London, Volume 1
The Roman Remains.
The Roman Remains.
In a former paper we endeavoured, by the combined light of ancient records and existing appearances, to trace the history and the limits of Roman London; but our space confined us to that general survey, so that, to complete our account, we have still to notice at least some of the most remarkable of the relics and vestiges of the Roman occupation that the waste of time has left.
Of these there are now few, if any, to be seen above ground. Perhaps a few of the lowest courses of the masonry of the wall still forming a part of Mr. Atkinson's hemp-warehouse behind America Crescent may be regarded as Roman ;[n.281.1] but of the Roman towers which Woodward and Maitland describe as existing in their day in and the Vineyard, behind the , not a fragment now remains visible. And certainly no other building in London yet in use has any claim to be considered a Roman structure even in the smallest or oldest portion of it. Even in the shape of a mere ruin there is, we believe, nothing now standing of the Roman age.
To the eye, however, of learned antiquary at least, the metropolis and its neighbourhood so recently as in the latter half of the last century still presented numerous legible memorials of Julius Caesar himself, and of the state of things that earliest invader found established among the Britons under their native kings. In Long Acre--which can scarcely be said to have to the unlearned anything particularly poetical either in the sound or the sight--the ingenious Stukeley saw as plainly as if it had been a recollection of his boyhood the of the ancient British metropolis-
Eli's tumulus, or grave, Stukeley further informs us, was
where a windmill was erected in after-times. It was this tumulus, or , it seems, which gave name to , and also to the street descending from it to the south called Hedge Lane, that is, Agger Lane, the same, we believe, that is now called Whitcombe Street, the continuation of and . The , too, is plainly the origin of the Edgeware Road. Then, is not the very name of Eli still heard in that of the chief street of the west end of London? For what is , but is, being interpreted, the , the barrow or monumental mound of the royal Eli?
adds the worthy Doctor, with all the satisfaction of a mathematician pronouncing his Q.E.D. But the most awkward corruption of all which these venerable British names have undergone is that of the site of the chief temple of ancient London--which from , that is, the Agger or Mount of the Divinity (so called by the Egyptians, as well as by the Druids, from , the root of the verb to fly, in the Semitic tongues), has been actually transformed by modern ignorance into ! Whereabouts the said Knaves' Acre may be to be looked for we do not precisely know-but we greatly fear the place, if it were discovered, would be found to have retained but little of its old odour of sanctity, any more than the name. We recollect nothin g to match this odd instance of the slipperiness of human speech, except the perversion of the pious old tavern legend of into the sign of the
The greatest of Stukeley's discoveries, however, is that of a camp of Julius Caesar,
says the enthusiastic old man,
Stukeley, who, after commencing life as a physician, had, on the plea of ill-health, subsided into a clergyman, and, as incumbent of St. George the Martyr, in , had, after the performance of all the duty that was expected from him in that capacity, as matters were then managed, at least days in every week to spend, without disturbing or being disturbed by anybody, in any innocent way that suited his fancy, seems to have pored over this imaginary camp at till he must have almost believed that he had himself been present at the formation of it in some previous state of existence. Certainly Pythagoras never expressed himself more confidently about the events of the Trojan war, in which he had served as Euphorbus the son of Panthous, than does the reverend Doctor touching the minutest circumstances of the famous Roman's arrival and sojourn at this interesting spot. Caesar, he informs us, having crossed the Thames at the Coway Stakes, where the name of Chertsey still preserves his memory as Cherbourg does in France, encamped on Greenfield Common, near Staines,
adds our communicative recorder of these long-past transactions,
to this camp was afterwards ordered for the reception of other ambassadors who came from the Cenimanni, the Segontiaci, &c. Having finished his business with these deputations, Caesar then moved forward to attack Cassivellaunus, or Casvelhan, as the name ought properly to be written, who had retreated to his fortified town at Watford-throwing up other camps, the description of which we omit, on his way. After he had reduced Casvelhan's strongholds of Watford and Rickmansworth, and compelled the unfortunate king's complete submission, he turned to London, and set out on his march upon that capital,
Mandubrace, it seems, was the son of Immanuence, the same who by the British historians is commonly called Lud, that is, the Brown; Lud, or Immanuence, had been put to death by his ambitious brother Casvelhan, who had usurped his throne, and forced Mandubrace to fly to Gaul to implore the aid of Caesar. Such was the true origin of Caesar's invasion-although, strangely enough, he chooses in his own account to be altogether silent, possibly out of modesty, in regard to facts which would have gone so far to justify what otherwise has so much the air of an unprovoked aggression. However, to the capital of the Trinobantes he proceeded, to put the finishing stroke to his disinterested expedition.
