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Setanti must have been the original appellation of the original colomists; and Sistantii, or Sistuntii, must have been afterwards conferred on them when new colonists had taken possession of Westmoreland and Cumberland, and when accuracy was obliged to
distinguish one from the other.” Although very little satisfactory information can be adduced relating to the state of political or civil society, antecedent to the Roman conquest of Britain, yet Mr. Whitaker offers a few conjectural remarks on this subject, which, if not demonstrative, appear rational; and as they have peculiar reference to this county, I shall quote them. “The singular nature of our towns in Lancashire before the entrance of the Romans into it, was the necessary result of that life of hunting and grazing, which is the natural employ of man in the infancy of society, and which, in all the northern regions of the Island, when the arts of agriculture were totally unpractised, was peculiarly the employ of the natives.t The towns of the Britons were not their places of perpetual and general residence; they were only their places of refuge amid the dangers of war, where they might occasionally lodge their wives, their children, and their cattle; and where the weaker might occasionally assist the stronger till succours could arrive. And as, before the Roman Invasion, they had known no other enemies than their Celtic brethren, who, like themselves, were always eager to decide the contest by a battle in the field, neither the one nor the other could be expected to have any considerable skill in the science of fortification. But the Britons certainly possessed a greater
* Whitaker's Manchester, 4to. Vol. I. p. 7.
+ Caesar, by Clark, p. 92. Cognoscit non longe ex ed loco oppidum Cassivellauni abesse, sylvis paludibusque munitum; qué satis magnus hominum pecorisque numerus convenerit. Oppidum autem Britanni
vocant quum sylvas impeditas vallo atque fossà munierunt—Locum reperit egregiè naturâ atque opere munitum.—P. 87. Se in sylvas abdiderunt, locum nacti egregiè naturâ et opere munitum,_quem—jam ante praeparaverant; nam, crebris arboribus succisis, omnes introitus erant praeclusi.-See also Strabo, p. 306, Amstel, 1707; and more particularly Dio, p. 227—Whitaker's Manchester, Vol. I. p. 10.
greater portion of it than our critics are willing to allow them. Their fortresses were planted in the centre of their woods, were defended by the natural advantages of the site, and were fortified by the felling of trees to obstruct the advance, and, by the formation of a bank and a ditch, to prevent the irruption of an enemy. And they resisted the attacks of the best troops, under the command of the best officers in the world, and even gained from the greatest of the latter, the repeated commendation of excellent for
tifications.” The Roman invaders of Britain having conquered all, or the greater part, of the inhabitants south of the Mersey, one of their ablest officers, Julius Agricola, appears to have been the first distinguished Roman, who, at the head of a powerful army, entered the district of the Sistuntii, about A. D. 79. Having easily subdued these feeble opponents, this magnanimous General immediately resolved to establish forts, and plant garrisons, in several parts of their country. To this commander, and to this era, has Mr. Whitaker referred the first erection of the following Roman stations in this county: “Ad Alaunam, and Bremetonacao, in the north; Portus Sistuntiorum, in the west; Rerigonium, and Coccium, about the centre; Colonea, on the east; and Veratinum, and Mancunium, on the south. Some fortresses were absolutely necessary to the maintenance of the Roman conquests, and must always have been regularly erected by the Romans as they extended their conquests. Six of these, in particular, are mentioned by the earliest accounts which we have of the Roman stations in Lancashire; and five of them by one account,t that was drawn up A 4 about
* Whitaker's Manchester, Vol. I. p. 4, 5.
t The account here referred to, is that by Richard of Cirencester, a Monk who lived in the fourteenth century; and whose list of Roman Stations, &c. is more copious, and more “ circumstantial,” than the Geography of Ptolemy, the Itinerary of Antoninus, the Imperial Notitia, and the Anonymous Chorography. To this work Mr. Whitaker attaches almost implicit confidence; but the modern and acute historian
about sixty years only after the reduction of it. Having been five of them originally British fortresses, they were now changed into stationary camps; and small garrisons, consisting principally of the infirm and raw soldiers, were lodged in them; while Agricola, with the rest, attacked the more northerly Britons in the following summer.” “Thus was the autumn of 79,” continues Mr. Whitaker, “the very remarkable epoch of the first erection of our present towns in Lancashire.” Though this writer has specified six stations as positively belonging to this County, yet their exact situations are not satisfactorily defined; nor are other antiquaries agreed with respect to this number: for Antoninus, in his Tenth Iter, only marks three, which, with their relative distances, are thus set down in a journey from the north towards the south: ,
Richard of Cirencester, who is Mr. Whitaker's guide, gives another rout, in the same direction: and Dr. Stukeley affixes the modern
names to the places as follows: Brocavonacis
of Whalley, questions the Monk's authorities, and observes, that “he was possessed with the general spirit of his profession in the middle
ages; something between bold conjecture, and inventive fraud. He
laid out new Itinera; he imagined colonies, towns invested with the
Jus Latii, and others merely stipendiary, long after those distinctions were abolished: he inserted some names, which, though real, were pos
terior to the Roman empire in Britain, and some which may safely be affirmed to have been fabricated by himself.” History of Whalley, p. 15.
