« PreviousContinue »
at the base of 1423 feet. The tradition on the spot is that this tumulus is the burying place of those who fell in a great battle fought in the neighbourhood ages ago: and one old man (John Richards) asserts that many years since bones were dug up there : it is supposed however by the historian of the neighbourhood' to have been “erected by Celtic hands as a sacrificial mount of worship to one of their deities, and that it was used by the Saxons as a place of assembly for judicial and legislative purposes at a later period,” and he grounds his opinion, partly on the large space on the summit, capable of accommodating a vast assembly, and partly on the “name of the adjacent village of Witenton, which may imply that the Witen or Witenagemot of the Saxons had here their place of meeting.” I cannot however coincide with this opinion, at least as regards the primary object of the hill, though it may have served both these purposes in the course of ages. Another large tumulus existed not long since in the same county, but is now unfortunately destroyed, called “Oswald's Lowe” or “Mount,” from which the laws of Oswald, Bishop of Worcester, are said " to have been promulgated; and the name still exists in the hundred of “Oswaldslow.” This mound lay between Norton and Stowton in Kemsey Parish, and its basis is declared by Aubrey to be as large as Bloomsbury Square. And there is yet another at Wick, near Pershore, described as “of vast size,” and called Pridsur-Hill. Dorsetshire also boasts a mound of large proportions called “Shipton Barrow,” lying between Dorchester and Bridport: it is situated on an eminence, and is supposed to derive its name from its form, for from a distance it very much resembles a large boat or the hull of a ship turned keel upwards: the dimensions given by Hutchins are,” length 749 feet, breadth at the top 161 feet, and slope of side 147 feet. The perpendicular height, and the angle of elevation are not given; but though Hutchins concludes his
perpendicular height to be 48 instead of 150 feet, the circumference of the base 1423 instead of 1680 feet, and the angle of elevation 20° instead of 45°.-The diameter of the top measures 213 by 68 feet. * “Pictures of Nature round the Malvern Hills,” by Edwin Lees, Esq. * History of Worcestershire, by Dr. Nash. * Hutchins's History of Dorset. See also “Barrow digger,” p. 49.
notice of it by remarking that “it is 250 feet longer than Silbury barrow in Wiltshire,” I am disposed to regard it as of less actual bulk, its oblong form and very inferior elevation being considered. There is also another barrow of considerable size in the same County, near Studland in the Isle of Purbeck, called “Agglestone Barrow; ” on the top of which stands an enormous stone. The dimensions of this mound, as given by Hutchins, are, perpendicular height 90 feet: slope of side 300 feet: and the area it covers half an acre and 14 perch. And now I come back to Wiltshire, and mention the mound at Marlborough, alike mysterious in its origin, its purpose, and its date, though I cannot agree with the present Bishop of Calcutta in his statement that it was at any period of equal size with Silbury, mutilated and changed by its successive occupants though it undoubtedly has been." For though in Norman days it was used as a fortress, and in later times has been turned to account as a fitting site for the spiral walks and formal pleasure grounds wherein our ancestors two centuries ago delighted, yet we must not forget that it was thrown up by none of these, but bears as venerable an appearance, and as plain marks of Celtic origin as Silbury itself: and I doubt not that if thoroughly examined it would be found to contain the ashes of some man of renown in an age of which few traces now remain: for whether or no the British Merlin was buried here, and whether or no “Merlin’s Barrow ’’ gave a name to the town, (as has been asserted,”
“Merlini tumulus tibi Merlebrigia, nomen
Fecit, testis erit Anglica lingua mihi; ”) certain it is, that Merleberg was the original mode of spelling Marlborough (in Doomsday Book for instance, and in King John's early charters), the latter syllable of which, the modern German for a mountain, clearly points to the tumulus hard by: moreover it has given to this day a crest to the Borough, to wit, “On a wreath a mount vert, culminated by a tower triple-towered, argent.” In addition to these I may enumerate the following large tumuli;" in Hertfordshire one near Bishops Stortford; in Bedfordshire one near Leighton Buzzard; in Berkshire two near Hampstead Marshall; in the North Riding of Yorkshire there are several, two of which are of considerable dimensions, the largest of which is called “Rosebury Topping,” near