continues our author,
All this, it must be confessed, bears a portentous resemblance to the harangue of the worthy Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck of Monkbarns on the ancient fortifications discovered at the Kaim of Kinprunes:
&c. &c. It is difficult, with this scene in 's memory, to read Stukeley's elaborate dissertation without anticipating the sudden intrusion of some Edie Ochiltree, with his
Whether any traces of this camp of Caesar's, or Stukeley's, are still supposed to be distinguishable, we do not know; nor indeed are we aware that it has ever revealed itself to anybody, its discoverer himself excepted-whose description, published in the , or posthumous, Century of his , is dated . Yet some of the particulars he notices are curious enough. The fact of a Roman encampment having once occupied this ground he conceives to be attested by the name of the Brill, which is still given to what was formerly a hamlet a few yards to the south of the churchyard, and is now a nexus of lanes and courts behind the west side of . A tavern at the southern extremity of that street is also, we believe, called the Brill. The Brill is the name of a village in Buckinghamshire, which Camden thinks must have been an old Roman station from the number of Roman coins that have been found in it; and he supposes the name to be a contraction of Bury or Burgh Hill, which is what the Saxons would have called an ancient fortified place on an elevated site. The former importance of this
| Buckinghamshire Brill is further evidenced by its having been a royal village of Edward the Confessor. Camden also mentions a Roman camp near Chichester which retains this same name of the Brill or the Brile. And we have the town of Briel, or the Brill, as it is often called, in the isle of East Voorn, in the Netherlands, which is supposed, as well as our Brill, to have been originally of Caesar's camps. It is remarkable, too, that Stukeley, when he proceeded to survey this camp by pacing its boundaries, should, as he tells us, have |
that is, that the lines of limitation and intersection were each of the exact length of , , , , or some such number of paces. But possibly in so obscure a matter the round number of paces was sometimes found serviceable in determining the position of an all but invisible division or angle.
However all this may be, Stukeley assures us that in this camp at Pancras Caesar made the British Kings, Casvelhan and his nephew Mandubrace, as good friends again as ever;
adds the worthy Doctor,
Why this fact in particular should be stated as a mere supposition, we do not understand.
But the most undoubted as well as the most numerous relics of Roman London have been preserved under ground-beneath the protecting
of the dust and rubbish which centuries have deposited upon the original floor of this great gathering-place of human beings, and centre of industry and commerce. The modern Londoner dwells at what was a considerable height up in the air to his predecessor of the Roman age--in general from about to feet, as we observed in our former paper, overhead of the ancient city; and most memorials of the latter and of its inhabitants are, of course, buried to that depth in the earth. In former times excavations were probably seldom made to the requisite depth, and when they were, the discoveries that were made were for the most part left unrecorded and were soon forgotten; but the more extensive operations that have been carried on for the improvement of the capital since the epoch of the Great Fire have brought to light a considerable portion of the antiquarian wealth of what is called the Roman stratum, consisting of tessellated pavements, foundations of buildings and other architectural remains, coins, urns, pottery, and utensils, tools, and ornaments of a great variety of descriptions.
