Diocese of Sherborne was established by Saint Aldhelm in about 705 and comprised the counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Cornwall.

towards the sea is now the pleasant little village of Uphill. It is situated close to the mouth of the river Axe,where the Romans had a portand shipped the lead that was mined upon the hills. Now one day a party of Danish pirates from the Holms swooped down upon that shore ; and the people of the country, seeing their boats approach, took to flight. But the Danes burnt and robbed all their dwellings, and then followed them inland, killing everybody they could find. Only one old woman remained near where the village had stood, and she was too lame to run away. However, she managed to hobble into some place of concealment and remained a day or two without being found. At last, finding herself likely to be starved, she came out of her hiding-place, meaning to throw herself upon the mercy of the Danes. But on the beach nobody was to be seen. The boats of the sea-robbers were still there, but every man had gone after the Saxons, eager to slay and plunder. So that cunning old woman found a hatchet, cut all the cables and set the boats adrift, and very soon every vessel was carried far away upon the tide. Then the Saxons called their neighbours to their aid, and the Danes could not save themselves because they were not able to getback to the Holms. Now during the time King Alfred was at Athelney a sea-king called Hubba came into the Severn Sea with a great strength of ships. It is very likely that he held the mouth of the Axe as a harbour; for in an ancient writing the village of Uphill is calledOpopilla,and as Pill is a word meaning a creek, Uphill may easily once have meant Hubba’s creek or harbour. Moreover, at Bleadon, a short distance up the Axe, is a spot now called Hobba’s boat. It Inis been thought this was once Hubba’s boat. So it seems likely that Hubba held the river mouth as a haven from which to sail out upon his raids. But now Hubba was in league with Guthrum, and bent

the President of the Royal Geographical Society,remarked in his address at the Anniversary Meeting, 29th May, 1922,that the time had arrived for the emer gence of a new type of explorer—viz. the Homeland explorer,who will explore, observe and describe his own homeland.In this direction he noted that Thomas Hardy and Maurice Hewlett had made Wessex and Sussex known In is Encouraged by these examples I have endeavoured, magno intervallo no doubt, to throw some light upon what may be termed“Ancient Dumnonia.

”This is a point in which all Devonians” and, indeed, dwellers in the three western counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall may be especially interested.“ Dumnonia,” like “ Demetia ” and “ Demetica regio," is a very ancient geographical termand the Dumnonii certainly go back to Roman times and were noted for their sea faring qualities.In King Alfred’s time “ Dumnonia” was used by the King’s Biographer, Bishop Asser,and would certainly mean a good deal more than we now mean by the County of Devon which meets Somerset at Countisbury Gate and Exmoor.

