in the same month 
such remarks as these : 

" The Danes were more numerous in Northumberland than in any 
other county." (Correspondent of Newcastle Courant, 15th Oct., 

" The old Norse spirit of daring is far from extinguished among 
the sea-going population of Tyneside." (Correspondent of Newcastle 
Daily Chronicle, 26th Oct., 1880.) 

In these statements the writers in newspapers are only following 
what they find in popular books of history. For instance : 

" The Pictorial History of England " says, with reference to the 
fusion of the Danish element with the Anglo-Saxon, " This fusion 
was probably felt strongest along our north-eastern coast between 
the Tees and the Tweed." 



Lingard says that Halfden, after ravaging the lands of the 
Strathclyde Britons, the Scots, and the Picts, returned to Bernicia, 
and divided it among his followers. 

Sharon Turner also states that Halfden divided Bernicia among 
his followers. 

In Mackenzie's "Northumberland," we read that in 876 "Halfden 
having completed the conquest of Bernicia, it was cantled out 
among Danish officers who now, as possessors of the soil, began to 
plough and sow. They mixed contentedly with their neighbours, and 
soon became amalgamated with the Anglo-Saxons of this county." 

These statements appear to rest on the authority of Asser, and of 
the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle, in both of which it is stated that in A.D. 
876, Halfden apportioned the lands of Northumbria among his fol- 
lowers, and they forthwith cultivated them. 

But Northumbria was an extensive province, and it is not neces- 
sarily implied that the whole of it was so settled and cultivated. That 
the Danes did conquer the whole of Northumbria is unquestionable ; 
but they only made permanent settlements in the southern half of it, 
which is now Yorkshire and South Durham. 

Some confusion appears to have arisen in the minds of those 
writers who derive their information from the authorities named, 
between Anglo-Saxon Northumbria in its wide extent from the 
Humber to the Forth, and the present limited County of Northumber- 

The very name of Northumberland is considered remarkable when 
applied to a county so far away from the Humber, which gives it that 
designation. It seems to indicate that the name was driven north- 
ward by reason of the Danish settlements south of its present limits. 
The Anglo-Saxon kings of Northumbria became tributary to the 
Danes, being permitted to reign over that part of their former 
territory which the Danes subdued, lut did not settle in ; and the 
name of Northumberland would naturally be then restricted to the 
territory over which those Anglo-Saxon kings continued to exercise 
jurisdiction. Their kingdom no longer comprised Yorkshire, and, 
therefore, the name of Northumberland ceased to include Yorkshire, 
which latter territory was under the immediate rule of the Danes. 

The mistake on this subject is not shared by those whose historic 


studies, combined with local knowledge, have made them competent to 
judge, as is shown by an important extract from Mr. Hodgson-Hinde's 
" General History of Northumberland :" 

" In comparing the local nomenclature of Northumberland north 
of the Tyne with that of Yorkshire and other counties which were 
occupied by the Danes, we cannot fail to be struck with the relative 
paucity of names of Scandinavian origin in the former district. Nor 
is this inconsistent with the history of Danish conquests and settle- 
ments] in the north ; for whilst Yorkshire was parcelled out among 
the invaders, and adopted as their home, modern Northumberland was 
left in a great measure in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants, 
who were even permitted to live under rulers of their own race in 
subordination to the Danish kings." 

This quotation from Mr. Hodgson-Hinde is the true statement of 
the actual fact of history. 

An investigation which I have made into place-names shows that 
the East Coast settlements of the Danes in ancient Northumbria were 
all made south of a boundary which may approximately be said to run 
from east to west across the middle of the County of Durham. 

As is well-known, the distinctive tests of Anglo-Saxon names are 
-ham (homestead) and -ton (enclosed place), as in Hexham, Ben ton ; 
and of Danish names, -by (farmstead) and -thorpe (village), as in 
Whitby, Nunthorpe. It is a remarkable fact that not one name ending 
in -by or -thorpe is found north of the Tyne, and those in the County 
of Durham are, with one or at most two exceptions, south of the Wear. 

Again, the Anglo-Saxon word in Northumberland for a rivulet is 
burn. The Norse word in Yorkshire is leek. All the brooks in the 
North Riding, where the Danish influence was so strong, are becks ; 
but in the County of Northumberland all the brooks are burns. And 
it is further remarkable that the boundary line between becks and 
burns is the same which marks the limit of -by and -thorpe, the 
middle of the County of Durham. 

Another proof that there was little or no Danish influence in the 
speech of the people north of the Tyne, is shown in the form of the 
Latin castra, where a place is named after a Roman Station. From 
the Anglo-Saxons it comes to us in the form Chester ( as in Manchester, 
Colchester, Winchester), but softened among the Middle Angles into 


cester (Leicester, Gloucester, etc.) ; while in the Danish districts of 
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and the Norwegian of Cumberland, etc., 
it takes the hard form of caster (Doncaster, Lancaster, Muncaster). 
The word in Northumberland has its purely Anglo-Saxon shape of 
Chester (as Rudchester, Whitchester, Chesters). 

Worsaae, in his book on the Danes and Norwegians in England, 
while admitting that Danish colonization was not much extended north 
of the Tees, still attempts to show that some Danish settlements were 
established in the County of Northumberland. He gives a tabular 
view of the most important Norse (or Danish-Norwegian) names of 
places in England, in which he puts 22 such names in Northumber- 
land, viz. : 

1 ending in -thorpe 

1 -beck 

3 -dale 

7 -fell 

1 ,, -haugh 

(The names are taken from a small-scale map.) 

But on examining these names we shall find reason for not con- 
curring with him : 

(1.) -thorpe. It is not the fact that any name in Northumberland 
ends in -thorpe. The nearest approach to it is as a prefix in Throp- 
hill and Thropton, but their Anglo-Saxon terminations do not indicate 
a Danish origin. 

(2.) -beck. The name referred to as ending in -leek is the River 
Wansbeck ; but if the Danes had influenced the naming of streams 
in Northumberland, it is reasonable to suppose it would have been, as 
in South Durham and North Yorkshire, by giving "beck" as a 
generic name to the brooks, and not as part of a specific proper name 
to a river. It must be confessed that no explanation of the etymology 
of "Wansbeck" has yet been given which can be considered satis- 
factory. But we must bear in mind that Norse names are not always 
distinguishable from Anglo-Saxon. The two languages being cognate, 
it is quite possible that a word which the Danes might use in one 


manner in Yorkshire, the Anglo-Saxons might apply in another in 
Northumberland. It should also be remarked that leek is found in 
Anglo-Saxon place-names in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Somerset; 
and is also found in Germany, where there is a Wandsbeck and 
Lubeck, etc. But, after all, it is not entirely improbable that the 
Wansbeck, like most English rivers, derives its name from a Celtic 

Wansbeck is not the only name connected with Northumberland 
ending in -beck. There was a barony of Bolbeck, but probably the 
name came from Bolbec, in Normandy. 

(3.) -dale. Worsaae gives only three as the number of names in 
-dale, but there are more. The termination is Norse, but not ex- 
clusively Norse. It is the old Gothic dalei and the modern German 
thai, and was common both to the Norse and Anglo-Saxon tongues. 

(4.) -fell. There are very many instances of this word in Northum- 
berland. The Norse fjeld is a hill-side. The word belongs to the 
Norwegian rather 'than to the Danish branch of the race, and its 
presence in Northumberland is easily accounted for. The western 
part of Northumberland was bounded by Norwegian settlements in 
Cumberland and Liddesdale, and most of the names in -fell are in the 
hill-country bordering on Cumberland and Scotland. The word has 
thus been introduced from those neighbours in times probably long 
subsequent to the period of Danish conquests. It is chiefly found 
in places still uninhabited, and nowhere indicates old settlements. 
There is an apparent exception in " Felton," one of the few cases in 
which " fell " is a prefix, but this is in fact not Norse ; the natural 
features of the locality suggest it to be from the Anglo-Saxon field, 
not from the Norse fell 

(5.) In the remaining instance, -haugh, Worsaae, from want of 
local knowledge, makes an entire mistake. Both he and also Isaac 
Taylor (" Words and Places") mistake it for the Norse haagr, a hill 
or sepulchral mound ; while, as every Northumbrian knows, the term 
havgh is applied to low-lying land on a riverside. It is more likely 
to be allied to the German hage, an enclosed meadow, Anglo-Saxon 
haga. " Haugh" is rarely found south of the Wear. 


To ascertain with some attempt at precision the languages from 
whence place-names in the County of Northumberland are derived, I 
have taken out and classified the syllables or component elements of 
the names which appeal 1 upon the one-inch Ordnance Maps, but 
omitting some which are obviously of recent origin, and adding a few 
which the Ordnance Maps omit. 

It is hardly needful to state that place-names are frequently com- 
pounded of two words, the first component being a specific, and the 
second a generic term. It is mostly the generic term in each name 
which is classified in the following table, but not exclusively so. 
When the specific component is a word of frequent occurrence, both 
terms are classified, as in the cases of Kirkley, Broomhaugh, Coldwell, 
Wallsend, Stocksfield, Morpeth, Denton, etc. 

It should be stated that of the large number of names dealt with, 
perhaps the greater part originate from a period when the English 
language had become consolidated into something more like its 
present form than the original Anglo-Saxon. There are a great 
many names which must be comparatively modern, and may be of 
any date from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century. These are 
classified as Anglo-Saxon or otherwise, according to the origin of the 

The names are tabulated in three classes : 

1. Names of parishes, townships, and principal places which 
are generally older than the names of other inhabited 

2. Names of other inhabited places of lesser importance, and 
many of which are not ancient. 

3. Names of uninhabited places : hills, moorlands, streams, 
coast names, etc. 



1 Other Inha- 
bited Places. 





Anglo-Saxon, acer, open ploughed 







Anglo-Saxon, bane, a mound or ridge 






Anglo-Saxon, berern, a granary for 

Old Barns 






Anglo-Saxon, bige, a bending 

Ururidge Bay 




Qpp /T/1//3 




Anglo-Saxon, byggan. to build 






Anglo-Saxon, birce, birch tree 






Gaelic, bog, soft, moist 

Struther Bog 




See burgh 




Anglo-Saxon, botle, a place of abode 






Cymric, bre, a mount 






bridge 1 
brig f 

Anglo-Saxon, bri-cg, bridge 






Anglo-Saxon, broc. a badger 






Anglo-Saxon, brom, the broom plant 



burgh | 
borough > 
brough ) 

Anglo-Saxon, burh, walled enclosure, 
from beorgan, to protect 







\ burn 

Anglo-Saxon, burn, a brook 







Anglo-Saxon, byrig, a softened form 


of biirh 





Norman- French, bout, an end 

Butt of Black- 






byre, a cow-house, qu. derivation ... 





Cymric, earn, a heap of stones 

Cairn Hill 





Anglo-Saxon, carr, a rock 





Cymric, caer, from Latin, castra ... 



Anglo-Saxon, qu. a marsh ... 

Prestwick Carr 




carrick 1 

currick > 

Gaelic, carraig, crag 

High Carrick 

currock J 




Gaelic, cart, a height 

Black Carts 




Nor man- French, castel, from Latin, 


caste Hum, 




Norm an- French, from cTiasser,to hunt 





Norman-French, chapelle 






Anglo-Saxon, ceaster, from Latin, 






Anglo-Saxon, circe, a softened form 


of kirk 





Anglo-Saxon, dough, a cleft or ravine 
Anglo-Saxon, from the same root as 

Coal cleugh 

the last, cleofan, to cleave 





Norman-French, clos, shut (an en- 

Master's Close 

closed field) 




coats j 

cote f 

Anglo-Saxon, cote, a hut 





COtt 1 





Anglo-Saxon, coc, a hillock or ele- 




Parishes and 

Other Inha- 
bited Places. 







Anglo-Saxon, a prefix indicating cold 


situation or cool wells. (In this 

northern climate there is but one 

hot, Hotbank, sometimes written 






Cymric, cwm. a bowl-shaped valley 


(but qn. is this the right deriva- 

tion in Northumberland ?) 





Norm an- French, rommiin, from Latin, 


commnnis, land held in common by 


the inhabitants 





Anglo-Saxon, en 





Cymric, cralg, a steep rock 

Crag side 




Anglo-Saxon, enclosed field ... 






Cymric, crog, a hook or something 


bent ; or crng. a heap or ridge ; 

or Gaelic, cruacJi, heap or mountain 





Norman-French, from Latin crux 

Steng Cross 

(indicates a place where probably a 

cross formerly stood) 





See ante 




Norman-French, lands attached to a 

Both al- De- 

manor house 





den ) 
dean ( 

Anglo-Saxon, dene, a deep wooded 
valley, or sometimes a swine pas- 

( Falloden 
) Deanham 

ture in forest 





Anglo-Saxon, a blunt hill or butt end 


of a hill; in Frisian, dodd, a lump. 

(Doddington has probably a pa- 

tronymic derivation.) 





Mostly Anglo-Saxon, dun, a hill ; 


but sometimes Gaelic, dun, a hill- 

fort; and sometimes corrupted from 

ton and den 




dyke or 

Anglo-Saxon, die, an agger or con- 

Higham Dykes 


tinuous heap 




ea ey ay 

Anglo-Saxon, ea, a stream 






Anglo-Saxon, ecg, brink, margin, or 








Anglo-Saxon, the end of an estate, 


road, &c. 





Anglo-Saxon,/<?0rw, food, goods, from 

Three Farms 

which the modern meaning is 

secondary. (Is generally affixed to 

the proper name of a locality, and 

not classified here.) 





Norse. See ante 

Carter Fell 





Anglo-Saxon,/e/m, a morass 





Norman-French, or adapted from fend 


or defend ; Latin, defendo 






Anglo-Saxon, a patch of felled or 


cleared land in forest 




Anglo-Saxon, level ... 




Parishes and 

Other Inha- 
bited Places. 






The Flothers 





Qu. the watershed ; Anglo-Saxon, 

Manside Flow 

flowan, to flow 




Anglo-Saxon, fald, a fold, wall, or 







Anglo-Saxon, fot, foot, i.e. the foot 


of a hill, etc. (Excluding numerous 

Hillfoots and Bankfoots, all pro- 

bably modern.) 





Anglo-Saxon, a passage across a 


stream, from /a raw, to go 





Nor man- French, outlying country, 
uncultivated and generally woody 





forth firth 

Anglo-Saxon, fryhde, qu. woodland ; 


or Cymric, ffridd, tract of en- 

closed forest 




Anglo-Saxon, geap, wide an opening 


or passage 




Anglo-Saxon, geard, a yard or girded 







Anglo-Saxon, geat, a gate or passage 


through ; Norse, gata, a road or 

passage along 





Norse, gil, a small ravine. (This 

Wold Gill 

word has come into Northumber- 

land from the Norwegian settlers 

of Cumberland ; not from the 

Danish settlers of the East Coast.) 





Gaelic, a narrow valley 

Gl endue 





Nor man -French, a barn, originally 

Anick Grange 

the granary of a monastery, but 

now often a modern name of a 

small mansion 





Anglo-Saxon, grene, from the root of 


to grow 





Anglo-Saxon, haga, a small estate 

Duke's Hagg 

within a fence or hedge; but in 

Scottish hay is the broken ground 

in a bog 





Anglo-Saxon, hal, a hall. (These 


numbers are exclusive of mansions 

named after localities elsewhere 





Anglo-Saxon, ham, a home ; German, 


Tieim. (Exclusive of names in 




ingham classified separately.) 
See ante 

H u m sh au jjh 





Anglo-Saxon, hoefen, a harbour 

Prior's Haven 





Anglo-Saxon, heafd, heaved, elevated. 


(These numbers are exclusive of 

many Hill-heads, Lane-heads, etc.) 





Anglo-Saxon, haeth, barren open 









<L> OT 











A cattle shed ; qit. origin 

Red Hemmels 





Perhaps from Anglo-Saxon, heafian, 


to elevate, to heave. (Hcngh is a 

steep or a rugged steep, and must 

be distinguished from haugh, which 

is flat ground.) 







* Hills (uninhabited) named after adjacent places 
are generally excluded from this number. 



hirst hurst 

Anglo-Saxon, hyrst, a copse. (The 


spelling hirst seems peculiar to 

No rth u mberl an d . ) 




hoe how 

Anglo-Saxon, hou, hill 






Anglo-Saxon, hoi, hole 





Anglo-Saxon, holey n, holly 






Anglo-Saxon, holm,, a river island or 

Ash holm 

a meadow near water ; but this 

derivation is not applicable in four 

cases out of nine in Northumberland 




Anglo-Saxon, woodland 






Cymric, hwpp, a slope between hills; 


the upland part of a mountain valley 





Anglo-Saxon, hm. (These numbers 


are exclusive of houses called after 

localities otherwise classified, and 

also exclusive of such designations 

as "West House," etc.) 





Anglo-Saxon, ing, the patronymic 


affix answering to the Scottish pre- 

fix Mac, Irish 0\ Arabic Beni. 

Also Anglo-Saxon, ing, the parti- 

ciple termination. 

Also Anglo-Saxon, ing, a meadow. 

(The numbers are exclusive of 

ingham and ington, which see.) 





Anglo-Saxon, ing, patronymic, and 

Ovingham (the 

ham. (The g sounded soft is a 

home of the 

"peculiarity in Northumberland.) 

Offings. or 

sons of Offa) 





Anglo-Saxon, ing, patronymic, and 

Ellington (the 


ton of the 

Ellings, or 

sons of Ella) 





Anglo-Saxon, ealand 

Holy Island 





Cymric, caer, from Latin, castra ... 



kern or 

Anglo-Saxon, cernan. to churn 








Anglo-Saxon, circ, church 






Rugged, from Anglo-Saxon, gnarr, 


knot ' 




Anglo-Saxon, cnoll, hillock ; knowe 


is the Scottish form of knoll, a 

round-shaped hillock 



1 Parishes and 

1 Other Inha- 
| bited Places. 






Qu. Anglo-Saxon, legen, the root 

Dinmont Lairs 

of lay and lie ; a place for flocks to 

lie ; but these three places are all 






Nor man -French, lac. (In Northum- 

Paston Lake 

berland lakes are loughs with this 

one exception.) 





Two instances are classified under 


ham,. Sed qu. 











Anglo-Saxon, hlarv, hill or tumulus ; 


see also " low" 





Is a word which Anglo-Saxons ap- 


pear to have applied to places near 

Roman roads ; qu. a boundary line. 





A wet ditch or narrow swamp ; qu. 


from Anglo-Saxon, leccan, to wet, 





ley ) 

lee, lea V 
leigh ] 

Anglo-Saxon, lea, leak, meadow or 
open forest glade where cattle lie 

( Shotley 
< Fallow! ees 
| GarleighMoor 





Gaelic, lin, a pool 






Norman-French, loger, to lodge 






Gaelic, louyh or loch, a lake 

Crag Lough 





Another form of " law," which see ... 

Harlow Hill 





Scottish for a demesne-farm ; qu. 

Ord Mains 

main or chief farm, from Anglo- 

Saxon, mag an, to be strong 





Cymric, maen. rock 

Brown sman 






Anglo-Saxon, mersc 

Wandy Marsh 



meadow ) 
mea ( 

Anglo-Saxon, mead, meademe 

( Peas Meadows 
| Rusbymea 




Anglo-Saxon, miln 






Anglo-Saxon, from Latin, monasterium 






Anglo-Saxon, mor 






Anglo-Saxon, meos, bog 





mount ) 
mond ) 

Norman- French, mont 






(of a stream) Anglo-Saxon, muth ... 






Anglo-Saxon and Norse, nes, nose ; 


(but Byrness is probably from 


Anglo-Saxon, aesce, ash-tree) 




Gaelic, nine, corner, secluded place 






Anglo-Saxon, parruc, adopted from 


Cymric, parwg, enclosed field 

usually for the chase 




path peth 

Anglo-Saxon, pact h, trodden way ... 





pele peel 

Cymric, pil, stronghold. (The re- 


mains of fortified farm-houses called 

peles are common in Northumber- 

land, but the word is only here classi- 

fied as a distinctive place-name.) 



Parishes and 1 

c3 * 


j Uninhabited. 






Cymric, pig; Anglo-Saxon, peac ; 
Norm an- French, pic, peak or pointed 

Glanton Pike 






Norman-French, from Latin, punc- 

Budle Point 

tual, applied to a small promontory 

on the coast 





Anglo-Saxon, pol, wet, muddy place 

Heath pool 




raw row 

Anglo-Saxon, hrearv, raw 


Or a row of houses ; Anglo- 

Saxon, rana, a rod, a row. 

Or a barrow (tumulus) ; Anglo- 

Saxon, beoch, from beorgan, to 

protect (a grave). 




ridge I 

Anglo-Saxon, rig, hrie. back or ridge, 

I Broomridge 




rigg j 

from Cymric, rhic, rkig 

( Hazlerigg 




Kiver names are mostly Gaelic, but 

their derivation obscure or doubt- 

ful. These 17 Northumbrian rivers 

are : Gaelic, Allen, Aln. Alwin, 

Glen, Lyne, Tyne ; Cymric, Der- 

ive nt ; Anglo-Saxon, Jilyth ; Nor- 

man-French. Font ; uncertain, 

Breamish, Coquet, Irthing, Pont, 

Rede, Till, Tweed, Wansbeck. 





Norm an -French, roc, roche 






Gaelic, ros, a promontory. (It is 


worthy of notice that this town- 

ship of Ross is where a small sandy 
promontory runs up to Holy Island. 

The name was probably given by 

the Culdee monks in remembrance 

of the Ross of Mull, opposite their 

island of lona.) 





From Latin, sanctus 

St. Anthony's 





A ridge of rough rocks ; Anglo-Saxon, 


scear, from scearan, to shear; Norse, 

sker. a face of rock. (The Scottish 

word " scaur" is the high bank of 

a river. 5 of the 7 instances of 

" scar" in Northumberland are coast 





set seat 

Anglo-Saxon, seta, a settlement ; 


sittan, to sit 





Anglo- Saxon, scanc, leg 







Anglo-Saxon, sceaga, a copse wood 


or a shady place 




shield ) 

Anglo-Saxon, shiel, a hut. (The 

North Shields 


shiel V 

Northumbrian word shield occurs 


sheele ) 

mostly in Tynedale and Redesdale. 

There' are only 9 north of the 

Coquet, and of these 6 are spelt 




Parishes and 

Other Inha- 
bited Places. 





Anglo-Saxon, scir, a division 



i a. 

/li/ r\ ATI VQ tirvn 






Anglo-Saxon, an acclivity or hill-side; 


also region, settlement, location ; 

also country-side 




A small rill, the upper feeder of a 

Green sike 

burn; Anglo-Saxon sic, Norse siki, 

streamlet. (In Northumberland it 

occurs only in the upper streamlets 

of the Tyne and Irthing basins. It 

is not found in the Cheviot region. 

It may therefore perhaps be of 

Cumberland-Norwegian origin, like 

" fell" and " gill.") 


skeer j 

Applied to coast rocks ; is perhaps 

Green Skeer 

skear > 

another form of " scar ;" but 

skerr ) 

" skears" and " scar" occur in prox- 

imity. Probably, therefore, skeer 

is Gaelic, sgeir, a rock in the sea. 





The Snook 




Contraction of Norman-French, hos- 






An glo- Saxon, staen, stone 





Anglo-Saxon, stapel, stake or pile 

Staples Island 

(hence in other parts of England 

a fixed place for a market) 





Anglo-Saxon, stede, place or station 





Anglo-Saxon, atyl. an edge applied to 


sharp rocks (steel = edge-metal) 





Anglo-Saxon, steb, stock or stem, 


stump of tree ; hence a post 




Anglo-Saxon, stem of tree 






A modern form of Anglo-Saxon, stan; 


sometimes denotes a boundary 

stone, but is frequently inter- 

changed with "ton" 



Anglo-Saxon, straet, a paved way ... 

Street Head 



strother I 

Qu. if from Anglo-Saxon, strudan, 


struther j 

to plunder, i.e. a place plundered 

by the Scots 




Anglo-Saxon, tMrlian, to bore or 






Anglo-Saxon, a prickly plant 






Anglo-Saxon and Norse, hamlet or 


homestead enclosure 





Anglo-Saxon, tun, an enclosure, a 


fortified homestead ; afterwards 

village and town; see also "ington" 




Cymric, projecting rock 

Newton Tors 



Modern form of ''ton'' 





The modern word " tree ;" Anglo- 


Saxon, treow. 



Cymric tre, dwelling 





~f- it 









Qu. Anglo-Saxon, twialung, storehouse 





Qu. Anglo-Saxon, tlienung, duty or 


service ; hence " unthank," land 

held without service being rendered 




Anglo-Saxon, n-eall. (7 of these 14 

Wai wick 

places are on the Roman Wall.) 





Anglo-Saxon, weardian, to defend ... 





Anglo-Saxon, meorc, a work, i.e. a 


building or castle 





Anglo-Saxon, waeter 






An or lo-Saxon ... 





Anglo-Saxon, wic, a dwelling, station 


or settlement, generally of a chief, 
hence a jurisdiction ; in Norse, a 

sea-station of mk-mgs 





Anglo-Saxon, wnde 






Anglo-Saxon, tveorthig, a warded 








Apparently of Cymric origin (Kielder, Penpugh, Cheviot). 




Anglo-Saxon origin. 




,, Norman- French origin. 




Doubtful and uncertain. 





V ^- 

4,008 Total 



Of these 4,008 classifications, 511 are twice entered ; e.g. " Mor- 
peth" appQars under moor and under path. The net number of 
names dealt with, is therefore 3,497. These names, arranged accord- 
ing to the language of their origin, give us the following result : 

and Principal 


(Hills, Moor- 
lands, Streams, 
and Coast). 

Gaelic ... .. .*. . 











Doubtful or Unclassified ... 











It is right to state that I have classified as Anglo-Saxon eight 
words, embracing 127 names, which, if there were any evidence of 
Danish names in the country, I should have classed as being com- 
mon to both tongues, Anglo-Saxon and Norse. The words are : 
dale, gate, kirk, ness, scar, sike, toft, wick. 

The result of this analysis of place-names is that only two words 
are undeniably Norse, viz., fell and gill, and these are Norwegian 
rather than Danish ; and of these words there are only 56 examples 
out of a total of 3,500 names ; and of these 56 examples only 15 are 
names of inhabited places ; and of these inhabited places not one is 
so important as to belong to a parish or township. 

These figures, therefore, very remarkably confirm the belief that 
the territory between Tyne and Tweed, though under Danish 
dominion or suzerainty, was never occupied by Danish settlers. 





DURING the summer of 1881, having occasion to spend some weeks at 
a watering place in the neighbourhood of the Taunus Mountains, I 
became much interested in the remains still existing there of the great 
works by which the Romans once bound together the military lines of 
the Rhine and the Danube. The Earthen Wall, six times as long as 
our line of defence against the Caledonians the camps, in many respects 
so like our Northumbrian camps, yet with some characteristic differ- 
ences the altars and inscribed stones with which the local Museums 
are filled all fired my enthusiasm, and compelled me to visit the second- 
hand booksellers of Frankfurt and Wiirzburg in order to acquire as 
complete a collection of literature relating to the Pfahlgraben (for so 
the Limes Imperil is locally called) as lay in my power. By a well- 
known law of mental energy, thought, which is taken up from the 
pages of a German Monograph, is bound to return to paper in the shape 
of an English Article, and hence has sprung the Essay which I now 
lay before my fellow-antiquaries of Ne^castle-on-Tyne. I may, how- 
ever, state, that I do not write solely in order to give clearness to my 
own ideas on this subject, but partly in order to stimulate that further 
interchange of views between English and German archseologists, that 
further examination of the Pfahlgraben by Englishmen, and of the 
Northumbrian Wall by Germans, from which I think great benefits 
may be derived to the cause of accurate historical knowledge which 
both they and we have at heart. 



Before going further I must briefly refer to the only Essays on the 
subject of the Pfahlgraben, which, as far as I know, have yet appeared 
in English. 

a. The first, which appeared in the 1st volume of the " Archaeologia 
JEliana" (1822), I mention only to condemn. It is an " Extract from a 
German pamphlet, entitled ' A Tour along the Devil's Wall,' pub- 
lished as a specimen of a projected History of Bavaria, by J. Andreas 
Buchner, Professor at the Royal Bavarian Lyceum at Regensburg, 
translated by the Rev. Hugh Salvin." It was a serviceable thought of 
the English clergyman to translate for the antiquaries of Newcastle 
this notice by a German historian, of a similar work in Germany. But 
unfortunately he followed a bad guide. In the very same year that 
Salvin translated Buchner, there was appearing in a scientific periodical 
at Munich the first of an elaborate series of papers by the Roman 
Catholic priest, Maier, devoted to a most thorough and pains-taking 
description of the Wall ; and by the cautiously accurate words of Maier 
much of what Buchner has written stands condemned as inaccurate. 
Without spending more time on this paper I will simply warn the 
reader that, especially when the magnitude of the German limes and 
its excellent state of preservation are referred to, he must not take any- 
thing for granted because Buchner has said it. 1 

b. Of a very different quality is the paper " On the Limes Rhseticus 
and Limes Transrhenanus of the Roman Empire," prepared by Mr. 