Newton, between Stokesley and Guisborough: it is described as “flat on the top, and as large though not so high as Silbury.” In the County of Gloucester there is one in the Parish of Bromsberrow, called the “Conygre Hill” which (Mr. Lees informs me) is of about the same circumference, but of lower elevation than Silbury. In Surrey there are many barrows of large size: one on Collingley Ridge in the Parish of Frimley is described as “larger than any in Wilts except Silbury;” another at Horshill on the Heath; another West of Oxenford; and another to the West of the town of Chobham. In Essex, there is one near St. Giles's Church, in the town of Colchester; in Kent one near Ashford; in the County of Hants one near Blackwarren ; and in Suffolk six miles to the East of Ipswich, a large tumulus surrounded by six smaller ones. There are also barrows of large size, of whose strength and solidity advantage has been taken to convert them into suitable sites for castle keeps at Oxford, Thetford, Canterbury and Lewes, the two latter of which have been proved by recent excavations to contain human bones at their very base.” Dut the tumulus which most nearly approaches Silbury in size and proportions was raised in modern days over the remains of our Belgic allies who fell at Waterloo. This vast barrow of the 19th century occupies (as is well known) the centre of the field of battle, and though of less actual bulk than our Wiltshire mound, is of no insignificant dimensions. I have myself taken the measurements in the spring of the present year, with the tape and with the quadrant, so that I can speak with some certainty on the point. The sloping side is 270 feet; the circumference of the bottom 1632 feet; the diameter of the base 544 feet; the diameter of the top 40 feet; the perpendicular height 130 feet; and the angle of elevation 27#": so that with an altitude and circumference of base nearly identical with those of Silbury, it is only the inferior size of the platform on the top and the consequently lower angle of inclination, which bring its cubical contents below those of our Wiltshire mound. But not to linger over this modern colossus of graves, interesting though it is to compare it with our ancient giant among tumuli; I now bring my somewhat lengthy paper to a close, leaving it to the Members of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society to form their own opinions on the subject: only I would bespeak the respect of all Wiltshiremen for Silbury, which deserves our reverence from its antiquity, our admiration from its size, and our awe from the mystery which envelopes it. ALFRED CHARLEs SMITH. Yatesbury Rectory, • July, 1861.
* “Antiquities of Marlborough College,” by Dr. G. E. Cotton, p. 9. Rickman says “The area covered by this mount is about an acre and a quarter.” [Archaeologia, vol. xxviii, p. 414..] Sir R. C. Hoare in describing it says, “It is inferior in proportions only to Silbury Hill ; ” (North Wilts, page 15). He gives its dimensions as 1000 feet in circumference of base, and 110 feet for diameter of top.
* Gough's Camden. Antiquities of Marlborough College, p. 7. Waylen's History of Marlborough, p. 19.
* Most of the larger tumuli mentioned here are taken from a list in an unpublished MS. of Aubrey in the Library of the Wilts Archæological and Natural History Society, at Devizes. * Wright's Celt Roman and Saxon, p. 437.
flulutring plants amb forms imbigenous to the County;
So named after Caryophyllus (the Clove Pink), which was anciently used as a generic name for many plants of this order. The Clove Pink was so called from its scent resembling that of the Indian spice (Caryophyllon) or Clove. Karuophullon being a compound of karuon, an almond, and phullon, a leaf.
DIANTHUs, (LINN.) PINK, Linn. Cl. x. Ord. ii. Name derived from Dios (gen. of Zeus), Jupiter, and anth08, a flower: dedicated, as it were, to Deity itself, to express the high value that was set upon this beautiful genus of plants;
“Like that sweet flower that yields great Jove delight.”
1. D. Armeria, (Linn.) Deptford Pink. Engl. Bot. t. 317. Reich. Icones, vi. 249. Locality. Gravel pits, and borders of fields on a gravelly soil; also in copses for the first year or two after they have been cut. A. F. July, August. Area, 1. * * * * South Division. 1. South-east District, “Hedge banks about Alderbury,” Major Smith, and Mr. Joseph Woods. “Hedges at Pitton,” Dr. Maton. “Near Milford,” Mr. James Hussey. Confined to the Southern portion of Wilts, and there rarely distributed. Limb of the petals rose coloured, speckled with white (not red as mentioned in E. B.); dots, crenate at the margin. Flowers scentless. Every species of
Pink is interesting and beautiful, and even rare in the present day, *