תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

off by a system of deep ditches, from which it is pumped up here and there into canals or“ levels," along which it is carried to the sea.

This later period, however, has been one of great interest for the archæologist, for it is these recent operations which have rendered it possible to recover some of the lost history of the Fens.

In turning over the soft peaty soil, the trees which had lain for ages undisturbed were found a few inches below the surface. As they interfered with the plough, they had to be removed, and we were able to read the curious story of their growth on a dry soil, the incursion of flood water owing to some local change of conditions, the rotting of their roots, and finally their prostration all in one direction by some exceptionally fierce storm.

It was, of course, often difficult for horses to travel over this soft peaty soil, and a special shoe was invented which spread far beyond the hoof, the hoof being nailed on to the inner rim of the shoe. These are very rare,

and as the use of them seems almost to have passed from the memory of man, they are a source of great wonderment when found, for they are very awkward-looking things, and can rarely have been used without great inconvenience, and if the horse sunk into sticky soil must have been very easily sucked off.

SUMMARY.

Thus we see in the Fenland an area where land and water have alternately prevailed. We find evidence of marine, estuarine, lacustrine, or fluviatile conditions, where there is now dry land; and the sea now rolls where once were alluvial plains, and where ancient forests grew.

On the whole, this has been an area of depression with minor oscillations in the movement-and with changes brought about by the processes of denudation and deposition which were going on all the while.

In this area Palæolithic man appeared early, before the fen deposits were formed, for we find none of his remains, nor those of the great extinct or migrated animals which lived here with him in the peat and silt

of the fens. Palæolithic man belongs to the age of the gravel terraces and plains.

Neolithic man has not been found in any of the terrace gravels. He belongs to the age of the fens.

Man of the age of Metal, Bronze and Iron, followed on, but we know of no changes in the physical geography coinciding with these two archæological divisions.

The Roman engineers began the reclamation of the fens. In the Saxon age we know of no artificial works or natural operations affecting them to any important extent.

In Norman times, great architects and engineers again arrive, but their work in the fens is more a matter of inference than of observation. Its development may be traced through mediæval times to the present day, when the Fenland is still a region of vast interest from many points of view. Beautiful in its atmospheric effects, the last home of many a rare plant and animal : suggesting in the relics that meet the explorer everywhere a long story of the varied results of the gentler operations as well as of the occasional more violent forces of nature, and of fierce conflicts between man and man.

THE WELSH MARCHES.

BY C. H, COMPTON, ESQ., V.P.

(Read Pebruary 1st, 1899.)

N a previous paper on this subject we

traced the constitution of the Lordship Marchers, from their origin shortly after the Norman Conquest, until the conquest of Wales by King Edward I ; the effect of which was to render it impossible for

any new lordships to be constituted on the footing of the original institution, because the whole of Wales then became subject to the English Crown, the Lords Marchers having all along held their seignories from the King as tenants in capite; and the rest of the territory of Wales becoming subject to the Crown of England, and being divided into shires. To such an extent did the Lordship Marchers extend, that the Lord Herbert of Cherbury, in his History of the Reign of King Henry VIII, says there were 141 lordships then existing, which must have been much the same number as in the days of Edward I, and must in those turbulent times have been productive of a large amount of arbitrary and conflicting rule. It is therefore no wonder that in the reign of Henry VIII the evils arising from these petty jurisdictions had grown so great as to lead to the whole of Wales being brought under the jurisdiction of the English laws, and the country, including the territories of the Lordships Marchers, being divided into the shires as they now exist. But even in the earliest period the want of some settled jurisdiction over the Marches was felt; and though it cannot with any certainty be ascertained when this jurisdiction first commenced, as it grew ex necessitate rerum rather than by direct establishment, yet efforts were made from time to time during the reigns of Henry I to Edward IV, and continued through the subsequent reigns of King Henry VII and Henry VIÏI, to control and utilise the powerful influence of the Lords Marchers, which led to the establishment of the Court of the Lord President and Council of the Marches of Wales, with its permanent seat at Ludlow Castle.

[graphic]

Journal B. A. A., vol. iv, new

1 Read December 7th, 1898. series, p. 339.

The first reliable notice of any constituted authority was in the reign of King Henry I, when Richard, Bishop of London, “as appears by the Chronicles of the Princes of Wales, was sent by that King in the ninth year of his reign to be Lieutenant or President of the Marches, who did continue for a long time at Shrewsbury”;' and it is said that, previously to this, viz., in the seventh year of his reign, the King ordered him to call upon some of the chieftains of Powis for aid in rescuing Nesta, the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, from the custody of Owain, son of Cadwgan. In the ninth year of the reign of King Richard I, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was Chief Justiciary of England, exercised military power in the Marches. In King John's reign, the wardens had military jurisdiction. In the forty-fourth year of Henry III's reign, Geoffrey de Genevil

, who held lands in Ludlow, was commanded to repair to the Marches of Wales as a Baron Marcher, to prevent the incursions of the Welsh, who had then joined the barons against the King; and in the following year orders were issued from the castle of Ludlow, commanding all the Barous Marchers to assist Roger de Mortimer in restraining the hostility of the Welsh.

In the forty-seventh year of the reign of King Henry III (A.D. 1263), Roger Mortimer, James de Adithley, and Hamo le Strange, had a general rendezvous with the Barons Marchers at Ludlow, to concert proper measures for suppressing Simon de Montford, Earl of Leicester, and the other barons who had taken up arms against the

1 Harl. MSS., No. 255, fo. 476.

King. The Earl of Leicester, to oppose the Marchers, made a league with Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, who with united forces attacked the castles of Hay and Ludlow, which were both burned and demolished.

King Edward III, contemplating severing the Principality of Wales from the Crown of England, and fearing that the King of England might thereby lose the tenure and service of the Lords Marchers by reason of their being united to the Principality, the dismembering of which Lordship Marchers might be a great weakening of the Crown of England, it was enacted by Stat. 28 Edward III, c. 2 (1355), that all the Lords of the Marches of Wales should be perpetually attendant and annexed to the Crown of England, as their ancestors had been always before, and not to the Principality of Wales.

It has been said that King Edward IV erected the Court of President and Council of the Marches in honour of the Earls of March, from whom he was descended; but this would assume a settled tribunal and form of government at that time for which there is no warrant; nor can the term “ Marches” be connected in any way with the Earl of March, or with that more fanciful suggestion that the creation of the title of Marquis was connected with the Lords Marchers. Selden, in his Titles of Honor, derives the dignity of Marquis from Marques, or Marches, governors of provinces bordering on some other state or sea, and gives instances of such being instituted in Europe ; but in speaking of the Lords Marchers of Wales, and of Roger Mortimer being created Earl of March by King Edward III, he says : “ This was only the name, not the dignity, of Marchio; neither were they in England styled Marquises but Marchers.” 2

That this court had its origin in the royal prerogative goes without saying, but how it was developed is not so

In a learned discourse against the jurisdiction of the King's Bench over Wales, which forms one of the series of Hargreaves' Law Tracts, published in

easy to trace.

1 Lansdowne MSS., No. 216.
2 Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 216, ed. 1614.

« הקודםהמשך »