1 1 append some instances of Buchner' s inaccuracy, though it is right to date 
that his laier labours npon the limes are spoken of with respect by German 
archaeologists. " The Wall, at this day more complete than the British was 300 
years ago, runs through the middle of Germany, and everywhere displays the remains 
of Roman greatness. The Britons could only discover fragments: our Xordgau 
woods exhibit this great Roman work in an unbroken line of more than 150 Roman 
miles from 5 to 6 feet thick ; in many places still 5 feet above and 3 to 4 feet under 
the surface of the ground." [As there is no masonry about the wall properly so 
called, it can nowhere be traced under the surface of the ground.] " Fifteen hun- 
dred years have not been able to efface the vestiges of these towers, more than fifty 
of which still rise above the surface of the Wall, often to the height of 12 feet.'' 
" The person who brought the Wall to its completion, and gave it that form which 
is exhibited in its remains, was undoubtedly the Emperor Probus [276-280 A.D.] 
He gave to the Alemanni this land which had been taken away from them on con- 
dition that their sons, on reaching the age of 18. should enter into the Roman 
service. Under the protection of these bulwarks the descendants of these border- 
soldiers were enabled for 100 years longer (!) to cultivate the fruitful lands which 
stretch from Eelheim along the left bank of the Danube," and so on. Scarcely a 
word here corresponds to the facts. 


James Yates, F.R.S., for the Newcastle Meeting of the Archaeological 
Institute, 1852, (Memoirs illustrative of the History of Northumberland, 
I., 97-134). The author, who was a Unitarian minister, was an 
enthusiastic antiquary, and wrote a treatise on the Art of Weaving 
among the Ancients. He was specially qualified for the task which he 
set himself in his paper on the limes, having studied when a young 
man under some of the most eminent professors at Berlin. His work 
was frequently mentioned to me by German antiquaries, and they 
always spoke of it in terms of respect, even when they found a diffi- 
culty in pronouncing the author's name. Dr. Emil Hiibner says of it, 
" Notwithstanding its brevity and many obvious deficiencies, it is never- 
theless far the best upon the Wall as a whole that has yet appeared." 
This is indeed " laudari a laudato viro." Yates translated his pamphlet 
into German himself, and in this form it is well known by German 

In this paper Yates first makes some general remarks (illustrated 
by engravings from Trajan's Column) on the plan pursued by the 
Romans in erecting their mural ramparts. The palisade and here he 
very properly enlarges on the evidence furnished by the name of the 
P/izM-graben in the various forms which it assumes the fossa and the 
raJhim are described, and some profiles of the two latter are exhibited. 
The watch-towers, or, as we in Northumberland call them, mile-castles, 
next come under consideration, and are also illustrated by engravings 
from Trajan's Column. Yates then proceeds to discuss the question of 
certain lofty towers (from 60 to 80 feet high) still existing, not pre- 
cisely on the limes, but generally at no great distance from it, for which 
a Roman origin has been claimed. From the style of building he pro- 
nounces them to be not Roman but mediaeval ; and in this verdict, as I 
understand, the best German antiquaries fully concur. He then pro- 
ceeds to describe the limes in some detail. For the Bavarian portion 
he rests chiefly on the labours of Dr. Anton Maier, but not entirely, as 
with reference to the castle at Kipfenberg (and perhaps other points) 
he speaks from personal observation. Here, again, his denial of the 
Roman origin of the tall square keep of the Castle of Arnsberg is ac- 
cepted, I believe, by all the German antiquaries of to-day. His 
suggestion, however, that the limes, when it crossed alluvial plains 
watered by large rivers, consisted of a moveable stockade taken up at 


the end of autumn and relaid at the approach of spring, has not been 
so fortunate, and has met with a little good-natured banter from subse- 
quent writers. In the kingdom of Wiirtemberg, Yates rests chiefly on 
Buchner (the author from whom the Eev. H. Salvin borrowed the 
notice previously referred to for the Archseologia Juliana) ; but he 
also speaks as an eye-witness of the fine condition of the wall at 
Jagsthausen, in the northern part of this state. So too with refer- 
ence to that portion of the limes which runs through " the rich and 
beautiful district of the Wetterau," in Hesse-Darmstadt ; he is here 
particularly explicit and helpful. The important section of the limes 
which runs through the territory of Nassau, coinciding for the most 
part with the line of the Taunus range, he describes, I think, only from 
hearsay, giving, however, for the part near the Saalburg, an interesting 
letter and sketch, with which he had been supplied by Mr. Albert Way. 
The excavations at the Saalburg itself, which have now revealed to us 
probably the finest Roman camp to be seen out of Britain, were barely 
commenced in 1852, when Mr. Yates wrote his paper. His slight 
notices of the limes between the Taunus Gebirge and the Rhine are based 
on the valuable work of the two Habels. A few remarks on the abun- 
dant Roman remains in the country of the Mattiaci and on the general 
character of the limes, close this very well- written and helpful sketch. 

c. Two short notices in Mr. Roach Smith's "Collectanea Antiqua," 
Vol. II., p. 196, and Vol. III., p. 210, are, I believe, entirely correct 
in the details supplied by them. The latter deals chiefly with the work 
of Habel, the son, and indicates the commencement of the excavations 
at the Saalburg. 

Some of the German literature relating to the limes of which I do 
not profess to give an exhaustive sketch will be dealt with in detail as 
I describe the different portions of the wall. I must, however, at once 
discharge a debt by expressing my obligations to two excellent papers 
bearing the honoured signature of Dr. Emil Hiibner, the Editor of the 
British volume of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. These papers, 
which appear in the 63rd and 66th volumes of the "Jahrbuch des 
Vereins von Alterthums-freunden im Rheinlande," under the title 
of "Der Romische Grenzwall in Deutschland," furnish us with a 
complete survey of all that has hitherto been done by way of exploration 
of the remains of the Wall, from the Danube to the Rhine. They are 



of the 





"R A E T I A 


accompanied by an excellent map (prepared by H. Kiepert), which, it 
is stated, will be from time to time revised as new light is thrown on 
disputed questions as to the course of the wall. 1 

Proceeding now to describe the course of the limes in detail, I come 

first to 


that portion of the barrier which, leaving the Danube at a point about 
16 miles above Ratisbon, pursues in the main a westerly direction, till 
it reaches the frontier between Bavaria and Wiirtemberg, near Dinkels- 
biihl, about half way between the extreme northern and southern limits 
of the Bavarian kingdom. 

As to this part of the Wall, I cannot at present speak in the 
character of an eye-witness, bat as I have studied with some care the 
description given by the best German authority on the subject, I shall 
devote a few pages to the summary of the results obtained by him. 
This authority is the same to whom reference is made by Mr. Yates, 
Dr. Franz Anton Maier, the Koman Catholic Priest of Grelbelsee, near 
Kipfenberg. This enthusiastic antiquary, whose parish abutted on 
the Wall, seems to have devoted a large part of his middle and later 
life to the careful examination of the 80 miles (or thereabouts) of the 
Roman Limes Imperii which are included in the kingdom of Bavaria. 
It is to be regretted that his memoranda, which are so exceedingly 
minute that they form a complete hand-book to this portion of the Wall, 
are entombed, with many other papers on different subjects, in three 
quarto volumes of transactions published by a learned society at Munich. 2 

1 The article commences with the following generous tribute to English Archseo- 
logy: "Thanks to the earnest labours of English and Scottish antiquaries, like Mr. 
John Collingwood Bi'uce, of Newcastle, and his predecessors, such as the late General 
Roy, and thanks especially to the munificence of English patriots like the Duke of 
Northumberland and Mr. John Clayton of Chesters Hall, we have now for a con- 
siderable time been in possession of the fullest possible information concerning the 
mighty double Border-Lines which the officers of the Emperors Hadrian and 
Antoninus Pius, men of education and of natural insight, drew from sea to sea across 
the Province of Britain to secure it against the Northern Barbarians." 

2 The first part of the "Genaue Beschreibung der unter dem Namen der Teufels- 
mauer bekannten Rb'mischen Land-marken" (describing the wall from the Danube 
to Kipfenberg), is published in the " Denkschriften der Konigl Akademie der Wissen- 
schaften zu Miinchen fur 1821 and 1822: Classe der Geschichte" (pp. 1-72). The 
second part (from Kipfenberg to the road near Ellingen) is in the " Abhandlungen 
der Philosophischen Philologischen Classe der Konigl Bayerischen Akademie der 
Wissenschaften," I. Vol. (pp. 1-42). The third part (from Ellingen to Klein 
Lollenfeld) is in the II. Vol. of the same Abhandlungen (pp. 256-298). The fourth 
part (Klein Lollenfeld to the frontier of Wiirtemberg) is in the same volume 
(pp. 755-778). Thus the whole memoir occupies nearly 190 quarto pages. 


Page after page consists of such sentences as the following : 
"After 200 steps the Wall again becomes visible crossing a lonely 
heath. A pear tree, in full blossom when I was there, marked the 
point where it again enters cultivated ground. For 150 steps the 
Wall vanishes, having to pass through arable land. Then we come 
to the stone which marks the boundary of two commums" and so 
on. All this information, which the best local map fails to make 
interesting to the student in a University Library, would be invaluable 
to the pedestrian exploring the line of the limes on the ground ; but 
what pedestrian, in addition to his other impedimenta, would wish 
to burden himself with three big volumes of "Abhandlungen" when 
starting on such a pilgrimage ? Notwithstanding his occasional 
tediousness, there is something very attractive to the reader in the 
character of this brave and persevering old priest, who, in his brief 
holiday-times, so patiently tramped, note-book in hand, along mile after 
mile of a dull embankment, in order to settle the frontier between Roman 
and Barbarian Germany sixteen centuries ago. In one passage he 
describes how in his early middle life he used often to sit on a summer 
afternoon with the work of one of the Roman historians in his hand, 
looking towards the distant outline of an encampment, and mentally 
re-peopling the landscape with the struggling forms of the long vanished 
combatants. He has also a keen appreciation of old popular traditions, 
and carefully notes down not only the material but also the moral 
vestiges of the Wall, the traces which it has left of itself in the speech 
and even in the superstitions of the inhabitants of the country through 
which it once passed. 

In most of the earlier part of its course the Wall is known by 
the name of Teufelsmaiier (Devil's Wall). Afterwards, that is from 
Weissenburg westwards, it is more often called the Pfahl or the Pfahl- 
rain. The reason for the former appellation, beyond the general 
inclination to attribute every work of power and mystery to the evil 
one, is not very clear. A quotation is given from Doderlein, formerly 
Rector of the Lyceum at Weissenburg, whose book on the subject 
(published in Nuremburg in 1723) was the chief authority before 
Maier wrote, and whose labours to acquire and diffuse information 
about the Wall had produced a result which, was still visible in 
Maier's time, a century later, in the wonderfully accurate knowledge 


possessed by all the people of Weissenburg as to everything that 
concerned the great Roman barrier. This author says that the reason 
why people call it the Teufelsmauer is because so many strange 
and terrible midnight adventures have happened among its ruins. 
Sometimes in the neighbourhood of Oberhochstadt, horses have been 
ridden at night-time in a mysterious way by invisible riders. One 
excellent horse was seen to snort, to pant, to bound high in the air, 
evidently as feeling the spurs of some diabolic horseman. But the 
more generally accepted explanation of the name Teufelsmauer is 
derived from the legend which states that the Devil obtained from 
the Almighty a grant of so much of this earth as he could encompass with 
a Wall in one night before cock-crow. With daemonic energy he pro- 
ceeded to build a Wall round the whole world, and was just putting the 
last coping-stone upon it when he heard the crowing of acock. In his rage 
and disappointment he dashed down every portion of the Wall, except 
the 300 miles or so which still run through south-western Germany. 
Pfarrer Maier enquired with much care after the vestiges of a 
tradition connected with this story, that once every year, on the 
blessed Christmas Eve, the sad Archangel goes the round of the Wall 
which he reared long ago, and that, therefore, those rustics whose houses 
are built over any ground which it once covered, do wisely on that 
night to take out one or two tiles from the great family-stove, that the 
Devil may so find a way of escape for himself without shaking down 
any of their walls. This story was gravely told of "the former owner" 
of a house at Erkertshofen. It was also told of a house at Giinthersbuch, 
but Maier did not believe in the genuineness of the tradition in this 
case, because the Wall was several hundred yards distant from the 
house. He asked a Bauer whom he chanced to meet in the neighbour- 
hood a " leading question" about the Devil. The rustic answered, with 
a laugh, " I know quite well what you mean. I am the owner of the 
house that this nonsense is talked about, and no one knows better than 
I that the saying is a fable." The same story was told about the 
former owners of the Gelzmiihl, near Ammelbruch. "But I could not 
make out," says the Pfarrer, " that there was anything in it. The miller 
and his wife only laughed when I wanted to talk to them about it." 
The Saga has, however, dispersed itself to places distant some 30 or 40 
miles from one another. 


On the character and object of the Wall Maier has one or two obser- 
vations to make, which he repeats with great energy, and so often as to 
become sometimes monotonous. In opposition to most of his prede- 
cessors, notably to Doderlein and Buchner, 1 he assures us that the Wall, 
strictly so called, is utterly destitute of mortar and masonry. " I have 
lived by it," he says, " 16 years. I have gone countless walks along it. 
I have excavated it in more than a hundred places, and been eye- 
witness when the peasants were breaking it up in order to enlarge their 
fields; and except the foundations of the towers [mile castles] I have 
never seen a deepening of the ground, never a fragment of mortar, 
never a trace of regular masonry, never a sign that the height of this 
heap of stones ever exceeded three or four feet." As far as the Bava- 
rian portion is concerned it is generally three to three-and-a-half feet 
high, and almost invariably ten feet broad, measuring from bottom to 
bottom. It is always laid flat on the surface of the soil, without 
foundations of any kind. It consists of stones of the neighbourhood, of 
any size that was convenient, thrown together anyhow, without lime or 
mortar, generally of a softish, slaty kind, but this depends on the 
character of the district through which it is passing. In a word it 
corresponds to the vallum, not to the murus, in our Northumbrian 
system of fortifications. 

The other point which Maier labours at, is the proof that it was a 
Wall only, and could never have been intended by the Romans as a road. 
It is true that it is in some places now used by the country-people as a 
track ; but that the line of it could never have been devised by the 
Roman engineers, for the line of a road to be travelled by baggage- 
mules, war-horses, heavy-armed legionaries, Maier proves triumphantly. 
In order to establish this point he climbed conscientiously up every 
steep hill-side and down every rocky ravine which the Wall surmounts 
or into which it plunges. He describes, for instance, a difficult scramble 
which he had on a hill near Altmannstein. " It wants much trouble 
and wariness to do this bit of work. If you have not a firm foot, a 
well-chosen staff, and strength enough in your hands to hold on ever 
and anon to a trunk of a tree, you may come crashing down a dozen 
times or so, with the chance of rolling half-dead into the ravine below." 
Again, when he has climbed up the Bibersteig (near Hirnstatten) he 
1 See the passage quoted above from the extract in the " Archaeologia /Eliana." 



G&mart Geographi 

Nil nab erg 

mi-' 1 



It O- 





says, " It is just as high and steep as its predecessor. Both have made 
themselves quite unforgettable to my poor feet and back." The re- 
membrance of all these experiences makes him quite surly when he is 
reminded of the words of some unfortunate advocate of the road-theory 
of the Wall. " And yet," he says, " people are found to say that heavily- 
laden sumpter-mules, perhaps even chariots, travelled over this line, up 
and down all these break-neck places. Only Stupidity can advocate 
such a theory." 

But if one error has arisen from the attempt to turn the Wall into 
a Roman road, another, and the opposite error, has been made, he says, 
by some of the earlier German antiquaries, who have tried to read the 
road, the undoubted military road of the Romans running southwards 
of the Barrier, into the Wall. The exaggerated account which some 
writers (Doderlein included) have given of the height of the Wall and 
of the abundance of antiquities upon it in its earlier course, results from 
their mistake in confusing the Wall with the road to the south of it, 
upon which there are, or were in their day, clear traces of Roman cities. 

It is now time to give in detail the results obtained by the good 
priest as to the course of the Wall through Bavaria. Travellers who 
are intending to follow his example will, as a matter of course, buy the 
necessary sheets of the Ordnance Map of the country, 1 on which they 
will find the Teufelsmauer, where visible portions of it remain, laid 
down with beautiful clearness. But many, though not all, of the places 
which I shall have to name will be found on the map of Germany in a 
tolerably complete English atlas, such as Keith Johnston's Royal Atlas 
(Edinburgh, 1861). 

The Wall leaves the Danube at a point a little above (and on the 
opposite bank to) Weltenburg, which is 18 miles S.W. of Ratisbon 
(Regensburg), and it pursues an almost due westerly course for 8 miles 
to the neighbourhood of Altmannstein, and thence north-westerly for 
14 miles to Kipfenberg. The name by which it is at its commence- 
ment known is Pfahl-ranken, no man, woman, or child in Maier's 
time recognising the appellation of Teufelsmauer. At the point of 
actual departure from the Danube it is of very lowly and inconspicuous 
appearance, but as it wends its way through the forest of Hienheim it 

1 Ask for the following sheets of the Militair-Stabs-Karte-lngolsi&dLt, Dietfurt 
(West), Weissenburg, Dinkelsbiihl." 


becomes, says Maier, "ever statelier," though whether any but an 
enthusiast would apply the adjective " stately " to a bank at most 8 feet 
high and 10 feet broad, may perhaps be doubted. Altmannstein, situated 
in a hilly country, near the scene of one of the pastor's most dangerous 
scrambles, is evidently an interesting point. Traces are to be found 
here of a Roman camp situated in a commanding position and over- 
looking a great range of the Wall. From this point onwards the name 
Teufelsmauer supersedes that of Pfahl-ranken. 

For part of the distance between Altmannstein and Kipfenberg the 
Wall is no longer traceable ; but wherever it is visible it has a companion, 
namely, a fosse (" graben"), which is dug at 17 paces distance on the 
north side of the wall, and which accompanies its course with the 
greatest regularity. East of Altmannstein and west of Kipfenberg this 
fosse cannot be traced. 

At Steinsdorf, a little place south of the Wall, about four miles 
west of Altmannstein, Maier is inclined to place a Roman camp, 
and he thinks that excavations might be undertaken there with 
some hope of interesting results. "The old forester," he says, 
"who acted as my guide, told me that from a point near here, 
before the trees were grown up, one could see a great stretch of the 
Wall. One of the inhabitants showed me, in a meadow adjacent to the 
village, a certain elevation, and maintained that whenever one struck 
sharply upon it, or drove over it, it gave out a peculiar hollow sound, 
and he was sure that a vault was hidden under this elevation. Some 
years ago, when he was making himself a new garden, he picked a great 
many fragments of pottery out of the ground, and was consequently 
sure that it was the site of an old building." 

In approaching Kipfenberg the good pastor gets upon his own 
ground, his church of Gelbelsee being only about two miles to the east 
of it, and this part of his work is consequently rather prolix. " In 
1812," he says, "the Tialb-baucr [petty farmer] of Gelbelsee, to whom 
this wood and the adjoining fields belong, broke down a mass of stones 
from the Wall, destroying it to the ground, and therewith built a dry 
wall round his acres. I often looked on at this work of destruction. 
Much as I rejoice whenever the agriculturist improves or beautifies his 
lands, I am equally grieved that this important work of the Romans 
should have to contribute materials for the purpose." 


At Kipfenberg the river Altmiihl is crossed by the Wall ; and in per- 
fect conformity with what we see of the military arrangements of the 
Romans in our country, the barrier was evidently most carefully 
strengthened at this point. The two castles of Kipfenberg and Arns- 
berg, distant about two miles from one another, occupy apparently the 
site of two Roman camps north and south of the Wall. In fact Maier 
supposed that the still existing square tower at the latter place, 22 feet 
wide and about 60 feet high, was itself of Roman origin. As before 
remarked, Yates has successfully combated this theory, which certainly 
does not recommend itself to those acquainted with the existing remains 
of Roman stations in other countries. On the Schellenburg, about four 
miles north of Kipfenberg, in a commanding position overlooking two 
branches of the Altmiihl, " enthrones itself," says Maier, " one of the 
goodliest and strongest Roman camps." A little to the west of it on 
another hill are some ruins called Rhumburg, possibly a corruption of 
Romerburg. Near Kipfenberg is situated the " Ebersbache Grube," 
of which Maier gives an interesting but perplexing description. It is 
apparently a rectangular space surrounded with walls about 530 yards 
in circumference, depressed in the centre, and formerly containing two 
fountains. Maier thinks it was constructed by the Romans as a 
reservoir. It is difficult to form any judgment without having seen 
the place, but his description sometimes suggests the idea of a camp, 
sometimes of an amphitheatre. 

The next section of the Wall, from Kipfenberg to Ellingen, about 25 
miles (passing near to Titting, Raitenbuch, Pleinfeld), appears to be, 
on the whole, in good preservation, a fact which is probably due to its 
course not lying through arable country, but chiefly through the large 
forests of Raitenbuch and Weissenburg. As before said, the fosse, 
which for some distance accompanied it with undeviating regularity at 
a distance of 17 feet, henceforth disappears. Near the east end of this 
section (a little south of Hirnstatten), Maier, to his great delight, dis- 
covered, in 1829, a Roman grave. There were in it some burnt human 
bones, a grave-lamp, a so-called lachrymatory, and a silver coin of the 
last year of Antoninus Pius (Tribunicia Potestate xxiii. = A.D. 160). 
A little further on (600 steps from the little village of Petersbuch, and 
just before entering the Raitenbucher Forest), " the Wall," says Maier, 
" becomes more stately than I have seen it at any point since its com- 


mencement." Near to the village of Burgsalach are some ruins of a 
tolerable height which both Maier and the Ordnance Map agree in 
treating as Roman. They are in a forest 1 on the line of the Roman 
road, and Maier suggests that they mark the site of one of the ancient 
Mansiones or highway-inns. 

About this point the name of the Wall undergoes some curious changes. 
At Kahldorf the people always, call it Pfahl, but with a wrong- gender, 
not der but die. Pfahl. At Burgsalach it is as it ought to be, der Pfahl, 
and the name Teufelsmauer is quite unknown. " If," says Maier, " I 
asked shepherds or labourers, or girls, about the Teufelsmauer , they 
laughed at me, or else referred me to the ' Saustrasse,' " the Roman road, 
which here, in a state of good preservation (as indicated by the Ord- 
nance Map), accompanies the "Wall at a distance of about half-a-mile to 
the south-west. A little further on (before coming to Oberhochstadt), 
the Wall is crowned for some distance by a high continuous hedge, and 
it is here called " die Pfahl-Aee&e." A little further westward still, it 
is generally known as the Pfahl-ram. 

At the close of this second section of the Limes we are in the 
neighbourhood of Weissenburg, a town of some importance, which lies 
two or three miles to the south of the Wall. Here, as before related, 
lived Doderlein, head-master of the Weissenburg Grammar-school in 
the early part of last century, and his enquiries gave to the common 
people an interest in the remains of Roman dominion which to some 
extent still continues. At the little village of Emmetsheim, a mile from 
Weissenburg, was found the following inscription : 







The inscription records a vow for the safety of the Emperor Antoninus 
(Caracalla?) made to Mercury by Flavius Raeticus, " optio" of the 
horsemen of the Ala Aurelia. The optio was a sort of adjutant, either 

1 " The wood of Harlach ;" not known by that name on the Ordnance Map. 


to the centurion, or, as in this case, to the prefect in command of an 
Ala of cavalry. Several other inscriptions have been found at Weissen- 
burg and in its immediate neighbourhood, and a coin of Aurelian, which 
probably (I say probably, because there is of course the possibility 
that the coin thus found was in circulation among the barbarians) brings 
down the Roman occupation as low as 270-280, a late date for this 
part of Germany. A statue of Priapus was also found here, and was 
destroyed by order of the Pfarrer as recently as 1771, because of some 
superstitious practices which were connected with it. 

An interesting reminiscence of the revived Empire of the West also 
clings to this locality. Just at the end of this, which I call its second 
section, the Wall traverses a little stream known as the Schwabische 
Rezat. While almost all the other streams which take their rise in this 
part of the Bavarian highlands flow in a southerly or easterly direction 
to the Danube and the Black Sea, this streamlet flows northwards into 
the Main, and thus its waters eventually mingle with the Rhine, and 
pass into the German Ocean. The Emperor Charles the Great formed 
the magnificent project of deepening its channel, connecting it with 
the Altmuhl, from which it is barely a mile distant, and thus forming a 
great internal system of navigation between the sea which washes the 
coasts of Sussex and that which reflects the towers of Constantinople. 
In 781 he commenced the work, but was soon forced to abandon it by 
the necessity of undertaking a campaign against the Saxons, by an un- 
usually wet season, and by the unskilfulness of his engineers. The 
traces of his enterprise still remain in a trench about five miles S.W. 
of Weissenburg called the Fossa Carolina. " What a change," as Maier 
truly remarks, " what stir and what activity, would have filled these 
quiet plains if the grand scheme of Kaiser Karl had been realised, and 
this tiny streamlet, the Rezat, had seen the interchange of the products 
of East and West." 

The third section of the Wall, from Ellingen to Lollenfeld, a 
distance of about 15 miles, is not upon the whole a favourable specimen 
of the work. At first it is true that Maier says, " I have never seen 
the Wall so majestic [a majesty of 42 inches] as in the pine-wood of 
Heresloh" (or Horterloh). But this majesty is soon dethroned. The 
line of the wall ceases to be marked on the Ordnance Map, and Maier 
himself observes "If the whole course of the Wall from Ellingen to 


Lollenfeld be divided into fifths, I venture to say, that two of these 
fifths are quite obliterated, two partially visible, and only one in a 
good state of preservation. Truly a lamentable proportion. 1 " 

Near Thannhausen are the ruins of a Roman Castellum, 190 paces 
in circumference, and the whole plain south of the Wall at this point, 
from Theilenhofen to Gnotzheim (a distance of 6 or 7 miles), is one row 
of Roman settlements, a perfect quarry of Roman antiquities. Not 
seldom does one come upon old masonry, and again and again on 
detached bits of Roman roads. Coins of the Emperors come to light 
in such abundance that the Bauers often paid for their beer with 
Roman coins. " The church tower of Theilenhofen announces itself " 
[but we rather distrust these announcem nts reported by Maier] " as 
a Roman building. In the neighbourhood of this village many years 
ago a Roman Sudatorium was discovered." The coins found in the 
neighbouring villages of Gnotzheim and Spielberg reach from Agrippa 
and Nero, to Alexander Severus, Maximin, and Valerian (253). 
Everything concurs to prove that Roman dominion in this part of the 
Agri Decumates did not long survive the disastrous period of the 
Thirty Tyrants (261-268). 

At Frickenfelden the schoolmaster of the place who used to dine 
with Maier at the Gast-haus, in reply to a question as to the name 
Teufelsmauer, asserted that the two magicians Jannes and Jfambres 
(sic), who withstood Moses, divided the world into two halves, a 
hemisphere to each, and in order to prevent mutual encroachments, 
put this Wall all round the world as a boundary between them. As they 
could only have done this by magic and the Devil's aid, it was rightly 
called Die Teufels Mauer. When pressed as to the origin of this story 
the schoolmaster said, "It is so written in Ancient Chronicles." The 
Bauers of the same neighbourhood, whom Maier met in the fields 
and interrogated as to the origin of the Wall, more intelligent than 
the schoolmaster, unanimously replied that it was "Romerwerk." 

Near Gunzenhausen, where the traces of the Wall itself are very 
feeble, and where it a second time crosses the river Altmuhl, our Pfarrer 
gives us the somewhat perplexing intelligence of the existence of " a 

1 Near the Laiiterbrunnenmuhle the Wall " is only 2 feet high, and is made of 
the red sandstone of the neighbourhood." But from Maier's previous statements 
this of course must not be understood to mean that it is of hewn stone. 


Druid's grave." On the front is a Pentalpha, or, as the common people 
call it, " a Druid's foot," in half relief, on the hinder part an inscrip- 
tion (but this is avowedly modern) "Grabstatte eines Druiden." 

