Antiquity of the Wall. 8

Antiquity of the Wall.

and Picts. And at the length were forced to send their Ambassadors with Letters and lamentable Supplications to Rome; requiring Aid and Succour from thence, upon Promise of their continual Fealty; so that the Romans would rescue them out of the Hands of their Enemies. Hereupon the Romans sent unto them a Legion, which coming into this Island, and encountering with the Enemies, overthrew a great Number of them, and drove the rest out of the Frontiers of the Country; and so setting the Britains at Liberty, conselled them to make a Wall, extending all along between the Two Seas; which might be of Force to keep out their evil Neighbours; and then returned home with great Triumph. But the Britains wanting Masons, builded that Wall not of Stone, as they were advised, but made it of Turf; and that so slender, that it served little or nothing at all for their Defence. And the Enemy perceiving that the Roman Legion was returned home, forthwith arrived out of their Boats, invaded the Borders, overcame the Country, (and as it were) bare down all that was before them.

The Britains make a Turf Wall against them; unskilful of building with Stone.

Whereupon Ambassadors were speedily dispatched to Rome, lamentably beseeching that they would not suffer their miserable Country to be utterly destroyed. Then again another Legion was sent; which coming upon a sudden, made a great Slaughter of the Enemy, and chaced him home even to his own Country. These Romans, at their Departure, told the Britains plainly, that it was not for their Ease or Leisure, to take upon them any more such long and laborious Journeys for their Defence: And therefore bade them practice the Use of Armour and Weapons, and learn to withstand their Enemies; whom nothing else did make so strong, as their faint Hearts and Cowardice. And forsomuch as they thought that it would be no small Help and Encouragement unto their Tributary Friends, whom they were now forced to forsake, they builded for them a Wall of hard Stone from the West Sea to the East Sea, directly along by those Cities, which were made here and there to keep out the Enemies, in the selfsame Place where Severus the Emperor had before cast his Trench; the Britains also putting to their helping Hands, as Labourers. This Wall they built Eight Foot thick in Breadth, and Twelve Foot in Height, right as it were by a Line, from East to West; as the Ruins thereof remaining in many Places till this Day do make appear.

The Britains send Ambassadors to Rome for Aid.




The Romans make the Britains a Stone Wall between them and the Scots.

The Ruins thereof remaining.

Which Work thus perfected, they [the Romans] give the People strait Charge to look well to themselves: They teach them to handle their Weapons, and they instruct them in Warlike Feats. And left by the Seaside, Southwards, where their Ships lay at Harbour, the Enemy should come on Land, they made up sundry Bulwarks, each somewhat distant from the other; and so bade them farewel, as minding no more to return. This happened in the Days of the Emperor Theodosius the younger, almost Five hundred Years after the first Arrival of the Romans here, about the Year after Christ's Incarnation CCCCXXXIV.

The Romans leave Britain in the Year 434.

The Britains after this, continuing a lingring and doubtful War with the Scots and Picts, made choice of Vortiger to be their King and Leader: which Man, as saith Malmsbury, was neither valorous of Courage, nor wise of Counsel, but wholly given over to the unlawful Lusts of his Flesh. The People likewise, in short time, being grown to some Quietness, gave themselves to Gluttony and Drunkenness, Pride and Contention, Envy, and such other Vices, casting from them the Yoke of Christ. In the mean Season a bitter Plague fell among them, consuming in short time such a Multitude, that the Quick were not sufficient to bury the Dead. And yet the Remnant re- mained so hardened in Sin, that neither the Death of their Friends, nor Fear of their own Danger, could cure the Mortality of their Souls. Whereupon a greater Stroke of Vengeance ensued upon the whole sinful Nation. For being now again infested with their old Neighbours, the Scots and Picts, they consult with their King Vortiger, and send for the Saxons.

The Britains addicted to Intemperance and Vice.



Affilicted with a great Plague and other Calamities.

Their wicked Lives.

Who shortly after arrived here in Britain. Where, saith Bede, they were received as Friends. But, as it proved, they minded to destroy the Country as Enemies. For after that they had driven out the Scots and Picts, they also drave the Britains, some over the Seas, some into the West Mountains of Wales and Cornwal; and divided the Country into divers Kingdoms amongst themselves. These Saxons were likewise (as the Britons were) ignorant of the Architecture, or Building with Stone, until the Year of Christ DCLXXX. For then it is affirmed, that Benet, Abbot of Wirral, Master to the Reverend Bede, first brought Masons and Workmen in Stone into this Island among the Saxons. He, I say, brought hither Artificers of Stone-houses, Painters and Glaziers: Arts before that time unto the Saxons unknown: who before that Time used but Wooden Buildings.

Entrance of the Saxons into Britain.

Who drive them into the Mountains.

Witchind. Bede.

These, as the Britains, ignorant in building with Stone.

Masons brought first into Britain by Benet, Monk.

And to this accordeth Polychronicon, who saith, Then had ye Wooden Churches; nay, Wooden Chalices, and Golden Priests: but since Golden Chalices, and Wooden Priests. And to knit up this Argument, King Edgar, in his Charter to the Abby of Malmesbury, Dated the Year of Christ DCCCCLXXIV, hath Words to this Effect; All the Monasteries in my Realm, to the outward Sight, are nothing but worm-eaten and rotten Timber, and Boards, and, that worse is, within they are almost empty and void of Divine Service.

Wooden Churches, Wooden Chalices in Britain at first; but Golden Priests.

Monasteries of rotten Timber.

Thus much must be said for Walling, not only in respect of this City, but generally also of the first Practice of building Walls within the Realm. Now to return to our City, and to relate how the Walls thereof have been since their Foundation preserved; maintained and repaired: Taking first into our Consideration, the Name whereby this City (thus strengthned with Walls and Gates) is called, whereof we have said something already. Trinovant, or Trinobant (as Cæsar hath it) is since by Tacitus, Ptolomeus, and Antoninus, called Londinium, and Longidinium: of Ammianus, Lundinum, and Augusta; who calleth it an antient City of our Britains, * Lundain: of the Saxons, Lundoncaster, Lundonberig, Lundonwic: of Strangers, Londra and Loondras: of the Inhabitants, London. Whereof you may read a more large and learned Discourse, and how it took its Name, in that Work of my loving Friend Mr. Camden, now Clarentiaulx, which is called Britannia.

The ancient Name of London.

Camden's Britannia, Middlesex.

This City of London, having been destroyed and burnt by the Danes, and other Pagan Enemies, about the Year of Christ DCCCXXXIX, was by Alfred King of the West- Saxons, in the Year DCCCLXXXVI, repaired and honourably restored, and made again habitable: Who also committed the Custody thereof unto his Son-in-Law Ethelred, Earl of Mercia, unto whom before he had given his Daughter Ethelfled. And that this City was strongly Walled may appear by divers Accidents, whereof I have read some; namely,

K. Alfred rebuilds the City.

London, now strongly walled.

William of Malmsbury hath, That about the Year of Christ DCCCXCIV, the Londoners shut up their Gates, and defended their King Ethelred, [or Ætheldred] within their Walls against the

* Londonium Vetus Oppidum. Lib. 27. c. 8. Suetonius Paulinus Londinium perrexit, cognomento quidem Coloniæ, non insigne, sed Copia Negotiatorum & Commeatuum maximè celebre. Annal. 14. c. 33. J. S.