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LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY ↳, 1902.
CONTENTS. No. 210.
NOTES:-Mercian Origins, 1-Jubilee of the Leisure
and the Royal Academy-Jews and Patriotism-Black
QUERIES:-Epitaph at Cliffe-Tontine-Weeks's Museum -Crispe-Beau Brummel and B. d'Aurevilly-Knocker Family, 8-Brandon, Executioner-Musicians' Company of the City of London-Arms of Dutch East India Company Fourth Duke of Grafton-St. Briavel-Painted Tiles-Warlow Family-Oldest Borough in England,
Society for 1900, which makes the total to be 144,000 hides, assigns 100,000 to England south of the Humber, for he supposes the first 44,000 to belong to Northumbria, viz., Bernicia, 30,000, and Deira, 14,000.
Morgan of Arkstone-Rev. J. Taunton-Impey-Bishops'
cestershire - Castor-Oil Plant - Horn Dancers
Comic Dialogue Sermon-Arms of Scotland-Beaulieu as
a Place-name- " Outrider," 17-Dissington Family
Bottled Ale its Invention, 18. :
THE following notes, gathered from Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,' have been put together in the hope of contributing something to elucidate the early history of Mercia. The Mercian supremacy over the greater part of England lasted about 200 years (640-820), and although it may have been a loose Home-Rule arrangement, leaving great liberty to the subordinate or associated states, yet it must have had its effect on the gradual unification of the English peoples. For example, it may turn out that the "large hide" is Mercian, and the "small hide Kentish, the squire and the yeoman, to use later terms, being the respective ideals of the landowning freeman. One of the earliest Mercian charters is a grant of a five-hide estate by Wulfhere (Birch, 'Cartularium,' i. 53). One important document has come down to us to show how Mercia was composed, the 'Tribal Hidage.' It will be assumed here that the solution proposed in 9th S. vii. 441 is in the main correct, but it may be pointed out that Mr. Corbett's solution in the Transactions of the Royal Historical
The first question is, What was the territory originally occupied by the Angle tribes known as the Mercians? We have Bede's answer that the North Mercians had 7,000 hides and the South Mercians 5,000, and that the Trent divided them (iii. 24). The ‘Tribal Hidage' gives us the Lindes farona with Hath feld land, 7,000 hides, and Nox gaga, 5,000; and it has been already suggested that the latter district is a portion of the (roughly speaking) the present counties of Leicester and Northampton. The Lindes farona have their country defined by the 'parts of Lindsey," and Hæth feld land seems to be used for the whole district on the west side of the Trent from Hatfield and Hatfield Chase to the south of Nottinghamshire. The part of Bassetlaw Hundred adjacent to Yorkshire was known as the Hatfield division, either because it was originally part of Hatfield, or at least bordered upon it; and in the latter alternative the old "Heath field" must have stretched down to the borders of Derbyshire. On marking on a map the. North Mercians over the northern half of Lincolnshire, the south-east corner of Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire, and the South Mercians over Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, it will be seen how well the allocations fit in with Bede's description. It will also become evident that the Mercians entered England by the Humber and settled on its shores and along its tributaries the Don and Trent, the latter giving easy access into the centre of the country.
Another means of fixing the area is afforded by considering the districts occupied by the surrounding states. The Mercians occupied the "mark," or district separating the provinces of the Northumbrians, East Angles, and West (or South) Saxons, and we have clues as to the extent of these provinces. The Humber, it appears from Asser (a. 867) and Geoffrey of Monmouth (ii. 7), was the name, not only of the estuary now so called, but of the Ouse at least as far as York. Thus the limit of Northumbria is fixed not at the southern border of Yorkshire, but at the what is called the Ainsty of York, between Ouse; yet it probably always embraced the Ouse, Wharfe, and Nidd, for it was to this district that the Northumbrian saint Hieu retired (Bede, iv. 23). Westward of this, to the south of the Wharfe or the Nidd,
was the kingdom of Elmet, which Bede (l.c.) calls British, and which Nennius (app.) says became Northumbrian on its seizure by King Edwin. Elmet therefore was not Northumbrian, and the 'Tribal Hidage' shows it as having fallen to Mercia. It was in this district that Penda was killed at the battle of the Winwæd. The site is said to be Winmoor, to the north-east of Leeds, which place was reached by Oswy a little after the battle. Close by one of the great Roman roads passes northward through Aberford. The Northumbrians, being comparatively weak in numbers, seem to have waited for the attack on their own ground. The Wharfe gives the most probable boundary line. It is the boundary of the hundreds, one of which is named Skyrack (division oak?). For the Nidd, it may be said that it forms the boundary of the archdeaconry of York or the West Riding, the civil boundary of this district being still further to the north. Possibly the district between the Wharfe and the Nidd was a "mark" or No-man's-land. Nennius calls the district where the battle took place the Field of Gai; Guiseley and Kayley, places lying between Cawood and Keighley, may preserve this ancient name. Elmet is attached usually to Barwick-in-Elmet, and sometimes also to Sherburn.
