Wilts & Dorset

EngliscHeritage

Wilts & Dorset

In the Southern counties, where the underling strata are chalk and limestone, there are numerous streams whose upper courses are dry in summer and have water in them only in winter. In Dorset there are two streams called Winterborne, in Wiltshire three, in Berkshire one, and in Sussex one. In these counties there are also many streams which have water flowing in them in winter and not in summer, but which have not the word winter connected with their name. Why a few should have this and many others not have it has not been explained. There are also villages called Winterborne on the streams of the same name. In view of the fact that there is a winter flow of water in many streams not called by the same winter, the popular explanation of the origin of the name Winterborne may not be the correct one. The names are old, the earliest references to a place or district so called in Dorset being A. D. 943 and 949.(1) The possibility that they have been derived from a tribal name must be considered.

 

The evidence already stated shows that the earliest settlers in Hampshire could not have been all of one race, and that there were in that county very considerable settlements of Goths and other Scandinavians. There are also traces to be found in parts of Dorset and Wiltshire of early colonies of people of more than one race, and of later settlements of Northmen. Such old place-names in Dorset as Godmaneston,(2) Goderiston,(3) and Goderthorn Hundred,(3) points to settlers who were Goths, as also does the custom of partible inheritance of the Kentish type among sons, and failing sons, among daughters, that survived at Wareham and Portland. The dialects spoken by the northern people, whether Goths, Danes, Norse, or Swedes, were some form of the old Norrena,(4) and we may consider it certain of any of these races in Dorset and Wilts they would not call them Wends, but by the name by which they were known in their own language-viz, Windr, Winthr, or Wintr.

 

There is ancient evidence that Scandinavians used the word Winthr or Windr for Wends. The words of an old writer on early Northern history on this subject are : `Wandali quos nos matrena lingua vocamus Windr.`(5) Another northern writer mentions the Western Slavs as `Slavi occidentals, or Vestr Vinthr,` and the Eastern Slavs as the `Slavi orientales, or Austr Vinthr.`(6)

For this explanation of the origin of the Winter place-names in these counties to be probable, or even possible, it is necessary to prove the settlement in them of people who spoke a Norrena dialect. The ancient topographical names, some of which are now lost, in both these counties supply this proof.

 

In Dorset we find Swanage, Purbeck, Shapwick, Ore, Witherston, Butterwike, Wichampton, East Holm, West Holm, Byrport (now Bridport), Candel, (which maybe compared with Candleshoe Wapentake in Lincolnshire), Ringstede, Farnham, Gillingham, Grimston, Swindun, and other names which can be most satisfactorily accounted for by the Northern dialects. The name Rollestone Barrow, on the border of Wilts and Dorset, near to the dyke known by the Scandinavian name Grimsditch, points to the same conclusion.

 

In Wiltshire we find Burdorp and Salthorpe near Swindon, East Thorp and West Thorp on either side of Highworth, Ramsbury (with the old Estthropp and Westhorpp(7) on either side of it), Rollestone, Buttermere, Normanton, Maniford, Burbage, Scandeburn, Grimstede, Hardicote, ulfcote, and others, clearly denoting settlement of Norrena-speaking people. In the north of the county also is a circle of stones round an old burial-place near Winterborne-Basset, and the Kennet long barrow, very similar to those of Scandinavia. The barrow at Kennet so closely resembles that in which one of the Danish Kings is by tradition said to have been buried at Lethra in Zealand that Fergussan tells us the age of the one must be the age of the other.(8) Similarly, in Berkshire we find places with old Scandinavian names around Winterbourne.

 

In Dorset we also find proof of a large Scandinavian settlement in the Danish money computation mentioned in the Domesday Book at Dorchester, Wareham, Bridport, and Shaftsbury, and at Ringwood, near its border.

