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THE ROMAN NAME OF MATLOCK,

WITH SOME NOTES ON THE

ANCIENT LEAD MINES AND THEIR RELICS IN

DERBYSHIRE.

BY W. DE GRAY BIRCH, ESQ., 1.-P., LL.D., F.S.A.

(Read at the Buxton Congress, July 18th, 1899.)
EAD has always been a factor among the

antiquities of the races of mankind, but
unfortunately its character does not,
except under very favourable conditions,
tend to its preservation. Nevertheless,
there are excellent specimens of art work,

and epigraphy, among the relics of Greece and Rome, Cyprus, Egypt, and Anglo-Saxondom still remaining to show how much appreciation was given to this metal by the ancients. Probably, a great proportion of the lead used by the Romans for their numerous objects of domestic, public, and military life, came from Britain ; and a consideration of the sites where abandoned masses of this metal are found would enable us to lay down, pretty accurately, the paths or roads which lead from the manufactories on the site of the mines to the ports of distribution.

The lead mines of this county were certainly worked by the Romans, and probably by the Britons.

On one well-known inscribed block, or pig—or sow, as it is sometimes called-discovered near Matlock, on Cromford Moor, and now in the British Museum, occurs the legend Socio Roma, “to my partner at Rome,” which shows that lead was an article of export trade.

The pigs were usually stamped in relief with the name of the reigning emperor. This may perhaps be explained as indicating that the mine whence each one came was crown property.

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From the fact that the Emperor Claudius's name occurs on one, we may assume that the mines of the Peak were worked by the natives before the Roman advent.

Not only imperial names, but other words, more or less accurately understood, as will be shown in the course of this paper, are recorded on the metal masses. It is in connection with one phrase of occasional occurrence that I desire particularly to draw the attention of local archæologists. Those to whom the study of the leaden relics of Roman Britain is familiar will, no doubt, accept or criticise my proposition.

These ancient masses called pigs, or sows, bearing, as I have said, imperial and other inscriptions, are among the most interesting remains our islands possess relating to Roman occupation. They introduce to our notice many speculations as to the trade, commerce, mining and metallurgy, and even nomenclature, of the tribes who raised, manufactured, and distributed the metal. Fortyeight examples, ranging in date from A.D. 44 to 169, from Britannicus to Hadrian, are known to antiquaries ; the explanation of some obscure points in the legends still leaves much to be desired. The one especially in which I take much interest, is the term uit and Litvd, which some interpret as Lutudarense or Lutudarum, a Roman station, on the site of Chesterfield, in this county according to the authority called Ravennas; others see in it the Latin word lutum, washed, that is, refined. The latest pig, that of P. Ruber A bascantus, reads metalli Lutudares. It has been thought that it is LVTVM, equivalent to llud in Welsh and ancient British for

pure ore (of lead). Lutudarum would then be of the people called Lutude, or inhabitants of the lead mine district. But on this point some original remarks are offered in another part of this paper.

This pig of Abascantus was found at MATLock in 1894, and created much interest. In the latter part of last century, three pigs were found very near to it, two on Matlock Moor, one on Cromford Nether-moor. On each of these MET.LVT, or METAL.LVTUD occurs. There are traces of leadworking, both ancient and modern, all around : one of the pigs abovementioned was found near a “bole,”

1

or place marked by heaps of slag, and an open hearth. “ Wirksworth,” says Mr. Leader in the Journal of the British Archæological Association, vol. 1, p. 185, “ has long been a centre for Derbyshire lead-mining, but I do not know of any Roman remains there.” It was, as a matter of fact, worked long before the Romans. In times immediately succeeding the Roman occupation, its name is Wircesworth, the Worth or town of the (lead) works.

The Lutudarum mansio, or “town of the Lutuda,” is said by Lysons to be on the road between Chester and Leicester, but this is vague. There are three sites which may be examined in respect of this word. (1) Ludlow, Salop. (2) Loughborough, in North Leicestershire, on the border of the great forest of Charnwood; and (3) Ludgershall, on the Watling Street in the same county on the south. None of these is very satisfactory. It is worthy of notice that lit. pigs are found at MATLOCK and Wirksworth, co. Derb. ; Pulborough, Sussex; and Hargrave Park, near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; and LVTUD. at Matlock Moor. It would seem, therefore, that Metalli Lutudares, which have furnished about one-third of the whole number of pigs extant, were of capacious output. May not the name of MATLOCK be a corruption of Metal.Lut, strained and twisted though it be in its flight per ora virorum, for two thousand years? Of the full form of Lutud. in the nominative, we know nothing definite as yet; future discoveries will show whether Lutudas, Lutudar, Lutudaris, or Lutudæ is the true word. The site has been stated to be situated in finibus Brigantum, somewhat indefinitely, and the abbreviated word has been conjecturally extended into Lutudensia.