* Whitaker's Manchester, Vol. I. p. 31.
+ This Station was invested with the Jus Latii, or Latin Privilege,
whereby the inhabitants were exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction of the Praetor, and were no longer governed by a foreign Praefect, and a
foreign Quaestor, but by a Praefect and Quaestor elected among themselves. Every inhabitant of such towns, who had borne the offices of Praetor or Quaestor, was immediately entitled to the privileges of a Roman •itizen. Tacitus Ann. B. xiv. Whitaker's Manchester, Vol. 1. p. 243.
: “Account of Richard of Cirencester,” 4to, 1757, p. 53.
Brocacomacis XXII. Penrith, Browham.
Coccium—LXVI—Latio jure donata, Bury and Cockley - Chapel, Lancashire.
After the Stations were established, it was next, according to the usual system of Roman policy, deemed necessary to open a passable communication between them, by the means of military roads. To effect this in a county like Lancashire, required the united powers of labor and skill. The first could be easily obtained from the subjected natives, combined with the veteran engineers; and the latter was a distinguishing characteristic of the Romans. It is rather a singular circumstance, that, although many excellent Roman roads were made in this country, the shape and construction of some of which are easily ascertained at this day, the principle has never been revived till within the last fifty years. In many places, indeed, even now the surveyors of roads either totally disregard the system, or are ignorantly incapable of appreciating its manifest utility. In some parts of Lancashire this is deplorably exemplified; for with much wet, and much travelling, the present turnpike roads, in some places, are generally in a very bad state. As the principal Roman stations of this county must evidently have had intervening roads, I shall briefly notice the direction of these, and refer to the accompanying map" for a more perspicuous delineation of them. From Mancunium (Manchester) a road branched off south-easterly towards Stockport; another south-westerly into Cheshire by Stretford; a third north-west to Blackrod; and near Pendleton, a vicinal way branched off to Warrington. A fourth communicated directly to Coccium, (Ribchester,) and continued thence to Bremetonacis, (Overborough.) A fifth diverged north-east towards Halifax; and a sixth more easterly, towards Almoil-bury, in Yorkshire. Mr. Leman also imagines that a road communicated almost directly north and south through the centre of the county from Warring
ton, by Blackrod and Preston, to Lancaster, &c. - - Concerning
* See Map of Lancashire, in the British Atlas, No. XII. the Roman roads in which were kindly sketched in by the Rev. Thomas Leman, of Bath.
Concering the known stations, and principal antiquities, discovered at each, we shall have occasion to treat when describing the parishes where they are situated. The whole of this County, with Yorkshire, &c. was denominated, by the Romans, Maxima Carsariensis, or Britannia Superior; and by the Saxons, Lancaster was included within the kingdom of Northumbria; and, according to the statement of Mr. Whitaker, was “formed into a separate county about 680; and soon after the conquest of it by Egfrid.” At this period, continues our shrewd historian, “the Roman Alauna received the honor which it retains at present; was made the metropolis of the shire, and lent its own appellation to the county.” Soon after this event the county was divided into hundreds, tythings,” &c. and that part called South Lancashire was first parcelled into three, and subdivided into six just before the Conquest; these were called Blackburn, Derby, and Salford; also Newton, Warrington, and Layland; the three latter being sepa. rated from, or taken out of, the others after their original formation. These were all denominated from the towns, or villages, which were constituted the heads of their respective centuries. “And those of Salford, Warrington, and Newton, Blackburn, Derby, and Layland, were so constituted because they belonged to the Crown. All of them, but Newton, continued in its possession
* Most of our topographers have attributed the subdivision of England into counties, hundreds, &c. to the illustrious Alfred; but Mr. Whitaker boldly asserts, “they are all mistaken. The tything, hundred, and county, constituted a part of that original polity which the Saxons brought with them from Germany: and two of them appear ex
isting in Britain, and all three in France, even some ages before the
time of Alfred. The tything, and shire, are both mentioned in the laws
of the West Saxons before the close of the seventh century, and during
the reign of Ina. And the tything, the shire, and the hundred, are no
ticed in the capitularies of the Franks before the year 630.” Vol. I.
p. 113. “The hundreds of the Saxons were exactly the same with the cantress of the Britons: as the latter consisted of a hundred townships; and the former were composed of ten tythings. These were always considerable districts, and exist to this day the great divisions of our
counties.” Ib. 120.