 

When did this settlement take place ? History is silent in reference to it, but the proof is clear that some Scandinavians did settle in all the counties of Wessex. Some of these maybe accounted for by Goths and other Northern settlers among the early Gewissas. A large number probably settled in Wessex after the wars of Ethelred I, and his brother Alfred. It is certain that a considerable proportion of the fighting men of the old counties of Wessex had become exterminated before the peace between Alfred and Guthrum, and they were probably succeeded in many localities by colonists of Scandinavian descent. History is silent for the most part concerning the Anglian and Danish settlements in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, but these settlements cannot be doubted, nor can the settlements of Goths and Northmen in Wessex, either among the original Gewissas or after the Danish wars of the ninth and tenth centuries. In any district in which Scandinavian freemen were settled at a subsequent date to that of the original settlers some changes in land tenure and in the customs of inheritance would be likely to follow, as well as a change in some of the local names, which may account for the disappearance here and there of some very early customs.

 

In Dorset the Domesday names Windresorie and Windelha occur, and the old names Windleshor` Hundred and Windregledy also are known. These apparently refer to men who are Vandals, or Windr, as they would be called by Scandinavian Goths and others who spoke some dialect of the old Northern tongue.

 

This old name Windr for Wends used by the Northern nations is a link in the chain of evidence by which Wendish settlements maybe traced in our country. The name Winter in place-names occurs most frequently in Dorset, but also in Wiltshire and some other counties. It is chiefly attached to the word bourn, but by no means exclusively, the place-names Winterstoke, Winterhead (anciently Wintret), and Winterburge, being known in the southern counties ; also Wintrinton in Dorset, Wintringham in Huntingdonshire, Wintrington in Lincolnshire, and Winterset in Yorkshire.

 

The name Windresorie for the place now called Broad Windsor in Dorset had its origin apparently under similar circumstances to those which gave rise to the name Windlesore, now Windsor in Berkshire. Among other early Dorset names maybe connected with people known as Windr are Windrede-dic or Windryth-dic, a boundary ditch near Shaftsbury, and Windaerlaeh maed, near the river Avon, on the Hampshire border, which are mentioned in Anglo-Saxon charters.(9) These cannot refer to winter, the season.

The connection of the name of tribal people with the name of the stream flowing through their territory is an old custom of topographical nomenclature. In the northern parts of Germany we find many old examples of this. Among the instances(10) are the Stur River and Stormari, or Stormer people in the south of Holstein ; the Hasa River and the Hassi tribe near Osnaburg ; the Havel River and the Havelli, or men of Havel, in Brandenburg, mentioned by King Alfred ; the Suala River and the Swalfelda people ; the Ambra or Emmer River (now the Ems), and the Ambrones or Emisga tribe ; the Meisse and the people of Meissen in Wendish Saxony ; the Warinna River and the Werini or Waring tribe ; the Wandalus River or Waal, and the Vandals who settled in Holland ; the Hunse river and the Hunsing people of Friesland ; the Hunte River and the Huntanga tribe, also in ancient Frisia.

Similarly, in England in Anglo-#saxon time we find the Wiley and the Wilsaete, the Meon and the Meonwara, the Arrow and the Areosatna in Warwickshire ; the Collingbourn(11) and the Collinga people in the east of Wiltshire. Further instances of the same kind maybe traced in the Old English river-names Swanburne,(12) Honeyburn,(13) Broxbourn, Ingelbourn,(14) Coquet, and others.

With this evidence before us, both from ancient Germany and England during the Anglo-Saxon period, the probability that the streams called Winterborne may have been named after people called Wintr living on the banks is strong.

In Dorset the traces of Scandinavian and Wendish settlements abound, especially in the valley of the ancient Stur. This is a Northern name, a well-known example of it being that of Snorri Sturluson, the earliest Icelandic author. If we consider the names of the streams which are feeders of the Stour, and the names of places along the course of that river and its tributaries, we may recognise the Scandinavian origin of nearly all of them. The Cale, the two Loddons or Liddons, and the Winterborne, are tributaries, while there are two places named Stourton, three places named Stour, and two named Sturminster. The name Stur is also siginificant in another way. There was a river Stor which was one of the boundaries of Stormaria, north-east of Hamburg, and that was a Wendish tribal district. This leaves little room for doubt concerning the Scandian or Wendish origin of some of the place-names in the valley of the Dorset river. Gilling is a name connected with Norse Mythology, and occurs in the Dorset name Gillingham.

