Skip to main content Accessibility help

I. A Letter from John Gage, Esquire, Director, to Hudson Gurney, Esq. Vice President, &c. accompanying a Plan of Barrows called the Bartlow Hills, in the parish of Ashdon, in Essex, with an account of Roman sepulchral relics recently discovered in the lesser Barrows

  • John Gage


At the north-eastern extremity of the parish of Ashdon, in Essex, are certain artificial mounds, a plan of which I have the honour to lay before you. They consist, as you will observe, of a line of four greater Barrows, and of a line of three smaller Barrows, at the distance of between seventy and eighty feet in front of the others. The situation of these mounds is remarkable; they stand on a gentle acclivity in face of Bartlow church, the country gradually rising round them like an extended amphitheatre. Between the hills and the church, is a hollow to the north, down which runs a little brook that divides the parishes of Ashdon and Bartlow, forming the boundary of the counties of Essex and Cambridge. Though the hills do not belong to the parish of Bartlow, which is in Cambridgeshire, nor to the hamlet of Bartlow, which is in Essex, still, from the received interpretation of the Saxon word Low a Barrow, it is clear that they give name to the place, a proof of their antiquity. Ashdon church stands considerably more than a mile distant, and is not visible from the hills.



Hide All

page 2 note a See a Disquisition by the Rev. Mr. Pegge on the Lows in the Peak of Derbyshire, Archælogia, vol. vii. p. 131.

page 3 note b Gough's Camden, vol. ii. p. 46. The following is the passage in the original: “Et quâ hæc regio Cantabrigienses spectat, Bartlow quatuor jam tumulis aggestis notutn ostenditur, cujusmodi, occisis militibus, quorum reliquias non faciles erant repertu, ut aliqui volunt, extruxit antiquitas. Verum cum quintus et sextus ex his jampridem defoderentur, tria, ut accepimus, e saxo sepulchra, et in illis confracta hominum ossa sunt inventa. Aggestos vero post prselium ibi contra Danos commissum rustici ferunt. Ebulum enim quod sanguineis baccis hîe circumquâque copiosè provenit, non alio nomine quam Danes-bloud, id est, Danicum Sanguinem, etiamnum appellitant, ob multitudinem Danorum qui ibidem ceciderunt.” This is from the author's edition of the Britannia, published in 1607, which varies from the first edition of 1590, where he speaks of three mounds remaining, and of one dug down.

page 4 note c Sambucus Ebulus, Dwarf Elder, called Dane's-wort.

page 4 note d Holinshed, Chron. vol. i. p. 176.

page 4 note e Encomium Emæ, p. 16, Lond. 17S3; Saxon Chronicle; Flor. Wigorn, p. 387, Lond. 1592; Historia Eliensis, p. 503; Malmsb. de gestis Reg. lib. ii. p. 40 b; Hist. Rames. 433; Matth. Westm. p. 204. Cnut had passed from Shepey into Essex, and through Essex into Mercia. On the advance of Edmund he retreated back the same way;—and that way would in all probability lead to Shobury, the favourite port and residence of the Danes. Not far from Shobury is Assing-don, which bears a great resemblance to Assandun, and this Camden considers to be the place of the battle.

page 4 note f Gough's Camden, vol. ii. pp. 42, 61.

page 4 note g History of the County of Rutland, p. 28.

page 4 note h Hist, of Essex, vol. ii. p. 539.

page 4 note i De gestis Reg. lib. ii. c. xi.

page 5 note k Archæologia, vol. xxiii. p. 10.

page 7 note l There are several coins of the Emperor Hadrian having on the reverse a Fortuna Redux, with a rudder in her right hand, and a cornucopia in her left. Hadrian visited Britain in the year 120, and some of his coins are inscribed Britannia.

page 9 note m Cæsar, lib. vi.

page 9 note n Cic. de Leg. lib. 2. Plin. vii. 54.

page 9 note o Tacit. Annal. xvii. 9.

page 9 note p Epist. ad Attic, lib. vii.

page 9 note q Nenia Britanniea, tumulus II.

page 10 note r Archæologia, vol. vii. p. 376–379; vol. x. p. 132.