The fourth section of the Wall as surveyed by Maier reaches from 
Lollenfeld to the frontier between Bavaria and Wiirtemberg, a distance 
of about 15 miles. Here again the condition in which it now exists 
is unsatisfactory, and even the line which it followed is often not to be 
traced without difficulty. 1 

The Wall pursues for some miles a very straight course about two 
points to the south of west, passing under the boldly marked and 
solitary hill which is known as the Hessel Berg. On this hill Gustavus 
Adolphus is said to have sat in 1632 watching the movements of his 
troops who were encamped on the "Hohe Ried," three miles to the 
west of the mountain, and to this day a place is pointed out on the 
Hessel Berg which still bears the name of "Gustav's Ruhe-platz." 

Having skirted the northern base of the Hessel Berg, the Wall, 
which now becomes more visible, turns suddenly to the south (near 
Ammelbruch), making an angle of about 110 degrees with its former 
course. Maier rather fancifully says that it is as if the great Emperor 
Hadrian, having drawn his line of demarcation so as to include the 
fairer portion of " the broad Bavarian lands," had suddenly relented ; 
said to himself, "We must really leave these poor Germans something ;" 
and accordingly had curved in his boundary so as to bring it somewhat 
nearer to the Danube. But the prose of the matter, as any one may 
see by looking at a map on a sufficiently large scale, is simply that the 
Wall intends here to pursue a course nearly parallel with the Danube ; 
and as that river here flows S.W. and N.E., the Wall decides to follow 
its example, though with an intervening distance of 30 miles. Its width 
here is not, as formerly, 10 feet, but is increased to 14 feet, but it is 
never after this point more than 2 feet high, so long as it continues in 
Bavaria. The names of the fields bordering upon it hereabouts, show 
that its proper title is der Pfahl, and that Teufelsmauer is a recent 
innovation. After skirting the northern edge of the Oetlingener 

1 The remains of a Roman castellum at the little village of Eybburg give 
Maier occasion to remark, that the castella on hills at some little distance from the 
Wall, are always connected with it by a lateral rampart. So Fliigelsburg, Romburg, 
Kipfenberg, the castle on the Michelsburg, Arnsberg, Ammenburgerburg, and here 
again at Eybburg. This string of names, though uninteresting, may possibly be 
useful to the traveller bent on identifying the several castra. 


Forest, and passing close to the little town of Willburgstetten, it quits 
the Bavarian dominions, almost exactly at the 49th parallel of latitude. 

" How warmly," says the good pastor, " did my heart beat when, at 
the frontier which divides the two kingdoms from one another, I 
threw myself down on the moss under the rustling trees, and thought 
over the difficulties, the dangers, and the joys which had accompanied 
my antiquarian pilgrimage from the shores of the Danube hither. 
How heartily did I thank the gracious God who, amidst the many and 
pressing duties of my profession, and notwithstanding my advanced 
age, had enabled me to offer to archaeologists a true account of this 
fair Roman monument, about which so many false statements have 
been made, for the whole course of its passage through my fatherland.' 11 

The battle of Sadowa has changed many things. One would scarcely 
now find even a parish priest of Gelbelsee so calmly limiting the scope 
of " my fatherland" to the horizon of the kingdom of Bayern. 

In parting company with the good pastor I may say a word as to 
his chief merits and defects in the capacity of guide to the Wall. His 
great merits are, first, the untiring patience and perseverance with 
which he follows the work of the Roman legionaries, up-hill and down- 
dale, into the village and through the forest ; and, secondly, the care 
with which he treasures up the mental curiosities which cannot be 
stored in any museum, the legends, the stories, and the peculiar modes 
of speech which illustrate the effect that the Roman work produced in 
the Middle Ages, and to a certain extent still produces, on the minds of 
the people. His chief deficiency and this no doubt results in part 
from a slenderly filled purse is the want of detailed information as 
to the camps which existed at intervals along the line of the Wall. I 
have recorded in this paper the greater part of his memoranda as to 
these structures, and it will at once be seen how meagre they are. I 
am not aware that any subsequent explorer has supplied this deficiency. 
If this be so, a series of careful and scientific explorations of such 
Roman camps as can yet be traced in the kingdom of Bavaria is one of 
the first labours which Archaeology has a right to look for at the hands 
of her German disciples. 1 

1 1 find from Dr. Hiibner's paper (pp. 25-26) that an archaeological survey of the 
Bavarian part of the limes has now been made by Professor Christ and Herr Ohlensch- 
lager, and that these gentlemen have found six large Caxtra Stativa without 
reckoning Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicum) and Ratisbon (Regina Castro). The 
results of their survey are, however, I believe, not yet published. 


About the Mile-castles (as we call them) Maier is relatively much 
more explicit, though, if we are right in our notions about them, he has 
not exactly apprehended their real nature. He calls them " Zelte " 
(tents), ientoria or contubernia. They are now round hillocks, 51, or 
in some cases, 52 steps in circumference. There is wonderful regu- 
larity in these measurements. He says of the first example of the kind 
(1. 14) "We have here the remains of a regularly walled tower wherein 
the soldiers lived, made a fire for themselves, and stored their provisions. 
We may, therefore, call this tower a little caserne. The trench round it 
results from a tent. This tent was surrounded with a trench, and the 
trench with a paling. The roof [as we infer from the representation 
on Trajan's Column] consisted of leather or hides, stretched out with 
cords. In these contubernia ten soldiers, with their decanus or under- 
officer, usually abode." 

From Maier's enumeration of distances it is not easy to make out 
the exact intervals between the various "Zelte" but these are some of 
them 1,181 steps, 778, 818, 978, 1,218. These distances correspond 
with sufficient general accuracy to the intervals between our " Mile- 
castles." There are two points, however, which make this identification 
difficult. In one case (I. 35) he says, " This tent again stood not 
beside but upon the Wall, so that a half-circle of the still existing trench 
lies on its right and the other half-circle on its left side." This de- 
scription will not suit one of our Mile-castles. And again, why the 
difference between round and square towers ? He is on the look-out 
for the latter, and notices their appearance when they occur; but most 
of his favourite "Zelte, " appear to be circular. 

I should be glad to hear the judgment of more experienced anti- 
quaries on this subject. 1 

We now come to 


Crossing the frontier which separates the kingdom of Bavaria from 
her sister kingdom of Wiirtemberg, we at once become sensible of a 

1 For the last three sections of Maier's journey the enumeration of the " Zelte," 
and the measurement of the intervals between them, will be found at the following 
places : Vol. I., p. 9, 1. 14 ; 12, 1. 20 ; 28, 1. 15; 30, 1. 2 (from bottom); 32, 1. 3. 
Vol. II., p. 268, 1. 5 ; 271, 1. 9 ; 272, 1. 21 ; 276, 1. 21 ; 277, 1. 6 ; 282, 1. 12; 283, 1. 
14 and 26 ; 289, 1. 13 ; 292, 1. 3 (from bottom) ; 293, 1. 12 and 8 (from bottom) ; 
295, 1. 2 (from bottom) ; 761, 1. 20. 


great change in the character of our guide, and we are also, I regret to 
say, immediately entangled in that which is only second to a theological 
controversy in bitterness and long endurance a controversy between 

Our guide is now no longer the somewhat gossipy but enthusiastic 
pastor of Gelbelsee. Instead, we have Dr. Ernst Herzog, Professor 
of Classical Philology at Tubingen, a scholar, and, if one may judge 
from his work, a man of an accurate and business-like turn of mind. 
He was entrusted by the Government of Wiirtemberg, in 1877, with a 
commission to survey the course of the Roman Wall in that country. 
Two associates were assigned to him, Lieut. - Col. Finck, of the Statistical 
and Topographical Bureau, and Professor Paulus, himself an archaeolo- 
gist, and the son of Dr. Von Paulus, who spent the greater part of a 
long life in studying the Roman antiquities of Wiirtemberg. The elder 
Paulus had carefully, and step by step, traced what I am going to call 
"the North and South portion of the Wall" in the year 1862, and the 
result of his labours was published in a pamphlet "Der Romische 
Grenzwall vom Hohenstaufen bis an den Main" (Stuttgart, 1863) 
which I have not yet seen. 

The present party devoted seventeen days in September, 1877, and 
two days in October, 1878, to a personal examination of the limes. 
They also consulted the very careful parish maps (Flur-karten) which 
exist everywhere in Wiirtemberg, and upon which, I believe, the 
registration of land is based. The result of their labours appears in a 
thin memoir of 47 pages communicated to a learned periodical, and 
also published separately at Stuttgart (1880). 1 It is, as before hinted, 
accurate, methodical, and slightly dry. 

The first 32 miles of the limes in Wiirtemberg run in a south-west 
and westerly direction to a point a little south of Welzheim, and it is 
to this part of the border that the thorny controversy above referred to 
has attached itself. At Welzheim the Wall makes a very sharp turn, 
forming an angle of 105 degrees with its former direction. From this 
point onwards it pursues a course of extraordinary straightness, one point 
to the west of north, till it arrives in the neighbourhood of the river 

1 " Die Vermessung des Romiscben Grenz walls in seinem Lauf durch Wiirttem- 
berg, von Dr. Ernst Herzog/' Stuttgart, 1880. (Sonderabdruck aus den Wurtt. 
Vierteljabrsheften fiir Landesgeschicbte, 1880.) 

English; MtLek 'I 







J ^3&" >> 

Cbfrrngtadt ^^zz 

|p N> Schornd 

1 \ 


S&BSS ,,,,.^ 

\^WT""^ M ^ 




(AquQeia 1 



Main. This north-pointing section of the Wall, which emerges from 
Wiirtemberg, and traverses part of Baden, before it once more comes in 
contact for a little space with the soil of Bavaria, is about 86 kilometers 
in length, equivalent, say, to 55 English miles. 

If we look at the map we see at once the reason for this sudden 
alteration in the plan of the Wall. Hitherto, that is till it reaches that 
corner by Welzheim, it has been following more or less closely the 
course of the Danube. Now, the Ehine, from which it is at first about 
70 miles distant, prescribes its general direction. Hitherto it has been 
the Limes Trans-Danubianus ; now it is the Limes Trans-Rhenanus. 
Evidently the point from which the " new departure" is taken is one 
of capital importance to a student of the Wall. It has even been held 
by some that at this point a change took place in the provincial ad- 
ministration of the country enclosed by the barrier, the part east of it 
being subordinated to the governors of Raetia, while the region west 
and north of it was assigned to the province of Germania Superior. 
But this is not settled : there are some arguments for fixing the frontier 
further eastwards at Aalen (Aquileia.) 

However this may be, we need not be surprised at finding a con- 
siderable difference of style and character between that part of the limes 
which runs north and south and that which runs east and west. But 
the question is now raised by our Wiirtemberg guides, " Was the limes 
east of Welzheim a wall at all ? Was it not really a military road ? 
We admit that the section which runs north and south, the Limes Trans- 
Rhenanus, is a wall. We know, too, that every one who comes from 
the east expects to find a wall here. But we believe we have got no 
wall to show you, only two roads, one with a stone foundation and one 

This is disappointing, and as Dr. Hiibner says (of some other dis- 
putes between different schools of limes-students) it " necessarily 
makes on a remote critic a bewildering impression." (" Es macht auf 
den ferner stehenden Beurtheiler nothwendig einen verwirrenden 
Eindruck.") Whatever the differences might be between the manner 
of fortifying Germania and Raetia, it is quite certain that the mere 
accident of our having passed from the modern kingdom of Bavaria 
into the modern kingdom of Wiirtemberg can make no alteration in the 
character of the limes. If, therefore, Professor Herzog is right in 


treating the boundary-mark from Willburgstetten to Welzheim as only 
a road, we have almost certainly been wrong in allowing Pastor Maier 
to speak of his portion as a wall. But to do the Professor justice I 
will endeavour to put his view of the case in his own words, although 
it is not easy to do so, for he is so convinced that he is right that he 
treats the matter as almost too clear for argument : 

" The Limes Raeticus is sketched by the Bavarian enquirers as a wall, furnished 
throughout its whole course with pallisades and trenches; in short, precisely 
similar to the Limes Germanicus. Maier especially defends this proposition in a 
very lively manner. They all start from the spectacle furnished by the extreme 
eastern portion of the work, exhibiting fosses whose traces are still to be discerned 
in front of the line, and fortifications which are to be seen not only behind the 
Wall, but actually upon it. My plan does not make it necessary for me to say any- 
thing about the Bavarian section of the work; but in any case I hold it to be unsafe 
to argue from a part to the whole, or to judge from that which was last completed 
as to the origin and first intention of the work. As far as we are in a position to 
inquire more accurately that is, on the Wiirtemburg side [eastward of Welzheim] 
there are nowhere traces of a fosse, not even in the woods, where, upon the other 
[north and south] line, the fosse often shows itself so well. Moreover, the con- 
struction is, as will appear from the previous descriptions, throughout, that of a 
road an agger viae. 1 In many places the construction allows us to ascertain 
accurately the original height of the whole from the ground, and there it is so small 
that it never could have been a wall destined for purposes of defence." 

It will be seen from this extract that Herzog's " road" is raised 
somewhat above the surface of the ground, at any rate in places ; it is 
what our country-people would call a dyke, only not high enough, he 
thinks, ever to have been a military wall of defence. He gives the line 
of this work, be it road or wall, for about 16 miles south-westward, till 
it comes into the neighbourhood of Aalen, which undoubtedly repre- 
sents the important Roman station of Aquileia (not to be confounded 
with the Aquileia at the head of the Adriatic). The " Damm" as he 
calls it, is in this part of its course sometimes a foot-and-a-half high 
and 12 feet broad, sometimes 2^ feet high and 14 feet broad ; in fact, 
just such a wall as Maier has been describing for us in Bavaria, only 
undoubtedly not "stately." Herzog gives us a section (a copy of 

1 " As a testimony of some weight I may quote an observation of Hansselmann's 
(in the continuation of his ' proof) when he discusses the question, 'Wall or Road ?' 
' I may add that the waller, who was brought to examine this piece of work, pro- 
nounced it to be no wall but a paved country road.' " 


which is annexed), which shows more stone-work and of a more 
regular kind than we might have expected from Maier's description. 

Three small towers (corresponding to our " Mile -castles") are, or were 
recently, visible along this portion of the line. The dimensions of one 
of them are given, 15 yards by 10 yards. 

At the point near Aalen, the line which we are following (I will 
not call it the Wall) makes a rather sharp turn to the left. From this 
corner we have our choice of two lines, both described with some little 
detail by Herzog. One, which is, and as he says, has been from time 
immemorial, called the Hochstrasse, goes for 15 miles due west along 
the highest part of the table-land between the rivers Lein and Rems, 
and finally joins what I have called " the North and South Wall," a 
little below Welzheim. Herzog thus describes the character of this 
work: " By excavating 12, or in some cases only 6 inches under the turf, 
we come to roughly dressed stone-slabs or slab-like squares, and rubble 
placed upright. The edging-stones could still be recognised as such. 
The breadth was 9 feet. Small stones with mortar were nowhere to be 
seen. That we have here to do with a Roman road is proved, not only 
by the style of its construction, but also by the direction, which does 
not lead to any modern localities." 

The other line, of about equal length, is called by our author the Stein- 
damm (Stone-dyke), and keeps a course a little to the south of west, 
till it meets " the North and South Wall," produced, at the town of 
Lorch. This latter town, the ancient name of which was probably 
Laureacum, is situated on the banks of the Rems, commands the valley 
in which that river flows, and was evidently a place of great importance 
in Roman times. A limestone architrave of classical architecture, built 
into; the old Abbey-church, and such names as " Venus-berg" and 
" Gotzenbach" (Idols-stream) in the neighbourhood of the town, confirm 
the conclusions that we are here upon the site of a Roman camp. To this 
place the line of the " Stein-damm" leads, keeping upon a lower level, 
nearer to the bed of the river Rems than the table-land-traversing 
Hochstrasse. Its course is in some parts hard to trace, but there are 


certain places in which it is quite clearly visible, two feet to two-and-a- 
half above ground and twelve feet broad. It traverses a very broken 
country, and goes straight up hill and down hill, shunning no declivity 
however precipitous. Upon this Herzog remarks (and I imagine that 
the hint is meant for Maier and the other Bavarian advocates of the 
wall-theory): "We are going along a line which absolutely can be 
nothing else but a road, but which travels straight up the steepest hills 
and down again on the other side with the most determined adherence 
to the right line, a road which, although built with care, since the metal 
for it was brought from the bed of the Rems, cannot possibly have been 
used in this place by horsemen or charioteers." 

To sum up, then, Herzog believes that at this part of the limes at 
any rate, there is not and never was any Wall, only a road, the Hoch- 
strasse, which probably itself marked the line of frontier, which being 
carried at a uniform height was available for wheeled traffic, and which 
may have been protected by mile-castles and a camp or two in its rear, 
though of these no traces have been preserved. South and south-west 
of this runs another road, paved with stone, the Stein-damm, which is 
still visible in places as a dyke, two or three feet above ground, which 
went straight up and down over the most precipitous places, and was 
only available for foot passengers. 

Though it seems presumptuous to differ from so competent an 
observer, who has investigated the question on the spot, I confess that 
I am not convinced by this reasoning, but am strongly inclined to 
believe that at any rate the Stein-damm represents the actual con- 
tinuation of the Wall as we have traced it in Bavaria. 

It is curious to observe how the difficulties which beset UB English 
students of the Linea valli when we pass from the bleak moors of 
Northumberland into the fertile valleys of Cumberland, and find our 
Wall vanishing before the plough of the husbandman, seem also to 
harass the German archaeologist when he passes, perhaps by a similar 
transition, from Bavaria into the rich corn-lands of Wiirtemberg. 

When we have rounded the corner at Welzheim, and begun to trace 
the "North and South" portion of the Wall, we emerge from the region 
of controversy, and find ourselves face to face with a phenomenon 
which is as far as I know unique in the history of Roman fortifications. 
We have here undoubtedly to do with a Wall (not of masonry, but of 


earth or rubble Herzog always calls it " der Erdwall"), and this Wall 
goes with absolute geometrical straightness, as straight as the boundary 
of any American territory, till it approaches the river Main. There 
have been many speculations as to the means employed by the 
Romans to draw a perfectly straight line for so great a distance, and 
some nonsense has been talked about their necessary acquaintance 
with the mariner's compass. Of course they possessed sufficient 
knowledge of astronomy and geometry to enable them to draw a line 
of this length due north, or at such an angle to the west of north as 
they might desire. Observations drawn from the rising and setting of 
the heavenly bodies would enable them to check their work as it 
proceeded, and test its mathematical accuracy ; but probably the 
ordinary labour of wall building would be guided by signals and land- 
marks raised in conspicuous positions. One such land-mark was 
prepared for them by nature, and was almost certainly made use of by 
the Roman engineers. Visible for many miles around, a little to the 
south of Lorch, rises the high conical rock of Hohenstaufen. It is 
not precisely the point to which the Wall, running from north to south, 
directs its course, but it is scarcely a mile east of that point, and there 
can be no doubt that for a long space of their work it was a most 
helpful guide to the builders of the Wall. This is the same rock of 
Hohenstaufen from whose castle the Swabian Emperors took their name. 
How little did the Roman legatus or tribunus, who saw its cone cleaving 
the southern horizon, dream that a day would come when the German 
owners of that rock should be Emperors of the West and Lords of Rome ! 
How bewildered would he have been could any Augur or Sibyl have 
revealed to him the destruction of Milan by the mighty Barbarossa, or 
the brilliant and stormy life of his grandson, the second Frederick ! 

The name by which the Wall is known in Wiirtemberg appears to 
be generally the Pfahl, the Bavarian Teufelsmauer not having 
penetrated so far westwards. Occasionally, however, we meet with the 
curious name of Schweins-graben or Sau-graben (Hog's ditch or Sow's 
ditch), and the fields through which it passes are spoken of as Sau-acker. 
Remembering the frequent representations of the solemn sacrificing of 
a hog, a sheep, and a bull (Suovetaurilia), which we meet with on 
Trajan's column, one is inclined to ask whether any traditions of this 
curious military-religious rite can have lingered on among the Germanic 


tribes of Swabia, and so given rise to this mysterious name. The 
popular saga about the matter, as told in the year 1803, by a man far 
advanced in years, who had learned it from his fore-elders, was that 
" a crowing cock and a hog in one night built this Wall, which with its 
fosse encircles the whole world. When asked what sort of a cock and 
a hog they could be who accomplished such a work he replied That 
every man of understanding can picture to himself." 1 

The Wall from Welzheim to the northern frontier of Wiirtemberg 
appears to be on the whole in a very fair state of preservation. It is 
sometimes altogether obliterated for two or three miles; but the 
knowledge of the mathematical directness of its course makes it easy, 
with the help of the compass, to recover the first indication of its renewed 
presence. Herzog, having examined it carefully in section, speaks with 
great positiveness of the entire absence (in this part) of any stone nucleus 
of the Wall. From the profiles which he gives, and of which a sketch is 
subjoined, it appears to be often six and occasionally seven feet high, 

but sometimes only four feet six. The sloping side sometimes measures 
28 feet. One steep mound, one ditch not quite so deep as the mound 
is high, and one small gently sloping mound, seem to complete the 
ideal section of the barrier. 

The "mile-castles" still extant, or described on good authority, 
are laid down with great precision on Professor Herzog's map. There 
appear to be 48 of these, occurring at somewhat irregular intervals along 
a line of 60 kilometers, equivalent to 37^ miles (from Welzheim to the 
frontier of Wiirtemberg). As some no doubt have disappeared, leaving 
no trace of their existence, this is a larger allowance than is necessary for 
" mile-castles" proper. Possibly some of what we call turrets (the 
little sentry boxes which occur at intervals of somewhat more than a 
furlong from each other) may have been counted in by error. Besides 
the mile-castles there are clear indications of five large camps, 
Welzheim,Murrhardt, Mainhardt, Oehringen, and Jagsthausen, dispersed 

1 Herzog, p 7, n 3. 


at nearly equal intervals along these 38 miles of wall, the average distance 
between each being a little more than 7 miles. They are always on 
the inner or western side. I will venture to bring before you my own 
personal impressions received during a visit to Oehringen, the most 
northerly camp in Wiirtemberg but one. 

OEHRINGEN, the Yicus Aurelii of the Romans, is situated in the 
fertile valley of the Kocher, and is a station on the Heidelberg and 
Nuremberg railway, about a third of the distance from the 
former to the latter. 1 This rather sleepy but pleasant little town 
was formerly the capital of the dominions of the Hohenlohes, a 
princely house which was " mediatised" by the congress of Vienna, 
its dominions being transferred to Wiirtemberg. The celebrated 
miracle-worker of half a century ago, and the present ambassador 
of the German Empire to Paris, have both sprung from this family, 
which also contains some of the nearest relations of our own Queen. 

In this little Hohenlohe capital lived in the middle of the 18th 
century the worthy Privy-Councillor Christian Ernest Hansselmann. 
In the year 1741 there was discovered at Oehringen, an inscribed stone 
of the year 237, bearing in remarkably fine and bold characters the 
name of the Emperor Maximin (the Thracian). A few years later 
(in 1 748) the Academy of Berlin offered a prize for the best essay 
on the subject: "How far the Roman power, after crossing the Rhine 
and Danube, penetrated into Germany, as evidenced by still existing 
remains of antiquity." The essays offered all dealt only with the subject 
of northern Germany, but the discussions on the subject stimulated 
enquiry, brought into prominence the important discovery of the 
inscription of Maximin, and prompted Hansselmann to devote himself 
to the study of the antiquities of his native town. Twenty years later 
(in 1768) he produced a small folio volume with the title " Proof how 
far the Roman power in its wars with the various German nations 
penetrated into the lands of Franconia." This book, which was pro- 
fusely illustrated, was the outcome of long and careful study, though, 
characteristically enough for that age and that state of society, the 
Privy-Councillor never went more than two days' journey from home 

'Heilbronn on the Neckar, and Swabian Hall on the Kocher, are its two largest 
neighbours, each about 12 miles distant on opposite sides, and either of these towns 
furnishes very fair quarters to the traveller. 


on his antiquarian quest. He fixed, however, with perfect accuracy 
the position of the three most northerly Koman camps l in Wiirtem- 
berg, and of Osterburken beyond the frontier of that state; and his 
book, though written in somewhat formal pedantic style, gave the first 
great impetus to the study of Roman antiquities in Germany, and is 
still an authority on the literature of the limes? The best book, how- 
ever, now, on the special antiquities of Oehringen, is "Vicus Aurelii oder 
Oehringen zur Zeit der Romer," by Dr. 0. Keller, late Rector of the 
Lyceum at Oehringen (Bonn, 1871, 4to, 63 pp., with maps and 
excellent illustrations). 

On the last day of June, 1881, I went from Heidelberg by railway 
to Oehringen, passing on my way Wimpfen (on the site of the Roman 
Cornelia, said to have been destroyed by Attila) ; Ludwigshall, with its 
salt-works and collection of Roman antiquities ; Heilbronn, with its 
memories of Kattchen and Gotz von Berlichingen, its busy timber- 
wharves, and its somewhat peculiar-looking cathedral ; and, lastly, 
Weinsberg, with its ruined fortress of Weiber-treue, from which, as the 
story goes, the wives of the starved-out garrison issued forth in long 
procession under the nose of the imperial besieger, each carrying, 
according to stipulation, her greatest treasure, which treasure proved 
to be her husband. 

I reached Oehringen about 5 P.M., meaning to devote the long 
summer-evening to exploring the place, and on the following day to visit 
the camp of Mainhardt, lying next it on the south. The Stadt-Pfarrer, 3 
however (Rev. A. Bacmeister), to whom I had been recommended to 
introduce myself, informed me that the camp at Mainhardt, which was 
opened out two or three years ago, had been all closed in again, in fulfil- 
ment of a pledge to that efiect given to the Bauers to whom it belonged, 
and that there would be nothing there to repay me for a visit, and I, 
therefore, devoted not only that evening but the greater part of the 
following day to a thorough exploration of Oehringen and its neighbour- 
hood. The great kindness shown me by the Stadt-Pfarrer (to whom I 

1 Mainhardt, Oehringen, and Jagsthausen. 

2 "Dessen etwas zopfige Schriften," says Hiibner, "mit ihrem umstandlichen Titel 
'Beweiss wie weit der Romer Macht auch in die nunmehrige Ost-Frankische, 
sonderlich Hohenlohische Lande eingedrungen' Schwabisch Hall 1768, und die 
Fortsetzung ebendaselbst 1773, noch immer nicht ganz veraltet sind." 

3 Town- Pastor. 


had not a single line of introduction), and by the Rector of the Lyceum 
(Herr Boget), made my visit a most enjoyable and successful one. 
One of the delights of "the quest of the Wall" is that it constantly 
takes you into beautiful scenery which you would otherwise never have 
visited. Another is the interesting acquaintances that it gives you an 
opportunity of forming, and so I found it in this instance. I have few 
pleasanter remembrances of Continental travel than those of the golden 
evening hours spent in walking over the Obere and Untere Burg, dis- 
cussing many things besides Archaeology with my new-found friends, 
and listening to the cheery " Griiss Gott" and the conversations about 
the coming harvest interchanged between the Pastor and his Swabian 

The camp itself at Oehringen is now virtually obliterated by agri- 
culture and the railroad, but its site is marked out with almost complete 
certainty, and of the large finds of coins, inscriptions, and other objects 
of interest which have been made there, some of the trophies are 
to be seen in the museum at Neuenstein, an old castle of the 
Hohenlohes, about three miles east of Oehringen. 1 The ground 
to which I was first guided is known by the names of Die Obere 
Burg and Die Untere Burg ; this word Burg, like our own Borough, 
is constantly found on the track of a Roman lurgum? As we walk 
across the line of railway and through the green uplands towards 
the "Obere Burg" we are constantly though slowly rising, and at 
length, when we stand in the Obere Burg itself, we see what a wide 
view it, like almost all the Roman stations, commanded. The little 
town of Oehringen lies at our feet. On the southern horizon is the 
ridge of low hills which intervenes between us and Mainhardt. We 
can imagine the vallum crossing these hills, coming straight towards 
us across the plain with a line nearly as well marked in the days of its 
glory as one of the Roman aqueducts across the Campagna, and then 
passing our present position on its journey northward about half-a-mile 
to the east of us. But of this there is nothing, or scarcely anything, 

1 N.B. A permit to visit this castle has to be obtained from the officials in 
Oehringen. All the more recent finds are deposited at Stuttgart. 

2 " Quod si ultra ictum teli, in clivo tamen civitatis subjecta sit vena, castellum 
parvulum quern burgum vocant inter civitatein et fontem convenit fabricari ibique 
ballistas sagittariosque constitui, ut aqua defendatur ab hostibus" (Vegetius, IV., 10). 
Of course, this passage describes a much smaller castle than that at Vicus Aurelii, 
or than most of those which have preserved the name "burg" or "borough." 


now to be seen. The only trace of the Pfahlgraben hereabouts is to 
be found at a place called Pfahlbach, about half-an-hour's walk north- 
east of Oehringen. I went to see this, and found it simply a long and 
perfectly straight ditch, perhaps 100 yards in length, between two 
grassy mounds, the right-hand (easternmost) one of which is higher 
than the other. I had not at that time seen the Vallum Antonini 
(Graham's Dyke), but having since visited it I am struck by the 
resemblance of some parts of it, particularly that which is visible in 
the Park of Callender, to this portion of the limes. It might, perhaps, 
be doubtful which of the two mounds of the Pfahldolel (that is the 
name by which it is here known) belonged to the Roman work, but 
there is no doubt about the ditch, and the interest of it lies in the 
perfect straightness of the line, and in its exact accordance with the 
position which it should occupy, as forming part of the long line of 
fortification from Welzheim to Miltenberg. 

Returning to the Obere Burg, in company with the Pfarrer and 
the Rector, I learned from them that this was not strictly the site of 
the camp. That, as will be seen on reference to the plan, was on the 
somewhat lower hill to the west, the Untere Burg. Why was not the 
higher ground chosen for the encampment ? The answer is evident. 
The Untere Burg was nearer to the little river Ohr, which was here 
crossed by a Roman bridge, and was, besides, strengthened on the north 
by the water of the Ochsensee, a kind of moat or morass long since 
dried up, but the site of which is still known by that name, and which 
formerly communicated with the river. But though the camp was 
on the Untere Burg, there is no doubt that the Roman city overpassed 
its limits and covered also part of the Obere Burg. All the fields in 
the space thus denoted teem with stones, evidently of Roman origin. 
Very unpopular they are with the German agriculturist, who suffers 
enough from the naturally rocky character of the soil without this 
superadded annoyance. With many a grunt and a curse the sulky 
Bauer pitches these stones off his field into the adjoining cart-way. 
Then the pupils of the Lyceum, who well know what will please their 
master, give him the first news of the appearance of a likely specimen. 
The Rector comes and gropes about to see if there is any trace of the 
sculptor's hand, or any fragment of an inscription on the stone. In 
this way he has rescued several monuments of the Roman sway from 




destruction. One fine large stone, perhaps three feet square by six 
inches thick, was lying on the Rector's table when I visited him. This 
was all that we could together make out of the inscription : 
[Name probably of an Emperor obliterated.] 

(EG) EINIS HEE . . . 

. . . . LVGEN (TES) 

A rubbing had been sent to Professor Mommsen, who, as yet, 
however, has not succeeded in deciphering more than is here set down. 

The great epigraphic prize, however, of Vicus Aurelii, is still the 
Maximin-inscription which was found in the middle of last century, 
and which stimulated Hansselmann to commence his antiquarian 
studies. This inscription, which I saw in the Hohenlohe museum, 
runs as follows : 



It belongs to the year 237, and is expanded thus : 




It is thus an inscription upon some monument dedicated by the 
Emperor Maximin the Thracian and his son. Close by this inscription 
was found also the head of a woman carved in sandstone, and with 
the coiffure appropriate to a Roman Empress. (See Plate I.) The 
conjecture is not a violent one, and is generally adopted, that we have 
here the likeness of Paulina, the gentle and popular spouse of the harsh 
bully, Maximin, the lady who often interfered to mitigate his cruel 
sentences, 1 and whose bracelet he sometimes wore as a ring round his 

1 Ammianus Marcellinus, speaking of the wife of Gallus, says that she " abrupte 
mariti fortunas trudebat in exitiurn praeceps, cum eum potius lenitate feminea ad 
veritatis humanitatisque viatn reducere utilia suadendo deberet, ut in Gordianorwn 
actibus factitasse Maximini truculenti illius imperatoris rettulimus conjuqem" 
XIV., i., 8. 


own gigantic thumb. 1 If it is really her statue, it was probably raised 
in her honour by her husband and son. 

The Maximin inscription and the supposed monument to Paulina 
were discovered (as will be seen from the plan) in a spot some distance 
from the two " Burgs," lower down in the plain, and almost due east of 
the modern town. Between this place and the Obere Burg, lies a piece 
of ground in which several statues of deities have been found, and 
which Dr. Keller perhaps on rather slender evidence pronounces to be 
the site of a temple. A little to the east of this appears to have been 
situated the cemetery, which shows traces of the blended practices of 
cremation and sepulture. This variety in the funeral rites is probably 
due to the different nationalities of the cohorts that formed the 
garrison of Vicus Aurelii. An altar, with the following interesting 
inscription, has been found on the southern confines of the cemetery: 

A u v 

. . . . R I C O LL E 

It is thus expanded : ( Jovi Optimo Maximo pro salute Imperatoris 
M. Aureli Sev | eri Collegium juventuti(s) devotissimi numini ejus 
sacrant kal(endis) Nov(embribus) Imp(eratore) Severo Alexandro 
Aug(usto) Cons(ule). We have here before us the record of an altar, 
erected on the 1st November, 222, in honour of the Emperor Alexander 
Severus by the Collegium Juventutis. "We know the fondness of the 
Romans, in the early ages of the Empire, for the institution of all sorts 
of guilds or collegia, 2 and here we have the Collegium of the young 
men, probably the young soldiers of Vicus Aurelii, paying an appro- 

1 " Pollice ito vasto ut uxoris dextrocherio uteretur pro anulo." (Hist-Augusta 
Maximin VI.) 

2 One of the latest writers on Christian antiquities suggests that the church 
itself probably appeared to the educated Romans of the second century only as one 
Collegium the more. Hatch's Bampton Lectures. 


priate tribute of respect to their young Emperor, Alexander Severus, 
within nine months from his accession. 1 It would be interesting to 
know how many of the youthful Collegium, who thus expressed their 
devotion to Alexander, hailed with enthusiastic plaudits the entrance 
into Vicus Aurelii of his murderer, Maximin. 

About 300 yards to the east of the place where the Ara Collegii 
Juventutis was found, we come upon that which is perhaps the most 
interesting, at any rate the most mysterious, of the existing antiquities 
at Oehringen. This isjbhe Orendelstein, a monument of a curiously double 
character. Below, it is a cylinder of very hard stone, slightly tapering 
towards the top, but without inscription or sculpture of any kind 
visible upon it. The upper part, fastened on to the lower by iron 
clamps, is a stone of a much softer kind, bearing, in the circle at the top 
of it, a rude representation of the Crucifixion. This upper part originally 
bore the date, 1519, but was restored in 1714. There seems to be no 
doubt that the lower part of the column was "Roman, but I have not, as 
yet, met with any satisfactory explanation of its original purpose. It 
forcibly reminded me of the Roman mile-stones, of which I saw a col- 
lection at Schloss Ambras, in the Tyrol, and also of that mile-stone 
which still stands in its original position on the road between Mitten- 
wald and Innsbruck, a most interesting relic of Roman dominion. 2 But 
I make this suggestion with considerable hesitation, because the same 
thought would doubtless have occurred to other observers had there not 
been some good reason against it. The name of this singular hybrid 
monument is the subject of some interesting remarks in Dr. Keller's 
Essay. He derives it from King Orendel of Trier, who with his father, 
Eigel, is a great hero of early German fable. Eigel, before he attains 
royalty, performs precisely the same feat of shooting the apple off his 
son's head which later Sagas attributed to William Tell; and his remark 
about the spare arrows, to the cruel king of Denmark who set him this 
trial of skill, is almost exactly the same as Tell's reply to Gessler. 
Orendel, when he reaches manhood, visits the tomb of Christ and 
wanders at large over the world, a Teutonic Ulysses. Upon him ac- 

1 See Boissier's Religion Romaine, II., 300, for some remarks on the specially 
religious character of the "Collegia Juvenum.^ This, rather than "juven&V 
appears to be the form hitherto made known to us by the inscriptions. 

2 In England we have Roman mile-stones in situ at Chesterholm and Temple 


cordingly are fathered many of those monuments of the slain civilisation 
of Rome, which the perplexed Teuton intellect could not otherwise 
account for. To him they are attributed, and to his father ; and 
hence we have the Orendelstein of Oehringen, and that marvellous 
record of middle-class Roman life in the second century, the Ygel 
monument at Trier. 

South of the Orendelstein were to be seen last century the remains 
of a spacious public lath, erected apparently during the reign of Cara- 
calla. There were several apartments, all deep down under the surface, 
and underlaid by a hypocaust. They were surrounded by walls of 
hewn sandstone covered with plaster, which was painted red, green, 
blue, or yellow. The building seems to have measured 82 feet from 
east to west : its other dimension is not stated. The water came from 
a fountain (the Stroller) about a quarter of a mile distant, situated 
close to the line of the Vallum, and ran away into the little river 
Ohr, which almost reflected the walls of the Balneum. Unfortunately 
all this has now to be spoken of in the past tense. Hansselmann, to 
whom we owe these details, conducted his excavations in a very 
thorough but somewhat destructive way, and no sufficient care seems 
to have been taken with the subsequent covering-in of the buildings. 
Hence, apparently, there are now no remains of the bath left. Truly 
did a German archaeologist say to me : " The greatest of all destroyers 
are the antiquaries." 

I had, however, the pleasure of seeing in the Museum at Neuenstein 
the beautifully carved foot of a statue, resting on a massive block of 
stone, upon which were inscribed the well-known letters, H D D (In 
honorem domas divinae), and which was found close to this bath in 
1769. I fancied that there was a lightness and springiness about the 
attitude of the foot which suggested the idea of a winged Victory 
having once stood poised upon it. I saw also there an inscription 
found behind the western wall of the bath, to which Hansselmann 
attaches great importance : 

V L I <" L E G I O 


"Pedatura centuriae Julii Silvanisub card Vaterctdi Proculi Centurwnis 
Legionis Octavae Augustae opus perfecit" Hansselmann compares this 
inscription with that in Scotland in honour of Antoninus, which 
records that he " perfecit opus valli," and thinks that it commemorates 
the completion of some important link in the chain of the limes fortifi- 
cations. Perhaps the words hardly bear the weight of such an argument. 

The mention of the 8th Legion in this inscription brings before us 
the subject of the troops by whom Yicus Aurelii was garrisoned. These 
were drawn at first from the 8th and afterwards from the 22nd Legion. 
But, to whichsoever Legion they belonged, it seems that the smaller 
divisions, which were stationed here, remained unchanged. These 
were the Cohors Prima Helvetiorum and the two Numeri Brittomim of 
the latter, one with the addition Caledoniorum, the other with a sur- 
name (M or Mu) which has not yet been deciphered. 

This last portion of the garrison of Oehringen has naturally an 
especial interest for us. We are familiar with the inscriptions which 
show the nations of Spain, of Holland, of Friesland, and of Rhineland, 
stationed on our moors and by our rivers. We now learn somewhat 
as to how the return visit was paid : we see our countrymen or our 
Caledonian neighbours doing sentry duty for the Romans on the hills 
of Swabia. The British troops seem, perhaps on account of the 
similarity of their native climate to that of Germany, to have been 
especially selected for garrison work on the limes. At Eining on the 
Danube, at Beckingen on the Neckar, at Amorbach and Aschaffenburg, 
and some obscure places in North-Western Bavaria, at Heddernheim 
near Frankfurt (the Novus Vicus of the Romans), at Niederbieber on 
the Rhine, at Utrecht, and at Nymegen in Holland, British cohortes 
or numeri were stationed. Some of those quartered in North Wurtem- 
berg were designated Brittoms Triputienses, a name perhaps derived 
from Tripontium, which is by some identified with the modern Rugby. 1 

How hard it is fully to appreciate the inter-penetration of the 
Roman Orlis Terrarum by all the various nationalities which obeyed 
the great city ! How little, even in our own days of rapid and constant 
locomotion, do the European peoples know of one another in comparison 

1 Intake this list from Keller's " Vicus Aurelii," p. 11. The names not mentioned 
in the text arejSchlossau and Eulbach in Wiirtemberg, and Holdreut in Holland (?) 
The soldiers at Heddernheim were Brittones Curvedenses. There was also a cohort 
of Britons in Norieum, hut these were off the line of the limes. 



with the close intercourse which then subsisted between them ! What 
do the inhabitants of the Asturias now know about Benwell or Choller- 
ford ; the shepherds on the Cheviots about the little Swabian town of 
Oehringen; the parishioners of Rugby about Amorbach or Aschaffen- 
burg ? 

We see in the museum tiles stamped with the names of these two 
bodies of troops : 


and c o H H E L 

We can also see the sickles with which they probably cut grass for 
their horses, the iron shoes of their mules, the stirrups, the saws, the 
keys which they may perhaps have used, besides the usual female 
frippery, needles, bodkins, glass phials, and so forth, which belonged to 
the wives of the officers or to the well-to-do citizenesses of Vicus 

We also derive some little light as to the recipients of the religious 
veneration of the soldiers, though, unfortunately, those mysterious 
objects of worship in our neighbourhood, Cocidius, Antenociticus, and 
Coventina, are not named. 1 Minerva, however, was greatly honoured 
here, as throughout the other garrison towns of the Agri Decumates; 
and two fine statues of that goddess, with the Gorgon's head upon her 
breast, but, unfortunately, in both cases wanting the head of Pallas 
herself, are figured in Keller's Memoir. (See Plates II. and III.) A 
head of the goddess with a curious helmet, in which is moulded a 
human face, has also been found. (See Plate I.) 

Of the goddess Epona, the tutelary deity of the stable (two altars 
to whom have been found in our island), 2 we possess not the name but 
the likeness, in a bas-relief which was discovered near Oehringen. 
This goddess also has lost her head, but she sits with long draperies in 

1 Keller tells an amusing story against poor Privy Councillor Hansselmann, who 
seems in his latter years to have lost the faculty of discerning between true and 
false antiquities. He accepted a piece of pottery stamped " KEEUZ. 5," notwith- 
standing the Arabic numeral, as genuine Roman; and a wise man at Ratisbon 
endeavoured to explain the too-evident " Fiinf Kreiizer " by an elaborate reference 
to some early British Divinity ! 

2 At Magna (Carvoran) and at Auchindavy (on the Vallum Antonini). To the 
lines from Juvenal (Sat. viii., 158), quoted in the " Lapidarium Septentrionale," I may 
add the following from Tertullian (Apologia xvi., where he is defending the Chris- 
tians from the calumny about their worship of an ass's head) : " Vos tamen non 
negabitis et jumenta omnia et totos cantherios cum swl Epond coli a vobis." 














a tranquil attitude, holding in her lap something which we are told 
should be a basket-full of flowers, but which might just as well be a 
quartern of oats. Four horses are in motion behind her, two towards 
the right-hand and two towards the left ; but those towards the edge 
of the composition have suffered considerable damage at the hands of 
the barbarians, and those in the centre, by what Dr. Keller calls a 
painful mistake on the part of the sculptor, seem as if they must be 
dashing their heads against one another. We only see their plump 
hind-quarters : the actual collision of the heads is hidden from us by 
the calm figure of Epona. (See Plate IY.) 

About four miles to the south of Oehringen there was discovered last 
century a beautifully carved bas-relief, which is now built into the wall 
of Unterheimbach, and of which a copy is annexed. (^See Plate V.) 
The relief is of yellow sandstone, about five feet broad by three high. 
Three female forms are represented sitting on rocky seats, with river- 
reeds in their hands, and with wreaths bound above their flowing 
tresses. Two sea-horses ramp above them. Dr. Keller asserts that 
these are undoubtedly intended for sea-nymphs, but thinks that the 
Caledonian and Helvetic soldiers in that inland region would care 
nothing about oceanic nymphs, and would probably transfer to these 
female forms the worship which they had been taught by their Celtic 
forefathers to pay to the awful " Deae Matres." This is, of course, 
only a conjecture, and, as it seems to me, not a very probable one, 
since few representations can be more unlike one another than the 
stiff, conventional, barbaresque sculpture of the Deae Matres and the 
graceful abandon of these daughters of the wave. Is it not possible 
that, notwithstanding the somewhat marine character of the monsters 
above them, these three nymphs may be meant to symbolise the 
three streams, Ohr, Kocher, and Jagst, which flow past this portion 
of the limes ? Whatever may be the value of this suggestion, it will, 
I think, be admitted that there is a certain general resemblance of 
design between this bas-relief and that of the three Naiads found in the 
well of Coventina at Procolitia, though undoubtedly for poetical 
feeling and artistic execution the palm must be assigned to the Swabian 

Reviewing the whole history of Vicus Aurelii as far as it is revealed 
to us by the ruins and inscriptions as to coins our information is not 


quite so full as we could desire our authorities come to the conclusion 
that it was at first an unimportant camp, erected upon the line of the 
limes, possibly by order of Domitian, and that it may have thus con- 
tinued during the greater part of the second century, sharing doubtless 
in the general prosperity of the Agri Decimates in the Antonine period. 
Only one inscription of this period has been discovered, bearing the date 
which corresponds to A.D. 169. 

With the accession of Caracalla, however (211-217), aperiod of much 
greater importance opened for the settlement in the Ohr. The emperor, 
in his campaign against the Alemanni, probably visited this place and 
decided that the little isolated fort should be increased into a city, to 
which he gave his own name (Vicus Aurelii), he having, as many in- 
scriptions show us, ever loved to pose, not only asjan Antoninus, but as 
namesake of the revered Auretius. A passage from Xiphiline's epitome 
of Dion Cassius illustrates the vanity of this emperor, though it can 
hardly be taken as exactly applying to the case of Oehringen. After 
Dion has told us of Caracalla's affectation of Spartan simplicity and 
equality with his soldiers in food, in dress, and in dirtiness, and at the 
same time of his deficiency in the more important qualities of a general, 
in science, method, and valour, the Epitomist informs us that " the Celtic 
natives saw through the hollowness of his character, and looked upon 
him as a silly trickster and coward. Moreover, Antoninus [Caracalla], 
when making war against the 'Alambanni,' if he saw any place suitable 
for habitation, would at once give his orders, * Let a fort be erected 
here;' and he gave to some places names derived from his own, no 
change being made in the inhabitants, some of whom never knew of 
their new name, and others looked upon it as a joke." 

As before remarked, this description does not precisely fit the un- 
doubtedly Roman character of Vicus Aurelii, but it does illustrate its 
name, and perhaps explains why, at that late period of Roman domina- 
tion east of the Rhine, a city should have sprung into existence on the 
banks of the Ohr. The climax of the city's greatness may have been 
reached when the Guild of the youths dedicated their altar to Alexander 
Severus, or when his murderer, Maximin the Thracian, erected the 
statue to his gentle wife. As one result of the convulsions which shook 
the empire during the reign of Gallienus, at the time of the so-called 


Thirty Tyrants, the country which we now call Wiirtemberg was lost 
for ever to the Roman sway. While Aurelian was measuring his forces 
against Tetricus on the plains of Gaul (A.D. 27 1), the Alemanni burst 
over the limes, carrying fire and sword through the fruitful Agri 
Decumates, and Vicus Aurelii fell, never to rise again as a Roman 
city. 1 

Gradually, as we may suppose, did the barbarian immigrants first 
the Alemanni, and, after the battle of Tolbiac (496), their conquerors, 
the Franks begin to erect their ignoble dwellings for the convenience 
afforded by the convergent roads and neighbouring bridges hard by the 
ruins of the desolated city. But here, as in so many other instances, they 
did not build on the very site itself; and hence comes the space (now cut 
through by the intervening railroad), between the two Burgs, the Obere 
and Untere, and the modern town. How one would like to be able to 
reproduce the feelings with which, in that mysterious dawn of the 
Middle Ages, the barbarians, beginning to yield to the influences of 
civilization and Christianity, looked upon those vast and sombre ruins, 
the baths, the temples, the mutilated statues, which their ancestors had 
demolished ! 

The next station north of Oehringen is Jagsthausen, which I will 
not describe with any detail, as I have not yet been able to visit it. 
Keller, in his " Vicus Aurelii," gives a plan and some details concerning 
it, from which it appears that this camp was situated much closer to 
the limes than that at Oehringen; in fact, only about 300 yards 
from the line of that barrier. It must have occupied a very strong 
position, the river Jagst sweeping round it in a curve like the figure 2. 
Here, as at Oehringen, the Roman remains which have been found point 
to a somewhat late period of occupation, after, rather than before, the 
flourishing period of the Antonine emperors. The earliest legible in- 
scription is of the reign of Antoninus Pius, and the latest (A.D. 221) 
belongs to that of Elagabalus. I append a copy of an inscription which 

1 It should be stated that several coins of Constantine and of his successor, Con- 
stantius, have been found at Oehringen ; but in the absence of all inscriptions be- 
longing to that period, Dr. Keller is probably right in attributing the presence of 
these coins to the commercial intercourse between the empire and the barbarians. 
Might they not, however, be partly accounted for by Julian's successful, though 
transient, raids into the territory of the Alemanni (357-361) ? 


has, in the original, some curious literae ligatae. The names of the 
emperors have been effaced, but it probably once bore those of Caracalla 
and Geta : 


..... P F INVICT AVG ..... 

............... BALNEVM 

COH I GERM -A ......... 



This inscription is thus restored and expanded by Keller : 

" Imperator Csesar M. Aurelius Antoninus 

Pius Felix Invictus Aug. et Imp. Cass. 

P. Septimius Geta Anton. Aug. balineum 

Cohortis primae Germanorum Antonini- 

anae ( ?) vetustate conlabsum restituerunt 

curante Q. Caecilio Pudente viro clarissimo 

Legato Augustorum pro praetore, insistente 

Q. Mamilio Honorato Tribune Cohortis supra scriptae." 

The restoration of the bath, " vetustate conlapsum," the obliteration 
of the names of the emperors, and of the epithet Antoninianse, probably 
by order of Maximin, belong to a class of phenomena with which the 
student of the Northumbrian camps is already familiar. 1 

Another object of interest found at Jagsthausen is a round altar 
about 2 feet high, upon which are carved the figures of the seven gods 
from whom the days of fthe week were named, Sol, Diana, Mars, Mer- 
curius, Jupiter, Venus, Saturnus. This altar was found in 1772, and 
is now in the museum at Neuenstein with the Oehringen antiquities. 
Keller considers the work very beautiful (" von sehr hubscher Ar~beit"\ 
but I have noted it in a memorandum made at the time of my visit as 
" very rude." 

1 Compare the very similar inscription found at Cilurnuin (" Lapid. Septen.," 
p. 67). Possibly the obliterated names of the emperors should be replaced by 
Elagabalus and Alexander Severus, as in that inscription. 


Near Jagsthausen, on the west, is the little village of Olnhausen, 
which was formerly a Roman civil settlement, not apparently a camp, 
and where several Roman remains have been found. A little further 
off, on the east, is the ruined castle of Berlichingen, from which the 
celebrated robber-knight, Gotz of the Iron Hand, took his title. 

A few miles further on we cross the frontier and leave the kingdom 
of Wiirtemberg. 


This is a short, and, in itself, not very important or interesting 
portion of the Wall (about twenty-seven miles in length), but I solicit 
the reader's especial attention to it, because, by the kindness of a 
German archaeologist (Herr Kreisrichter Conrady, of Miltenberg), I 
am enabled here to lay before him some results which have not yet 
been published even in Germany. 

Herr Conrady is himself an antiquary by inheritance. His grand- 
father, C. F. Habel, who was styled " Hofkammerrath," and who lived 
1747-1814), was virtually one of the founders of the Nassauischer 
Alter thumsver em, though he did not live to see it actually called into 
being. He wrote two essays (in the years 1812 and 1813, when Gaulish 
chiefs of our own day were crossing and recrossing the German river in 
a somewhat momentous manner) on the question of Caesar's passages 
over the Rhine. He settled by personal inspection the course of the 
Pfahlgraben across the valley of the Lahn, and the year before his 
death he undertook an antiquarian pilgrimage to Oehringen in the 
interests of Z/iwes-exploration. 

His son (Herr Conrady's uncle), Fried. Gust. Habel, who is usually 
called " Archivar," and who lived 1792-1867, is one of the most con- 
spicuous figures among the German archaeologists of this century. 
For many years he was practically the Antiquarian Association 
(Alterthumsverein) of Nassau, and the treasures of the beautiful 
Museum of Antiquities at Wiesbaden are due chiefly to his labours and 
excavations. Being a man of some property and very economical in 
his personal habits, he devoted himself as his father had done before 
him, to the purchase of media3val MSS. and works of art, a pursuit 
which Wiis much facilitated by the changes of ownership accompanying 


and following the stormy period of the French Revolutionary Wars. 
He was also passionately fond of acquiring old and ruined castles, 
which, when he first came into the market, were still looked upon as 
little better than stone quarries for the enterprising builder. Four or 
five castles in the neighbourhood of the Rhine, some of them of great 
renown in the guide books, were at the same time in his possession. 
He is figured to us in the " Beitrage zur Geschiehte des nassauischen 
Alterthumsvereins" (1871) as a tall stately-looking man, with clear blue 
eye and somewhat cold demeanour, a perfect enthusiast for archaeo- 
logy, but not always on the best terms with other votaries at the same 
shrine. He was in fact driven from his throne in the Wiesbaden 
Museum, in 1851, by a sort of revolutionary movement in the Anti- 
quarian Society of Nassau, suggested perhaps by the success of those 
larger revolutions which convulsed Germany in 1848 and 1849. He 
felt his expulsion keenly at the time, but the dispute was in some 
degree smoothed over, though he never resumed the administration of 
the affairs of the Society, of which he was, however, in 1862, by general 
acclamation, nominated an honorary associate. 

Habel was no mean authority on mediaeval monuments, but his 
especial delight was to follow up that quest of Roman antiquities, 
and pre-eminently those inquiries into the Limes Transrhenanus, into 
which he had been initiated by his/ather. In 1852 he was nominated 
president of the Limes- Commission, a learned body which accumulated 
much valuable material, but which seems to have failed, perhaps 
from the German fault of over-thoroughness, in achieving any great 
practical result. A few sentences from the essay above quoted bring 
the earnest, self-concentrated antiquary vividly before us : 

"When he was pursuing his inquiries in the open field his 
attention was never distracted by any other subject. With restless 
energy he took sections, made signals, measured distances, and forgot 
even to eat and drink unless it occurred to his thoughts that the 
servant who accompanied him required some bodily nourishment. 
Often it was not till evening that master and man shared a frugal meal 
under the simple roof of a village ale-house. Even in his external 
appearance, especially in his attire, his taste for antiquity showed 
itself, and everything that told of the fashion of the day remained 
strange to him. His heavy cloak, originally of a dark blue colour, 
whose only and old-fashioned ornament was a silver clasp and chain, 
was at length worn so threadbare that a relative with whom he was 


conversing ventured to call his attention to the propriety of consigning 
that piece of antiquity to a well-earned repose, but pleaded in vain. 
He was never seen in a dress-coat (' track') except once a year, at the 
meetings of the Archaeological Association (Gesammtverein), which he 
never missed if he could help doing so, and at which he, the president 
of the Zww0s-Commission, used to appear in his dress-coat and deliver 
his regular report of investigations into the limes. But this coat was 
so little in harmony with the ideas of the present day in cut and shape 
that it attracted the attention even of the archaeologists, not generally 
very observant of such matters, and this relic of antiquity used to be 
called by them ' the Limes-frock? " 

Besides Habel's general work at the limes, he was the presiding 
genius in the early years of the excavations at the Saalburg, which 
I shall have occasion to describe hereafter. He also wrote an elaborate 
description of a Mithraic temple at Heddernheim, considered, I believe, 
the finest in Germany, the bas-reliefs from which are now in the 
museum at Wiesbaden. He laboured hard and successfully to establish 
the site of the old Roman camp and town at the Aquae Mattiacae, 
recording their traces as they were on the point of vanishing before 
the rapidly-extending and prosperous town of Wiesbaden ; and on 
the occasion of the discovery of a figure of a Capricornus, which had 
once formed the ensign of a Roman cohort, he wrote a long and 
valuable essay on the military insignia of the Roman army, especially 
those of the 22nd Legion, which was for so long a time stationed in 
Germania Superior. 

Habel bequeathed his property, his fine old castle at Miltenberg 
on the Main, which he had turned into a perfect museum of Roman 
and mediaeval antiquities, and his own unpublished manuscripts, to his 
sister's son, Herr Conrady, who formerly filled the office of Kreis- 
richter (County Court Judge), and who in his picturesque feudal abode 
carries on with enthusiasm the favourite pursuits of his grandfather 
and his uncle. Having received, by the kindness of a friend, an intro- 
duction to the Kreisrichter, I hoped to explore under his guidance the 
remains of the Roman work in his neighbourhood. This expectation, 
however, was disappointed, Herr Conrady having been suddenly 
called away from home at the time appointed for my visit. Since my 
return to England, however, having written to ask that gentleman for 
information on some points which were not clear to me, I have 
received from him a most courteous reply, accompanied with a map 


illustrating the course of the Wall between Jagsthausen and Milten- 
berg on the Main. I feel that I cannot do better than avail myself 
of the writer's kind permission to place his yet unpublished facts 
before my fellow-members : 

Translated Extract from a Letter by Kreisrichter Conrady, dated 
Miltenberg, 16th November, 1881. 