With this evidence before us, it is not surprising to find a Norse name used for the Wendish people settled on the western side of the Stour valley. It would have been strange, supposing such people had been settled there, if they had been called by another name than the Scandinavian name of their tribe,viz., Winthr or Windr.

The use of the patronymic termination –ing in such names as Wintringa-tun(15) or Wintrington in Lincolnshire, and Wintrington in Dorset,(16)are clearly cases in which Wintr must have been used in a personal sense, as the name for the head of a family or clan. Similarly, -inga in Wintringa-tun denotes the descendants of a Wintr. In such instances the name can have no reference to winter, the season. There were other Wintr place-names in Dorset and Wilts in the Saxon period which have no reference to bourns : Winterburge geat,(17) Wilts ; Windresorie, Windelha, Windestorte, Winfrode, and Winlande-all Domesday names. The name Windelha(18) clearly refers to a place that was named after a man called Windel at the time of its settlement. If, therefore, there were some places in Dorset called Wintr, Windr, or Windel after Wends, it is very probable that other Wintr place-names in this and other counties had a similar origin. In the West Riding of Yorkshire the old name Winterset(19) survived at a later period, and this may originally have denoted the settlement of Wends.

The name Winthr for Vandals, which was used by the Northern Goths and other Scandinavians in the sixth century, may have partly lost its significance as the dialects become blended into one speech. There is linguistic evidence of a great commingling of nations in the body of the English settlers.(20) The Anglo-Saxon, in its obscure etymology, its confused and imperfect inflections, and its anomalous and irregular syntax, furnishes an abundant proof of diversity of origin. It has the characteristics of a mixed and ill-assimilated speech, and its relations to the various ingredients of which it is composed are just those of the present English and its own heterogeneous system. It borrowed roots and dropped endings, and appropriated syntactical combinations without the inflections which made them logical.(21) There is no proof that Old English was ever spoken anywhere but on the soil of Great Britain.(22) The language grew as the tribal people who formed the settlers became fused. Anyone who will compare the oldest remnant of Anglo-Saxon poetry now extant, a few lines of Caedmon, and the same lines as they were modernised by King Alfred in his Old English version of Bede about 200 years after Caedmon`s time, will have no doubt about the changes which time brought in the dialects and language of the Old English people. In this development, the Northern name Windr or Winthr for atribe may have lost its original meaning, and have been confused with that of winter, the season ; and there are other instances of names having a tribal origin, which subsequently had meanings attached to them which were foreign from there original ones.

The name Winterborne appears to have been used at first for considerable districts in Dorset and Wilts that were subsequently divided into manors. It is worth noting also that one of the manors called Wintreburne in Wiltshire was held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Godescal,(23) a man of the same name and perhaps a descendant of Godescale the Wendish Prince, who was a notable person in England in the name of King Cnut, and who had married that king`s daughter. To the Norrena-speaking people this Wendish Godescale was a Vintr.

Another fact which supports the evidence of Norrena-speaking settlers at an early date in Dorset is the name Thornsaeta for the people of that district, corresponding to the Wilsaeta and Sumersaeta. This name Thornsaeta is mentioned by Asser in his life of Alfred, is repeated in some charters, and passed into Dornsaeta or Dorsaeta. As the word thorn is the name of one of the old Northern runes, it must have been familiar to the people whose name was connected with it. The inventers of the runes were certainly the Northern Goths, and the circumstance of the use of such a name supports the evidence of a settlement of Goths in parts of Dorset.