But until we are sure of the exact meaning of, say, " Dumnonia ” and “ Demetica regio ” how can we follow King Alfred’s great Danish campaign of 878 ?Historical problems wait for their real solution upon the proper explanation of geographical terms.Many disputes have turned and still turn upon the exact site of Cynuit and Ethandune, two very momentous fights in our island history.There is an EdingtonDumnonia Ancient Dumnonia.what time the existing boundaries between West Somerset and North Devon were universally acknowledged is not clear and this uncertainty,dating far back in County annals,has continued even up to modern times.Florence of Worcester (a.d. 1118) in his Chronicle,when recording the Danish Foray up the Severn Sea in a .d . 997,described it as made upon " Watchet in Devonshire.” Watchet or Wacet, the small Saxon port on the north coast of Somerset,lies many miles within the County borders and, in Domesday (1086) was certainly located within the County as a place of ancient importance.Moreover,in the Somerset Exchequer Lay Subsidies Watchet figured as a Somerset “ Burgus ” or Burgh.There was the same popular uncertainty about Exmoor and Exmoor Forest,that well-known Royal preserve, which,according to all records we have of Forest Courts and Forest proceedings from the earliest times,was always reckoned a Somerset Forest.This undoubted fact seems to have been lout sight of, or forgotten,when,in the days of Charles I Kmlymion Porter,a Court favourite asked for Simonsbath ioi a porquisite for himself describing it in his application as lying “ within Devon.”Even Sir Henry Spelman in his < 'dialogue of Royal Forests, c. 1670,places Exmoor in Devon.1 I *SV<; Spelman’s Glossary “ Forestae.”2 Dumnonia In this particular case of Exmoor Forest where the Devon Parishes of Countisbury and Brendon and,it may be added, Lynton, and Parracombe, are so close to the north-west corner of the Forest,and Devon landowners and farmers have for so long exercised Common rights on the Forest and along its “ purlieus,” some confusion may be natural. It was a question about which many appeared to be ill-informed or careless.The antiquary Leland knew the boundaries hereabouts when he wrote in his Itinery (a .d . 1538) :“ The bounds of Somersetshire go beyond the stream (i.e. the Barle) one way by north west a 2 miles or more to a plain called the Spanne and the Tourres ;for there be hillocks of yerth cast up of auncient tyme for markes and Limites between Somersetshire and Devonshire and hereabout is the Limes and Bounds of Exmoor Forest.” This would be in the neighbourhood of what is now called “ The Duck-Pool Allotment ” and “ Moles Chamber,” and “ Shoulsbury Castle,” the latter being in Devonshire.But leaving one antiquary for another what can be said of the learned Sir William Dugdale who, in his Epitome of the “ Monasticon,” locates the alien Priory of Stoke Courcy in Devonshire whereas it lay close to the mouth of the River Parret ?] Or what indeed, to the Reverend Richard Warner of Bath, a west country topographer and pedestrian in his day, who when crossing the Parret at Comwich during one of his “ Walks ” to the West (1800),noticed what he termed the “ hills of Devon ” as seen from Comwich Passage,meaning - surely the Qpantock Hills or, perhaps the “ triple-crowned ” Dunkery, all in Somerset.To this day, indeed, many visitors to the West think or speak of Exmoor as lying in Devonshire.The very expression of “ The Devon and Somerset stag hounds ” fosters the illusion although, as a matter of fact,neither the runs or meets of the pack take place as a rule,within Devon,but almost always within the accepted borders of Somerset. There is, we believe, some grounds for these historical uncertainties about the geography of North Devon and West 1.See Strachey’s List of Religious Houses in Somersetshire—Stoke Courey.Ancient Dumnonia 3Humor,not, both countries appearing to have fallen largely within the bounds of one geographical term that covered both, ill any rate as far as the mouth of the Parret, if not further on i and the term was a general one,viz. “ Dumnonia,” pre- norvod in the ancient “ Dyffneint” We feel sure that, in King Alfred’s time,when the biographer Asser spoke of Dumnonia ” he meant a larger geographical term than what l« meant now by Devonshire.The block of country along the Nurl, 1 1 Somerset Coast, comprising the Hundreds of Canning- luii, VVilliton and Carhampton,all Royal Hundreds at Domesday, may have been a debateable region.Exmoor Forest wan a kind of non-Parochial area, and indeed, it was not until I h l m that Exmoor Parish,as an ecclesiastical unit, was called Into being, after the Royal Forest passed by purchase into private hands, the buyer being Mr. John Knight of Worcester shire.In the twelfth century there was an “ Archdeacon ul Heyond Parret,” so described, meaning the present Arch- deacunry of Taunton. The whole question of the evolution u| a " Shire” is interesting especially as Somerset and Dorset Inn I I liu same Shire Reeve (sheriff) up to 1566. Asser, in King Alliol I i mo describes the county as “ Summurtunensis Paga ” in r e gion round Somerton (Sea-moor Town). He also men- liimi a “ Coorl Dumnoniae Comes” who with the help of Diinmonii fought in 851 against the Pagans at Wicgambeorg, * r Wigborough near South Petherton. At Domesday (1086) wn «l and upon clearer ground although even then the “ Shire ” In iiuI i ii definitely stated as we might expect. (>1 certain well-known border families it might be said in i iih way that they hardly knew whether to call themselves I Invi in or Somerset. Ancient place-names such as Wootton- I 'mirli>imy under Dunkery, recall the family of Courtenay, beil known at Powderham Castle in South Devon: Cut- eiiiiibe Mohun, the original Domesday possession of the Mohuns of I lim iter Castle, reminds us also of the Mohuns of Oke- l.i..ttpl<>n in the Dartmoor country : Cutcombe-Raleigh the liwrllagn of the Nettlecombe Raleighs on the Brendons, bor- dmlnu: mi ICxmoor, (a kindred branch, surely, of the Raleighs wlio lived at Challacombe-Raleigh, not far from Barnstaple), ill lent (lie ramification of a family equally rooted in Devon


Now whilst Alfred is making all ready to fight again for his kingdom , we will leave Athelney for a short while and travel a few miles across the fen to the sea.