"This view" (hereafter to be stated, as to the course of the Wall 
north of Miltenberg) " receives its essential confirmation from the dis- 
coveries which I myself have been so fortunate as to make in reference 
to the line of the Limes-Wall southwards from the Main. By these it 
is proved beyond a doubt that the mathematically straight direction of 
the Limes Transhenanus which it assumed near Welzheim, and which 
it maintained past Murrhardt, Mainhardt, Oehringen, Jagsthausen, 
and Osterburken, continues only to a point near Walldurn, not, as 
Paulus supposed, to the River Main and the toivn of Freudenberg. 
Instead thereof, about three miles south of Walldiirn, the limes 
deviates from this straight line, and at different angles runs across the 
townships of Glashofen, Geroldshahn, Gottersdorf, Reinhardsachsen, 
Reichardshausen, and Wenschdorf, till it touches the Main near 

"The extraordinary fact discovered by Paulus that the Limes 
Trans-Rhenanus runs in a mathematically straight line from near 
Pfahlbrmn to the valley of the Main, was first fully established, as far 
as Wurtemberg was concerned, by a scientific commission charged to 
investigate the subject." [Herr Conrady then refers to Professor 
Herzog's pamphlet mentioned above.] 

" In the same way have I found, as the result of repeated journeys 
(partly in conjunction with Herr K. Christ, of Heidelberg), the lineally 
straight direction also prevail along the further portion from the 
Wiirtemberg frontier, between Hergenstadt and Hopfengarten, as far as 
the southern edge of the district ( Gemafkung ) of Walldiirn. Along 
the whole of this portion [about twelve miles] the straight line theory 
is fully verified. 

" But from this point onwards the details given by Paulus (with 
the exception of one notice as to a heap of debris in Weissen-Kreuz- 
Schlag) are all ' in the air.' The worthy savant has evidently, with 
his implicit faith in his own theory of the lineal continuation of the 
Wall as far as the Main, seen things along the last portion of it which 
were not really there, or which, at any rate, were not what he takes 
them for. 

" Throughout this whole interval, in spite of the most thorough 
search, not the slightest Roman remains have been discovered. By a 
singular coincidence, just at the point where the straight line produced 
would intersect the River Main, there is situated a fortress on a steep 
hill overhanging the river. Hitherto it has always been taken for a 
small Roman camp ; but it has now, after repeated excavations which 


Freud .enberei 


frontier to 





I carried on there, and in which absolutely nothing of the Roman 
period came to light, proved itself to be an early mediaeval castle 
(' Wallburg') of a very peculiar type. The one fact mentioned by 
Paulus, which I have above indicated as correct, relates to the remains 
of a real [Roman] watch-tower (the Steinernes Ham or Honehaus, in 
the Lindigwald near Glashofen) ; but this lies fully 300 steps east- 
wards, that is, outside of the supposed line of Paulus, and belongs, as 
many indications show, to the true line discovered by me in the 
autumn of 1879. 

" I now proceed to trace this latter, the true line of the Wall. In 
the ' Great Wood' of Heltingen there is a little mile castle (' zwischen- 
kastelle'), 39 to 45 metres square, undiscovered by Paulus At a 
distance of 900 steps beyond this, on the southern border of the 
district of Walldiirn, the Wall bends from the north-west direction, 
which it has hitherto followed, to the north, so as, about three 
miles further on, to include the camp Altelury, in the territory which 
was once Roman. This camp, near Walldiirn, was formerly, without 
any reason alleged, left by Paulus a quarter of a mile (three-eighths of 
a kilometer) outside of the line drawn by him. 

" Our line then turns again at an obtuse angle towards the 
north-west, runs in this direction for about nine miles along a high 
table-land perfectly straight through the Lindig wood (belonging 
to Walldiirn), across the farm of Glashofen, through the middle of the 
village of Neusass, passes to the south-west of Reinhardsachsen, and 
to the north-east of Geroldshahn, and then cuts the Baden-Bavaria 
frontier in the neighbourhood of Geisenhof, reaching the Hag wood 
near Reichardshausen. 

" It is true that along this portion we find clear traces of the 
former Wall and ditch only for a length of about 1,200 steps, and 
that for the most part in greatly obliterated profiles. But the direc- 
tion is established beyond all doubt by the remains of fifteen watch- 
towers [turrets] and a small manipular camp, 42 metres by 53 [equal 
to 140 feet by 175], near Reinhardsachsen. All these I have been 
able to prove by excavations. The watch-towers are, as a rule, small 
quadrangular stone huts, generally 15*8 feet square, and with walls 2j 
to 3 feet thick, and in some cases with six to nine layers of stone still 
visible. They were found by me at intervals of 600 steps apart, and 
sometimes still in an unbroken series. Unfortunately the finds in 
them, with the exception of one small inscribed altar in the camp near 
Reinhardsachsen, consisted solely of insignificant pottery. 

" In the Reichardshaiiser Hag-wood we again find the line diverge 
at an obtuse angle towards the north, this time manifestly in order to 
go round a marshy hollow; and here were discovered the remains 
of two watch-towers in a total distance of 1,500 steps. Thence- 
forward, however, for about 2J miles, all traces of the Wall utterly 
vanish. With some confidence, however, I express my conjecture 
that the Wall, on emerging from the before-mentioned swampy valley 
near Wenschdorf turned westwards up to the plateau overhanging the 
River Main, went over the closely-adjoining low summit of the Grein- 


berg, which is surrounded by a stone ring-fence of Germanic origin, 
and then down over the western slope of the mountain in a direct line 
to the extensive camp of Altstadt, which lay at its base. 1 

" Besides a certain internal adaptation and probability, this conjec- 
ture is favoured, not only by the characteristic names of farms, 
4 Saugraben,' ' Hag-ivaldJ and ' Hag-AecJcer,' which accompany the 
greater part of this bit of line, but also by the circumstance that on 
the summit of the Greinberg so lately as the year 1845 there were still 
to be seen the debris of a little building (since destroyed), with many 
votive stones dedicated to Mercury ; and, farther, that I myself, in 
September of the current year [1881] discovered a small Roman build- 
ing, in the direction conjectured above, on the slope of the same 
eminence. This building also contained a votive stone dedicated to 
Mercury, as well as the fragments of two statuettes of the same god. 
Considering that in its size (13J feet by 13^) and the thickness of its 
walls (1'48 feet to 2' 31 feet) it deviates from the ordinary watch- 
towers, the conjecture seems not entirely excluded that we have here 
[in this and the other similar building now destroyed] to do not with 
two specuhe, but with two sacella (chapels). 

" It is true that in that case the line of the limes, which might 
otherwise be considered to be settled beyond doubt, must in its very 
last portion be somewhat different from that which I have supposed, 
since sanctuaries can hardly be thought of so close to the border." 
The wall must then have reached the Main somewhere above Milten- 
berg, which, however, is not probable, on account of the whole nature 
of the ground, the unusual distance of the protecting camp from the 
limes (nearly two miles), the difficult communication therewith by 
the steep cliffs overhanging the river, and the occasional interruption 
of all intercourse by inundations. Unfortunately I have now but little 
hope of fully clearing up this difficulty, as, in spite of my most earnest 
endeavours, I have so far been unable to find any further undoubted 
points of contact for the interval between "Wenschdorf and this place. 
It was the expectation of still discovering such points that restrained 
me hitherto from publishing my discoveries, though they have an 
important bearing on the whole question of the limes. I should have 
liked to be able everywhere to speak with certainty, and to indulge in 
no mere conjectures. Now, however, I shall no longer delay. After 
the completion of some other and more pressing work I shall at once 
proceed to publish a paper on the Roman Frontier- Wall from the 
Wiirtemberg boundary to the Main. 

1 The existence of this cainp is fully established by excavations. It measures 
525 feet by 557 [ = more than six acres in extent]. At Burgstadt, on the other hand, 
three miles higher up the Main, where Paulus wished to place the quarters of a 
garrison (as is also indicated by his map), there are no Roman remains to be seen. 

[ 2 1 doubt whether this concession is necessary. At Condercum there is a 
temple that in which the altar of Antenociticus was found scarcely 100 yards 
from the Wall; and the Mithraic cave at Borcovicus is not half-a-mile from the 
same boundary. T. H.] 


"Meanwhile, though my own discoveries are not yet published, I 
place them entirely at your disposal for your article on the Pfahl- 
graben. To make the subject clearer I subjoin a tracing of the 
country taken from Reymann's map, but without any indication of the 
contour-lines." [See Map.] 

My kind correspondent adds some remarks about the course of 
the limes between the Main and the Taunus Mountains, the substance 
of which is embodied in the following section : 


We have come to another archaeological battle-field. The two chief 
combatants are Dr. Albert Duncker, teacher in the Real Gymnasium at 
Wiesbaden, and Karl Arnd, formerly an architect at Hanau (he died 
in 1867), but one who plunged in sprightly, enthusiastic, dilettante 
fashion into many other subjects besides architecture. 1 

A glance at the political divisions and natural features of the country 
is necessary to enable us to understand the dispute. We have here to 
deal unfortunately with some of the smallest of the pieces into which 
the German Reich was split up before the impulse towards unity came 
in our own days to change the face of central Europe. First a little out- 
lying corner of Bavaria, then the two detached pieces of territory which 
between them make up Hesse Darmstadt (or Grand-Ducal Hesse) and a 
long thin shank of Hesse Cassel (" Kur Hessen," or Electoral Hesse) 
intervening between them, form the subject of our enquiries in the 
present section and lead us onwards to the equally small, or even smaller, 
state of Nassau, on the frontiers of which the line of the limes closes. 
It is true that two of these little principalities (Kur-Hessen and Nassau) 
are now assimilated by the magnificent digestion of Prussia, but the old 
names and some of the old feelings of local patriotism still survive, and 
it will be more convenient for our purpose to take the map of Germany 
as it was before the changes of 1866. That feeling of particularism's 
which led Pfarrer Maier to speak of his work as ended when he reached 

1 The essays of these two authors are Beitrdge zur Erforschung und Geschichte 
des Pfahlgrabens im unteren Maingebiet und der Wetterau, von Dr. Albert 
Duncker (Kassel, 1879) and Der PfaJdgraben nach den neuesten ForscJiungen und 
EntdecJcungen von Karl Arnd. (Frankfurt a.m. 1861.) 


the frontier of Bavaria, and which caused Professor Herzog to stop n 
the middle of the " North and South Wall" as soon as he descried the 
parti-coloured posts of the Grand- Duchy of Baden has prevailed also 
here. The writers who treat of the limes in Electoral Hesse are some- 
what less thorough when they reach the Grand-Ducal region, and a 
patient and accurate describer of its course through Nassau 1 gives us no 
hint of his opinions as to its track across either Hesse. Particularismus 
in German Archaeology is perhaps dying out, but while it lives it greatly 
adds to the labour of a foreign student. 

Now for the natural features of the country. The River Main, 
which seems bent on writing the letter V as often as possible before it 
falls into the Rhine, gets to the bottom of one of its V's (a very blunt 
one I admit) at Miltenberg. From that place to Hanau it runs for about 
forty miles in a north-westerly direction. On its right bank stretches 
away to the next loop of the Main, the wild forest tract of the Spessart, 
a remnant, says Murray, of the primeval Saltus Hercynius, hilly, thinly- 
inhabited, savagely beautiful. It is the home (says another of my infor- 
mants) of the stag and the wild boar. On the left bank of the Main, 
filling up a good deal of the southern half of Hesse Darmstadt, rise the 
wooded heights of the Odenwald, the chief of them, the conical Melibocus, 
mounting to an elevation of 1,632 feet, and conspicuous far over the 
Rhine and Main lands. At present the Odenwald, though lonely and 
romantic, being well furnished with the ruins of mediaeval castles, has 
a somewhat less desolate appearance than its wild neighbour, the Spessart. 
Soon after reaching Hanau, the Main turns westwards, and continues 
with a pretty straight course, fronting the southern slope of the Taunus 
hills till it reaches the Rhine at Maintz, north-east of Hanau; and pretty 
nearly filling up the interval between the Taunus and the Spessart, 
stretches the wide and fruitful district of the Wetterau. This district 
is intersected by three streams of no great size, besides the "Wetter, which 
gives it its name. These three streams are the Kinzig, the Nidder, and 
the Nidda, and they come pouring into the Main from a little range of 
hills in the north-east called the Vogelswald, which may perhaps be 
considered as the point to which the Taunus and the Spessart ranges 



L G R A B E N 

\filesj 15-OneDegree 


Starting now from Miltenberg on the Main, the point to which we 
traced the limes in the last section, it' we ask what is the next portion 
of the boundary, we receive from Dr. Uuncker a somewhat startling 
reply. He says, " For the next thirty-two miles or so of its course, as 
far as the little village of Gross Krotzenburg, the River Main is itself the 
boundary, and no wall or earthworks supplemented it here." There are, 
however, slight traces of the existence of four camps, Miltenberg, Obern- 
burg, Stockstadt and Seligenstadt, along the left bank of the river, 1 and 
there is no doubt that behind this line the region of the Odenwald was 
very strongly held for Rome, first, by what the Germans call the Mum- 
lings linie, 2 a line of earthwork about five miles west of the Main which 
crosses the Mumling and ends on the river Gersprenz near Stockstadt; 
and, secondly, by the Bergstrasse, the old Roman road at the base of the 
Odenwald, which is represented by the road that still runs from Darm- 
stadt to Heidelberg. 3 

The suggestion that the river itself, unprotected by any wall, formed 
the limes at this point is not yet universally accepted. Hiibner criti- 
cises it pretty sharply. Oonrady, in the letter which I have previously 
quoted, gives it his entire sanction, and it must be admitted that the 
the new light which he has thrown on the course of the limes south of 
the Main, renders it much more probable. For if the limes came up to 
the Main at Freudenberg, that would seem to indicate an intention to 
cross the river there and traverse the hilly country of the Spessart. But 
if it came from Walldurn and touched the Main at Miltenberg, just at 
the point of the V, it would find the onward course of the river (the 
downstroke of the V) so exactly following the course which it had re- 

1 This is rather implied than actually stated by Dr. Duncker (p. 42). It is clear 
that this part of the Limes requires a more thorough investigation than it has yet 

2 One is disposed to ask why should not this " Mumlings linie" have been itself 
the limes. 1 presume the reason for the negative is the existence of traces of camps 
closer to the river. Besides, each end of the " Mumlings linie " falls within the 
ascertained line of the limes. 

3 Murray's Guide describes the Kiesensaule (Giant's Pillar), a column of hard 
syenite, 30 feet long by 4 in diameter, and a huge block of the same stone called the 
Riesenaltar, lying near it, and attributes these remains still existing in one of the 
loneliest glades of the Odenwald to Roman artificers. 


cently been pursuing that nothing would be more natural than for it to 
make the Main itself the bulwark for the next forty miles of its 

We can hardly say that our Northumbrian analogy counts for much 
in either direction. The Main at this point is, I imagine, a river of 
about the same volume and rapidity as our own Tyne. We see that the 
Romans have not chosen to make that river their limes but have carried 
their road to the north of the river and protected it by Murus and 
Vallum stretching over the bleak moorlands of Northumbria. On the 
other hand, at Segedunum (Wallsend) the Wall comes down to the 
river very much as the Pfahlgraben comes down to the Main at Milten- 
berg, and then for the remaining five miles of its course the work of 
defence does devolve upon the Tyne, which though broad and abun- 
dantly navigable, is, after all, a river here and not an estuary. Thus 
an argument may be drawn from our experience both for and against 
the theory that the Main itself formed the limes. 

The passage, however, in Spartianus's life of Hadrian (cap. xii.), 
which describes his activity as a constructor of barriers for the empire, 
deserves especial notice here: " Per ea tempera et alias frequenter in 
plurimis locisin quibus barbari nonfluminibux sedUmitibus dividuntur, 
stipitibus magnis, in modum muralis sepis,funditus jactis atque connexis, 
barbaros separavit." We see that here the absence of a river as a line 
of division seems to be insisted upon as the reason for building a wall. 
Therefore, when a river offered precisely the boundary required, possibly 
a wall might be dispensed with. 

However this may be, it is clear that at a village called Gross 
Krotzenburg, about five miles south-west of Hanau,in Hesse-Cassel, we 
have the remains of a strong Roman camp built to command the passage 
of the Main, and that here the limes leaves the river and strikes off for 
the north. Its reason for doing so is obvious. The Main might have 
been a very good boundary, terminating its course as it does after a 
westward flow of some thirty miles by a confluence with the Rhine 
opposite the strong Roman station of Moguntiacum (Maintz). But 
the Romans were determined to include within the circle of their 
subject lands the fair and fertile Wetterau and Rheingan. For this 
purpose it is that the limes makes that bold stroke northwards and then 


works round by west and south-west to the end of the Taunus range 
of mountains. 

The camp of Gross Krotzenburg, though it has suffered much from 
the necessities of German village-life, is still evidently worth an anti- 
quary's visit. According to the calculations given by Dr. Duncker, it 
was about 196 steps long by 150 broad say 600 feet by 450, giving 
an area of 30,000 square yards, or something more than six acres, larger, 
therefore, than our Amboglanna. Its junction with the Wall seems to 
be somewhat peculiar. In the other camps of the German limes a 
greater or less space intervenes between the camp and the Wall, the 
former being put, so to speak, behind the latter. Here the camp is 
interposed bodily between the Wall and the river, and receives the 
former near the middle of its longer side. 

There are traces of a civil suburb on the west side of the camp, a 
burial place in the sandy soil which the Romans preferred, and a spring 
whose waters bubble out into the Main, and which still goes by the name 
of Romans' Well (Romerbrunnen). Several coins were found in this 
well, though not apparently in such enormous numbers as in the well 
of our Northumbrian Coventina. Among them is distinctly specified a 
denarius of Hadrian. 

Dr. Duncker is not very explicit as to the past and present state of 
preservation of the walls of the camp. I infer, however, that in 1837, 
when his predecessor, Steiner, wrote, there was a good deal more to be 
seen both of the walls and gates than at present. " Now," he says, " of 
the wall of the camp at Gross Krotzenburg there is only a very small 
trace still visible* above ground. It is at the south end of the church, 
27 leet thick, and protrudes from the garden-wall with which the sacred 
edifice is enclosed. The material consists of unsquared basalt stones, 
such as we find in the neighbouring- Gross-Steinheim. They are bound 
together with the well-known excellent Roman mortar." 

Many tiles have been found bearing the stamp of the 22nd Legion 
and of the Fourth " Cohors Vindelicorum," and the oven in which they 
are supposed to have been baked has also been discovered. But the 
most interesting monument is an altar discovered in 1835, and which 
expresses the good wishes of a certain Ajacius (probably an officer) for 
the victorious return of Severus and his sons from their campaign 
(probably against the Caledonians) and for the welfare of the " Mother 


of the Camp," Julia Domna. The following is the exact wording of the 
inscription, which is assigned apparently on sufficient grounds to the 
years 209-211 : 


(NVS) LEG . . . G . . . OIV . . . 

Thus we have here again evidence of the active influence of the Em- 
perors of the house of Severus in this part of the Agri Decumates. It 
will be observed that the name of Geta has been erased, as usual, by 
the order of his brother. 

The latest coins which have been discovered at Gross-Krotzenburg 
belong to the reign of Gordian III. (238-244). We have, therefore, no 
proof here of any recovery of the power of Rome after the disastrous 
period of the Thirty Tyrants. 

For about five miles northwards of Gross Krotzenburg we have a 
really satisfactory specimen of the limes. This is the so-called Pfaffen- 
damm which carries the line of defence on from the Main to the Kinzig, 
running accurately north and south. As there is a slight difference 
between the two accounts of it, testifying, I fear, to some destructive 
agencies at work, and as the district is one which the traveller may 
easily visit, lying near, as it does, to the important railway station of 
Hanau, I will translate the two passages verbatim. 

Arnd(m " Der Pfahlgraben," 1861, p. 16), says : "The coupling 
together of the Kinzig and the Main was accomplished by the so-called 
Pfaffendamm. This runs in a course of 26,700 feet (of Cassel), that is 
to say something over a German mile [5 English] from Gross Krotzen- 
burg to a little below Ruckingen on the Kinzig. Where it is best pre- 
served it has a height of five, and a breadth of forty feet. Of fosses 
there is nothing any longer to be seen. Between the fields of Gross 


Krotzenburg it exists only as a road, and in the meadow valley near 
Riickingen you can now only recognise its position in autumn by the 
browner colour of the turf and by the boundaries of the fields converg- 
ing towards it; moreover, in two marshy places, there are short gaps in 
it. The most noteworthy thing about this Wall is the circumstance 
that throughout its entire length it makes only one straight line, and 
that that line falls exactly upon the meridian." 

Dumber (Beitrage, etc., 1879, page 22; says : " The limes, which 
becomes a road immediately before the village [of Gross Krotzenburg], 
and is called the Dammsweg, ran exactly in the meridian line between the 
camp at Riickingen [Altenburg] and that at Gross Krotzenburg. Just 
before entering the wood [going northwards] it is intersected by the em- 
bankment of the Hanau and Aschaffenburg Railway. In the wood north 
of the village it is still preserved to the height of one metre (40 inches), 
and it either itself forms the road or else runs very near to it. At a 
place in the * Niederwald,' which is overgrown with grass, it suddenly 
vanishes without a trace for more than a hundred steps, to re-appear 
again in the * Oberwald.' The explanation of this is furnished 
by the circumstance that there has recently been a cutting of turf 
here, and while this operation was going forward the Pfahlgraben 
which ran through the morass was also obliterated. At present the 
whole gives one the impression of a low-lying meadow." 

I do not remember to have met with any explanation of the 
curious name of this part of the Wall, Pfaffendamm, or the Parsons' 
Embankment. Readers of Carlyle's " History of Frederick the Great" 
may remember his contemptuous reference to the Pfaff en- Kaiser, 
Parsons' Emperor (Charles IV., 1347-1378): "A sorry enough 
Kaiser, much blown to and fro, poor light wretch, on the chaotic 
winds of his time steering towards no star." I do not know whether 
any note of contempt lies hid in this word Pfaffendamm, nor, if so, 
why it should be so. 

From this point onwards the course of the Pfahlgraben has to be 
conjectured rather than clearly proved. The following camps are pretty 
satisfactorily ascertained : Riickingen (or more strictly Altenburg, a 
short distance to the south west of it), Markobel, Altenstadt, Staden, 
Echzell, Innheiden, Arnsburg. These camps occur for the most part 
with great regularity at intervals of five miles, and the limes, therefore, 


sinre it quitted the Main at Gross Krotzenburg, accomplishes a dis- 
tance of about thirty -five miles till it reaches Arnsburg. Its course is 
first northerly, then north-westerly, with a more decided curve west- 
wards towards the close. Arnsburg, about eight miles south-east of 
Giessen, is evidently an interesting place, and would probably repay 
one for a visit, but I have not yet met with any detailed description 
of it. From Arnsburg the limes continues its course to the west- 
north-west till it passes Griiningen, around which place it makes a 
sharp turn to the south-west, passes between Butzbach and Pohlgons, 
and at length, about five miles west of Friedberg, emerges from 
the territory of Hesse, or rather continues for about four miles to 
be itself the boundary wall between Hesse-Darmstadt and Nassau. 
This last part of its course, from Arnsburg to the point where it 
first touches Nassau territory, is about twenty-four miles. I am 
not able to say anything about the position of the camps beyond 

In this latter portion there would appear from the maps to be a good 
deal of the Wall as well preserved as we shall find it in Nassau ; but in the 
earlier portion, as already remarked, there have to be large demands 
made on the antiquarian imagination to see any wall whatsoever. 
The bit between the Kinzig and the Nidder, from Altenburg to Alten- 
stadt, seems to be the least obliterated of any, and here (between 
Markobel and Altenstadt; we meet with the curious name with which 
we are already familiar, the Schweinyralen. Dr. Duncker gives (p. 46) 
some really affecting details of the quite recent destruction of parts of 
the Wall, pieces which Arnd says that he saw ten feet high being carted 
away while Duncker was writing, and a fine piece of the Pfaffendamm 
having been removed in 1871. "Thus," he says, "are the traces of 
the limes vanishing with greater rapidity from year to year, and there- 
fore we plead with all the more confidence for an early, adequate and 
scientific exploration before the last trace of the Wall shall have been 
annihilated." Fortunately one part of this scientific exploration does 
not depend on the forbearance of the German bauer. The very 
elaborate maps and registers of property (Flurkarten) preserve for us 
in many instances the names which particular fields have borne for 
centuries, and these names where the property was situated close to 
the Wall have very frequently some word like Pfahl, or Pol, or Sau, or 


Schwein, or Graben, or some similar tell-tale epithet in their com- 
position. Duncker pleads for a more thorough and systematic search 
of these registers than has yet been made. 

The whole of this portion, however, will probably be set in a new 
and far clearer light when Col. von Cohausen, of Wiesbaden, shall have 
published his great work on the Pfahlgraben, and in the mean time 
the information here recorded must be looked upon as only of a pro- 
visional character. 

As I said at the beginning of this section there is a controversy 
connected with it upon which as yet we have not entered. The line 
of limes hitherto described is in general accepted by all archaeologists. 
But the question is raised *' Was there not also another line stretching 
away some twenty miles or so to the east of that which we have traced, 
leaving it near Arnsburg, and after a zig-zag course of some eighty or 
ninety miles, rejoining it between Miltenburg and Freudenberg, near 
the bottom of the V, in the river Main, which was before described ?" 
If this be the course of the barrier, or of an outwork of the barrier 
erected by Rome, it must have traversed chiefly the hilly country of the 
Vogelswald and the wild forest-land of the Spessart, passing near to 
the towns of Schotten, Birstein, Wirtheim, and Bieber, and crossing 
the present course of the Maintz and Wurzburg Railway about ten 
miles east of Aschaflfenburg. 

There seem to have been some writers in the 17th and 18th 
centuries 1 who, on various grounds, chiefly conjectural, drew the 
coarse of the limes in a direction similar to that above described. 
But when attention was again directed to the question about the middle 
of this century, explorers who went to examine the line of the supposed 
Wall on the spot, returned saying that they could find no trace of 
Roman works in either Vogelswald or Spessart, the very places where, 
by all analogy, from the uncultivated state of the soil, they should have 
existed in the greatest perfection. 2 Then arose Karl Arnd, architect, of 
Hanau, and said that the Wall should be found. An upright and 

'Winkelmann (Beschreibung von Hessen), 1697: P. Fuchs (Geschichte von 
Mainz), 1771: Wenk (Hessische Landesgeschichte), 1789. 

2 This was the report of Dr. Dieffenbach, of Frtedberg (Schwartz's Beitrage zur 
Geschichte des nassauischen Alterthumsvereins, p. 315). 


enthusiastic man, but one who tried too many things, and whose work 
seems to have suffered from his dilettante character, he is thus painted 
to us by the not very friendly but apparently judicial hand of Dr. 

"The unmistakeable zeal with which, at some cost to himself, he 
devoted himself to the exploration of the district of the limes, would 
certainly have led him to more accurate results if he had been able to 
avail himself of the assistance of some man of a good archaeological 
and historical education. For Arnd in the domain of history was 
absolutely self-taught (< vollkoinmen Autodidakt'), as is clearly shown 
by the representation of his intellectual career contained in his 
Autobiography {Karl Arnd's Leben, von ihm selbst beschrieben: 
Frankf. 1869], and is, besides, sufficiently shown by divers passages in 
his historical works. The bare mention of his numerous writings, 
touching on the most various spheres of human knowledge, political 
economy, the theory of taxation, (external and internal), history, 
statistics, philosophy, and so forth, must inevitably suggest to the 
reader, before he knows anything of their contents, that this man was 
either a genius of the highest order, or else with something of a busy- 
body's interest ['mit dem Interesse einesPolyhistors'], mixed himself 
up dilettante-fashion with many departments of thought that were not 
properly his own." 

