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DUROBRIVAE in Britain, to the north of the Thames, and different from the Durobrivae last mentioned. It appears in the fifth Itinerary; and, as the form is Durobrivas, we are thus enabled to give the true termination to the word, here and elsewhere, and become justified in dealing with it as a feminine plural in--ae. In the Itinerary wherein it appears its place is the seventh on the road from Londinium to Luguvallium (London and Carlisle). Not one, however, of the six stations that precede it is identified in an absolutely satisfactory manner; although with some of them opinion is, nearly unanimous. On the other hand, however, Durobrivae has, as the first station beyond it, Causennae, and, as the second, Lindum,--Causennae being almost certainly Ancaster, and Lindum being as unequivocal a locality as any in Britain, == Lincoln. Hence, Durobrivae was two stations from Lincoln, in the direction of London. The station immediately on the other side was Durolipons, a station which will be dealt with in the present notice, rather than under its own. The fifth Itinerary runs:--

Itera Londinio Luguvallio ad vallum M. P. ccccxliii.: sic,--

  M. P.
Caesaromago xxviii.
Colonia xxiiii.
Villa Faustini xxxv.
Icianos xviii.
Camborico xxxv.
Duroliponte xxv.
Durobrivas xxxv.
Causennis xxx.
Lindo xxvi.


Against Causennae== Ancaster the objections are so slight as to make the identification one of the second degree of certainty, at least. Again, the traces of a Roman road, running nearly due north and south of Ancaster (i. e. without any wide compass or [p. 1.793]deviation), are numerous; and where they occur they are remarkable for the linear character of their direction. This makes any spot 30 Roman miles south of Ancaster likely to have been Durobrivae.

The boundary of the counties of Hunts and Northampton, at the spot where the river Nene (which divides them) flows between Chesterton, on the Huntingdonshire, and Castor, on the Northamptonshire, side of the river, suits this measurement,--nearly, though not exactly. There is, however, considerable evidence of other kinds in favour of one (or both) of these two places. The names originate in the word castra. The village (probably the crossing of the river) is found in Camden and certain old maps as DORN-ford; and DOR-man-ceaster is said to have been the Saxon name of it. Roman remains, too, are numerous.

Whether the Huntingdon or the Northamptonshire village was the true Durobrivae, is uncertain and unimportant. It may have been both, or neither,--the term Durobrivae applying to the passage (ford, ferry, or bridge) interjacent, rather than to the two castra which defended it.

The present difference in the names is not unimportant. The distinction between the Danish and Anglo-Saxon nomenclature, in the case of geographical terms, has of late years commanded the attention of investigators; and it is well known, not only that certain words and forms are Danish, as opposed to Saxon (and vice versâ), but that the distribution of such words and forms as local names is remarkably regular. Thus, where one Danish form appears, others do so also; and, although there is no part of the island where Saxon forms are excluded, there are vast tracts where there is nothing Danish.

The Danish equivalent to the Saxon--tun is--by; so that New-by == New-ton.

The Danish equivalent to the Saxon sh is sk; so that Skip-ton and Fisker-ton==Shipton and Fishtoft.

The Danish C == the Anglo-Saxon ch,--Carlby, as opposed to Charlton.

The Danish kirk the Anglo-Saxon church,--the Danish form generally being initial, the Saxon final; as Kirk-by, Dun-church.

Lastly (though the list could easily be enlarged), in the districts where the Saxon forms prevail, the metamorphosis of the Roman term castra is--chester or--cester (God-man. chester, Chester-ton, Ciren-cester, &c.); whereas, where the Danish forms prevail, it is--caster (Tad-caster, An-caster, Caster-ton, &c.). There is no exception to this rule of distribution. Now, what takes place in the very spot under consideration? Even this,--that whilst Lincolnshire (on the borders of which Castor stands) is the most Danish of all the counties of England,--whilst Northamptonshire (to which it belongs) is largely Danish,--whilst Caster-ton, An-caster, &c., are the northern transformations of castra,--whilst every other Danish shibboleth (sk, carl-,--by, &c.) is rife and common as we advance towards York,--the moment we cross the Nene, and get into Huntingdonshire, Beds, and Cambridgeshire, the forms are Chester, in respect to the particular term castra, and exclusively Saxon in all others. No trace of Danish occupancy can be found in Hunts; so truly does the Nene seem to have been a boundary, and so abrupt was the transition from the Danes who said castor, to the Saxons who spoke of the Chester (ceastre). More than this. At some time between the evacuation of the isle by the Romans and the Norman Conquest, the northern and southern defences--for such the castra of Chester-ton and Castor (details of the Durobrivae) were--may have constituted the opposed and hostile parts of a bilingual town; and the analogue between the present Germano-Danish. frontier in Sleswick-Holstein may thus have been exhibited in England.

Just as the straight character of the remains of the Roman roads, now existing, between Lincoln and Castor induced us to draw our line as directly north and south as possible, the physical condition of the country south of Castor forbids us to assume any notable deviations either east or west. On the east lie the fenny tracts of Whittlesea, Holme, and Ramsey; and on the west the Oxford-clay tracts of Hunts,--tracts which probably were some of the last parts of the island to become occupied. This places Durolipons at God-man-chester. “Durolipons,” writes Horseley, “has been generally settled at Godmanchester or Huntingdon. The situation on the north side of the river, and on a gentle descent, favours the opinion of Huntingdon,--the name, that of Godmanchester; but I believe there has been no Itinerary station at either one or the other.” The reasoning of Horseley is more unsatisfactory here than in any other part of his work. He lays no stress whatever on the termination--chester. Identifying Cambridge with Durolipons, he writes that the “name intimates a bridge over a river, to which the name Cambridge is not unsuitable.” But he never adds that between Godmanchester and Huntingdon there is the river Ouse and the necessity of a bridge. He continues: “Durobrivae” (which he strenuously urges to have been either Castor or Chesterton) “is the station next to Durolipons. The distance here is very exact. From Durobrivae to Durolipons, in the Itinerary, is 35 miles, and therefore the number of computed English miles should be nearly 26. For it is 5 miles from Castor on the Nene to Stilton, and 21 from Stilton to Cambridge, &c.” Instead of this “21 miles,” the real distance is 28. Hence, the numbers of Horseley, instead of coinciding, disagree. It should, however, be added that they do not come out clear for Godmanchester, which is no more than 18 English miles from the Nene. Nevertheless, Godmanchester, as the equivalent to Durolipons, involves the fewest difficulties.


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