The coast of Somerset is all upon the Bristol Channel, a narrow water between it and Wales often spoken of as the Severn Sea.

There are no great ports in our county excepting Bristol, but in the days when ships were small many landing-places were of importance which now are little used.In the Severn Sea are two islands.Easing like high hills out of the water, they may be seen almost anywhere from the shore.

They are called the Steep Holm and the Flat Holm.Now Holm is the Norse word meaning an island in a lake or inlet of the sea.You find it used in the name Stockholm, the capital of Norway, and in many other names of places on the northern fiords or inland seas.Now you will learn how these islands came to have Danish names.Before the time of Alfred and afterwards, the Holms were often held by these sea-robbers who carried their plunder there and lived secure from attack.They would pounce down upon some village or town upon the Welsh or English coast,take what they could lay hands upon, and sail back to their rugged rock.You shall hear, however, a story of one occasion when the pirates are said to liave got the worst of it.Near where the end of the Mendip range slopes down

Flat axes have been found locally on Bannerdown, near Bath, and in the gorges of Ebbor and Cheddar.

A small hoard of axes of an early type, which was discovered at Coombe Dingle by a schoolboy, is now in the Bristol Museum.
Socketed aXe from near Chipping Sodbury and a Spear-head from Yeovil.

The wealth of the middle and late Bronze Age may be judged from the numbers of more evolved weapons and implements found about the country,  among the localities being Edington, Draycott, aXebridge,

Brean Down, Hutton, Banwell, Tickenham, Cheddar, Priddy, Compton Martin, Radstock, Camerton, Solsbury Hill (Bath), the city of Bristol, Floating Harbour, Avonmouth Dock,Westbury-on- Trym , and  Chipping Sodbury.

In other places implements have been found and straightway consigned to the melting-pot. 

Diocese of Sherborne was established by Saint Aldhelm in about 705 and comprised the counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Cornwall.

with a mitre on his head and a book of the Gospels in his hand.And he raised his hand and gave his blessing.And in the dream they asked, “ Who art thou ? ” And unto each the stranger had given the same reply.“ I am called Cuthbert, the soldier of Christ; and to me, this morning out of thy scanty store thou didst give both bread and wine.Now am I come to bid thee be of good courage, for the day of victory is at hand.For the king shall blow his horn, and all the folk shall gather together, and drive the heathen out of the land.And this shall be a sign. When the fishers presently return, their boat shall be laden with fish, as none of them have ever before known.” Then the king and queen were very glad, for they felt sure that the troubles of their kingdom were drawing to an end.And towards evening the fishermen came home, shouting that they had caught more fish on that one day than during all the time of their stay upon the island.So there was plenty again, and they all made merry. And when King Alfred told them of his vision they were all eager to go out against the Danes.Now the miraculous part of this legend was most likely added by the monks to a true story.The giving of the bread and wine which did not waste reminds us of Elijah the Tisbite and the widow’s handful of meal and cruse of oil.The unexpected catch of fish is very like the marvellous draft of fishes on Galilee.Yet it is likely that King Alfred may have dreamt that St. Cuthbert came to him, and believed that he received divine help to drive the pagans out of his land.At any rate he afterwards built an abbey 011 Athelney out of gratitude to God for his deliverance.No trace of it remains until the present day, although some relics have been found before now upon the spot.A little stone monument now stands near the place where King Alfred remained hidden.