This was the man who, when the Limes-Cormms&ion was appointed 
in 1852, under the excellent but slowly-moving Habel, took the north- 
eastern part of the limes for his province, and determined that at 
whatever cost of time and money the line of the Wall through the 
Yogelswald and the Spessart should be found. And he has accordingly 
found a series of earthworks, not unlike the Pfahlgraben, with long 
intervals of obliteration between them, which may, by only a moderate 
exercise of imagination be combined into a system. The course of this 
Probus- Wall, as Arnd calls it, for a reason hereafter to be explained, is 
indicated by a dotted line on the annexed map, and its general 
direction has already been indicated. Arnd himself says of one portion 
near Laubach, which ends in a wall 2,000 feet long, with two em- 
bankments 8 feet high, and three fosses, in all 100 feet broad, "no 
impartial person who examines this structure in its whole extent can 
doubt its Roman origin. Its length of four miles, and its colossal 


profile, do not allow of any other origin being attributed to it." 
Again near Birstein, " decending the water-shed on its southern side, 
we reach the beech forest of Sotzbach, here we find a very well pre- 
served piece of the limes a mile and a half long. It consists of three 
embankments five feet high, with four fosses, and a collective breadth 
of 120 feet. Here too we must ask for the especial attention of the 
antiquary. The work is on open ground and can be taken in at a 
glance, and no one can long remain in doubt as to its nature and origin. 
This bit of Wall is very easily accessible, being intersected by the 
high way from Birstein to Steinau." When he gets into the Spessart 
woods he admits that his examination is less thorough than in some 
earlier parts of his course, notably between Schotten and Gedern, but 
here, also, he directs our especial attention to some remains near 
Echterspfahl, a ranger's house about ten miles south-east of Aschaffen- 
burg (apparently on the high road from the latter place to Wiirzburg) : 
"On the right side of the road, and close to it, in the fir planta- 
tion, are three embankments five feet high, for a length of about 
100 feet, with a single fosse on the northern side." A little further 
on, "at the guide-post to Wintersbach and Hainbuchenthal, the hollow 
way is in the middle of what was once the limes, and the traces of 
it are still visible as far as the forest-chapel, a mile and a half above 
Krausenbach. These traces show themselves at first on the left of the 
road in the grass, as a triple embankment with accompanying fosses. 
Further on the embankments are found in a thick forest, and a little 
further on still they appear on the right side of the road. To these 
two bits I direct the especial attention of all who are interested in the 
subject. It is true that they do not belong to the most magnificent 
and the best preserved portions, but by their prolongation for a mile 
and a half, they must be considered as affording the clearest proof that 
the entire Roman Wall had its continuation even through the Spessart." 
In all, forty-eight bits of supposed Roman embankment are fitted 
into the " Arndsches System." Detailed criticism is obviously impos- 
sible in such a paper as the present; in fact, not even his antagonist, 
Duncker, has attempted it. And when we remember that this alleged 
portion of the limes was at least eighty miles long, seven miles 
longer, that is to say, than the whole course of our Barrier from 
Wallsend to Bowness, we see that some gratitude is due to Carl Arnd 


for courageously undertaking in the evening of his days so heavy 
a piece of work as the investigation of the whole of it, and that 
he deserves respectful mention, whether we agree with his results 
or not. 

It must, however, be confessed that the most trustworthy archaeo- 
logists among those who have examined the subject personally entirely 
dissent from Arnd's conclusions, and have, in fact, almost ceased to 
consider them worth discussion. As Herr Conrady says, in the letter 
from which I have previously quoted, "Arnd has, notwithstanding all 
his merits, evidently, with insufficient critical perception, muddled up 
mediaeval fortifications with the Roman limes, and his hypothesis as 
to the so-called Probus-Wall, which he asserts to have been drawn 
through the wild Spessart country to the Main, proves to be altogether 
untenable. It yields more and more to the true view that from Gross 
Krotzenburg to Miltenberg the River Main, which along this part 
keeps substantially the same north-east and south-west direction that 
the limes has hitherto pursued, takes the place of the boundary-wall. 
. . . . With the downfall of the supposed passage of the Main by 
the Wall at Freudenberg, which has no existence in fact, falls utterly 
away all probability of a continuation of the limes through the inhos- 
pitable Spessart, which to this day has never been able to produce any 
remains of Roman occupation." 

This is the one great, and, in the opinion of most enquirers, fatal 
objection to Arnd's views. Not only in the Spessart, but in all the 
broad belt of territory between what he calls the first and second 
Roman lines (between the full and the dotted lines on the map), not a 
trace apparently of Roman occupation has been discovered, except a few 
doubtful remains at Aschaffenburg, which is itself almost close to the 
" first line." Just compare this state of things, and the entire absence 
of camps and mile-castles, with the rich harvest of inscriptions and 
coins, the clear evidence of supporting stations, along every other 
portion of the Wall. Pressed by this difficulty, which he is too honest 
not to admit, Arnd has developed a theory, the main support of which, 
I regret to say, is a paragraph in our usually accurate Gibbon. The 
historian of the " Decline and Fall," in a passage which I shall have to 
criticise at the end of this paper, attributes to the Emperor Probus the 
construction of a "stone wall of considerable height, strengthened by 


towers at convenient distances," and reaching from the Danube to 
the Rhine. There is really nothing in the imperial historians to justify 
this statement, nor have any inscriptions or monuments been found to 
give it the least degree of probability. And Probus, though a most 
brave and capable Emperor, one whose fame seems to rise higher the 
more this epoch is investigated, and one who thoroughly understood 
the military maxim that "the greatest victories are won with the 
spade," had certainly in his short reign (276-282), largely occupied 
as it was with wars in Gaul and Pannonia, no sufficient leisure for 
the execution of such an immense work as Gibbon here attributes 
to him. 

Arnd, however, who was himself very superficially acquainted with 
the course of events under the Empire, 1 seized upon this paragraph in 
Gibbon to confirm from it his own discoveries. " True," he says, " the 
line of Hadrian, the line which formed the boundary of the Empire 
for a century and a half, was that which you suppose ; but Probus's 
Wall, the Wall which reached from the Danube to the Ehine, came 
through this wild Spessart country by the line which I have traced. 
It was soon lost again, soon overleaped by the invading Alemanni ; 
and that is the reason why no Roman remains are found upon it, but 
it was a Roman limes" 

To this Dr. Duncker replies 

(1.) By showing Arnd's utter want of preparation for deciding a 
delicate point like this in the history of the third cen- 

(2.) By proving, what every careful enquirer admits, the base- 
less character of Gibbon's Probus theory ; 
(3.) By analysing Arnd's conclusions as to the course of the 
true limes, between the Kinzig and the Nidder, and 
convicting him even there of inability to distinguish 
between that which is mediaeval and that which is 
Roman in character. 

1 This is abundantly shown by his section. " Die Romer in der unteren Main- 
gegend," which is full of errors. He muddles up Septimius Severus and Alexander 
Severus ; and makes the latter, who was never in Britain, and who was killed in 235, 
"return from Britain in 236." He calls Claudius II. Aureliaw, and apparently 
confounds him with the emperor of that name; puts his accession at Cologne 
instead of in Italy; mis -dates the accession of Probus, and so on in many other 


The only confutation which seems still to be required is that which 
would be furnished by an actual visit to the Spessart and the Vogels- 
wald in order to see Arnd's alleged Roman "Wall, and decide its 
character on the spot. There seems an exceedingly strong probability 
that he has mistaken some earthworks reared in the Middle Ages, 
possibly as boundaries between neighbouring Gemarkungen, for the 
work of the spade of the Roman legionary. Still Arnd says that he 
has seen something, and till his opponents have examined that which 
he has seen it seems hardly consistent with the spirit of the inductive 
philosophy to condemn his theory on purely a priori grounds, solid 
as these grounds certainly seem to be. 


We now come to the last and most interesting portion of the 
limes, that which traverses the territory till lately known as the Duchy 
of Nassau, and which finally abuts upon the Rhine in the provinces 
of Rhenish Prussia. 

Here the vallum, though still destitute of anything like hewn 
stones, and composed only of earth or rubble stones, attains a greater 
elevation than in the other parts of its course. I myself have fre- 
quently seen it at a height of 8 and sometimes of 10 feet, 30 feet wide, 
and with a boldly marked fosse on either side. In this region it is 
generally spoken of as the Pfahlgraben, the Pfahl, or the Pot, some- 
times as the Romergraben, never as the Teufelsmauer . 

Without going at length here into the question of who were the 
builders of the Wall, it may be said that many indications point to 
this as the earliest portion of the limes. Possibly the brother and 
nephew of Tiberius, Drusus and Germanicus, who undoubtedly built 
and restored camps in this part of Germany, may also have ordered 
their legions to erect the vallum. 

Whoever may have been the builders of the Wall, there can be no 
doubt of their intention, which was to seize the great natural buttress 
of the Taunus range of hills, and turn them into a barrier for the 
Transrhenane subjects of Rome against her barbarian foes. These 
subjects of the Empire were the Mattiaci ; her enemies upon this part 
of the frontier were the Chatti, the germ of that which became in the 
third century the powerful Alemannic confederacy. The character of 


the cultured and peaceful Mattiaci is sketched by Tacitus in the 29th 
chapter of the " Germania ;" that of their harsh and cruel but dis- 
ciplined foes, the Chatti, in the 30th and 31st chapters of the same 

The country abounds in mineral springs, sometimes of a high 
temperature. The hot springs of Wiesbaden (Aquae Mattiacae) are 
mentioned by Pliny; and probably some of the other famous " Quellen," 
at Ems, at Elomburg, at Selters, may have been known to the Eomans, 
whose high appreciation of the bath both for health and for luxury 
need not be enlarged upon. Close to the river Rhine nestles the 
sunny Rheingau, that fertile district into which the Romans them- 
selves probably introduced the culture of the vine. Cold and com- 
paratively barren uplands, available, however, for the cultivation of 
wheat, fill the middle of the province. Behind rise the ranges of the 
Taunus 1 and Rheingau Gebirge, mountains for the most part higher 
than Cheviot, but lower than Helvellyn, with rounded forms covered 
now with endless forests of beech, perhaps interspersed with oak forests 
in the days of the Romans. 2 Snow falls early in these regions and 
lies late. The Roman soldiers, except such as were drawn from yet 
more northerly regions, like the Brittones Curvedenses at Heddern- 
heim, would need much acclimatising before they became used to the 
severity of a winter " in Tauno" 

Our chief guides through the archseology of this interesting district 
are Von Cohausen and Rossel. Colonel von Cohausen, a retired officer 
of the Prussian army, is conservator of the very interesting and 
admirably arranged Museum of Antiquities at Wiesbaden. He has 
thus succeeded to the post once occupied by Archivar Habel, whose 
work he has also taken up in connection with the excavations at the 
Saalburg. In this work he has been ably assisted by Herr Jacobi, an 

1 Taunus is the classical literary name for these hills, and was only brought into 
common use by the influence of German savants during last century. This range 
used to be called simply " die Hohe," a name which still survives in that of " Horn- 
burg an der Hohe." 

2 That is, if we adopt Max Muller's theory (Lectures on the Science of 
Language, ii., 222), that throughout these lands the fir has given place to the oak, 
and that again to the beech. A surviving oak grove near Schwalbach is spoken 
of with great respect, and travellers are taken to see it as one of the antiquities of 
the place. 


architect of Homburg, residing close to the scene of operations. 
These gentlemen have jointly published a little pamphlet on " Das 
Romercastell Saalburg" (Homburg, 1878), which is the precursor of 
a more important monograph on the same subject, now, I believe, in 
the press. Colonel von Cohausen, who is the admitted authority on 
all questions relating to the Taunus section of the limes, and has 
written much on archaeological subjects in scientific periodicals, 1 has 
collected materials for a complete treatise on the Pfahlgraben from the 
Main to the Rhine, but there is some delay for want of an enterprising 
publisher. In England a learned society would soon be found to 
honour itself by undertaking such a work. Is it too much to hope 
that the Prussian Government, to whose initiative we owe the publica- 
tion of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, may also enable Yon 
Cohausen to bring before the world the result of the researches of a 
lifetime into these early and deeply interesting pages of German 
history ? 

Failing Von Cohausen's monograph, we must resort to the help 
afforded by the late Dr. Eossell, Keeper of the Records of Nassau. His 
book ("Die Romische Grenzwalle im Taunus," Strassburg, 1872) is 
dry, and has suffered a little from his not having lived to put the last 
touches to it himself; but it is well furnished with maps and diagrams; 
and if the reader brings a little enthusiasm to the perusal, he will find 
it not altogether unenjoyable. 

There are six well-ascertained camps of considerable size along the 
fifty miles or so of vallum which intervene between the Darmstadt- 
Nassau frontier and the valley of the Rhine (near Neuwied). Pro- 
bably there were others, the traces of which have disappeared, as a 
large proportion of those which are preserved are in the hilly country 
of the Taunus. The following are the names and areas of these camps 
in their order from east to west. The names, it will be observed, are 
all modern German, a fact which is easily explained when we remember 
that we have not here the invaluable assistance of the Notitia to tell 
us how the mouldering fortifications of to-day once figured in the 
Army List of the Roman Empire : 

1 One of Von Cohausen's special subjects is the determination of the points 
at which Caesar crossed the Rhine. His mastery of this question caused Napoleon 
III. to invite his co-operation in the Imperial Vie de Cesar. 






CL g 

!^..,..^:.^.^..: ,:.:; : :.:.: ..:,-...,. :: ..r,,-. J,:^'. > ' .^.iiUliilHiHiiUli 


< X 
\- uj 
a: a 



















1 i illlllll! 





1. Capersburg 




= 1-6348 

2. Saalburg . . . 




= 3-2266 

3. Feldberg ... 




= -6624 

4 Zuffrnantel 




= 1-8419 

6. Holzhausen 




= 1-4552 

6. Niederbieber 




= 5-2272 

Arranging these in order of size, reducing the measurements to 
acres, and placing side by side with them some English camps, for the 
purpose of comparison, we get the following results : 

Acres. Acres. 

1. Niederbieber ... 12'89 

2.-Saalburg 7'98 

a Amboglanna ... ... 5*57 

b Cilurnmn 5"26 

c Condercum 5'13 

d Borcovicus ... ... 5'08 

e Hunnum ... ... 4'43 

3. Zugmantel 4'54 

4. Capersburg 4'04 

/ Vindobala 372 

5. Holzhausen 3'58 

g Procolitia 3'48 

h Magna 300 

i Aesica 2'95 

6. Feldberg T53 

Of these camps on the Taunus I visited four, Saalburg, Feldberg, 
Zugmantel, and Holzhausen. Incomparably the most interesting and 
the best preserved is the SAALBURG, and it is the only one which I 
shall describe with any detail. 

This camp, identified almost beyond doubt with the Artaunum of 
the Romans, is built upon a sort of saddle in the Taunus range, having 
higher hills both to east and west of it, and is evidently meant to com- 
mand this passage over the mountains. Looking southwards towards 
the valley of the Main we see from it the modem cities of Frankfurt 
and Homburg. In the same direction the Roman soldier would see 
the settlement of Novus Vicus, now called Heddernheim. Northwards 
the Pfahlgraben, running a little below the crest of the Taunus moun- 
tains, passes about half-a-mile outside the camp. It is here in very 
fine proportions, 8 to 10 feet high, and continues on this scale for 
several miles in either direction. 


One of the most striking features of the camp is the large extent of 
buildings to the south of it, testifying to the existence in Roman times 
of a large civil, probably trading, population clustered round it. The 
road from Novus Vicus passed through a most extensive cemetery. 
Thousands of graves lie round us here on either side, some of which 
have been recently opened these are marked by a small stone stuck 
upright but the greater part of which are still untouched. All bear 
witness to the practice of cremation, not sepulture. They are about 18 
inches square, and contain generally two cinerary urns, a bone or two, 
an unguent-flask, and some fragments of pottery. No inscriptions, I 
think, have yet been found in any of the graves; and indeed the whole 
settlement of the Saalburg has been disappointingly bare of epigraphic 
treasures, a peculiarity which is attributed to the hard, unworkable 
character of the stone (schwarzit) which is found in the neighbourhood. 

On a little hillock below the cemetery is a plot of ground which, 
from the quantity of ashes there discovered, is supposed to have been 
formerly the place of cremation. 

Still mounting by the Roman road (which came nearly straight 
from Novus Vicus) we come to the remains of extensive buildings called 
by the German antiquaries " Die Biirgerliche Niederlassung," or as we 
should say, " the Civil Quarter." Those on the right are poor and 
mean, mere rubble-walling, and that badly done. These are supposed 
to be the cellars of the Cannabce, or suttlers' cottages. On the left are 
hypocausts, well-built cellars, and the remains of a villa, 120 feet by 70, 
in which Oaracalla may have banqueted after a battle with the 

Reaching the camp itself we find the Porta Decumana, built of re- 
markably fine proportions. It is a double gateway 26-^ feet wide, with 
the remains of a pedestal (in front of the central pier) upon which a 
statue was probably placed. Except for this pedestal it is precisely like 
one of our best gateways at Borcovicus or Cilurnum. I saw, however, 
no traces of the walling up of either of the two well-preserved guard- 
chambers, and I looked in vain for the stone seats, worn smooth by 
generations of Roman soldiers sitting upon them, which are so note- 
worthy in those two Northumbrian camps. 

I may state that the walls, as now laid bare by the excavations, are 
generally about four or five feet above the ground. The whole camp 








cr o 

O z 

0. ^ 






is in an excellent state of preservation ; no cattle or sheep are allowed 
to pasture there ; and the walls have been most carefully covered with 
sods of turf, a slight hollow being- made in the stones of the topmost 
course, in order to retain sufficient moisture to keep the turf fresh and 
green. The whole place is like a well-preserved museum in the open 

Colonel von Cohausen has carefully studied the camp according to 
the light derived from the treatise of Hyginus, " De Munitionibus Cas- 
trorum" and has named the parts of it according to the terms used in 
that work. Much of course must always be conjectural in the recon- 
struction of a Roman camp, but I confess it seems to me that Hyginus, 
who probably wrote under the Emperor Trajan, and whose book is ex- 
tremely minute and painstaking, is a safer guide to the camps of the 
empire than Polybius, and I greatly desire that one or two of our 
Northumbrian camps could be carefully and scientifically examined to 
see if they do not correspond to his instructions. 

In the Retentura, the first third of the camp on Hyginian principles, 
the most noteworthy building is one divided into a number of small 
compartments (on our right hand as we go through the camp), in the 
most northerly of which were found some bones of animals. This is 
believed to have been the magazine of provisions, or in other words the 
larder. Two hypocausts and one well are also to be found in the 

The Via Principalis l ends of course in the two usual gates, Dextra 
and Sinistra, each of which has double guard-chambers, and is 12 feet 
in width. The most noticeable feature about it is the remains of a 
large building about 130 feet long by 40 feet broad, which seems to 
have stretched across the Via Principalis, abutting on the Praetorium. 
It did not absolutely close the Via Principalis, since there is a wide gate 

1 1 follow my German authorities in calling this the Via Principalis. At the same 
time I confess that Rossel seems to me to be right in contending that, according to 
the treatise of Hyginus, we ought to look for the Via Quintana here, and for the 
Principalis beyond the Prsetorium. I believe there is nothing in the aspect of the 
camp to support his suggestion that there were once at the Saalburg two gates in 
the position, where on such a hypothesis we should look for the Porta Dextra and 
Sinistra Principalis. But the fact that both at Amboglanna and Cilurnum there 
are two gates in each side wall of the camp certainly increases the probability of 
Kossel's suggestion. This seems to be further confirmed by Mabel's discovery at 
Heddernheim of an inscription indicating the existence of a. Forum quintanum and 
Platea quintana in the Roman Camp of Novus Vicus (Schwartz, " Beitrage," etc., 
p. 230. 


at each end of it, which, when opened, would leave a thoroughfare, 
though a somewhat restricted one ; still it is singular to find a building 
of any kind just in this position. I was inclined to look for the indi- 
cations of a Forum, but von Cohausen, after careful examination, has 
come to the conclusion that this is probably a drill-shed (Exercierhaus) 
such as Vegetius recommends the erection of, in order that the soldiers 
might have the opportunity of practising the hurling of the pilum 
under cover when bad weather prevented them from doing so outside 
the camp. 1 As the pilum could only be hurled with accuracy for a space 
of about 60 feet, Yon Cohausen supposes that two batches of soldiers 
would be stationed back to back in the " Exercierhaus," and would 
throw their missiles against the targets placed at the two opposite ends 
of the house, the great gates opening in the Via Principals being of 
course closed. 

The Prsetorium itself shows many of the arrangements of a Eoman 
house, such as we see at Pompeii. The square capacious Atrium, 
measuring 72 feet each way, has in it two wells, and in the north-east 
corner contained a chapel (sacellum), in which were probably erected 
the statues of the Emperor and of the Genius Loci. Four small cubicula 
are arranged along the left, a long narrow room, perhaps a dining-room, 
on the right. Passing through the atrium we come to a spacious court, 
the Peristyle, lined with a double row of pillars, and measuring 96 feet 
long by 30 broad. Two slabs of sandstone were found near the centre 
of this hall; near them some folds of drapery, a palm-branch, and a 
finger, which had apparently once belonged to a statue of Victory, half 
as large again as life. 

On the right-hand side of the Peristyle were some chambers warmed 
by hypocausts; beyond it, and with its back to the middle portion of it, 
was the Oecus (about 26 feet by 20, but not an exact square). This 
was probably the loftiest part of the whole Prastorium, and may have 
been provided with a balcony from which the general could address his 
troops or witness the sports in the amphitheatre, of which some slight 
indications remain in that part of the Prsetentura, which is immediately 
in front of the Oecus. 

1 " Missibilia quoque vel plumbatas jugi perpetuoque exercitio dirigere coge- 
bantur, usque adeo ut tempore hieinis de tegulis vel scindulis, quae si deessent, 
certe de cannis. ulva vel culmo et porticus tegereutur ad equites et quaedam velut 
basilicae ad pedites, in quibus tempestate vel ventis acre turbato sub tecto armis 
erudiebatur exercitus." (Vegetius, Epitoma II. 23.) 


The Prcetentura (the last section of the cainp) has scarcely yet been 
touched by the excavations, and is still, for the most part, covered with 
a tangle of low shrubs and brushwood. There are, however, the re- 
mains apparently of a hot and cold bath in the furthest corner on the 
right-hand; and traces of a latrina, and of a drain leading away from it, 
are also visible close to the inner side of the wall of the camp. 

The ramparts of the camp were battlemented, there being a space 
of some eight feet between each battlement, and the battlements them- 
selves being rather more than three feet broad by five feet high, let 
into a breastwork two feet in height. The whole battlement, from top 
to bottom, would thus afford ample protection to the legionary soldier, 
retreating behind it after he had discharged his javelin. 

Finally, the Porta Pretoria, by which we emerge from the camp, is 
much narrower than the Decumana, being only 9J feet wide as com- 
pared with the 26-J feet of the latter. The mason- work, particularly of 
the exterior face, seemed to me very inferior to that of the other gates, 
a difference perhaps due to its destruction and hasty restoration. 

All the corners of the camp are rounded off precisely like those per 
lineam Valli, in Northumberland. Of inscriptions, as was before said, the 
harvest at the Saalburg has not been plentiful. Of two found in the 
Peristyle one is assigned conjecturally to the reign of Hadrian, and 
another clearly records a dedication to Antoninus Pius. Two lines 
denote the reign of Septimius Severus. His son, whom we call Caracalla, 
has left a longer memorial. In the White Tower of the Palace at Hom- 
burg (now occasionally used as a summer residence by the Crown Prince 
of Germany) appears the following inscription built into one of the 
walls : 

. . . . P CAES M . . . 

ANTON fNO PIO . . . 









This, which is one of the usual expressions of loyalty from the Anto- 
ninian Cohort to the Emperor, bears a date corresponding to our A.D. 
213. 1 

In the other inscriptions they are eleven in all which have been 
discovered at the Saalburg, there are no features of especial interest ex- 
cept that in one 

I - o - M 


. . . . M 

we have the record of a vow paid to Jupiter Dolichenus, that mys- 
terious oriental divinity whose worship perhaps akin to the Mithraic 
religion, with which it was contemporary overspread the Roman world 
in the second and third cerituries, 2 and to whom we have inscriptions 
at Benwell, Great Chesters, Bewcastle, and elsewhere. 

Another inscription records the payment of a vow to Fortuna by the 
Praefect of the Second Rhsetian Cohort ; and a third the dedicatioii of 
a votive altar, " in honorem domus divinge," by the Optio (Adjutant) 
Primius Auso. It is not stated of what " ala" or " cohors" Auso was 
adjutant. He has, however, been somewhat parsimonious in his offer- 
ings to the honour of the Imperial House, seeing that his inscription 
is carved over the half-effaced letters which record the dedication of the 
same votive altar " in honorem domus divinae" by a certain centurion, 
Sattonius, whose labours Auso has calmly appropriated. "We have thus 
here a real palimpsest in stone. 

Though poor in statues and inscriptions the Museum at Homburg, 
in which the spoils of the Saalburg are deposited, is rich in other objects 
of interest, tiles (with the stamps of the 8th and 22nd Legions, the 4th 
Vindelician, and 2nd Rhaetian Cohorts), jet ornaments from Whitby, 
keys in great number and variety of form, glass vessels, javelin heads, 
pens, inkstands, fibulae, and so forth, all of which are better seen than 

1 We must no doubt read Cos. iiii. and the 16th year of the Tribunician power 
which corresponds to A.D. 213. 

2 Marquardt, Romische Staatsverwaltung III 82. 


Leaving the camp we walk along the ridge of the hills, taking the 
Pfahlgraben here in excellent preservation for our guide, and come 
in about half-an-hour to three small circular mounds just upon the line 
of the Wall. There are several such clusters of earthworks along this 
part of the Pfahlgraben, but only in the hill-country. Sometimes there 
are two of them, sometimes three, sometimes four, always, however, in 
close proximity to the "Wall. One of this cluster has been examined by 
Herr Jacobi and closed up again, nothing of great interest having been 
found inside. Some still show a trace of the quadrangular form, but 
others, if I am not mistaken, not only are but always have been circular. 
There can be no doubt that they were once watch-towers or sentry-boxes 
of some kind, but it is equally clear that they are not precisely like either 
our " turrets" or " mile-castles." I invite the particular attention of 
Northumbrian antiquaries to these remains, unlike, as I suppose, to 
anything that is to be found on our line of Wall, but certainly resembling 
Maier's description of the Zelte which he met with in Bavaria, except 
that those are apparently always single. 

Still keeping along by the easily-traced Pfahlgraben, the pedestrian 
arrives after about two hours' walk at a point of the ridge where he 
will find a guide-post (or rather many guide-posts) erected by the public- 
spirited " Taunus Club," pointing his upward path to the summit of 
the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the whole Taunus range. He 
will do well to follow their friendly indications, though doing so involves 
a digression of an hour or so from the Pfahlgraben. On the summit 
of the Feldberg stands an inn with a tower beside it from which a mag- 
nificent view is obtained, first over the Alt-Konig, the nearest rival to 
the Feldberg among the Taunus summits, which is crowned by a very 
fine pre-Roman line of fortifications, and over the other lower hills 
of the range. Then you see Eeifenberg, Konigstein, Falkenstein, 
picturesquely perched upon the lower slopes, and each one boasting its 
ruined feudal tower. In the middle distance Homburg, Frankfurt, the 
silvery Main, the silvery Rhine. Further off the " sea-like plain" of 
the Rhein-gau; and dim in the south the picturesque outline of Mount 
Melibocus and the hills of the Odenwald. On the summit of the 
Feldberg itself, about 100 yards from the hotel, is an enormous mass 
of grauwacke rocks, known as " Brunechildis Bette," from some legend 
of the Queen of Austrasia having once take refuge there from her pur- 


suers. These rocks are very conspicuous from afar, a sort of wart upon 
the face of the Feldberg, and make it easy to identify that mountain, 
which is itself a noble land-mark for all visitors to the Pfahlgraben. 

Descending the sides of the Feldberg we come again to the Wall, 
and observe that here, as in some other places where the Eomans have 
not chosen to carry the line of fortification actually over the highest 
points of a mountain range, they have contrived that at least such 
highest point shall be on their side of the limes, so as to enable them 
to command it from above. 

We come down then by steep forest paths upon the camp of the 
Feldberg. This, as will be seen from the list given on page 133, is the 
smallest of all the Taunus camps. The walls are easily traceable. It 
is almost an exact square, with the usual rounded corners. There is 
one well-marked rectangular fortification inside, lying west of the 
central line, and with a gateway in the north wall apparently opening 
towards it. This camp is just inside the forest. You step out to the 
green and somewhat marshy meadow across which the Pfahlgraben 
runs, and before you reach that embankment, perhaps 30 yards north 
of the camp, you come to the so-called Heidenkirche, a small collection 
of mounds, the ground-plan of which looks remarkably like that of a 
church, and almost justifies the curious name (Heathens' -church) which 
it has borne from time immemorial. Dr. Rossel calls it an outwork 
of the camp ; Colonel von Cohausen believes it to have been a villa. 
This interesting little edifice has been rather harshly treated by archaeo- 
logists. In 1846, partly by gift and partly by purchase, it became the 
property of the Antiquarian Society of Nassau. Several hypocausts were 
then visible, and the place was in a very fair state of preservation. The 
Society excavated for inscribed stones, and the peasants rummaged for 
building material, and between them they have made the Heiden- 
kirche the mere heap of rubbish which the traveller now finds it. 
And what makes the destruction more melancholy is that no proper 
record of the excavations appears to have been published in the Tran- 
sactions of the Nassau Antiquarian Society, and that a few tiles in the 
Museum at Wiesbaden seem to be the only and insufficient justification 
for all this ruin. The tiles bear the stamps of the 22nd Legion, the 
4th Cohort of Vindelici, and a "Numerus" of soldiers from Catthara, 
in Dalmatia. 