as the position of Spalding and Spaldwick shows, and so we may conclude that the intermediate tribes belonged to the same group. The country occupied by the Gyrwas, to give them their general name, includes South Lincolnshire (Kesteven and Holland), Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and the northern end of Northamptonshire. Bede (iv. 6) tells us that Peterborough was in the country of the Gyrwas, and the historians of Ely call the people of their district by the same name. Further, Bede speaks of the "province" of Oundle, just as he speaks of the "province" of the East Angles or of the East Saxons; hence it may be inferred that Oundle was the chief city of the South Gyrwas, and so the seat of government for the whole group. This province" of Oundle maintained a sort of distinction till a later period, being known as The Eight Hundreds" in the time of Edgar (A.-S. Chron.,' 963). The 'Tribal Hidage' assigns only 600 hides to the South Gyrwas, so that there had been some enlargement, either by addition or by natural growth, in the 300 years intervening. That the Gyrwas were East Anglian in sympathy and doubtless by race is proved by the story of their conversion. This was probably effected by St. Felix, who is said by tradition to have had a church at Soham, on the border of their country; and his successor in the East Anglian bishopric was "his deacon Thomas, of the province of the Gyrwas" (Bede, iii. 20). Then we have the story of St. Botolph. It can scarcely be doubted that Siwara, Queen of the "Southern English," was the ruler of the South Gyrwas in succession to Tonbert. Botolph obtained from her an islet in the Fens as the site for his hermitage, and the gift was ratified by the kings of the East Angles. If Boston be the site of Ikanho, the land granted him must have been near a Spalda district; and so his story shows that in 654, when Penda was in the zenith of his power, the Fenland tribes held together under the suzerainty of the East Angles. A little later St. Etheldreda settled at Ely, "in the proThe East Angles occupied Norfolk and vince of the East Angles, a country of about Suffolk, and their allies or subjects the 600 families"-probably the Herstina of the Gyrwas spread themselves over the FenTribal Hidage-which had been assigned country and its margin. It appears from to her as dowry by her first husband TonBede that the South Gyrwas were the domi- bert, and the people of which, as already nant people among the Fenmen he men- stated, were Gyrwas (Bede, iv. 19; 'Liber tions them by name, and their chief was of Eliensis'). It is sometimes supposed that rank to marry a daughter of the East Anglian they were the South Gyrwas; but it is so unking—and the 'Tribal Hidage' agrees with likely that a chief would give the central this by giving them the first place in its list, district of his province as dowry that nothing thus: South Gyrwa, North Gyrwa, East further need be said as to this. Another Wixna, West Wixna, (Herstina), and Spalda. piece of evidence is given incidentally by The last named were certainly Fenmen by race, | Bede (ii. 12), who, in mentioning the great
The Northumbrians, however, made conquests further west, and Ethelfrith's descent on Chester in 607 or later, perhaps by way of Sedbergh or of Colne, secured for them most of the present counties of Lancaster and Chester, which probably remained Northumbrian till the overthrow of Oswald in 641. Oswestry seems a peculiar site for a battle between the kings of Mercia and Northumbria, but if we suppose that Oswald was trying to join the Wessex forces by way of the Severn Valley, it will be seen that Penda attacked him just after he had crossed the Northumbrian limit, at the southern boundary of Cheshire (now a detached portion of Flintshire)-as soon, in fact, as he became a trespasser on what Penda considered his own domains.
battle between Redwald of East Anglia and Ethelfrith of Northumbria in 617, says it took place "on the borders of the kingdom of Mercia, on the east side of the river that is called Idle," showing that Red wald's domains extended at least as far as the Trent-i.e., they included Kesteven and the Fen country of South Lincolnshire.
As on the north and east the Mercians were originally shut in by the Northumbrians and Elmet and by the East Anglians and Gyrwas, so on the south and west they met the West Saxons. It is singular that though the 'Chronicle' is a West Saxon compilation it gives but scanty details of their settlements. It would appear that Cerdic in 495 landed on the Hampshire coast near Christchurch and pushed his way inland; then (c. 519), leaving this district, with the Isle of Wight, conquered later, to his nephews or cousins Stuf and Wihtgar (514, 534), sailed away to make further conquests. If the names Chard and Chardstoke may be relied upon as indications, these new settlements were in the western part of Dorset. This may have given rise to the tradition that to rule the western part of the West Saxon country was more dignified than to rule the eastern (Asser, a. 855). About the same time as Cerdic, the mysterious Port, with his sons Bieda and Mægla, landed near Porchester (501), and, having conquered the Britons there, dwelt in the district. Nothing is told us of their tribe or ancestry or their subsequent history. Port himself has a name apparently derived from the place he conquered; but the situation indicates that they were the Meonwaras, or dwellers by the Meon, afterwards conquered by Wulfhere of Mercia (661) and given to the king of the South Saxons. Stuf and Wihtgar and their comrades were Jutes, but the Meonwaras may have been Saxons, as nothing is said to show that they differed from the great body of the settlers on the south coast. Bede, relating the story of Wilfrid's missionary work among the South Saxons (iv. 13), states that Ebba, the queen of Ethelwalch, "had been christened in her own island, the vince of the Wiccii." If these Wiccii were THE JUBILEE OF THE 'LEISURE HOUR.' the same as the inhabitants of the Severn Valley, the "island" is a difficulty, unless they had a settlement in Hampshire, say on Hayling Island, in which case Port and his sons may have been of this tribe.
from the north and east, and we may con-
From their settlements on the south coast the West Saxons pushed their conquests inland in two lines: across the Thames towards Bedfordshire (571) and to Cirencester and the Severn Valley (552, 577). In the former direction they would meet the Angle invaders
(To be continued.)
(Continued from 9th S. viii. 519.)
LIKE Chambers's Journal, which was started on the 4th of February, 1832, the Leisure Hour used to be published in weekly numbers as well as in monthly parts, but the sale of the weekly issue gradually fell off, while that of the monthly part increased, and in 1881 the weekly issue was abandoned. In the fresh series music was introduced, Sullivan contributing a duet, 'The Sisters,' based on newly published words,