Dyfed Archaeological Trust © Provided by The IndependentThe Dyfed Archaeological Trust said there is “still a significant amount of evidence left to excavate.” -Archaeologists have discovered the human remains of around 200 people, believed to belong to a Christian community going back to the 6th century at a popular beach in Pembrokeshire.The remains at the foot of the dunes in Pembrokeshire’s Whitesands Bay, to the west of St. David’s, will be stored at the National Museum of Wales.A team from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield are studying other secrets the dunes hold before they are lost to natural erosion and storms.Archaeologists have been interested in this area for several decades since the early 1920s. So far, teams have exposed almost 100 graves following two excavations in 2015 and 2016. Gallery: Pirate loot and other treasures found underwater (Lovemoney)1 of 35 Photos in Gallery©Look At That Booty/Wikimedia CommonsSunken treasures, shipwrecks and moreUnimaginable riches such as hoards of New World coins, spoils of war and invaluable archaeological artefacts are just some of the items lurking underneath the surface of the seas and rivers across the globe. From Roman statues to pirate loot and Titanic treasures, click or scroll through to find out some of the world's most amazing treasures found underwater.The Dyfed Archaeological Trust said there is “still a significant amount of evidence left to excavate,” including an “intriguing stone structure which pre-dates the burials”.Detailed analysis by the University of Sheffield indicate that the burials included a mix of men, women, and children. The bodies were aligned with the head pointing west and without possessions, in keeping with early Christian burial traditions.Jenna Smith at Dyfed Archaeological Trust, leading the excavation, said the preservation of the bones is “absolutely incredible” because they have been completely submerged in sand.“It’s really important that we do so because it gives that snapshot in time which we don’t normally get in Wales,” Smith told the BBC.“The bone doesn’t normally exist, and the main reason that we’re here is because we are here to stop the bones and the burials from eroding into the sea.”The site will be refilled after excavation ends on July 16.By mengele at July 05, 2021 No comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels: 6th century

of Somerset Dumnonia included Uxella on the Axe and Uphill1 above Brean.

This certainly would include 'Anchor Head ” on the present site of Weston-super-Mare with the old fort of Worlesborough above it 

It is worth noticing that a later Roman geographer, Caius Julius Solinus, ad  238, extended the Dumnonii much further up the Severn and placed them opposite to the Silures. Dr. Guest in his “ Origines Celticae,” too conjectures that the bounds of Dumnonia stretched from Malmesbury to the Land’s End and that the kings of Dumnonia had added to this realm by conquest and that, in the days of Gereint, Dumnonia must have been in power and dignity the first of the British Kingdoms.

He writes : " It is not my object to trace the several stages of decay through which the power of Dumnonia passed as it melted away before the ascendancy of England.

The more intimate relations of this British Kingdom were no doubt with the kindred races of Wales and Brittany, but the influences it exercised over the national progress and even over the literature of its English neighbours were by no means of slight account, though they have been strangely overlooked. They afford, I think, the only solution of some of the most intricate problems connected with our early history, and materials for such inquiry may be scanty, but they are not altogether wanting.”
The three chief “ perpetual choirs ” of the Isle of Britain were : That of Llan Iltud Vawr in Glamorgan ; That of Ambrosius in Ambresbury, near Salisbury ;  That of Glaston. In each of these choirs there were 2,400, that is there were one hundred for every hour of the day and night in rotation perpetuating the praise of God without rest or intermission. What may be termed the spiritual life of an enlarged Dumnonia was centred around these places about ad  500. This implied a kind of national unity from Salisbury to the Land’s End. When, later on, the Bishopric of Sherborne was formed and Aldhelm ruled over “ Selwood See “ George of Ravenna,” Urbs ab Uxellae ostio longe separata. Fluvius est Axe— Uxella forte est Axbridge : also “ History of the Ancient Britons,” by J. A. Giles, 

but if you do not up date science the landscape was very different , erosion etc however meares and boats are important 

to the past.

consider though that these are old thesis'

so consider the landscpe around the severne sea 2000 years ago


Towards the beginning of the Bronze Age many Cotswold-Severn long barrows were sealed, suggesting widespread change. It appears that the Wedding Stones at Stanton Drew were also abandoned after just a few hundred years of use, possibly even forcefully since the henge seems to have been deliberately filled [Burl 1999, p.59], a task of considerable effort, with the Somerset community retreating back to the Mendips. This also implies that the henge was not built in the local style, but was probably a common outer bank/inner ditch type as seen at Avebury. The Gorsey Bigbury henge on Priddy was also of that style and appears to have been mistreated upon re-habitation , suggesting that the Somerset community filled the ditch at Stanton themselves. The growing influence of solar beliefs (Beaker?) being a likely reason since lunar alignments appear to have been marginalised at Avebury and Stonehenge around the same time.