Shortly after passing Feldberg the Wall leaves the mountains and 
descends into the high uplands, which constitute the greater part of 
the territory of Nassau. From our Northumbrian experience we know 
what to expect from this transition, and, in fact, the Pfahlgraben hence- 
forward for the most part disappears before the plough. Two small 
"manipular" camps (G-lashutten and Triangel), however, have been 
preserved, and when the Wall re-enters the forests it again becomes 
easily traceable. 

Idstein, which we are now approaching, is a place that the anti- 
quarian tourist will find worth a visit. It is more accessible than 
many of the places which I have mentioned, being only about an hour 
from Wiesbaden, on the Limburg Railway. A picturesque little town 
it is, finely situated in a curving valley, and dominated, when I saw it, 
by a somewhat imposing castle. This castle, which is situated on the 
site of one in which Kaiser Adolf, of Nassau, was born, was till lately 
devoted to the storage of the voluminous archives of the little Duchy. 
Here the late "Archivar" Rossel one of our guides to the Wall lived 
and laboured. Here, before him, toiled the industrious, but perhaps 
somewhat superficial, Friedemann, leader of the " active" party in the 
Antiquarian Society of Nassau, the story of whose wars against Dictator 
Habel, crowned eventually by victory, is told with much spirit by Dr. 
Schwartz in the " Beitrdge zur Geschichte des nassauischen Alter- 
thwnsvereins" which I have already quoted. Now, however, the 
archives of the little State itself an independent State no longer, 
but annexed to Prussia have been carted away to Wiesbaden, and 
the castle, stately but condemned as unsafe, is about to be demolished. 
It was a curious sensation to wander through the empty rooms of the 
deserted fortress (ornamented everywhere with the red lion of Nassau 
protruding an unsightly tongue), to look upon the countless cup- 
boards and pigeon-holes in which all the diplomatic and bureaucratic 
lumber of one little German State had been stored away, and to have 
to check a slight feeling of alarm lest the whole building might come 
tumbling about our ears while we surveyed it. 

The interest, however, of the neighbourhood of Idstein for a 
student of the limes lies in the fact that here, for some reason which 
is not very clearly explained, but which is probably connected with 
the fact that we are cutting across a valley and a river, and are near 


to the important settlement of Aquae Mattiacae (Wiesbaden), we find 
traces of a "reduplication of the "Wall" (Verdoppelung des Pfahl, as it 
is called by the Germans). A second line of Wall leaves the first 
about ten miles south-east of Idstein, runs nearly parallel to it on the 
southern side at a distance of three or four miles, and eventually 
rejoins it about three miles to the sou'h-west of that place. Dr. 
Rossel, who, as before stated, lived for some time at Idstein, has 
given such elaborate descriptions and maps of this part of the Wall, 
that a stranger, with his book in hand, would not find it difficult to 
trace this curious offshoot of the Pfahlgraben, which might possibly 
illustrate the connection of our Vallum with the Murus. 

A drive over a fine undulating country, well wooded and affording 
extensive views, leads us to the little village of Eschenhahn. There 
we quit the chaussee, and enter upon a good sandy cross-road. We are 
now in the forest, and once more the Pfahlgraben is easily discoverable, 
I think, about one hundred yards from the road. About an hour or 
an hour and a half after leaving Idstein we come to the cross-roads 
near which is situated the camp of Zugmantel, 1 formerly called Die 
Alte Burg (the old castle). All that is now to be seen of this camp is 
the quadrangular embankment (rounded, of course, at the corners) 
which once enclosed it. Some of the gateways are very clearly indi- 
cated by depressions in the mound, the northern one, if I remember 
rightly, particularly so ; and the height of the embankment above the 
bottom of the fosse is still in some places considerable, amounting at 
the south-east corner to as much as 11 feet. But the place, though 
still interesting, is rather a melancholy object to an antiquarian 
explorer, who learns that so recently as 1780 the walls, apparently 
faced with masonry, were still standing four feet high. It was then 
systematically pillaged of its stones, of which four hundred cartloads 
were carried away to mend the roads. An immense quantity of frag- 
ments of Samian ware, Roman coins (the types not recorded), and 
tiles, bearing the marks of the 22nd Legion and the 3rd Cohort of 
Treveri, were found at the time of this devastation. Three inscribed 
stones were also found, and these, which the spoilers had the grace to 
preserve, are now in the Museum at Wiesbaden. 

1 The " Militair Stabskarte" is more helpful here than RossePs map and indica- 
tions, which are both somewhat confused. 


One of these inscribed stones, on the pedestal of a mutilated statue, 
of which the feet only remain, runs thus i 1 "In h(onorem) d(omus) 
d(ivinae). G(enio) C(enturiae) Aviti (?). Gentiano et Basso Coss." 
The consulship of Gentianus and Bassus coincides with A.D. 211, the 
year of the accession of Caracalla. 

The second inscription, which is unfortunately without a date, 
records the completion of ninety-six paces of the "pedatura" of the 
Treveri, under the superintendence of their centurion, Crescentinus 
Respectus : - 


(? Some obliterated name.) 


The third, which bears a date, perhaps 2 corresponding with A.D. 
223, shows traces of the obliteration of the name of Alexander Severus 
after the murder of that Emperor by Maximin : 


...... x ... PIO 


(This part of the stone 
is broken away.) 


Thus expanded by Rossel : 3 

1 It is written in literae ligatae, which I do not attempt to reproduce. 

2 I speak thus doubtfully, because there appears to be little or no authority 
from the inscription itself for supplying AELIANO as the name of the second consul. 
Maximus and Aelianus were consuls in 223, Maximus and Paternus in 233, Maximus 
and Urbanus 234, all in the reign of Alexander Severus. 

3 I copy Kossel's expansion exactly, but there seems room for some number, say 
in., after " cos" in the fifth line; there must evidently have been some word after 
" Alexandrian*" in the seventh ; and in Rossel's own plate it seems as if there were 
a stop between " de" and " vota." 


" Imperatori Caesari (M. Aur. Severe Alexandro) pio felici Augusto 
pontifici maximo tribunicia potestate, consul!, patri patriae pro(consuli 
cohors) Treverorum (Alexandriana) eo devota murum a (solo restituit) 
Maximo et (Aeliano consulibus.)" 

Thus all our epigraphic evidence, slender as it is, points to the 
early part of the Third Century as a time when the legionaries were 
busily employed here, as at Oehringen. The only two coins found 
here, of which a record has been kept, belong, one to the reign of 
Alexander Severus, the other to that of Constantius, whether the First 
or Second of that name I do not know. 

Such then were the results of the great demolition of the camp a 
century ago. In 1853, the Historical Society of Nassau completed the 
ruin by a series of excavations, which do not appear to have brought 
anything to light but a quantity of iron nails, some spear-heads, the 
top of a vexillum, and three earthenware bowls, which were either 
unbroken or not past the possibility of mending. After the archaeo- 
logists had done their work the place was handed back to Nature. 
Trees were planted there; and now, in order to explore the camp, one 
has to work one's way through the thick tangle of that which one 
supposes to be " the forest primeval," but which really is of less than 
thirty years' growth. Most truly does Dr. Rossel say and his words 
rang in my ears like a refrain all the time that I was groping about 
the camp " Die stelle im Zusammenhang ist nicht mehr zu erkennen." 
(It is no longer possible to judge of the place as a whole.) 

One feature, however, interesting but perplexing, may still be dis- 
cerned. The long diameter of the camp (which measures 520 feet by 
370) is not, as usual, at right angles to the line of the Pfahlgraben, 
but parallel to it that is to say, taking the general direction of the 
Pfahlgraben as from east to west, the camp runs east and west also, 
instead of north and south. The Decuman and Praetorian Gates 
thus lose their accustomed significance. The gate apparently most 
exposed to the enemy is the Porta Principalis Dextra; that mosc 
sheltered from them, the Porta Principalis Sinistra. No doubt there is 
some explanation of this peculiarity, but I have not met with it. The 
Pfahlgraben, which is about 300 yards distant from the camp, seems 
to pursue the even tenour of its way towards the west, and there is no 


sudden curve towards the south to account for the camp being thus 
twisted found at right angles to its normal position. 1 

A little distance west of Zugmantel the Wall, after being reduced 
in height from 8 feet to 4, disappears, and for the next ten or twelve 
miles its course is a matter of antiquarian research rather than of 
ocular demonstration. 2 It is pretty clear, however, that it went in a 
south-west direction to the little village of Born, then west, crossing 
the valley of the Aar a little north of Adolfseck, by Lindschied to 
Kernel (where its traces are slightly more distinct), and so north-west 
towards Holzhausen-an-der-Heide. One interesting memorial of 
Roman tarriance may be noted in the valley of the Aar. About three 
miles north of Schwalbach, in a little wood belonging to ihe Franken- 
burger Miihle, is a rock 3 (known as the Justinus Fels) on which some 
Roman hand, probably that of a soldier or quarryman, has carved 
the name IANVARIVS IVSTINVS). The rock is much worn by the 
weather, and the cross-markings of the stone interfere in a rather 
puzzling way with the letters which they intersect. Still there can be 
no doubt about the wording of the inscription nor about its Roman 
character, and it naturally reminds a Northumbrian visitor of the simi- 
larly scrawled PETRA FLAVI CARANTINI at Fallowfield Fell. It is a 
curious coincidence that the names of the Consuls for the year 328 were 
Januarius and Justus. Probably, however, only a coincidence, as the 

1 There is a little round fortification (very hard to discover for the trees) imme- 
diately north of the camp, between it and the Pfahlgraben, but this, Von Cohausen 
thinks, is not Roman, but barbarian, probably erected by the Alemanni to guard 
them against the Franks. 

2 The antiquarian tourist will no doubt at this point, if not before, visit Wies- 
baden. Though the prosperity of the town has, I believe, destroyed the last 
vestiges of the Roman camp properly so called, the Heidenmauer, a piece of wall 
some 20 or 30 feet high, supposed to have been erected in haste as a defence against 
the Alemanni, and still showing the holes of the scaffolding poles, yet remains, a 
most interesting relic; and the admirably arranged museum (in the Wilhelmsstrasse) 
is a monument of the successful labours of Habel and von Cohausen. 

3 Frankenburger Miihle is about a mile north of Adolfseck, itself a favourite place 
of resort with visitors to Schwalbach. The rock is about a quarter of a mile on the 
Schwalbach side of the Frankenburger Miihle, but the best plan is to go on to the 
Mill and ask to be guided back to the Justinus Fels, which you reach by a little 
path through the woods. The rock itself is just where the wooded hill abuts upon 
the meadow. From this point the visitor, who has Rossel's book in his hand, may, 
with some little trouble, find out the two small earth -works between this point and 
Lindschied which the Doctor believes to be of Roman origin. Von Cohausen, how- 
ever, denies this. 


Roman settlements in these regions seem to have been broken up fifty 
years before this date, and, besides, the form of the inscription does not 
agree with the theory that it is a quotation of the names of the Consuls 
of the year. 

For my last camp (G-raue Kopf, near Holzhausen), and my last im- 
pression of the Pfahlgraben, I will transcribe a few notes of a carriage 
drive from Schwalbach to Ems, and a short stay at the latter place : 

" We left Schwalbach at a quarter past two, and drove up the long 
Emser Strasse, earning grand views of all the familiar heights, especially 
of the well-known but now distant Feldberg. At length we passed pretty 
near to the conical Gallows Hill, and went through the picturesque little 
village of Kernel. Then began a very long straight stretch of Roman 
road, from which I thought we could at times discern on our right hand 
the signs of a ' clearing,' where the Pfahlgraben was indicated in a dotted 
line on Col. von Cohausen's map. When we were getting near to the 
G-raue Kopf, we left the carriage to proceed to Holzhausen-an-der-Heide, 
while we went on foot by a lane leading off to the right towards the 
camp. We found it with very little difficulty, thanks to the excellent 
' Militair-Stabs-Karte.' The mounds which mark the lines of the wails 
and the depressions for gates are very clear; but like so many of these 
camps it is almost all overgrown with forest trees. In this case they are 
young and easily pushed through, but they prevent one from getting the 
place ' in its Zusammenhang? and the members of our party were con- 
stantly losing and finding one another in the most laughable way. My 
impression about it, however, is that it is about one-half or two-thirds 
[really more than three-fifths] of the size of the camp at Chesters. A 
conspicuous feature is the way in which the southern part of it is hol- 
lowed out, so that you ascend perhaps 10 feet from the outside to mount 
the southern rampart, and descend at least 20 into the camp. We found 
some delicious strawberries, the taste of which seemed almost to palliate 
the Romans' covetousness of the land where such lovely little fruits 
grew wild. 

" Having found one another for the last time close to the Porta- 
Decumana, we left the camp and walked on along the Pfahlgraben, 
which is here discovered with little difficulty. A charming walk it was 
through a not too tangled forest, and our path generally lying on the 
top of the Pfahlgraben. This is here what the German archaeologists 
call ' Colossal.' It is difficult to know how to estimate the height of it, 

since it is much deeper and steeper on the north side than on the south, 
but I think that eight feet in perpendicular height, at any rate on the 


side presented to the barbarians, is an under-estimate. At length we 
emerged from the woods and saw the road to Holzhausen straight before 
us. A good meal was awaiting us at the inn (at the extreme north end 
of the village on the left hand) ; the house looked very comfortable ; the 
landlord was well informed on all matters relating to this portion of the 
Pfahlgraben ; and altogether the place seemed one that would repay a 
longer sojourn if one was making a more leisurely exploration of the 

" From the latter we parted company about five miles further on, 
after passing through the little village of Pohl (no doubt a modification 
of Pfahl). It bears off rapidly to the left, through Berg, Geizig, Dorn- 
holzhausen, Sch weigh ausen, and Becheln, to Ems. We kept on over 
the high table land, and at last descending a very steep hill into the 
valley of the Lahn we found ourselves just under the towering ruined 
castle of Nassau, Stamm-Schloss of William the Silent^ and our own 
William III., as well as of the recently-deposed Ducal house of Nassau. 
On this hill, just below, are the ruined castle of Stein and the Stein 
Monument. Thus you may say that from the same hill sprang the de- 
stroyers of two tyrannies, that of Philip II. and that of Napoleon ; or, 
to put it in another way, that the castle of Nassau unconsciously looked 
down for centuries on the house of him who was to prepare the way for 
her Prussian overthrower. Nassau, is now a pretty little town, about 
the size and character of Moffat, very much given up to villas and 
water-cure establishments. As daylight faded and moonlight increased 
we trotted down the picturesque valley of the Lahn (a little spoilt by 
the railway), through the town of Dansenau, still almost entirely encircled 
by its mediseval walls; and about a quarter before nine the lights of 
Ems were before us, and our driver got down to light his carriage lamps 
to save himself from a fine of three marks. 

" Ems itself is very picturesquely situated in the deep valley, one 
might almost call it the gorge, of the Lahn. Its hills are all forest- 
covered; the long jagged edge of rock which is crowned with the 
Concordia Thurm and Moss Hiitte, the river Lahn sweeping through 
the town, the bridges, the gardens lit up at night by pretty disc-shaped 
lamps, and, when we were there, the full-orbed moon rising behind 
the Concordia Thurm, made up altogether a picture long to be remem- 

From Ems one can, in the compass of two easy excursions, trace the 
Pfahlgraben backwards as far as Becheln and forwards by Kemmenau 
to Arzbach. For the former you climb the Winterberg, a pretty steep 
hill on the south bank of the Lahn, opposite Ems. You come at once 
to the so-called Romerthurm, a modern erection, but which professes to 
be an exact copy of one of the forts depicted on Trajan's column, and 
to be situated on the foundation of one of the towers of the Pfahlgraben. 


" I kept along the hill-top for some time cheered by occasional but not 
very clear or satisfactory traces of the Graben, or Romwgraben, as it 
is always called here. At length I reached the little out-of-the-way farm- 
house of Heinrichshof. The owner, of whom I enquired my way to the 
Romergraben, told me that he had to carry a sack of potatoes to Becheln, 
and he would show me the way. It was pretty steep up-hill work 
for some way, the day (llth July) was one of the hottest in that 
memorably hot early summer, and in short I was glad that the farmer, 
not I, had to carry the potatoes. Suddenly he struck off from the path 
on the right into the very thickest of the forest, and after about five 
minutes we reached a place where there had been an amgrabung, made, 
as I understood, by some English gentlemen connected with the forma- 
tion of the railway. Not much had been discovered, and there was very 
little left to see, but I believe it was the site of a Roman "mile-castle." 
When I arrived at Becheln, a little village high up on the watershed 
between the Rhine and the Lahn, with some grand views of the moun- 
tains stretching towards the Sieben Gebirge, after making many enquiries 
for the Romergraben, all that I could learn was that it was in a wood 
off to the left bordering on 'the Sulzbach road. From the map I 
saw that it ran parallel with the road to Schweighausen, south-east of 
Becheln, and this was how I proposed to attack it. But the local 
direction, to go by the Sulzbach road, is the best, because you thus get 
it very decidedly in section, and can then trace it as far as you like, 
both north-west and south-east. The point where the Sulzbach road 
cuts it is about a kilometer beyond Becheln. It runs through forest on 
both sides of the road, and is, I think, about six feet in perpendicular 
height. A little path on the outskirts of the forest runs by its side for 
some way, I believe in the northern fosse. This is probably the re- 
sult of the Pfahlgraben having been used as a boundary in the Middle 

The remains of the "Wall on the north side of the Lahn were more 
interesting than on the south. 

" We started about 5 p.m. in a landau for the point known as Schone 
Aussicht, near Kemmenau. I told our driver, a very civil and intelli- 
gent man, that I particularly wished to see the Romergraben. After 
we had climbed and wound round the hill for about half an hour, he 
carefully took an ' orientirung' by the Forst Haus on the opposite 
(southern) hill, and said, 'Here it is.' 1 There it was, sure enough, a 
magnificent piece of the Pfahl 40 feet wide and 9 feet high, abutting 
on the road above and below us. [See Plate.] I went some way 
down through the "graben," slippery with dead beech-leaves, and 
saw far below me the roofs of Ems. Having got the clue, we followed 

1 This piece of the Pfahl is near the " first top" of the hill which is crowned by 
Schone Aussicht. While the greater part of the road runs north or north-west, this 
point is situated upon a short and sharp turn due west, and it is just before one comes 
to a wooden seat by the road side. 


it upwards for a long way. I stuck to it after the road to Schone 
Aussicht had diverged to the left, and traced it till it emerged from the 
forest into a field (where it temporarily disappeared) above the little 
village of Kemmenau. 

" Next morning, notwithstanding the intense heat, I set off on foot to 
explore the bit of the Pfahlgraben nearest to the town on the north side. 
You go up Graben Strasse, turn off to the left just before you come to 
a house called Stadt Breslau, and then continue up the steep, shaly path, 
quite unrewarded for your trouble, till you touch the forest. There you 
at once find the great bank with the two ditches full of dead beech- 
leaves on either side of it, just as we saw it from the road above the day 
before. It was very hot, and hard work climbing up the steep path as 
slippery with the dead leaves as with snow, but I succeeded in tracing 
the Wall up to the precise point where we saw it yesterday, and in fact 
a little further up, to the second point where it is intersected by the 
Schone Aussicht road." 

This bit of the Pfahlgraben must surely have been a barrier and 
nothing else. The skilful engineers of the Roman army would never 
carry a road or even a path up such a preposterous gradient as this. 

At this point ends my personal experience of the Pfahlgraben. As 
marked on Colonel von Cohausen's map it goes from Kemmenau north- 
east and then west to Arzbach, skirts the Montabaur Wald to Hohr, then 
works round to the west, and crosses the valley of the Sayn at a point 
not precisely determined, but probably near the town of that name. 
Here it takes a wide sweep to the north, passes Oberbieber, and comes 
down again within about a mile of the Rhine, near the village of 
Niederbieber. All this, together with the evidently very interesting 
camp of Niederbieber (asserted by some to be the Victoria of the Romans), 
I leave for the present undescribed, hoping that either I or one of my 
fellow-members may at some future time take up this and other of my 
" dropped stitches" in this sketch of the Pfahlgraben. Fortunately 
Niederbieber is one of the most easily accessible spots along* its whole 
course, being within three miles of Neuwied on the Rhine, in the museum 
of which place, apparently, most of the antiquities discovered at the 
camp have been deposited. 1 

According to Kiepert's map, appended to Hiibner's essay, the Wall 
finally touched the Rhine at Honningen, about ten miles north-west of 

1 For the camp of Niederbieber Hiibner refers his readers to C. F. Hoffmann : 
" Ueber die Zerstorung der Romerstadte an dem Rheine zwischen Lahn und Wied," 
Neuwied, 1823, and W. Dorow, " Rb'mische Alterthumer in uud um Neuwied, 
Berlin, 1826. 


Niederbieber. Other works of fortification are to be found on the 
further bank of the Lower Rhine, extending even to Holland, and 
enclosing the great river as in a sheath ; but the Limes Transhenanus, 
the boundary by which the Agri Decumates were enclosed, may fairly 
be considered as ending in the neighbourhood of Niederbieber, if indeed 
it can be prolonged so far. 


Let us sum up a few of the chief results of this examination of the 
frontier- wall of the Roman Empire in Germany. 

I. Its length may be approximately stated as follows : 

English Miles. 

Bavarian Section ... ... ... ... ... 69 

Wiirtemberg Section f ... ... ... ... 70 

Baden Section and onwards to the Main ... ... 27 

The river Main itself the limes for ... ... ... 32 

Hesse Cassel and Hesse Darmstadt (the Wetterau region) ... 59 

Nassau and onwards to Honningen on the Rhine 2 ... 80 


A total, that is to say, of 337 English miles, equivalent to 73 German 
miles, or to 539 kilometres, for its whole extent from the Danube to the 

Dividing this total between the two portions of the Limes Transda- 
nubianus and the Limes Transrhenanus we find that the former (from 
Weltenburg to the Welzheim corner) stretches 101 miles, and the latter 
(from the Welzheim corner to Honningen) 236 miles. The Limes 
Transrhenanus was therefore more than twice the length of the Limes 

II. The mode of its formation has been, I hope, sufficiently indi- 
cated. It is clear that, from one end to the other, we have no trace of 
anything- like a wall lined with facing stones. Loose stones and rubble 
have generally been piled together to form the embankment. In some 
cases, only earth has been used for the purpose. There is a passage 

1 Thirty-two miles to the Welzheim corner ; thirty-eight miles from thence to the 
frontier of Wurtemberg. 

2 The windings in the course of the Wall make it difficult to estimate this portion 
with any approach to accuracy. The distance is about sixty miles " as the crow 


in Yates's memoir (page 105), where a peasant is described as spread- 
ing the earth from the Pfahlgraben over his field. Altogether, it is 
clear that this limes is far more nearly related to our Vallum and to 
Graham's Dyke in Scotland (the Wall of Antoninus) than to the North- 
umbrian Munis. Unfortunately the Scotch barrier has by this time 
been almost improved off the face of the earth, but I imagine that if it 
could have been compared a century ago with its German kinsman the 
resemblance would have been found especially striking. 

The height, as has been said, varies in the different portions of the 
work. In Bavaria it never exceeds three-and-a-half feet, while in 
Nassau it frequently rises to eight or nine. Wherever the Wall can be 
found at all, we are almost sure to find two, sometimes ~ three, fosses 
accompanying it. The reader will remember the additional fosse drawn 
parallel to the Wall at 17 feet distance on its northern side, between 
Altmannstein and Kipfenberg; but this phenomenon seems to be 
unique in its history. 

Wherever the Wall has been carefully examined, ivatch-towers, 
corresponding more or less accurately to our mile-castles, have been 
found. In no part of its course has this feature of the Wall been 
more closely examined than in Wiirtemberg, between Welzheim and 
Jagsthauscn. In addition to the memoir and map of Professor 
Herzog, I may refer on this point to his predecessor, Eduard v. 
Paulus, who in his pamphlet, "Der Romische Grenzwall," 1 says: 

" Along the Wall on its inner (western) side there stood watch- 
towers, the remains of which in many places have been partly discovered 
by me, partly proved by oral tradition to have once existed. During 
my earlier researches in 1835 I discovered these watch-towers at a dis- 
tance of about 1,000 steps from one another, but my latest enquiries 
have convinced me that they were placed at intervals of about 500 
steps. At least that is the distance which I found between them in 
well-preserved portions of the Wall, and thence I conclude that this 
was once the disposition of them along its whole course. 

" The watch-towers themselves, whose foundations I caused to be 
excavated in many places, were quadrangular, generally nine feet across, 
inside measurement, and with walls two feet five inches thick. The 
entrance was over against the Wall. Sometimes, especially at points of 
strategic importance, we find the watch-towers somewhat larger and 
more solidly built. In the inside I often found fragments of Roman 

1 Referred to on p. 90. Since that part of the paper went to press I have been 
ahle to procure a copy of this useful work. 


utensils, and the place marked by charcoal and ashes, where the fire 
used to be lighted. The walls themselves were builfc not of dressed 
but only of squared stones (' nicht aus behauenen sondern nur aus 
zugerichteten Steinen') of moderate size, and with plenty of mortar 
between them, while the stones at the corners were larger and somewhat 
better squared. The position of the watch-towers was either close to 
the Wall or at a moderate distance behind it, and, when possible, in a 
commanding position." 

The apparently circular towers in Bavaria, which Maier calls " Zelte" 
and the curious clusters of watch-towers on the heights of the Taunus, 
are phenomena unlike anything with which we are familiar in England, 
and seem to require further explanation. 

The supporting camps have been found in all cases where they have 
been properly looked for. As in Northumberland, they are generally 
from five to ten miles apart, placed so as to command the widest possible 
view of the surrounding country, oblong, rectangular, but with the 
corners rounded off, varying in size between two acres and seven, gene- 
rally destined for the reception of one Cohort, or perhaps, in rare instances, 
two, too large for a Maniple and too small for a Legion. The traces 
of a suburb, probably mercantile rather than military, formed behind 
and under the shelter of the camp, are, in one or two instances, very 
manifest. So, too, are the traces of a burial place, especially in the case 
of the Saalburg. 

III. As to the popular name of the Wall, we have seen that upon 
the whole Pfahl is the prevailing term, but subject to various modifi- 
cations (Pohl, Pol, &c.), and entering into various combinations 
(Pfahlgraben, Pfahlrain, Pfahldobel, Pfahlhecke, and the like). There 
appears to be no doubt that Pfahl is the Latin word Palus, Germanised, 
just as Pfalz is the Germanised form of Palatium. In classical Latin 
pains means a single stake; in mediaeval Latin it seems to have acquired 
the meaning of a series of such stakes, or as we say, a paling, or a 
palisade. Hence it came also to mean the boundary formed by such a 
series of stakes; and here again, in " the Irish Pale" we have an exact 
analogy to this use of the word, as well as an admirable illustration of 
the purpose which the Pfahl in Roman days served, of marking off 
civilisation from barbarism. 

Pfahlgraben then, the name of the Roman work which was most 
widely prevalent in the Middle Ages, means the palisade and fosse 


(graven being the ordinary German word fora trench), and thus expresses, 
the aspect which the Roman work may probably have borne far on into 
the Middle Ages. The trenches and the embankment we still see 
through long portions of its course : some sort of fence probably crowned 
the embankment, at any rate during the Merovingian and Carolingian 
ages, and perhaps much later. 

Of the otfier compounds of Pfahl, PfahlhecJce, the Paling-hedge, 
and Pfahlrain, the Paling-ridge, are easily understood, and were perhaps 
applied where the fosse had become somewhat obliterated. P/ahldobel 
I must confess puzzles me. 

The German writers, with scarcely an exception, agree to refer to 
this name, Der Pfahl, a curious passage in Ammianus Marcellinus 
(xviii. 2 16), in which he speaks of Julian in one of his German cam- 
paigns (A.D. 359) as arriving at " the region called Capellatium or Palas, 
where there were boundary stones to mark the frontiers of the Alemanni 
and Burgundians" ("adregionem cui Capellatii vel Palas nomen est, ubi 
terminates lapides Alamannorum et Burgundiorum confinia distingue- 
bant"). They strengthen this reference by another passage from 
Ammianus (xxviii., 5-11). in which he says that the "Alemanni and 
Burgundians had frequent disputes about boundaries and salt-springs" 
(" salinarum finiumque causa Alamannis saepe jurgabant"), and they con- 
clude that the part of the Pfahl here referred to is that near Oehringen, 
close to the great salt deposits of Ludwigshall. Some see in the first 
syllable of Capellatium the Latinised form of a Teutonic reduplication, 
and think that the barbarians were then calling the barrier Gepfahl. 
All this may be true, but one cannot help seeing that there are several 
weak links in the chain. 