page 10 note s Archæologia, vol. xiv. p. 37.

page 10 note t Vas a etiam multa aurea erant et argentea; majore autein numero, ærea, figlina, lignea, atque Mtrea. Seneca.

page 12 note u Archæologia, vol. iii. p. 274.

page 12 note x Ibid. vol. xiv. p. 74.

page 12 note y See Plate V. ibid.

page 12 note z Ibid, p. 221.

page 13 note a Ibid. vol. x. p. 345; vol. xii. p. 108.

page 18 note b Archæologia, vol. xxiii. p. 395. The sepulchral urn is preserved in the British Museum and is very similar tp that found in the brick bustum at Bartlow. Mr. Almack, in a letter addressed to the writer of the text, mentions that there was a black liquid with the bones in the glass vessel; also, that some pieces of iron, like nails, were lying with it; and that near the spot coins were found of Hadrian and Vespasian.

page 18 note c Vol. ii. p. 367, and new edit. 1832, p. 80, where a section of the tomb is shown.

page 19 note d On Samian Ware, see Montfaucon L'Antiquité Expliqué, torn. v. p. 137. Archæologia, vol. v. 287.

page 19 note e Archæologia, vol. v. p. 290; vol. vi. p. 124.

page 19 note f Cambridge Chron.

page 19 note g Memoire sur des tombeaus Gallo-Romains, par E. H. Langlois. Rouen, 1829.

page 19 note h Nenia Brit. pi. 5. turn. v.

page 20 note i Hutchins' s History of Dorset, vol. i. p. 26, edit. 1774.

page 20 note k Nenia Brit. pi. 12, turn. xv.

page 20 note l Thes. Rom. Antiq. Grsevius, 1248.

page 20 note m II n'y a aucun doute que ce beau vase que nous voyons sur un grand nombre de monumens, ne soit tout autre que le præfericulum de Festus. Montfaucon l'Antiquité Expliqué, vol. ii. p. 140. Plates lvi. lxxi, lxxxiii. See Sexti Pomp. Festi Verb. sig. lib. xiv.

page 21 note n Mr. Hope's Costume of the Ancients, pl. xxvii.

page 21 note o See plates iv. and v. Archæologia, vol. xiv. p. 24, accompanying an account by Mr. Walford of the antiquities discovered at Topesfield. The handle of the patera is there represented, as it was found, detached from the patera; and when Mr. Walford wrote his account, he imagined that the handle belonged to some other vessel. These antiquities remain in Mr. Walford's possession, and are now at Birdbrook, in Essex; and, by way of supplement to his valuable paper, I subjoin an extract of a letter, dated 14th June, 1S32, from a friend who. at my desire, lately examined them:

“Mr. Walford's praefericulum is about six or seven inches high, similar in form to the Bartlow one, but not at all ornamented, and I think not quite so elegant. The dish may be six or seven inches in diameter, and the boss was undoubtedly to support the vase, as Mr. Walford found, before he had something put into the foot of the præfericulum, to solder it, as it had been injured. The handle unquestionably belonged to the dish (as you suppose), and as he found after his account was written; and it is now attached to it and rivet ted on, the parts fitting exactly, What you consider a lion's head in his plate is not meant for one, but for that of some great dog, a wolf dog, Canis Mollossus, perhaps: it is well executed. The dish is plain as well as the vase, the handle about four or five inches long.”

page 21 note p Vol. iii. tav. xv.

page 21 note q Antichita di Ercolano, vol. viii. pl, 6.

page 21 note r Nen. Brit. turn. xiv.

page 21 note s Hist, of Sussex, vol ii. p. 367.

page 21 note t Archæologia, vol. xiv. p. 222.

page 22 note u Mr. Leman's MSS. Roman Roads, in the Library of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. Mr. Walford's Survey of part of the military way leading through Haverhill. Archaeologia, vol. xiv. p. 62.

I. A Letter from John Gage, Esquire, Director, to Hudson Gurney, Esq. Vice President, &c. accompanying a Plan of Barrows called the Bartlow Hills, in the parish of Ashdon, in Essex, with an account of Roman sepulchral relics recently discovered in the lesser Barrows

  • John Gage


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed