CHAP. XXIII. OF THE WALL SOMETIME BUILDED FOR A PARTITION BETWEENE ENGLAND AND THE PICTS AND SCOTS
HAUING hitherto discoursed vpon the title of the kings of England, vnto the Scotish kingdome: I haue now thought good to adde herevnto the description of two walles that were (in times past) limits vnto both the said regions, and therefore to be touched in this first booke, as generallie appertinent vnto the estate of the whole Iland; and no lesse famous than that which Anastasius Dicorus made afterward from the Euxine vnto the Thracian sea, conteining 420 furlongs in length, and twelue foot in bredth, & distant from Constantinople
The first beginner of the Picts wall.
280 furlongs, albeit that of Hadrian was made of turffe and timber, The author therefore of the first wall was Hadrian the emperour, who (as Ælius Spartianus saith) erected the same. of foure score miles in length, twelue foot in heigth, and eight in bredth, to diuide the barbarous Britons from the more ciuill sort, which then were generallie called by the name of Romans ouer all.
The finisher of the wall.
After his time Seuerus the emperour comming againe into this Ile (where he had serued before in repression of the tumults here begun, after the death of Lucius) amongst other things he made another wall (but of stone) betwéene eightie. and a hundred miles from the first, & of thirtie two miles in length, reaching on both sides also to the sea, of whome the Britons called it S. Murseueri, or Gwall Seueri, that is, The wall of Seuerus, or Seuerus dale, which later indureth vntill these daies in fresh memorie, by reason of the ruines & square stones there oft found, whose inscriptions declare the authors of that worke. It is worthie the noting also, how that in this voiage he lost 50000 men in the Scotish side, by one occasion and other, which hinderance so incensed him, that he determined vtterlie to extinguish their memorie from vnder heauen, and had so doone in déed, if his life had indured but vntill
The wall goeth not streict by a line, but in and out in manie places.
another yeare. Sextus Aurelius writing of Seuerus, addeth, how that the wall made by this prince conteined two and thirtie miles, whereby the bredth of this Iland there, and length of the wall conteineth onelie so manie miles, as may be gathered by his words. But chéeflie for the length of the wall, Spartianus who touching it among other things saith of Seuerus as followeth: "Britanniam (quod maximum eius imperij decus est) muro per transuersam insulam ducto, vtrinq; ad finem oceani muniuit," that is, He fortified Britaine (which is one of the chéefe acts recorded of his time) with a wall made ouerthwart the Ile, that reached on both sides euen to the verie Ocean.
The stuffe of the wall.
That this wall was of stone also, the ruines therof (which haue ministred much matter to such as dwell néere therevnto in their buildings) is triall sufficient. Heereby in like sort it commeth to passe, that where the soile about it is least inhabited, there is most mention of the said wall, which was wrought of squared stone, as vntill this daie maie euidentlie be confirmed. Howbeit, these two walles were not the onelie partitions betwéene these two
Two other, wals.
kingdoms, sith Iulius Capitolinus in vita Antonini Pij dooth write of another that Lollius Vrbicus made beyond the same, of turffe, in the time of the said prince, who (for his victories in Britaine) was also called Britannicus, which neuerthelesse was often throwne downe by the Scots, and eftsoones repared againe, vntill it was giuen ouer and relinquished altogither. It runneth (as I take it) also within the wall about an arrow shot from that of stone: but how farre it went, as yet I cannot find. This onlie remaineth certeine, that the walles
made by Hadrian & Seuerus, were ditched with notable ditches and rampires made in such
wise, that the Scotish aduersarie had much a doo to enter and scale the same in his assaults. And yet for all this, I read that the Scots oftentimes pulled downe great parcels of the same, to make their accesse more easie into the south parts: but as it was eftsoons repared againe, so the last time of all it was amended by the Romane soldiors, which came ouer verie little before the time of Vortiger, at which season the land was in maner left void of soldiors and munition. Betwixt Thirlewall and the north Tine, are also in the waste grounds, manie parcels of that wall of Seuerus yet standing, whereof the common people doo babble manie things.
Beginning therefore with the course thereof, from the west sea, I find that it runneth from
The course of the wall from west to east.
Bolnesse to Burgh, about foure miles, and likewise from thence within halfe a mile of Carleill, and lesse on the north side, and beneath the confluence of the Peder and the Eden. From hence it goeth to Terrebie, a village about a mile from Caerleill, then through the baronie of Linstocke, and Gillesland, on the north side of the riuer Irding or Arding, and a quarter of a mile from the abbeie of Leuercost. Thence thrée miles aboue Leuercost, and aboue the confluence of Arding, and the Pultrose becke (which diuideth Gillesland in Cumberland, from south Tindale in Northumberland) it goeth to Thirlwall castell, then to the wall towne, next of all ouer the riuer to Swensheld, Carraw (peraduenture Cairuoren tower) to Walwijc, and so ouer south Tine, to Cockelie tower, Portgate, Halton sheles, Winchester, Rutchester, Heddon, Walhottle, Denton, and to Newcastell, where it is thought that saint Nicholas church standeth on the same. Howbeit Leland saith, that it goeth within a mile of Newcastell, and then crooketh vp toward Tinmouth vnto Wallesend, three miles from the mouth of the said riuer, so called bicause the aforesaid wall did end at the same place. And thus much I read of the Pictish wall. As for the Romane coine that is often found in the course thereof, the curious bricks about the same néere vnto Caerleill, beside the excellent cornellines and other costlie stones alreadie intailed for seales oftentimes taken vp in those quarters, I passe them ouer as not incident to my purpose.
In like maner I would gladlie also haue set downe the course of Offaes ditch, which was march betwéene the Mercian dominions, and the Welshmen in his time: but for so much as the tractation thereof is not to be reférred to this place, bicause it is not a thing generall to the whole Hand, I omit to speake of that also. Yet thus much will I note here, as well by the report of one (who saith how he did tread it out) that he followed it from the Dee to Kirnaburgh hill through Treuelach forrest, by est of Crekith Cauchhill, Montgomerie castell, the New castell and Discoid, and hauing brought it hitherto, either lost it, or sought after it no further: as by the testimonie of another, who writing thereof, saith, that it stretched from the south side by Bristow, along vnder the mounteins of Wales northwards, ouer the riuer of Sauerne, and to the verie mouth also of the Dée, where it falleth into the sea. And so much of such things as concerne the generall estate of the whole Iland, which labour herein I could verie well haue spared, and would, if Quintus had performed the request of Cicero his brother, who promised to send him ouer a sound aduertisement of the condition of Britaine in those daies: as appeareth in the second booke of his familiar epistles, where he saith; "Modò mihi date Britanniam, quam pingam coloribus tuis penicillo meo, &c." But sithence that was not performed, and the treatise of Demetrius and other of the same argument are perished, which were of some value, let this trifle (I beseech you) not be reiected, till some other man of better skill shall haue drawne a more absolute péece of workemanship, wherevnto my vnskilfulnesse (I hope) shall prooue no hinderance.