It is certain that during the later Saxon period Wends were connected with Dorset, for there is documentary evidence to that effect. In a charter dated 1033 King Cnut gave land at Horton in Dorset to one of his Huscarls,(24) and, as is well known, these were originally a force of Wends. This was presumably a case in which Cnut, who was also King of Wendland, rewarded one of his Wendish subjects. Domesday Book tells us of payments from the boroughs of Dorchester, Bridport, Wareham, and Shaftsbury, which were annually made to the Huscarls as late as King Edward`s time. The Domesday record also tells us of a place in Dorset named Hafeltone.(25) This is of some weight, for it is difficult to see how such a name arose except from the settlement of a man so named because he was a man of the Wilte tribe, or men of Havel, mentioned by King Alfred.

The old name Ruanbergh, which occurs in a charter of king Alfred,(26) also refers to an early settlement of Rugians, or people of a Wendish or Slavic descent, in Dorset. The similar name Ruwanbeorg survived in Wiltshire in the later Saxon period, and gave its name to the hundred of Rughe`berg in later centuries.

Among ancient names in Dorset that are probably of Wendish origin are Cranborne, Trent and Tarent, Luseberg and Launston. Crane, the name of a stream, and Cranborne, a boundary place-name, maybe compared with the Slavic name Ukraine, form crain, a limit. Trent, a place-name in Rugen Isle, occurs also in the old Slavic

Part of Tyrol. Luseberg, an ancient hundred name, reminds us of the Wendish tribe Lusitzes, and Launston maybe compared with the Wendish Lauenberg. It is remarkable that in Germany the Trent name is only found where Slavic influence prevailed, and in England where Wendish settlers maybe traced. Among names of old places in Wiltshire of similar origin are Semeleah, on the river Sem ; Wilgi, a Domesday place ; Launton, now Lavington ; and the Ruan or Rughen names. There is a river Sem in the Ukraine. Launton was on the border of the hundred called in the Saxon charters Ruwanbeorg, and in later records Rughe`berg, which names correspond closely with those used in the old Germanic records to denote the Wendish people in Rugen.

As already pointed out, the name Wintr in Anglo-Saxon records is used in some instances fro persons.(27) Wintra was an abbot in Wessex in A. D. 704. Another Wintra was a monk at Abingdon in 699, and a third so named was abbot of Tisbury in Wiltshire in 750. Wintred also was the name of several monks who are recorded in the late Saxon period, and Wintre was apparently the name of the head of a family who gave his name to the place called Wintreshleaw, now Winterslow , in Wiltshire.

The personal name Wintre was not confined to England, one who was so called having been physician to Charles the Great. It can also be traced in the form Wynther among people of Norse descent in the Shetland Isles(28) as late as the sixteenth century, and in England it can be traced from the Saxon age into the later mediaeval period.

A considerable area in Dorset in the latter part of the Saxon period was held like the land in the Isle of Wight and the New Forest district, much of which, Domesday Book tells us, had been held collectively or in parage in the time of King Edward. At Wey, the Domesday Wai, there were three manors, which in the time of the last Saxon King were held collectively by nine, eight, and five thanes-a total of twenty-two landholders in parage in this place alone. At Hame the manor had been held by five thanes, at Ringstede by four, at Pourtone by eight, at Celvedune by nine, at Mapledre by seven, at Derwinston by five, at Horcerde by four, and at a place not named there were five hides held collectively by eleven thanes. At a place called Goda the land had been held by three thanes, and the other places in which it had been held by brothers or by parceners are somewhat numerous. This system of land tenure, identical with that in the Jutish part of the south of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, points to a connection in custom and probably in race between some of the original settlers in Dorset and the Goths and Jutes of the adjoining county.