Unfortunately, no complete account has been preserved of the discoveries made by Wren, who, in the course of surveying the ruins of the city after the fire, and superintending the rebuilding of , and of other parts of it, had opportunities of examining what lay deep under the surface of the earth in all the principal localities. The article of greatest interest which is mentioned as having come into his hands was a small sepulchral monument of stone, exhibiting both an inscription and an effigy, which was found near Ludgate. It is now among the Arundel Marbles at Oxford. The stone is so much mutilated that neither the words nor the figure can be quite distinctly made out; .and the various copies that have been given of both must be regarded as in some particulars rather conjectural restorations than accurate transcripts. The inscription, however, commencing with the usual formula, D. M., for , intimating a dedication to the Manes or departed spirit of the deceased, seems to record that the stone was erected by his most loving wife Januaria Marina (or perhaps Matrina), in memory
| of Vivius Marcianus, a soldier of the Legion. It has been commonly assumed from the dress in which he is represented that Marcianus must have been a native Briton; but we may remark that it was not usual for the natives of any of the provinces who were taken into the armies of the Empire to be allowed to serve in their own countries. If the person to whom this monument was raised, therefore, was a barbarian at all, it is most likely that he was of other than British birth. But in truth nearly all the points of his attire and accoutrements are so uncertainly delineated on the mutilated stone that anything like a complete or consistent picture of the whole can only be made out by an exercise of fancy. We give the most approved version of the rude and half-obliterated sculpture, representing the deceased, according to Pennant's description, |
Pennant regards this as the picture of
But it might serve very well, in truth, for that of any Roman soldier. However, in other professed copies of the figure both the hair and the sword are-short, instead of long; the sword is held across the body, instead of with its point resting on the ground; and the cloak is brought not over the right shoulder and arm, but over the left!
in our draughtsmen and engravers.
Wren conjectured that this soldier might have been buried in the vallum of what he, or the writer of the Parentalia, calls the Praetorian camp, which must mean the encampment of the officer holding the chief command at London when it was a mere military station. Of course
|there was nothing that could with any propriety be called a praetorian camp among the permanent features or appendages of Roman London, although the antiquarians are in the habit of repeating after another that the eminence on which now stands was appropriated to that purpose. Possibly, however, the city may have been guarded by a fortress in this neighbourhood-though it is more likely that such an erection would be placed on the bank of the river, where Baynard's Castle or the Castle of Montfichet was afterwards built, than on the site of the Cathedral. And the precinct of a fort so situated might very well have extended as far northwards as the spot where the monument of Marcianus was found. In fact we know that in|
|a later age the fossa or ditch of the royal fortress called the Palatine Tower, which appears to have occupied the same site with Baynard's Castle, included part of what is now ; for when Bishop Richard de Beaumeis in the reign of Henry I. built the complete wall around the churchyard he obtained a grant from the King of so much of the said ditch as should be required for the wall and a street outside of it. Nay, the words of the charter seem to imply that the foss had also partially encompassed the church on the north side before it had been encroached upon by the Bishop's operations.[n.287.1] The probability, therefore, is, that during the Roman occupation the fort at the western extremity of the city may have stretched its boundaries from the river as far as Ludgate--which would scarcely be a greater extent of space than seems to have been embraced by the limits of the similar stronghold in the east, situated where the Tower now stands. We have had occasion to notice in a former paper several military monuments resembling the Ludgate stone which were found in the latter neighbourhood on different occasions in the latter part of the last century ;[n.287.2] as well as some coins and an ingot of silver--which last, found in , among some foundations of ancient building on the site of the present Ordnance Office, and bearing the name of Honorius, is supposed to have been transmitted from the imperial mint for the purpose of ascertaining the purity of the coin sent along with it-perhaps the pay for the last Roman legion ever stationed in Britain. In , among other ancient remains, there was dug up at the back of the London