An apparent interest in Brent Knoll by the Neolithic people of Somerset and south Wales was noted in Section 2.3. An intriguing correlation between the natural hills of that part of the Somerset Levels and the monuments at Stanton Drew appears to exist. From the top of Brent Knoll the nearby Mendip landscape begins to the north, starting with the outcrop Brean Down at the northwest, then Bleadon Hill directly north, before the joined hills of Crook Peak, Wavering Down and Fry's Hill run into the Mendips proper to the northeast. Surprisingly, the last three hills, as seen from the top of Brent Knoll, are roughly aligned to the midwinter lunar risings. Crook Peak is at around 41 degrees (just left), Wavering Down at 51 degrees and Fry's Hill at 61 degrees. Further, the valleys/dips between them are at roughly 46 and 56 degrees. That is, the view from Brent Knoll over these hills naturally highlights and tracks the moon's movements during the 18.6 years cycle. That the midsummer settings can also be found in the Levels was noted in Section 2.3. The Cove at Stanton faces south-southeast just to the right of the rise upon which the south-southwest circle sits, roughly aligned to the major midsummer rising. From Brean Down's western end, looking to the right of Brent Knoll gives a similar angle from north. Note how consideration of the natural landscape may explain why the Cove is positioned so far from the main circle. The Levels were populated for a considerable time and, whilst these facts may be nothing more than coincidental, it is not unrealistic to suggest early inhabitants would have noticed the moon's movements over their surroundings, which became part of their belief system. Similarly, the users of the Priddy henges may have noticed the moon's midwinter settings across the nearby Blackdown Hill, particularly from the southern-most ring.

Based on the findings of the Pontings [1984] at Callanish, Cope [1998] has highlighted the apparent ubiquity of a Mother Earth religion under which natural hills, often shaped like a recumbent female figure, influenced megalithic builders. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that, in Europe at least, early religions were concerned with the worship of the female. First expressions of this religion have been found in Ukraine, where small carved figures representing the female form have been found, dated circa 25,000BC. Neumann [1955] is typically cited as the discoverer of this concept of a Mother Goddess. Marija Gimbutas [1982] collected evidence for such a religion through figurines and other early art circa 7000-3000BC. She suggested that the goddess was associated with birth, death, resurrection, the moon, water, circles, and other symbols found in prehistory (see [Gimbutas 1989] for illustrations). Discoveries from Catal Huyuk, Turkey [Mellaart 1967] in particular give evidence of an early matriarchal society, though perhaps one based on equality rather than female dominance [Eisler 1987].

The connection of the goddess to the moon has also prompted the idea of her "three ages" since the moon passes through three distinct phases - new (white), full (red), and waning (black) - corresponding to the three ages of womanhood - virgin, mother, and matriarch/crone. This is also connected to birth, death, and rebirth, which appears prevalent in the belief system [e.g. McLean 1989]. The aforementioned view from the top of Brent Knoll is interesting when this idea is considered. To the northeast is Brean Down, clearly displaying a recumbent figure, with Steep and Flat Holm as 'her' satellites. Across from this first Goddess's feet, is Bleadon Hill, a second, larger, but less marked possible figure lying with her feet to those of Brean Down's. Lying almost head-to-head with Bleadon Hill is the third and largest figure formed by Crook Peak (head and perfect nose), Wavering Down (chest), and the Mendip Hills (body) which appears to fill the rest of the distant horizon going all the way back around to the sea near Bridgwater. Thus the three ages are seen. Glastonbury Tor is away to the east, protected in the curve of the Mendip Goddess, itself a well-known and much revered conical hill. The Black mountains of south Wales are seen to the west, the edge of Exmoor to the far south.

Crook Peak is also prominent when viewed from the Cotswold-Severn tomb at Redhill over the Wrington Vale. Here Crook Peak forms the (nippled) chest of a recumbent female whose head is formed by Wavering Down and body/legs by Bleadon Hill. Moreover Banwell Hill can be seen as an arm and Benthills Wood a hand.

That the possible natural lunar alignments were influential in the design of Stanton Drew mentioned above can be seen to be supported when the Mother Earth landscape religion is considered. As noted in Section 4, the northeast ring is constructed of the largest, darkest stones over which the midwinter risings are seen. Hence this is the "crone" circle, a megalithic representation of the Crook Peak et al. hills. The enormous main circle contains the second largest stones, perhaps representing the "mother" age. Whether the Cove represents the "virgin", after Brean Down, implying its chambered tomb inspirations were seen as places of rebirth, or whether the south-southwest circle assumed this role over that of one akin to Brent Knoll is unclear. This is of course highly speculative but warrants further investigation.