 

One of the most remarkable peculiarities which any English county shows in Domesday Book is exhibited by Wiltshire in reference to those of its inhabitants who were called `coscets.` these were evidently inferior tenants of the cottar class, but they were differentiated from the cottars. On some manors in Wiltshire there were at the time of the Survey both coscets and cottars, so that there can be no doubt that these coscets were different in some respects from the cottars. With the exception of five coscets who are mentioned in the Shropshire Survey, all the others enumerated are found in Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, and Devon. The numbers mentioned in these counties are, according to Sharon Turner`s calculation : Wiltshire, 1,385 ; Dorset, 146 ; Somerset, 43 ; and Devon, 32 ; in addition to the 5 found in Shropshire.(29) Jones, in his book on the Domesday of Wiltshire, makes the total number rather larger than Turner, but substantially the two enumerations agree. Jones says : `There are in the whole of Domesday but 1,750 registered, and of these more than 1,400 are found in Wiltshire portion of the record.`(30) It is to noted that, with exception of the five mentioned in Shropshire, all these coscets are recorded in the survey of counties which were occupied by Gewissas at the time of the settlement, and even in Shropshire after the conquest by Ceawlin some may have migrated to that county. It is clear that Wiltshire was the home of the English coscets, and those found in neighbouring counties can easily be accounted for by their proximity to Wiltshire, and the migration of some of their descendants.

 

The existence in Wiltshire of two classes of inferior tenants of the cottar kind as late as the time of the Domesday Survey is a remarkable fact. The existence of both cottars and coscets in large numbers in Wiltshire-coscets alone being on some manors, cottars alone on some, and both classes on some other manors-points unmistakably to a peculiarity in the customs of Saxon Wiltshire distinct from those which prevailed in other counties. This sharp distinction must have arisen from some ancient cause, and it is very difficult to see what it could have been except the attachment of people of different tribes to the immemorial customs of their race. If this is the explanation, the question arises whether we can identify any of these ancient Wiltshire people by their peculiar customary designations of coscets and cottars. The name coscet is spelt in Domesday Book in four ways-viz., coscets coscez, cozets, and cozez.(31) The spelling is of little importance, the sound of the word is the same in each case. In Lower Saxony, near the old Wendish country, there exist, or have existed until modern time, tenants of a cottar kind who are, or were, known by the names kater, kotter, kotsass, and kossat, and these have been identified as the representatives of the cottars and coscets of our Domesday Survey.(32)

 

Those Wends who were known by the tribal name Wilte, or men of Havel, and were located partly on the right bank of the Elbe below Magdeburg, could easily have sailed to England direct from their own territory. The evidence of the settlement of people of a non-Teutonic race with others in early Wessex is of a cumulative kind ; anyone part of it maybe inconclusive, but the whole evidence proves the case. There is a statement of Bede that Rugians were one of the tribes from which the English of his time were known to have been descended. There are the old Rugian place-names in Hants, Wilts, and Dorset of the Saxon period. There is also the fact that as far back as historical references to Rugen and its people extend, or to the tribes on the coasts of Mecklenburg and Pomerania, they are found to be Wends and of Slavonic descent. Again, there is the historical name Gewissae or Gewissas for the tribal settlers of Wessex, and the manifest interpretation of this name as confederates. There is, next, the settlement of Jutes in the Isle of Wight and South Hampshire, and the identification of these as Goths by the statement of Asser, and the discovery of a runic inscription on a relic found in the Isle of Wight. The alliance of Goths with Vandals, so potent elsewhere in Europe, could scarcely have been altogether absent in England, and particularly in Dorset and Wilts, where Vandal place-names survive. As the Northern Goths spoke a dialect of the Northern tongue, and had a custom of partible inheritance, we might expect to find traces of their Northern speech and of their custom of inheritance we find unmistakable traces.