Coffeehouse, very near the spot where the Arundel monument was found, another sepulchral monument with an inscription intimating, apparently, that it had been raised to his deceased wife by a person named Anencletus--whom Gough, from the epithet , conceives to have been a soldier belonging to a troop raised in the province. The wife, called Claudina Martina, is described as having been only years old, if the reading of the inscription may be trusted. But perhaps something has been obliterated at this place; for it was not customary, if it was even legal, for females among the Romans to marry at so early an age. The inscription was cut on the front of a hexagonal pedestal, bordered with foliage; along with which were found a mutilated head of a woman, and the trunk of a statue of Hercules, half the size of life, leaning, as usual, on his club, and with the skin of the Nemaean lion thrown over his left shoulder.|
Among the most interesting relics of the Roman occupation are the various tessellated pavements that have been brought to light in different parts of the City. The custom of ornamenting the floors of their apartments by figures formed of , or small pieces of coloured pebble, marble, artificial stone, and glass, was probably not introduced among the Romans till after the destruction of the Republic. Suetonius notes it as of the sumptuous habits of Julius Caesar in the latter part of his career that he used on his marches to carry about with him such pavements, or rather, probably, quantities of the materials for
| forming them----with which it has been supposed he floored his praetorium wherever he pitched his camp. How this species of decoration has come in modern times to receive the name of Mosaic-work is matter of dispute-though the term is commonly supposed to be a corruption of
or , which Pliny and other later Roman writers seem to speak of as a kind of ornamental pavement, or rather ceiling-so called, it is conjectured, because it may have been originally used in caves or grottos consecrated to the Muses. It may be observed, however, that the tessellated pavements of the ancients have little pretension to rank with the Mosaic pictures of modern times, in which, by the aid of a vast variety of colours, almost as perfect a gradation of shades is effected as could be produced by the pencil. The Roman tessellated pavements in general present only the simplest patterns, such as a scroll border with an indifferently drawn human or animal figure in the centre; and most of them are composed of not more than or different colours. In some rare instances, however, the tints are considerably more numerous. The most magnificent specimen yet discovered in London was found in , in , immediately in front of the easternmost columns of the portico of the . It lay at the depth of only feet and a half below the street, which therefore had not been raised at this spot nearly so high above the Roman level as in most other parts of the city. Unfortunately, the line of an old sewer which ran across the street had cut away above a of the pavement on the east side; but the central compartment, a square of feet, remained nearly entire, as well as the greater part of the border. Altogether, the apartment of which it had been the floor appeared to have been a room of more than feet square. The device occupying the centre was a figure of Bacchus, reclining on the back of a tiger, holding his thyrsus erect in his left hand, while a small -handed drinking-cup hung from his right; a wreath of vine-leaves circling his forehead--a purple and green mantle falling from his right shoulder, and gathered round his waist--with a sandal on his extended left foot, the lacing of which reached to the calf of the leg. This design was surrounded by circular borders; the exhibiting, on a party-coloured field composed of dark grey, light grey, and red ribands, a serpent with a black back and white belly; the , a series of white cornucopioe indented in black; the and outermost, a succession of concave squares. In of the angular spaces between this last circle and the circumscribing rectangular border were double-handed drinking-cups; in the other , delineations of some unknown plant; both figures wrought in dark grey, red, and black, on a white ground. border surrounding the whole consisted of distinct belts- described as bearing |
the other exhibiting
Beyond this was a margin at least feet broad, formed of plain red tiles, each an inch square. We annex such a copy as a woodcut can produce of this elaborate design, taken from a coloured print published soon after its disinterment by Mr. Thomas Fisher, accompanied with the description to which we have been indebted for the above particulars.
says Mr Fisher,
This tessellated pavement, which lay on a bed of lime and brick-dust, an inch in thickness, was taken up at the charge of the East India Company, but was broken to pieces in the process; the fragments of it, however, were deposited in the Company's Library.
