learning in our Universities; and of whom, to adopt the words of Fuller, “ there needs no more to be added to his honour, save that Erasmus in his Epistles often owns him pro patrono suo et praeceptore--Grocyn was vicar of Shepperton from 1504 to 1513; during a portion of which time Erasmus resided with him in the vicarage.

Shepperton is a good deal resorted to by Thames anglers, and the gentle brethren have not often to leave Shepperton Deep without some more substantial memento than a few“ famous nibbles.” The word Deep may need some explanation to the uninitiated. The Deeps are spaces of the river, of two or three hundred yards in extent, granted by the Corporation of London to the several towns and villages between Staines and Richmond. A Deep is given to the village over against which it lies, and it is appropriated and preserved exclusively for angling; no person being allowed to use any“ net or engine" for taking fish within its limits. The Deeps are of much benefit to the smaller villages, attracting to them a considerable number of visitors during the fishing season. In almost every such village there is a comfortable inn, to the support of which the anglers mainly contribute. These inns are worth looking into. They are essentially the inns of fishermen, and they are fitted up with due regard to the tastes of their patrons. Angling prints and stuffed fish are the leading ornaments, but portraits of famous fish-catchers, as well as fish caught, are seldom wanting, and there is commonly a list of the nobler fish taken in the adjacent Deep, with their weight, date of capture, and name of captor, During the season, some of the more social of the brothers of the angle may be found in the evening talking over the sport of the day, or the braver sport of olden days, or, like Piscator and his friends in their hostel by the Lea, having a gentle touch at singing and drinking; but the last with moderation”-of course.

In addition to the inn, there are also in the village usually two or three “fishermen," who depend chiefly on the angling visitors for support. They keep punts, and provide ground-baits and other gear for anglers. They are mostly shrewd

knowing' fellows, deep in all the mysteries of the craft, and acquainted with every hole whither big fish retire, like monks, for meditation and good fare. In the main, these fishermen are respectable and trustworthy, though they are apt occasionally, like other guides, to play upon the credulity of a confiding stranger :-and it must be confessed, that they do a little love to tickle the gills of a "cute trout.Some of the clever fishermen are a good deal petted, a few are characters, and a good many aim to be humourists. Almost all are civil; and their charge is moderate-being about three half-crowns a day, for punt, ground-baits, and attendance.

A short distance west of Walton bridge is the place known as Coway Stakes ; by most antiquaries supposed to be the ford by which Cæsar crossed the Thames. Many able scholars, however, who have carefully considered the subject, controvert that opinion. We will first see what is Cæsar's own account of the occurrence, and then we shall be better prepared to understand the matter.

Cæsar, after landing somewhere about Deal

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

(probably near Walmer), 54 B.C., had advanced as far as Canterbury, when he received intelligence that his fleet, which consisted of 800 ships, had been damaged by a storm. He left his army and hastened back to the coast; where he stayed till he had taken measures to repair the injured vessels, and had secured them from further mischief by drawing them ashore. On his return to his army, he found that the natives had assembled in great numbers, from the various territories, in order to oppose his farther advance into the country, and had intrusted the chief command and direction of the war to Cassivellaunus, a bold and skilful warrior. Some sharp encounters ensued, in which the Britons fought desperately ; but their bravery was insufficient to check the Roman valour and discipline guided by the highest military genius; and the several auxiliary forces soon dispersed. Cassivellaunus, with the main body, consisting of about four thousand charioteers, withdrew towards his own territory, which was divided from the maritime states by the river Thames (Tamesis), about eighty Roman (seventy-four English) miles from the sea.

6 Cæsar, having ascertained the intention of the enemy, led his army to the river Thames on the confines of Cassivellaunus, where the river is only fordable on foot in one place. When he reached that place, he observed great bodies of the enemy drawn up on the other bank of the river. The bank, too, was fortified with pointed stakes fixed in front, and stakes of the same description, driven into the bed of the river, were concealed by the water. Having been informed of these things by the prisoners and deserters, Cæsar ordered the cavalry to advance, and the legions to follow immediately after them. But the soldiers, though their heads alone appeared above the water, advanced with so much swiftness and impetuosity, that the enemy, unable to withstand the charge of the legions and the cavalry, gave up the bank, and committed themselves to flight.” (Cæs. De Bell. Gall.' lib. v., c. 18.)

Early in the eighth century, Bede, writing of Cæsar's invasion, says that the “ remains of these stakes are to be seen to this day; they appear to be about the thickness of a man's thigh, and, being cased with lead, remain immovably fixed in the bottom of the river.” (“Hist. Ecc.'c. 11.) Camden was the first in recent times to point out Coway Stakes as the ford which the Britons defended. " It is impossible,” he says, “I should be mistaken in the place, because here the river is scarce six feet deep; and the place at this day, from those stakes, is called Coway Stakes ; to which we may add, that Cæsar makes the bounds of Cassivelan, where he fixes this his passage, to be about eighty miles distant from that sea which washes the east part of Kent, where he landed; now this ford we speak of is at the same distance from the sea ; and I am the first, that I know of, who has nientioned and settled it in its proper place.” (Camden's • Britannia,' Gibson's ed. 1772, vol. i. p. 236.)

The first edition of Camden's · Britannia' was published in 1586. In 1735 a paper by Mr. Gale appeared in the first volume of the “ Archæo. logia,' in which the subject was elaborately discussed, and the opinion of Camden maintained by a com: parison of the statements of the authorities, with the appearance of the place and the neighbourhood

« 上一页继续 »