 

The settlement of some parts of Wiltshire by people of the Wilte tribe from the south of the Baltic or the right bank of the Elbe does not appear to be unlikely. Schafarik, a great authority on Slavonic antiquities, connects our English Wiltshire with this Slavonic tribe,(33) but some of our own philologists derive the name from Wilton, the town on the river Wiley.(34) The Wiltshire settlers are ,however, mentioned by the name Wilsaete in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the year 801, nearly 200 years before the name Wiltonscire occurs. The name Wilsaete long survived, and is mentioned in Ethelweard`s Chronicle about A. D. 973. The name `Wiltene weie` for the road from Damerham to Wilton is also used in a charter dated 946, and Wiltene, a variant of Wiltene, is the genitive plural of Wilte. Such being the facts, the derivation of the name Wiltshire from Wilton is clearly wrong. In a district that affords other traces of Wendish settlers the Wilts name may have been the irigin of the Wilsaete name, and that of the Anglo-Saxon tribal people, the East Willa and West Willa, whose districts are mentioned in the tribal hidage.(35) The name Wilte Scira occurs in Exon Domesday, and the name Wilsaete was probably at first only that of the settlers in the south of the county.

The traces that survive of a mythological or legendary kind in the counties that formed the early Kingdom of Wessex find their parallels in similar survivals in Rugen and Pomerania. The most remarkable is that of Herhta, or Mother Earth, a goddess with somewhat similar attributes to the Norse Frige and the Saxon Frea.The name Frige survives in that of Freefolk in Hampshire, the Frigefolc of Domesday Book. In Wiltshire the mythological name which can be most clearly traced during the Anglo-Saxon period is that of Hertha.

Latham has pointed out that there is no word beginning with `H` in any German equivalent denoting terra or earth.(36) The name Hertha, although mentioned by Tacitus, appears to have come from another source. Herkja and Herche are among its variants.(37) Hertha is still remembered in the folk-lore of North-Eastern Germany, the old borderland between the Teutonic and Slavonic tribes, where she goes by the name of Frau Harke,(38) the same as our Mother Earth, but in England she has lost her personality. In the old mythology the personified Mother Earth embodied also the attributes of Ceres,(39) and in that capacity Hertha was much honoured in the Wendish parts of Germany. Kine were yoked to her car, and her image was conducted through fields on her annual festival with much solemnity. We find that Hertha as the name for this goddess was used by the people of Rugen and the Baltic countries near it from time immemorial. The survival of the name and the folk-lore connected with it in Rugen and in Pomerania at the present time is important, in reference to the survival of the name in Wiltshire at the present time, and its wider existence in that county in the Anglo-Saxon period. Such a survival strongly supports the other evidence relating to Wiltshire settlers of Wendish descent. The original Wiltseate or Wilte settlers, being at least partly made up of Wends, would naturally bring with them to Wiltshire some of the mythology of Rugen. Adam of Bremen tells us that this island was opposite to part of the country of Wilte. The names Hertha` and Heortha` are found in Domesday Book in three places in Wiltshire, and in one of these Hertham near Chippenham, it still survives.

The Anglo-Saxon name Jerchesfont in Wiltshire is also found in Domesday Book, and leads us to the folk-lore of Hertha still surviving in the island of Rugen and in Pomerania. It brings us to one of the most ancient of legends, the Lady of the Lake. The lady was the goddess Hertha, who is still believed, had her dwelling in the hill in Rugen still known as Herthaberg, which often yet, as people of that island believe, a fair lady comes out of the hill surrounded by her maidens to bathe in the lake at its foot.(40) Similarly, in a wood in Pomerania stands a round hill called castle hill, and at its foot is a small lake. Here, too, the mysterious lady is said to bathe. The home of the Hertha legends, consequently, must be allowed to be Rugen and Pomerania, where her worship has been described by historians and her legends survive more than elsewhere. The old Saxon name Jerchesfont connects her with a legendary bathing-place in one of our Wessex counties. Its modern name is Urchfont, and it is situated in the middle of Wiltshire, near the border of the old hundred of Rugheberg, the Anglo-Saxon Ruwanbeorg. At this old settlement, named after Hertha, there are copious springs, where much water rises, and hence the termination –font in the name. Domesday Book tells us of three Saxon mills driven by this stream, not far from the springs. As copious chalk or green-sand springs never freeze, the water being uniform in temperature, and in winter much above freezing-point, such a pool may well have been associated in the minds of the Wilte settlers with the goddess Hertha.