|In , in the course of digging the foundations for an extension of the buildings of the , another tessellated pavement was found in , near the south-east angle of the area now enclosed by the walls of the Bank. It lay at the depth of about feet below the surface. Of this too Mr. Fisher published a coloured engraving and a description; and, having been taken up without sustaining any injury under the direction of the late Mr. Soane, the architect, it was presented by the Directors of the Bank to the British|
| Museum, where it may still be seen. But it is not to be compared to the specimen either in design or workmanship. Its dimensions are only feet each way, and it occupied the centre of a floor of feet square. The central figure seems designed to represent expanded leaves; the rectangular border is similar to the innermost of the stripes forming the double border of the other pavement. Mr. Fisher states, that, |
Other tessellated pavements are recorded to have been discovered in , , in ; near St. Andrew's Church, , in ; at in ; behind the old Navy Pay Office in , in , , and in , Smithfield, about the beginning of the present century; near the Church of St. Dunstan's in the East in ; in East Cheap in ; at , and in , opposite to Founders' Court, in ; in in ; behind Winchester House in in ; in various places on both sides of the at different times from to ; and in a few other localities. But in few or none of these instances has either the pavement itself been preserved or even any description of it. Within these few weeks what appeared to a somewhat hurried and not very close view to be a very perfect and rather elegant specimen was brought to light in pulling down the French Protestant Church in , at the depth apparently of or feet under where the floor of the church had been, immediately within and a little to the left of the principal entry. This, we understood, it was intended to have carefully taken up, and it will probably be deposited in some public museum or private collection. But it was more interesting to look down upon it there where it lay on the very spot which it had occupied for certainly more than centuries--where the eye of admiration had rested upon it, and it had borne the actual tread of Roman feet, mingling in the dance or other social assemblage, in the palmy days of that buried civilization, when what was now a darksome pit dug in the earth had made part of an airy, glittering domicile, full of light and life. The colours, among which a deep yellow or tawny predominated, looked wonderfully fresh and glowing-thus still more strongly forcing upon the imagination the presence of the past.
Of the other Roman antiquities recently discovered in London, the most numerous, various, and interesting are those that were found in , , and , in the course of the operations connected with the opening of the magnificent new thoroughfare leading across the heart of the City from to the line of the old wall at ; an account of which has been given in an able and learned paper in the Transactions of the Antiquarian Society by Mr. Charles Roach Smith.[n.290.1] Beginning his survey from the neighbourhood of the bridge, Mr. Smith states that on either side of the line of ,
Adjoining to , in St. , East Cheap, was found the tessellated pavement noticed above, which is described as corresponding to the found a few years before in East Cheap, and similar to that afterwards discovered opposite to Founders' Court, in . Near also were dug up many vessels of the common brown and black earthenware; small earthen lamps; a great quantity of the finer pottery called Samian ware, both figured and plain; some rings of base metal; and a few coins-these last much decayed, from the unfavourable quality of the soil. They were mostly -brass of Claudius, Vespasian, and Domitian, mixed with base denarii of Severus, Caracalla, Alexander Severus, and Julia Mammaea, such as are found in all parts of London. Along the line of , bounding the on the west, where, as we noticed in a former paper,[n.291.1] the Roman stratum descended to much beyond the usual depth, the Roman remains found are stated to have been more various and of a more interesting kind than had been met with in any other part of London. Among the articles which Mr. Smith enumerates as having been --picked up by the labourers are, a pair of small brass scales, fibulae, styli, needles in brass and bone, coins, a sharpening steel, several knives, with a bone handle, and many vessels of Samian ware. In , between Founders' Court, where they came upon the fragment of the tessellated pavement, and , at about or feet deep, they met with
--the store, probably, of some dealer in such articles, or perhaps the tools of a body of workmen, left behind them in haste, and forgotten in the confusions of the last days of the Roman dominion. At a greater depth, beyond the church, and at the east corner of the Bank, were turned up a leathern sandal, thickly studded with nails on the sole, quantities of red and black pottery, a coin of Antoninus Pius, having Britannia on the reverse, and many middle-brass coins of Domitian. From to were foynd brass coins of Claudius, Vespasian, and Trajan, spatulae of various kinds, styli, needles, a gold ring, an engraved cornelian, a pair of brass tweezers with an earpick attached by a ring, a hair-pin inches long, with an eye about an inch from the point, and the other end flattened to about the size of a shilling, and embellished with sculpture --besides pottery of different kinds. But the most curious discovery here made waso on the west side of the new line of street, near the public-house called the Swan's Nest in , where they came upon a well or pit containing a store of earthen vessels of various patterns and capacities, carefully planked over with thick boards: the vases were not in disorder, but lay imbedded in the mud and sand, which had found its way into the pit, regularly packed on their sides: those preserved held from a quart to gallons, but some that were broken in taking out were much larger. The well, the mouth of which measured nearly feet square, was boarded nearly all the way down with planks from about an inch and a half to inches thick; and at the bottom were found a coin of the usurper Allectus, a boat-hook, and a bucket handle. Allectus, it may be remembered, was defeated and slain by the Praefect Asclepiodotus, in the year . At Honey Lane, under some Saxon remains, were found a few more Roman coins, of
| which was of Trajan, and another of Allectus. In , besides some richly figured Samian vases, and some of the circular earthen pans which have commonly been held to be mortaria, or triturating instruments, but which Mr. Smith conceives to have more probably been used for cooking in, were obtained some specimens of what are called |
but which seem to have been in fact merely coloured designs with which the walls were embellished, in something of the same style with the patterns on our modern paper-hangings. Even as such, however, they were objects of the highest curiosity. Unfortunately, they were greatly injured.