The broad pronunciation of e into a is a common feature in these parts, as in Derbyshire, pronounced Darbyshire, etc. If the identification which I here suggest be correct, MATLOCK should yield more pigs and traces of ancient lead hereafter to the adventurous investigator; and, what is more attractive nowadays, should prove to be an excessively fertile field for lead-mining after the most modern and thorough method. Of course,

1 See, in this connection, the papers on “Roman Pigs of Lead,” hy Mr. Leader and Dr. Birch, Journal B. A. A., N.S, iv, pp. 267-275.

we must not confine the term to the parochial boundaries of Matlock. Wirksworth hundred, in which it is situate, is and has been, as we all know, a great centre of lead industry, and its name is supposed to point to the lead works with which its fortunes have so long been bound up.

I read, however, that “the lead mines were formerly worked to a great extent in the parish of Matlock, but at present (1831) there are only a few in operation.” That Wirksworth, representing in its area practically the lead district, -(not the present parochial Matlock, but the ancient site or territory of Matlock)-gave birth to the Metal-Lut. pigs, I have no doubt; and I ask antiquaries and all who know ancient Derbyshire to accept my identification.

The apparatus of lead-mining appears to have been very limited and puerile. In the same way it is found that the tools of the Egyptians, notwithstanding their colossal work and delicate art productions, were of the weakest and, to all appearance, most inadequate character.? I am enabled by the kindness of the Rev. D. H. Davies, Vicar of Cenarth, co. Carmarthen, to show a drawing in actual size, of a crucible or melting-pot, found by some

miners at the Goginan lead mines, near Aberystwyth, about the year 1852. Several other objects were found at the same time and place, such as Roman coins, a bronze bowl, etc. This object is flattened on one side. Mr. Davies thinks it to be a model of the larger Roman or Egyptian situla, hung up in tombs to propitiate the gods, or as charms to drive away evil spirits, and that it contained sacred oil or unguent; being

perhaps brought into Wales Melting-pot for lead, from Goginan. by Egyptian miners who were

employed by the Romans in working their mines at Goginan and other places. But I am inclined to believe that such a vessel, found

1 See Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians (Edit. S. Birch, 1878).

in a lead mine, must have had a reason for its presence, and have been used either as a measure of quantity or as a crucible, rather than as an offering. No interment appears to have been observed in connection with it. The Oriental form may easily be accounted for by the doctrine of survival of forms: a sentiment which determines the architecture of our buildings to-day as powerfully as it did the shape of utensils a thousand or 1,500 years ago.

The mines and miners of this country, according to the late Sir Fortunatus Dwarris, F.R.S., are governed by certain ancient customs and regulations, which were ascertained by a jury acting under powers granted to a commission in the year 1287, the mining concerns being under superintendence of a Barmaster whose courts (which are courts of law and of equity) are held at intervals of six months, with right of appeal to the court of the Duchy of Lancaster. Here are decided all questions relating to the duties payable to the Crown or to the lessee, all matters of dispute as to the working of the mines, and punishments for offences committed on mineral property. Debts incurred in working the mines are also cognizable in the Barmote courts.

Among curious local customs in mines is that by which any adventurer finding a lead vein unoccupied in the

King's field,” has a right to work it, on any one's land, without giving compensation ; and the Barmaster has a duty to perform, when called on, in putting such adventurers into possession. There are, however, certain well-known exceptions to this custom.

The first discoverer of such a mine is entitled to two meers of ground : a meer being the old gemere, or area, of the Anglo-Saxons, here expressing a vein varying from 27 yds. to 32 yds. long, to be retained at first by crosses and holes, afterwards by stoces, or stowses, of wood; the first “dish of ore to be delivered to the lord, whereby the meer is freed. Dwarris amusingly points out how some owners of estates obtain possession of veins by such means, and keep two or three miners pretending to work them, so as to keep strangers out.

The old writer, James Pilkington, in his View of the

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