These old Hertha-names leave little room for doubt that some of the early settlers in Wiltshire were of Wendish extraction, and this conclusion is supported by other mythological names. Piriun and Pyrgean(41) are ancient place-names of the Anglo-Saxon period in this county, but now lost. Perun was the Wendish for the god of thunder, the Scandinvian Thor, and the Frisian or Saxon Thunor, and the place-names derived from both of these exist. The mythological names attached to the prehistoric dykes of Wiltshire, Wansdyke, Grimsdyke, and Bokerly dyke, tell the same story. Wansdyke, the Wodnesdic of the Saxon age, reminds us of Woden, Grimsditch of the Norse Grim, a Northern name for Woden, and Bokerly dyke, abciently Boggele orBoccoli, reminds us of the circumstance that Boge is the name of a deity in every old Slavonic language or dialect. Another old Wendish name for a god was Kirt, or Krodo, which corresponded to Saturn,(42) and the name Croedan hylle, or hill of Creod, near Ruwanbeorg, Wiltshire, is met with in a charter of Egbert, A. D. 825.(43) One of the most remarkable legends of Rugen is that of the black dog which guards the treasure of an old heathen king in that island,(44) and a legend somewhat similar to this survives in that of the black dog at Winchester.

One of the most remarkable of the Celtic survivals during the early part of the Anglo-Saxon period, which can be traced anywhere in England, is that on the east of Somerset and the north-west of Wiltshire, and comprised the country which forms the valley of the Frome and that of the upper part of the Bristol Avon. The name Devizes may indicate the frontier of this British province, which extended from near Wells to Bredon Forest, north-east of Malmesbury. Guest recognises Devises as having been situated on its eastern border, and traces the name to this circumstances.(45) It was a projecting strip of British territory extending northward, that was left under its native rulers for a considerable after the west Saxon King Caewlin had defeated the Britons at Deorham in south Gloucestershire. There must have been a commingling of a race in and near to this district, and ,as Beddoe`s researches show, the result of this racial fusion maybe traced at the present day in the darker complexion of the people in the north-west of Wiltshire.

In Dorset the darker hues of the people that have been observed in the Gillingham district maybe due to descent from settlers of a darker race near the fairer people in the valley of the Stour. They were, no doubt, for the most part of Teutonic origin, but among them were others of the Wendish race who came into Wilts and Dorset among the Gewissas. The evidence of the black-haired Vikings of the ninth century is from contemporary records certain, and as the English place-names denoting settlers of a dark or black complexion are names which were in use in the Saxon period, there appears to be no reason to doubt that there were among the Anglo-Saxon settlers people of a darker race than the fair-haired Angles and Scandians, or the fair-complexioned Saxons and Germans. The anthropological researches of Beddoe and others have, however, shown the survival on a large scale of blondes in Dorset and Wilts. The valley of the Stour as far north as Somerset is marked at the present day by blondes. Some of the Baltic races, such as the Lithuanians, are as fair as Scandinavians. The recorded facts and existing ethnological characters evidently support the conclusion that Wessex was originally occupied by a mixed population.

The difference in the village shapes is of some interest. In the north of Wiltshire the isolated homesteads are more common than in the valleys of the Wiley, Avon, and Nadder, and the isolated homesteads was the Celtic arrangements. The collected homesteads of south Wiltshire maybe compared with those between the Elbe and the Weser-i.e., in the old Saxon country ; and, allowing for variations , also with the collected homesteads east of the Elbe-i.e., in the former Wendish country. The villages of collected homesteads in England had large areas of open common land, including the cultivated fields, and it is of interest to note that, as late as two centuries ago, half the area of Berkshire was open land, and more than half of Wiltshire.(46)

The evidence which the features of the skulls from burial-places supply concerning the introduction of more than one race in Wessex has already been given, and there is further evidence of the same kind supporting the settlement in Dorset of people of Slavonic origin.