says Mr. Smith,
Such designs, however, can hardly be considered as belonging to the same class with the varied and spirited delineations exhibited by the frescos in many of the houses of Pompeii--which are really pictures in the highest and truest sense.
Some of the most interesting of the Roman antiquities recently found have been obtained from the bed of the Thames; for water, in its effectual exclusion of the great corroder, the common atmospheric air, is in some respects a still better preserver than a thick covering of earth, which, if it protects the articles deposited in it from some dangers and injurious influences, acts upon many of them with peculiar powers of its own almost as virulent and destructive. There is in the a silver Harpocrates, about inches and a half in height, which was found in the bed of the river in , and presented to the Museum by Messrs. Rundle and Bridge, of . It is supposed to have been worn as an amulet, or by a priest as his ensign of office, being suspended by a chain of gold, very delicately wrought, which crosses the image in front, and passes through a strong rivet at the back. Many imperial coins were also found, and so deposited, it has been stated, across the bed of the river, as to afford a strong confirmation to the opinion that there must have been a passage over the Thames by a bridge in the time of the Romans. And since the completion of the new bridge, a number of bronzes were found in in its neighbourhood by some men employed in ballast-heaving, of which Mr. Smith has given an interesting account in another paper in the Archaeologia.[n.292.1] of them represents a priest of Cybele; another the God Mercury; the appears to be a fragment of a Jupiter; the , which is also mutilated, is an Apollo, of remarkable beauty; the , representing Atys, is of coarser workmanship than the others--it was found at Barnes among gravel taken from the spot where the others had been found.--Mr. Smith conceives that the Mercury, the Apollo, and the Atys, were probably the penates of some opulent Roman family residing in London-and that they were not lost, but thrown into the Thames, after they had been intentionally mutilated--the injuries they have received being apparently such as could hardly have been the effect of accident. Such iconoclastic procedures were common with the early converts to
|Christianity; and to that cause we are no doubt to attribute the destruction or mutilation of many ancient sculptures and other productions of the arts which had been dedicated to the service of Paganism. Of the few relics of the old religion, besides cineraries, lachrymatories, and some sacrificing vessels, that recent subterranean investigation has brought to light in London, of the most remarkable is a stone altar, exhibiting a figure of Apollo, which was found some years ago in in digging the foundations for the new Goldsmiths' Hall. [n.293.1]|
We have already had occasion to notice some of the appearances detected in digging a sewer in in -particularly the remarkable indications of an ancient conflagration which the soil at a certain depth presented.[n.293.2] Some considerable fragments of building, and other curious antiquities of the Roman age, were also brought to light in the course of that excavation. Near Sherbourn Lane, at about feet under ground, the workmen came upon a pavement of about feet in breadth, running across ,
Between this pavement and the Post Office, but along the north side of the street, ran a wall eighteen feet in length and feet high, its summit being feet under the level of the street, constructed of
and remarkable as being pierced by perpendicular flues, the semicircular in shape, the other rectangular and oblong--the chimneys, doubtless, of the long untenanted mansion of which the wall had formed a part. Directly opposite to the Post Office was another wall, and near it a tile-pavement; and still more to the eastward, another pavement, of small red bricks, intermixed with a few black ones and some white stones, in a state of great dilapidation.