There is a passage in Diodorus Siculus, quoted from Hecataeus, which describes a round temple in Britain dedicated to Apollo; and this Mr. Davies concludes to have been Stonehenge. By another writer, Dr. Smith, Stonehenge is maintained to have been “ the grand orrery of the Druids,” representing, by combinations of its stones, the ancient solar year, the lunar month, the twelve signs ofthe zodiac, and the seven planets.

ysbrydion y rhigol hynafol       the spirits of the ancient grove

 roman temple on hill or wastmôr yr afon the river sea . The city of Swansea is the largest settlement on the Welsh coast of the Bristol Channel.Other major built-up areas include Barry (including Barry Island), Port Talbot and Llanelli. Smaller resort towns include Porthcawl, Mumbles, Saundersfoot and Tenby.The cities of Cardiff and Newport adjoin the Severn estuary, but lie upstream of the Bristol Channel itself. On the English side, the resort towns of Weston-super-Mare, Burnham-on-Sea, Watchet, Minehead and Ilfracombe are located on the Bristol Channel.Barnstaple and Bideford are sited on estuaries opening onto Bideford Bay, at the westernmost end of the Bristol Channel.Just upstream of the official eastern limit of the Channel, adjoining the Severn estuary, is the city of Bristol, originally established on the River Avon but now with docks on the Severn estuary, which is one of the most important ports in Britain.It gives its name to the Channel, which forms its seaward approach. Bristol Channel floods,  On 30 January 1607  thousands of people were drowned, houses and villages swept away, farmland inundated and flocks destroyed when a flood hit the shores of the Channel.The devastation was particularly bad on the Welsh side, from Laugharne in Carmarthenshire to above Chepstow on the English border. Cardiff was the most badly affected town.There remain plaques up to 8 feet (2.4 m) above sea level to show how high the waters rose on the sides of the surviving churches.It was commemorated in a contemporary pamphlet "God's warning to the people of England by the great overflowing of the waters or floods."

Florence of Worcester (a.d. 1118) in his Chronicle, when recording the Danish Foray up the Severn Sea in a .d . 997,  described it as made upon " Watchet in Devonshire.more than probable that the forts and strongholds of the Dumnonian chiefs and princes would, like the ports,harbours and forests of Dumnonia, pass direct into the keeping of the Wessex kings and so

 15Barge.     A crowd, almost as large as that which we have seen in Eastover, is collected on the quay and is looking down on the work of a group of labourers, who are directed by a master mason in charge of the operation.They have brought from a ship, which has come up the river on the last tide, two stone effigies swathed in straw. The faces and hands, however, are visible, and we see that the Bristol carvers have fashioned here a Knight and his Lady, with faces and hands turned towards heaven.The labourers are now lifting them into the flat-bottomed barge. On the next tide they will be carried up to Taunton, and thence will make their final journey in a waggon to the church for which they are destined.Below the bridge, moored against the quay-side lie ships, not a few. That fine vessel Le Gabriel de Bridgwater belongs to Master Dennis Dwin, the Irish merchant. She is unloading her cargo of woad, a blue dye-stuff for the use of the  Bridgwater cloth makers.The town crane is busy hoisting it ashore.

La Marie de Tanton 

No doubt there were all along tares mingled with the wheat. The Church of the first three centuries was never, except perhaps on the day of Pentecost, in an absolutely ideal condition. But yet during the ages of persecution, the Church as a whole was visibly an unworldly institution.

It was a spiritual empire in recognized antagonism with the world-empire.

But from the time of the conversion of Constantine, a .d . 312, and still more completely from the time of Theodosius the Great, a d 379 , the Church and . the world seemed, in some respects at any rate, to have made terms with each other.

The world, without ceasing to be the world, was no longer outside, but had been admitted within the sacred enclosure.

And that Roman world of the fourth century, what a detestable world it was ! On this point Christian writers of every school seem to be agreed.The fervent and eloquent Roman Catholic Montalembert quotes and adopts the words of the Protestant Guizot, who says, “ The sovereigns and the immense majority of the people had embraced Christianity;

but at bottom civil society was pagan; it retained the institutions, the laws, and the manners of paganism.

It was a society which paganism, and not Christianity, had made.” 1 Montalembert adds that “ this paganism . . . was paganism under its most degenerate form . , . Nothing,” he says, “ has............... ever equalled the abject condition of the Romans of the empire. . . . With the ancient freedom, all virtue, all manliness disappeared.

There remained only a society of officials, without strength, without honour,
and without rights. . . . We must acknowledge that
in this so-called Christian society, the moral poverty
is a thousand times greater than the material, and
that servitude has crushed souls more than bodies.
Everything is enervated, attenuated, and decrepit.
Not a single great man, nor illustrious individual
rises to the surface of that mire. Eunuchs and sophists of the court govern the state without control,
experiencing no resistance but from the Church.”
These last words guard Montalembert’s meaning.
He is speaking of civil society, which was now nominally inside the Church; but, side by side with this Christianized paganism, the Church still handed on the glorious traditions which had been bequeathed to her by the age of the martyrs.

Though it may be true that the civil society of the fourth and fifth centuries produced no great men, yet the hierarchy the Church produced a galaxy of heroes.

Let me state only five, Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil , Saint Ambrose,
Saint Christostum and Saint Augustine. A religious instil tion which can produce such splendid names is full of life; but nevertheless the Church whioh had admitted the world within her precincts, was in a very different condition from the Church during the first three centuries of her I op. eit., pp. 264, 269, 271, 272,

 Guizot, Histoire de la Civilization en France, leot. ii., quoted in
Montalembert’s Monks of the West (English tram, 1861, i. 263).

Chapter II.
Dumnonia and Glaston.
DUMNONIA, therefore, as a geographical term, seems to lie in the background of our national, and especially West-Country, annals , as a somewhat dim and uncertain region , regarded as a half fabulous realm , not to be defined by modern counties or by modern Bishoprics, although the name has survived in Devon.

It has long since dropped out of use and finds little mention in our text-books. William of Malmesbury could say “ In Dumnonia quae Devenscire dicitur 55 and
render himself intelligible to men of his own age (1143) ; and,
further back still in our history, Asser, the biographer of
King Alfred, could quote “ Dumnonia" , as already noted,
probably meaning Devon and part of Somerset reaching up
to the Parret mouth and, perhaps, further east still, towards
I Bristol (a .d . 875-900). That there was a Church if not a
distinct Diocese in Dumnonia, we may infer from a letter
written by Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne in a .d . 704 who
gave a kind of pastoral charge to Gerontius, King of Dumnoiiia, and to all priests (sacerdotes) living in Dumnonia. The
view of Aldhelm, who was partially Romanized, was that
Dumnonia was rather uncivilized (dira), a view we need not
endorse, as he probably meant that the Celtic Church was
noli sufficiently imbued with Roman and papal influences.
The old Roman geographers used the name of Dumnonia
m id had a definition for it, Claudius Ptolemaeus (a .d . 150)
p la cin g the Dumnonii next to the Durotriges or Dorsaetas,
i.e. men of Dorset, on the east, and extending this region to
" Volida" i .e. Fowey or Falmouth in Cornwall. He gave
them Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter) and Caerleon. On the Coast

shire/’ this inland continuity from Wiltshire westward was slightly impaired about a .d . 700. But Dumnonia unity was

 preserved along the north coasts and littoral of the Severn Sea, being in its very nature maritime and its inhabitants seafaring.

Glaston and Llan Iltud Vawr preserved their Celtic traditions.

It was a matter of navigation and of a sea-and-river-intercourse , easier in its way than travel through inland forests and less perilous.
That road or highway, possibly of Roman origin, linking Dumnonia and its northern parts together, leading from
Bristol (and Bath) westward to Uxella or Axbridge, Brent and so to Cynwith or Comwith passage on the Parret was first
constructed with a strategic and maritime purpose. It was
the trunk road of ancient Dumnonia for all purposes. It
helped the pilgrim also on his way to Glaston and was connected with all land routes and especially with the sea routes
across Severn. Glaston also had its river anchorages, its
canals and moorland boats (batelli) and river craft. The tidal
wave swept humble currough or larger barge and vessel up to its
sacred portals.
If we adopt Sir Charles Elton’s definitions of ancient Siluria1
and infer that it meant a block of Wales including Glamorgan
and Hereford, as well as Monmouth, it will be seen that the
Dumnonii must have been found some distance up the Severn.
Hath and Bristol (Bristowa, the town of the British) ; both
with churches dedicated to St. Michael, would have been
occupied by them. Gildas, our oldest historian, who knew
the Severn well, mentions a certain “ King of Dumnonia ”
Constantine by name (Dumnoniae tyrannus), as apart from
Vortipore, King of Demetia which we assume to mean geographically, South Wales and not simply Pembroke. The
name of Constantine, it may be noted, introduces early
Christian association (300-400). To-day there is a Cornish
parish near Falmouth called Constantine where it is said
a lthough the rumour cannot be substantiated) silver coins
of Arthur were found near the church.2 Constantine, also,
1 Elton’s “ Origins of English History,” p. 141.
2 Lewis’ “ Topographical Dictionary,” vol. i, p. 509.

in Wiltshire and an Edington on the Polden ridge above the river Parret in Somerset.

To which of them shall or ought the student of a military “ terrain,” that had its especial features of marsh, estuary and trackless forests a thousand years ago,now go for enlightenment ?Some exact scholars have fixed this military question by relying on philology and philology alone, saying that Ethandune in Wilts fulfils their requirements.

This is not enough.
In my study of “ Ancient Dumnonia ” I have laid some stress upon this great “ Crux ” of our Early Island history and, although the ultimate elucidation of Alfred’s Danish
campaign, ending with the “ Peace of Wedmore,” is by nomeans the only matter of historical interest, it is an extremely important one

. German strategists, noted for their thoroughmethods, would probably have solved all the problems of Alfred’s campaign long ago, but we do not want Germans in
this country to spy out and explore.

However, I have been
fortunate enough to have the matured opinion of Major P. T.
Godsal of Iscoed Park, Whitchurch, who has made a military
study of the Conquest of Britain by the Angles and also the
Thames Valley Campaign.

There is one point upon which Major Godsal, as well as other military critics, may not have laid sufficient stress and it is the very great and material
assistance given to King Alfred not only by the men of
Somerton, who rallied so nobly around him, but by Odda and
the men of Dumnonia who were victorious at Cynuit Castle.
These warriors must be classed amongst the “ Welsh-kin ” of
King Alfred’s Will, and so mentioned, meaning not necessarily
the Welsh of Wales but the British or “ Dumnonii ” of the
West Country who have persistently survived all changes.
Being sea-faring men by tradition they must not be confused
with the tribal Welshmen of the Welsh mountains.

Welsh chiefs acknowledged the “ suzerainty,” if we may so call it, of King Alfred but in his extremity at Athelney we do not know that they gave material help.

The Dumnonii on

Preface Vll
the spot, i.e. in North Somerset and possibly Devonia itself, gave this. u n d e r date of August 23rd, 1922, Major Godsal writes as
follows :
You have asked my views on the Battle of Ethandun.
T hough I cannot claim to be a military expert, and have made
but a slight study of King Alfred’s campaign against the
Danes which resulted in the surrender of Guthrum and his
men. I will try and state its leading features from the military
' To begin with we seem to know with certainty the bases
from which the contending forces operated. The Danes had
established themselves at Chippenham, Alfred had sought
refuge in the marshes of the river Parret, and was for a time
in hiding. The Danes had a fleet in the Severn under Hubba
and Inguar. These landed at some place on the coast of
Devon which then extended as far as the river Parret.
" They there fought a battle with the men of Devon under
their Ealdorman Odda and drove them into a small fortress.
" The men of Devon, however, made a successful sally by night and killed Inguar and Hubba and twelve hundred Danes, the rest of the Danes escaping to their ships.
It is evident that the Danes had a large force and were not
engaged in a mere raid, but were endeavouring to hunt up
AIfred. The name of the fortress occupied by Odda is given
as ' Arx Cynuit,’ and this has been identified with Combwich
on the left bank of the mouth of the Parret. However that
may be, it is inconceivable that this battle took place anywhere
but on the banks of the Parret.
" The result is all that concerns us now. It was that it gave
Alfred and his men fresh confidence, and Alfred who had
hitherto been in hiding began to make a small fort called
Athelney in the centre of the marshes of the P arret; and this
became without question Alfred’s base of operations.

Rivers and navigable creeks, p. 36. Tamar, Lynher, p. 38. Tide, or Tidi, p. 40. Seaton, ib.
Loo, or Eaft-Loo, ibid. ProfpoCt of Loo Bridge," ib. Duloo, or Weft Loo river, p. 41. fawy, ib.
Fal, 42, and it’s harbour. Hel, or Heyl river in Kerricr, p. 43. Lo or Low river in Kerrier, p 44.
Heyl in Penwith, ibid. Ganal creek, p. 45. River Alan, al Lamel, ibid. Wade navigable rivers in
may be made notbeneficial, p. 47. Subject: to obftrudtions, p. 49.