Among the skulls in West Saxon graves a small minority are of the broad-headed type, having an average cephalic index of 81, whilst the majority are long-headed, with an index of about 76. The reasons for including that this was due to the introduction of people of a broad-headed race with the Anglo-Saxon settlers, rather than to a fusion of the descendants of the remote Round Barrow men with Saxon immigrants, have already been stated.(47) the further point that skulls from Saxon graves in Wessex shows a tendency to prognathism has been fully dealt with in the chapter on settlers from the Baltic coasts.(48) Fifteen skulls from the Saxon burial-ground at Winklebury, on the border of Wilts and Dorset, which was explored by General Pitt Rivers, were found to present differences in shape, showing that the interments could not have been those of people of homogeneous ethnological characters. Beddoe examined these skulls,(49) and found six to be elliptic, four ovo-elliptic, four ovoid, and one oblong-ovate. Some were thus much broader than the others, and he points out in his report that the skull which he finds to be oblong-ovate is the same as that called Sarmatic by the Continental anthropologist Van Holder. The word Sarmatic was an older name for the Slavic race ; and the Wends who have been shown by other evidence to have settled among other tribal people in Wilts and Dorset, were Slavs.

 

Reference

1Cart. Sax., ii.508, and iii.43.

2Tax. Eccl. P. Nicholai, 179.

3Hutchins, /j., `Hist. Of Dorset,` ii. 205.

4Cleasby and vigfussion, `Icelandic Dict.,` Preface.

5Monumenta Germaniae, Script. Xxix., 250.`Ex Theodrici Hist. De Antiq. Reg. Norwagiensium.`

6Ibid., 319, `Ex. Hist. Reg. Danorum Dicta Knytlinga Saga.`

7Hundred Rolls, ii. 264.

8Fergussn, J., `Rude Stone Monuments,` 284.

9Codex Dipl., Nos. 470, 489, 658.

10Monumenta Germaniae, River-names.

11Codex Dipl., Nos 336 and 358.

12Dom. Bk., 143 b.

13Codex Dipl., Index.

14Cart. Sax., iii. 92-94.

15Codex Dipl., No. 953.

16Ibid., no.361.

17Ibid., No. 436.

18Domesday Book, i .82 b.

19Nomina Villarum, A. D. 1315.

20Marsh, G. P., `Lectures on the English Language,` First series, pp. 42. 43.

21Ibid.

22Ibid., 43, and Latham, R. G., `English Language,` 105.

23Domesday Book, 73 b.

24Codex Dipl., No. 1318.

25Dom. Bk., 83

26Codex Dipl., No.319.

27Searle, W. G, `Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum.`

28Proceedings soc. Antiq., xxv. 189.

29Sharon Turner, `Hist. Of the Anglo-Saxons,` ed. 1852. iii. 219-224.

30Jones, W. H., `Domesday of Wiltshire,` Introd., xix. And p. 201.

31Domesday Book, General Introd., xxxi.

32Woodward and Wilks, `History of Hampshire,` 335, quoting Garnet.

33Morfill, W. R., `Slavonic literature,`p. 3.

34Ibid.

35Cart. Sax., i. 416.

36Latham, R. G., `the Germania of Tacitus,` notes, p. 145.

37Grimm, J., `Teutonic Mythology,` translated by Stallybrass,

38Ibid.

39Ibid., ii. 45.

40Hartland, E. S., `The Science of Fairy Tales,` p. 71.

41Codex Dipl., Nos. 1263, 460, 479.

42Grimm, `Teutonic Mythology,` i. 249.

43Codex Dipl., No. 1035.

44Hartland, E. S., `The Science of Fairy Tales,` p. 236.

45Journal Archaeol. Inst., xvi. 116.

46Maine, Sir H., `Village Communities in the East and West,` pp. 88, 89.

47Chap. VII., p. 117.

48Chap. VIII., p. 129.

49Journal Anthrop. Inst., xix.5.

Taken from the book = `Origin of the Anglo-Saxon race.`

Author T. W. Shore.