says the account in the Archaeologia,
Various other fragments of walls and pavements were encountered in proceeding farther to the eastward along Lombard Street-and also in , where the corner was uncovered of a tessellated pavement, appearing to run under the adjacent houses, which exhibited a border of an elegant design composed of black, red, green, and white dies, each about a of an inch square. Intermixed with these vestiges of a compact population were observed the wood-ashes and other traces of fire in the situation described in a former paper. Great quantities also of Roman coins were found, and of fragments of pottery and glass bottles, together with a few other articles, especially some keys and beads, specimens of which were introduced in of the cuts in our Number.[n.293.3] Among the coins were a Galba, a Nero, and an Antoninus Pius, of gold, and an Alexander Severus of silver; brass pieces, very rudely executed, of Tetricus (who assumed the imperial title
|in Gaul in the latter part of the century) and of Constantine, were found together in a heap at the end of St. . The vessels and fragments of earthenware were of various colours, white, black, red, brown, grey, &c.; some were fine, others coarse; some glazed and some not; some had inscriptions on the rims; and many of those of the finest quality were ornamented with figures on the outside, which were often very spiritedly drawn. A richly-bordered design surrounding a large vessel of red Samian ware (engraved in our Number) exhibited an animated combat, in which figures both on foot and on horseback were opposed and mingled.. Armed men, satyrs, hares, dogs, birds, foliage, a boar's head, and sundry fancy ornaments embellished other specimens. There were also many fragments of the round shallow vessels of close clay which have generally been regarded as mortaria, or triturating instruments; they seemed when entire to have measured about a foot in diameter, and had each a channel running across their broad rim, apparently for the purpose of pouring off their contents when ground.[n.294.1]|
|When we consider the evidence that the various facts we have enumerated afford of the existence in Roman London of many buildings which must have been of considerable extent and architectural sumptuousness, it naturally becomes matter of surprise that so few fragments should be found either above or below ground of the ornamental stonework which may be presumed to have been employed in their construction--that their chequered floors and unhewn foundations should be nearly all the memorials that remain of edifices whose external splendour must surely in some degree have corresponded with the strength and costliness which these vestiges indicate. A fluted pillar of or feet in circumference which was discovered in in an old wall of the Grey Friars' Monastery, now the Church of , and which is supposed to have been Roman, is almost the only specimen of the kind which has been noticed. It is the subject of a communication in the Archaeologia from A. J. Kempe, Esq., who accounts for the general disappearance of such remains by the supposition that they were for the most part made use of in the construction of new buildings in the Saxon and early Norman ages. [n.294.2] And this no doubt was the fact in many cases. William of Malmesbury, writing in the century, expatiates upon the extraordinary quantity of Roman architecture still to be seen in all parts of England in his day, declaring that it exceeded what any other country on this side the Alps could boast of. That the ruins of the Roman towns served as quarries for the builders of subsequent times we may infer from what is related|
| by Matthew Paris of abbots of his monastery of St. Alban's in the . century--the of whom, Ealred, he tells us, in breaking down the subterranean vaults of old Verulamium, and stopping up the arched passages, to prevent them from continuing to be lurking-places of thieves and haunts of debauchery, carefully laid aside all the tiles (or bricks) and stones he found fit for building; and the of whom, Eadmer, the immediate successor of Ealred, is expressly stated to have erected the new monastery of St. Alban's with the materials thus obtained by himself and his predecessor out of the ancient Roman city. As he went on with the works which Ealred had begun, the labourers came upon the foundations of an ancient palace in the middle of the old city, in pulling which down they found in a cavity of a wall a number of books, covered with oaken boards and tied with strings of silk, of which, we are assured, contained the Life of St. Alban written in the British tongue--the others related to the rites of the