The curious names TeufeUmauer and Schweingralen, and the popular 
superstitions connected with them, have been sufficiently discussed in 
the early part of this paper. I ought perhaps to refer to the compounds 
with Hag (Hag-Wald and Hag-Aecker), which, according to Conrady, 
indicate the course of the limes. Hag, like its kinsman Haag in Holland, 
is the equivalent of our hedge. 1 

The presence of a Roman camp is generally indicated by the word 
Burg, which thus plays the same part in the German language that 
Chester does in our own. 

1 Hence " the Hague," as we spell it, the name of the Court-city in Holland, 
which the French always translate La Haye. 



IY. Last of all comes the question, after reviewing the whole 
course of this great barrier of the Empire, " To what Emperor or Em- 
perors are we to attribute its construction f ' 

It must at once be confessed that we have not in the Roman his- 
torians any statements so clear and definite, with reference to the Wall 
in Germany as a whole, as those of Spartianus and Capitolinus with 
reference to the Walls in Britain. The clearest and best statement 
that we have, only accounts for 120 Roman miles, or just a third of the 
total extent of the German limes. However, the passages in the Latin 
and Greek authors bearing on the subject, arranged in chronological 
order, are as follows i 1 

Reign of Augustus. FLORUS (writing between A.D. 99 and 138) 
says 2 that Drusus, the father of Germanicus, after subduing the Cherusci 
Suevi, Chatti, and other German tribes east of the Rhine, "everywhere 
established forts and garrisons for the defence of the [new] provinces 
along the River Meuse, the Elbe, and the Weser. Along the bank of 
the Rhine he erected more than fifty castles." This has not much 
bearing on our special subject, but, taken in connection with the next 
passage, it makes it probable that at any rate some of the camps on 
the Taunus owe their origin to Drusus. 

Reign of Tiberius. TACITUS says 3 that Germanicus, A.D. 15, the 
year after the mutiny of the legions in Germany, took with him 
four legions and 10,000 auxiliary troops across the Rhine. " Having 
erected a fort upon the ruins of his father's stronghold on Mount 
Taunus, he dashed into the territory of the Chatti with a lightly 
equipped army." By general consent this "castellum in monte 
Tauno" is identified with the Saalburg; and if this conjecture be 

1 1 cannot be sure that the list is an exhaustive one, but I think that I have in- 
cluded all quoted by rny German authorities. 

2 " Praeterea in tutelani provinciarum praesidia atque custodias ubique disposuit, 
per Mosam fluinen, per Albim, per Visurgim. Nam per Rheni quidern ripam 
quinquaginta amplius castella direxit" (iv. 12). 

3 " Posito castello super vestigia paterni praesidii in monte Tauno, expeditum 
exercitum in Chattos rapit" (Ann. i. 56). The passage in Ann. i. 50, "At Romanus 
agmine propero sylvam Caesiain limitemque a Tiberio coeptum scindit," tantalises 
us with an apparent offer of information as to the author of the limes, but the 
scene of that campaign is a hundred miles or so further down the Rhine than the 
most northerly point of the limes which we are now considering. Still, the use of 
the word limes here, and its connection with Tiberius and Germanicus, are worth 


correct, we learn from this passage of Tacitus the first three events in 
its history its foundation by Drusus, its destruction by the barbarians 
(Chatti), probably soon after the defeat of Varus, and its restoration 
by Germanicus. 

Reign of Domitian, 82-96. FRONTINUS, in his " Strategematicon," 
written about A.D. 84, says 1 " the Emperor Domitian, observing that 
the Germans, according to their usual custom, dashing out of their 
woods and obscure lurking places, suddenly attacked our subjects, and 
then were able to retreat in safety to the recesses of their own forests, 
drew a frontier Urn for 120 {Roman} miles against them, and thereby 
not only changed the whole character of the war, but even subjected 
the enemy, now deprived of their previous shelter, to his own 

This is the passage above referred to as giving the clearest state- 
ment that we possess as to the author of the limes, and it is especially 
valuable as coming from a strictly contemporary writer. It is, how- 
ever, to be remarked that it only accounts for 120 Roman miles, 
equivalent to 110 English, out of a total of 337 between the Danube 
and the Rhine. Nor is it easy to see what section we can separate 
from the rest, and attribute on the authority of this passage to 
Domitian. Htibner (" Jahrbuch," etc., Ixiii. 32) is inclined to make 
it refer to the Taunus section, as being nearest to the Roman 
headquarters at Maintz. I am rather tempted, by the approximation 
to the distance from the Danube to the "Welzheim corner (about 112 
Roman miles according to my reckoning), to assign it to the Limes 
Transdanubianus. But this is evidently mere guess work. 

Another point which has to be considered is that the passage 
seems rather to describe the clearing of a broad belt of woods 2 than 
the building of a wall. It is true that the two processes would very 
likely go on side by side with one another. 

Reign of Trajan, 98-117. Further information as to the result of 

1 " Imperator Caesar Dotnitianus Augustus, cum German! more suo e saltibus 
et obscuris latebris subinde impugnarent nostros tutumque regressum in profunda 
silvarum haberent, limitibus per cxx. m.p. actis non mutavit tantum statum belli, 
sed et subjecit ditioni suae hostes, quorum refugia nudaverat" (Frontinus Strateg., 
i. 3, 10). Not having access to a copy of Frontinus, I give this quotation on the 
authority of Ur. Hiibner and Professor Herzog. 

2 Consider especially the words, " Cum tutum regressum in profunda silvarum 
haberent .... hostes quorum refugia nudaverat" 


the formation of the limes is given us by TACITUS, in a well-known 
passage which we may take as describing the state of things in this 
corner of Germany under the conqueror of Dacia. He says r 1 " I would 
not count among the nations of Germany, though they do dwell beyond 
the Rhine and the Danube, those who till the tithe-lands (Decimates 
Agri)\ for all the floating population, made daring by hunger, has 
pressed in to take possession of that debateable land. Afterwards, a 
border-line having been drawn, and our garrisons pushed forward, this 
territory has been looked upon as a corner of the Roman Empire and 
part of a province." 

Of the personal activity of Trajan in these regions (in which he 
held military command as legatus at the time of his adoption by 
Nerva) we have evidence in the existence of a fortress, the ruins of 
which were still called Munimentum Trajani when Julian, two cen- 
turies and a half later, in his campaign against the Alemanni, 
determined on its reconstruction. 2 The diploma of Weissenburg, 
which bears a date equivalent to our A.D. 108, shows clearly that at 
that point in the reign of Trajan the country between the Danube and 
the " Teufelsmauer" was occupied by Roman troops. 3 

For the reign of Hadrian, 117-138, we have the very important 
passage of his biographer, SPAETIANUS, which has been already quoted 
(page 120), and which, notwithstanding the late date of this author (about 
A.D. 280 or 300), we cannot afford to disregard, so slenderly are we fur- 

1 " Non numeraverim inter Germaniae populos, quamquam trans Rhenum 
Danubiumque consederint, eos qui Decumates Agros exercent. Levissimus quisque 
Gallorum et inopia audax dubiae possessions solum occupavere. Mox liniite acto 
promotisque praesidiis sinus imperii et pars provinciae habentur" (Germania, xxix.) 
Notice particularly the phrase " limite acto," precisely corresponding with the 
expression used by Frontinus. 

2 Ammianus Marcellinus, xvii. 1-11 : " Et dum nullus obsisteret, munimentuni 
quod in Alaniannorum solo conditum Trajanus suo nomine voluit appellari, dudum 
violentius oppugnatum, tumultuario studio reparatum est" [a Juliano], Hiibner 
(page 30) thinks this fortress was in the neighbourhood of the Odenwald. Some 
previous expressions of Ammianus would incline me to think that it was beyond the 
Main, perhaps in the Wetterau; but we have really no sufficient indication of its 

3 But Herzog's argument (page 37) that, because Tacitus in the Germania 
(xli.) seems to put the Herrnunduri next to the Danube, therefore this extension 
must have been made by Trajan after the Germania was written, is surely too 
subtle; especially so, as he speaks of the Hermunduri as loyal to Rome (" Hermun- 
durorum civitas fida Romanis"), and on unusually friendly terms with the Empire. 
In fact, his words might very fairly describe the condition of a German tribe 
dwelling within the limes. 



nished with con temporary evidence of the acts of this great Emperor. 
"At that time" [soon after A.D. 120], "and often at other times, in 
very many places in which the barbarians are divided [from us], not 
by rivers but by boundaries (limitibus), by means of large stakes, 
after the fashion of a mural hedge, fixed deep into the ground and 
connected with one another, he separated the barbarians" [from the 
Empire]. ("StfpiKbtu magnis, in modum muralis sepis, funditus 
jactis atque connexis, larlaros separavit") The uncouth words will 
only admit of an uncouth translation. They tantalise our curiosity 
by telling us just so much about the "mural hedge" or "palisade," 
whose name lingers on in the P/^Mgraben, as makes us wish to learn 
more. But the general principle that river boundaries were to be 
supplemented by artificial lines of demarcation is very clearly stated. 
Hadrian is spoken of as the great developer of this scheme of defence 
at various times and in various places, and, upon the whole, the 
German antiquaries are probably warranted by. this passage in attri- 
buting to that Emperor more than to any other single name the 
construction of the Limes Transdanubianus et Transrhenanus. I say, 
"more than to any other single name," because it seems to me most 
probable that neither the German Wall nor the British was entirely the 
work of one man. The German camps, some of them at any rate, had 
probably been in existence for a hundred years or more. By Domi- 
tian's orders a commencement was made towards a well-defined and 
continuous limes. It was probably the glory of the whole series of 
Adoptive Emperors, from Nerva to Aurelius, to have a share, more or 
less, in the completion of this great work ; but no one symbolised their 
activity in this respect to the eyes of posterity so vividly as the great 

With this quotation from Spartianus our literary information as to 
the origin of the Wall really comes to an end. The inscriptions give 
us a trace of the exertions of subsequent Emperors, particularly those 
of the house of Severus (Septimius, Caracalla, Alexander), in repairing 
camps, baths, and other edifices adjoining the Wall; and no doubt 
the same energy would be, in some measure, expended in restoring 
ruined places in the Wall itself. The curious quotations already 
given from Dion Cassius and Xiphiline, with reference to Caracalla's 
operations on the Alemannic border (see page 108), are well illus- 


trated by these inscriptions. The monuments also entirely confirm 
the view which, from the words and from the silence of the historians, 
we should already have been disposed to take, that the reign of 
Gallienus (261-268), the period commonly known as that of the 
Thirty Tyrants, saw the close of the continuous and settled Roman 
domination beyond the Rhine and Danube. A victorious general like 
Probus or Julian might, after this, make a successful inroad on the 
territory of the barbarians, burn their homes, and compel them to sue 
for a temporary peace, but of any abiding re-conquest of the Agri 
Decumates by the forces of the Empire we find no trace either in 
literature or on the monuments. 

The mention of Probus (who reigned from 276 to 282) reminds us 
to notice that mistaken theory, for which our great countryman Gibbon 
is mainly responsible, which makes him the chief builder of the Wall. 
The inscriptions in this part of Germany are, I believe, silent as to his 
name. The only notices of him in the historians which have any re- 
ference to this subject are contained in the "Augustan History," in 
the life usually attributed to Yopiscus. After describing his victories 
over the barbarian invaders of Gaul, and his dispersion of the remnants 
of their armies beyond the river Xeckar and the Rauhe Alp (ultra 
Nicrum fluvium et Albam), 1 he continues, " Opposite to the Roman 
cities he also placed camps in the territory of the barbarians, and therein 
stationed his soldiers." 2 He then goes on to describe the generous 
gifts of lands, houses, and corn which he made to all his Trans- 
Rhenane soldiers whom he had stationed in these outposts, the 
lively manner in which the war proceeded, stimulated as it was by a 
reward of one aureus (sixteen shillings) for every head of a barbarian 
that was 'brought into the camp, and finally the arrival of nine petty 
kings of various tribes, who prostrated themselves at the feet of 
Probus imploring peace. The Emperor ordered them to furnish 
hostages to bring in corn, cows, and sheep for his army. All these 

1 By a strange oversight, which has been noticed by many commentators, 
Gibbon has extracted from this passage the statement that Probus " displayed his 
invincible eagles on the banks of the Elbe and the Neckar." He has mistaken 
[Mons] Alba for [Fluvius] Albis. 

2 " Contra urbes Romanas et castra in solo barbarico posuit atque illic milites 
collocavit" (c. xiii). A possible translation would appear to be " On the other 
hand" (the biographer has just been describing the barbarian incursions into 
Gaul) "he placed Roman cities and camps on the barbarian soil," etc. 


commands were complied with. Then, with some asperity, he told 
them to cease from using their own swords in self-defence, and to 
rely on the Roman succour if attacked. " It appeared, however, that 
this policy could not be carried through unless the limes were 
extended, and the whole of Germany became a Roman province." 1 
He severely punished those of the barbarians who did not disgorge 
the plunder of Gaul, and imposed on them a levy of 16,000 
recruits, whom he distributed by fifties and sixties in various 
provinces of the Empire, saying that the presence of barbarian 
auxiliaries must be felt, not seen. " Having thus settled matters in 
Gaul," 2 and having evidently spent but a short time altogether on 
either bank of the Rhine, he went to Illyricum. The rest of his brief 
seven years' reign was passed there or in the East. Eighteen months 
is the utmost time that can be allowed for the whole sojourn of the 
Emperor in what had once been the Agri Decumates. 

The reader has now before him all the evidence upon which the 
claim for Probus as the builder of the Wall rests. What does it 
amount to ? A successful raid into the territory on the right bank of 
the Rhine, which may have been once Roman but was now " barbari- 
curn solum," the construction or re-construction of some Roman 
camps like Castell, Wiesbaden, possibly Aschaffenburg, as teles dupont 
on the barbarian bank of the Rhine, and perhaps of the Main, a tem- 
porary reduction of some German chieftains to vassalage, and a 
rhetorical flourish about what might be done if an obvious impos- 
sibility the limes were extended and the whole of Germany were 
turned into a Roman Province. Not one word about building the Wall, 
or about any real extension of the Empire beyond the limits which 
bounded it under the Antonines. The reader who carefully examines 
the passage, and who is familiar with the boastful, inflated, official- 
bulletin style of Vopiscus, will probably have his own doubts as to 
whether a temporary re-establishment even within those limits was 
accomplished ; but that is not what we have now to discuss. 

Turning now to Gibbon's twelfth chapter, 3 we find a most 

1 " Sed visum est id non posse fieri nisi si limes Romanus extenderetur, et fieret 
Germania tota Provincia" (c. xiv). 

2 " Compositis igitur rebus in Gallid " (c. xv). 

3 (Vol. ii. p. 46. Ed. Smith.) 


marvellous edifice erected out of nothing. The settlement of the 
Agri Decimates is told with reasonable accuracy. Hadrian's palisade 
is also fairly enough described. But then come two astounding 
sentences, " In the place of so rude a bulwark the Emperor Probus 
constructed a stone wall of a considerable height, and strengthened it 
by towers at convenient distances. From the neighbourhood of 
Neustadt and Ratisbon on the Danube, it stretched across hills, 
valleys, rivers, and morasses as far as Wimpfen on the Neckar, and at 
length terminated on the banks of the Rhine after a winding 
course of near 200 miles." Almost every word here except Neustadt 
and Ratisbon is wrong. We have no evidence that Probus ever 
built any wall. The Wall which was built, was not of stone, that 
is to say, not of hewn stone. It did not reach as far as Wimpfeu, 
nor come within fifteen miles of the Neckar. It is much more 
remarkable for the straightness of some of its portions than for its 
"winding course," yet notwithstanding its straightness it measures, 
from river to river, "more than 300" instead of "near 200" miles. 

Gibbon's reference to the "Notes de 1'Abbe de la Bleterie a la 
Germanie de Tacite" accounts for and to some extent excuses his 
mistake. Owing to his imperfect acquaintance with German he could 
not consult the then existing native authorities, Doderlein and Hanssel- 
mann, who would have given him better information than this, though 
they might have led him into some errors ; and he has, therefore, been 
obliged to rely on the compilation of a French Abbe, who, though he 
did useful work in illustrating the history of Julian, evidently knew 
very little about the German limes. 

It is time to bring this paper to a close. It may seem to some 
readers a waste of time to endeavour to settle precisely the boundary of 
the Roman Empire between the Rhine and the Danube. But in 
Archaeological as in other Science we must not let the question " Quid 
refert ?" prevent us from pressing forward to the highest degree of 
accuracy which is attainable. And in truth the Roman occupation of 
South- Western Germany had an important bearing on the history of 
Mediaeval and Modern Europe. We see, with ever-increasing clearness, 
that wheresoever Roman civilisation had once been established, the new 
Teutonic social system was, to use a geological phrase, always more or 
less of a " conformable deposit" on the top of it. The fact that the 


larger part of German Austria, half of Bavaria, nearly the whole of 
"VYiirtemberg and Baden, and all the Rhine lands, were Romanised, 
must have powerfully influenced character, manners, and forms of 
government in those countries through the Middle Ages down to the 
present day. The hero of the N-ibelungen Lied is represented as born 
at Xanten, a place now of little note but evidently then illustrious by 
the memory of the great Roman colony of Vetera, which it represented. 
The three Ecclesiastical Electors of the Reich had their seats in three of 
the greatest military stations of the Romans, Colonia, Moguntiacum, 
and Augusta Treverorum ; and the thoroughly Roman character of 
the Church of Santa Maria in Capitolio, at Cologne, in which the wife 
of Pepin d'Heristal lies buried, helps one to understand the still linger- 
ing influences of Roman civilisation along the banks of the Rhine, 
under which the Austrasian princes grew up, and out of which the 
mighty Charles himself, great-grandson of Pepin, evolved that vision of 
a restored Empire to which we owe Mediaeval and Modern Europe. 


In Professor Schneider's useful little essay on the Wetterau portion of the 
limes ("Der JRomische Pfalilgrdben von der Wetter bis zum Main," Diisseldorf, 
1879) 1 find the explanation of this word Pfaffendamm. He says that it undoubt- 
edly originated in the fact that the embankment in early times was church - 
property [not very profitable property, one would think]. A legend prevails in the 
neighbourhood that the Pfaffendamm was originally hollow (!) and that the 
Catholics used in old times to walk through this hollow passage, from Riidigheim 
to Gross Krotzenburg, "on their way to church and confession." 




THE fresh discovery of a sepulchral stone to the memory of a standard- 
bearer of the ALA PETEIANA at Hexham affords me an opportunity of 
laying before our Antiquarian Society the opinion to which former dis- 
coveries in connection with the same body of Roman cavalry have led 
me. These former discoveries have been made at Old Carlisle, Old 
Penrith, at Carlisle, and near to Lanercost. The authentic record con- 
cerning the Petrian "Wing, or Regiment of Horse, is supplied by the 
well-known entry in the Notitia, where, after the mention of other Tri- 
bunes and Prefects, with the designations and nationalities of the cohorts 
or alee, which they severally commanded at the period of its compilation, 
have been given, and the name of the station occupied by each respec- 
tively, we find the words PE^FECTVS AL^J PETEIANJE PETEIANIS. 
Now, from this we may learn that the Petrianan cavalry was quartered 
at the Petrianan camps or cantonments; not, as has been supposed, at 
Petriana, for then the genitive Petrianaa would have been used. The 
cavalry was quartered in petrianis, agris, locis, castris. But if so, there 
must have been a population of Petriani, a set of people so denominated 
from their occupation or some like reason. But who then were the 
PETEIANI ? I have no doubt that they were the workmen of the 
PETE^E, the crags or quarries, so extensively wrought by the Romans. 
And these workmen were assuredly such as would require a strong force 
of armed and mounted police, placed in detachments at the different 
quarries where work was going on, to hold them in subjection. They 
would consist of military criminals of all the nationalities assembled 


under the Roman standards in Britain, Caledonian prisoners of war, 
and any number of British labourers retained under compulsion. These 
PETBIANI would have to be hutted and supplied with food and clothing 
in special cantonments or castris petrianis, the PETRIANIS of the 
Notitia, unless we accept the expression as equivalent to fodinis petria- 
nis, the quarries themselves. Tacitus calls the same, or a similar force, 
ala petrina, which would bear the same signification; but whether we 
dignify the phrase with capital initials or not, it is clear, to my appre- 
hension at least, that PETRINA or PETRIANA is not derived from any 
proper name, but is a simple Greece-Latin adjective. When Ccecina 
sent the AT. A PETRINA, under his command, into Italy, he was stationed 
in Helvetia, in the midst of the great Alpine Roads constructed by the 
Romans with enormous labour. And I think we may expect to find 
records of detachments of the force in yet other localities near to ancient 
quarries. The name of the deceased standard-bearer interred at Hex- 
ham is Greek, and signifies swift-charger, ELA UNITS. If we thus con- 
strue the PETRIANIS of the Notitia Imperil strictly, it is vain to imagine 
that any one station was denominated substantively Petriana, and that 
it was next in position to Amboglanna. 




THE idea has prevailed that the Roman stones which have been found 
at Hexham have been brought from Corbridge or some part of the 
Wall. This certainly is an error. Horsley in his " Britannia Romana" 
(p. 250) thus writes: "These stones and inscriptions argue Hexham 
to have been a Roman station; for the plenty of freestone so near makes 
it improbable, that in their modern buildings (or those later than 
Roman) they would have fetched any stones either from the heart of 
the Roman Wall or from Corbridge." 

At a meeting held by this Society at Hexham in August, 1860, I 
read a paper, one object of which was to prove that Hexham was a 
town of Roman origin. Amongst other considerations I mentioned, on 
the authority of the late Mr. Fairless, that when the ground was opened 
in the vicinity of the Manor Office a connected chain of earthenware 
pipes of Roman manufacture was lying in situ. A pipe or two not in 
position might have been brought from some other locality; these had 
evidently been placed where they were found by Roman hands for the 
conveyance of water. 

Since Horsley's day, and even since the reading of the paper to 
which I have referred, some important altars have been found increasing 
the probability that the Romans had a post here. 

And now another slab of great interest is to be added to the 
works of Roman art found at Hexham. It was discovered at the 
latter end of last month (19th September), by Mr. Charles Clement 
Hodges, when searching for a crypt which is said to exist under the 
chamber adjoining the south transept of the Priory Church. The 
slab .was lying with its face upwards, and covered with mortar, about 
2 feet below the floor. It had been used in laying the foundation of a 


wall 3 1'cct 5 inches thick, which crossed the chamber at a distance 
of 7 feet from the west wall of the transept. The larger portion 
of the stone projected beyond the wall, and being insufficiently 
supported, had snapped across at the point of junction. The slab is 
about nine feet long and three feet and a-half wide ; it averages one 
foot in thickness, and is supposed to weigh about two tons. The local 
masons say the stone is that of a neighbouring quarry that of Brock- 
ley Burn. On lifting the stone, an operation which was not effected 
without difficulty, it was found to be elaborately carved on the upper 
side. The carving (which is shown in the accompanying woodcut) 
represents a cavalry officer riding rough-shod over a fallen foe. The 
officer has his side face towards the spectator. On his head is a 
helmet which is adorned with two flowing plumes; there has doubtless 
been a third, which is hid from view by the larger of the two that are 
represented. There is a torque round his neck. He holds a shield in 
his left hand; in his right he carries a standard, at the head of which 
is a radiated figure exhibiting, on close inspection, something like the 
appearance of a human head. It may be a mere ornament ; or, if it 
be a head, it may be that of the Emperor or Apollo. The horseman 
has on a coat of mail, and by his right side hangs his sword. The 
horse, as usual, is small in comparison with the size of the man; the 
bridle and trappings are shown, but no stirrups are seen. The pros- 
trate foe is crouching on the ground; his face fronts the spectator, and 
is well seen; he wears a beard, which the rider does not; his sword is 
in his right hand and is uplifted, but that part of the carving which 
should represent the end of it is broken off. On each side of the 
slab has been an ornamented column terminating in an elaborate 
capital, considerable portions of which remain. The upper part has 
been carefully decorated, but the efforts of the Roman artist have been 
to a great extent obliterated by the pick-axes of more recent workmen. 
The carving on the whole is well designed and is very effective ; it has 
not, however, been so well finished as some other Roman works of art 
which have been found in the north. The stone bears an inscription 
which shows us that it has been a tombstone erected to the memory of 
a deceased soldier. The lower part of the stone is untouched with the 
chisel, inducing the belief that this part has been let into the ground; 
the back and sides of it, too, are rough, rendering it probable that it 


has been inserted in a wall. It may have formed the front of a cippus 
in which were deposited the ashes of the young man. The following is 
the inscription : 





which may be thus expanded: Dis Manibus. Flavians eques alee 
Petriance, signifer turma Candidi, annorum viginti quinqiie stipendiorwn 
septem, hicsistus \_est~]. And may be thus translated : " To the gods the 
shades. Flavinus, a horse-soldier of the cavalry regiment of Petriana, 
standard-bearer of the troop of Candidus, twenty-five years of age, 
having served seven years in the army, is here laid." 

The general style of the sculpture, together with the fact that the 
inscription contains a single ligature (IN in Flavinus), lead us to sup- 
pose that the slab belongs to the second century. 

I need not remind the members of this Society that the horse regi- 
ments of the Roman army were called alee or "wings," because in the 
early times of the Roman republic the troops of horse formed the wings 
of an army when in battle array. 

The Ala Petriana seems to have derived its name from the station 
Petriana, which was the station of the Roman Wall immediately west of 
AMBOGLANNA or Birdoswald. 

We have previously met with traces of the Petriana regiment of 
cavalry. It is mentioned in the bronze diploma found at Stannington. 
We know, therefore, that it was in Britain in the time of Hadrian. A 
stone slab which was found at Carlisle in 1860 mentions it. It is there 
denominated Ala Augusta Petriana torquata milliaria, civium Roman- 
orum, that is, " the Ala Petriana styled the imperial, adorned with the 
torque, a thousand strong, and Roman citizens." An ala, or cavalry 
regiment, usually consisted of three hundred troops ; this ala at the 
period when this stone was carved was unusually strong. It was also 
distinguished by permission to wear the torque. This was a ring of 
metal, gold, silver, or bronze, which encircled the neck as in the case 
of the famous sculpture, " The Dying Gladiator." I may mention, 
that a bronze torque has recently been found in Carlisle, not far 


from the spot where this stone was found, and has doubtless been 
worn by one of the A la Petriana torquata. It is prettily chased. At 
the lower part of it is a section of the ring which is capable of being 
removed for the purpose of allowing the torque to be put on the neck, 
and which when replaced is held tightly in position by the elasticity of 
the ring. 

We have another trace of the Ala Petriana in the mural region. It 
consists of a carving on the side of a limestone quarry in the neigh- 
bourhood of Lanercost Priory by a decurion of the regiment. 

The only other record which we have of this body of troops in 
Britain occurs on a stone found at Old Carlisle, near Penrith. Carnden 
describes it, but it has long been lost sight of. 

It has generally been supposed that Castlesteads, near Brampton, is 
the Petriana which was the head-quarters of the Ala Petriana. As this 
camp has an -area of only two acres and a-half, it must have been much 
too small to hold a cavalry regiment of the ordinary size much more 
when it was a thousand strong. I think it must be sought for elsewhere. 

The word Signifer, or standard-bearer, requires no explanation; the 
sculpture itself explains it. We have met with it twice before in 
inscriptions on the Wall. 

We meet with turma for the first time. It signifies a troop of horse 
thirty strong. It would seem that each turma took the name of its 
commander, as each body of a hundred foot soldiers took the name of 
its centurion. The turma, to which our deceased friend belonged, was 
the turma or troop of Candidns. 

Flavinus, to whose shades this stone is dedicated, had served in the 
army seven years. In these he had doubtless slaughtered numbers of 
the aboriginal inhabitants of Britain. He must have been a man of con- 
siderable importance to have commanded at his death a monument so 
important as the one before us. Happily many days have passed since 
the sounds of war were heard within our borders; may they never 



William Hutchinson, Merchant Adventurer, his Life and Times. 


Observations on Centurial Stones found on the Roman Wall, 
Northumberland and Cumberland. 


Further Observations on Centurial Stones. 


Sergeant Hoskyns and the Wallas Epitaph. 


Saxon Names of Certain Roman Roads. 

Discovery of Ancient Bronze Implements near Wallington. 


The Black Gate. 


Place Names of the County of Northumberland, with reference 
to the Ancestry of the People. 


The Pfahlgraben: An Essay towards a Description of the Barrier 
of the Roman Empire between the Danube and the Rhine. 

On the Meaning of the term "Ala Petriana." 


The Newly-discovered Roman Stone at Hexham.