Gentiles. A passage to move the hearts of all antiquaries-most of whom, however, we fear, would have prized the Pagan far above the Christian portion of the library. Eadmer, for anything that appears, preserved neither--books, even though bound in oak, not being available as materials for building. However, the story goes on to inform us that, when they opened the earth to a greater depth, they found not only glass vessels containing the ashes of the dead, and burned earthenware vessels of various sizes and descriptions, but also stone tables, bricks, columns, and whatever else was wanted for the new fabric. [n.295.1] And indeed the rifling of the Roman ruins for such purposes continued to be practised, on a smaller scale, almost as long as any were to be found in the island-only the last century having witnessed the destruction of perhaps the most remarkable of all our ancient monuments--the famous Arthur's Oven on the banks of the Carron-- |
having demolished it, Pennant tells us, to make a mill-dam with the materials-adding, what it is gratifying to learn, that
[n.295.2] But, although the decayed or prostrate grandeur of old Roman London too may have in this way furnished a few sculptured pedestals, shafts, and capitals, to be broken down and hidden in the walls of the humbler structures of a later time, it is probable that that city was principally built, like our modern metropolis, not of stone but of brick-the convenient material which nature offered then as it does still in unlimited abundance on the spot, so that the most extensive ranges of architecture might be actually reared, almost like plantations, out of the very ground where they stood. It is the opinion, we may add, of Mr. Rickman, a -rate authority on such subjects, that
It is probable, indeed, that Roman London, a commercial emporium rather than a luxurious capital, was distinguished not so much by any works of extraordinary architectural splendour as by the general prevalence of neatness, comfort, and a modest elegance in the dwellings of its inhabitants. The climate, for thing, would probably be felt to be unsuited to any great attempts in the only style of architecture then known-both the lowness of the temperature for a great part of the year exacting sacrifices for the sake of internal accommodation unnecessary in the classical regions of the south, and the moisture of the atmosphere operating with more or less of injurious effect upon every species of external decoration;--obstacles that have yet only been partially overcome by the invention of another style better adapted to a northern sky. But the evidence both of remains and of records warrants the belief that, though it may not have been a magnificent, it was still both a populous and opulent city, and that here too grew and flourished that earlier civilization, which, differing in so many respects from our own, and presenting deficiencies which to our view seem so striking and so fundamental, was nevertheless undoubtedly of the noblest forms into which our common humanity has ever expanded, and, besides a renown that can never die, has left some of the brightest examples and highest lessons in the arts, in letters, and in morals to all coming time, in virtue of which and of what of its institutions, or their spirit, ages of barbarism were not able to destroy, it must always remain a principal basis and active element of the civilization at least of our western world,
[n.281.1] See No. IX. p. 163.
[n.286.1] Some Account of London, p. 16.
[n.287.1] The words are--Tantum de fossato mei castelli ex parte Tamesis ad meridiem quantum opus fuerit ad faciendum murum ejusdem ecclesiae, et tantum de eodem fossato quantum sufficiat ad faciendum viam extra murum; et, ex altera parte ecclesice ad aquilonem, quantum praedictus episcopus de eodem fossato diruit.--Dugdale's Hist. of St. Paul's Cathedral, by Ellis, Append. p. 365. The expression ad aquilonem can hardly be understood as meaning on the north side of the castle, the preceding ad meridiem clearly referring to the south side of the church.
[n.287.2] See No. IX. p. 159.
[n.290.1] Observations on the Roman Remains found in various parts of London in the years 1834, 1835, 1836. In Archaeologia, vol. xxvii. pp. 140-153.
[n.291.1] See No. IX. pi 167.
[n.292.1] Archaeologia, vol. xxviii, pp. 38-46.
[n.293.1] See Archaeologia, vol. xxiv. p. 300.
[n.293.2] See No. IX. p. 151.
[n.293.3] See p. 168.
[n.294.1] Archaeologia, vol. viii. pp. 116-132.
[n.294.2] Id. vol. xxvii. p. 410.
[n.295.1] Viginti trium Abbatum S. Albani Vitee.
[n.295.2] Pennant's Tour in Scotland (in 1769), p. 212.
[n.295.3] Letters on Architecture, in Archaeologia, vol. xxv. p. 167.