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substance. It measures two feet ten inches in height, by five feet nine inches in circumference, and is placed on a square pedestal, with a tapering column above it surmounted by a lamp. This antique monument did not excite any particular attention till the year 1773, when an account of it was sent to the Gentleman's Magazine ; and in the year 1783, the Corporation of Leicester deemed it worthy of removal to their town. Had they properly estimated its curiosity, they would have also taken care to guard it against wanton injury; but having fixed it on a pedestal in a public street, they fancied they had perpetuated their own fame with the name of Hadrian, in acquainting the public it was placed there “at the expence of the corporation at large, in the mayoralty of James Bishop, Esq. in 1783.” Surely, if the expence of removal deserved to be publicly recorded, the monument itself was worthy of some care to preserve; but it is now exposed to every species of injury that ignorance, sottishness, and folly, may choose to exercise upon it. Mr. Bray, the worthy treasurer of the society of antiquaries, communicated to that institution some account of the stone, and made out the following inscription, which was to. lerably legible in the year 1781.
« IMR CAES.
TRAIAN. HADRIAN. AVG.
On another part of the stone are the letters--E: P. B.
If the abreviations were filled up, the full reading appears to be
" IMPERATOR CÆSAR,
TRAIANUS HADRIANUS AUGUSTUS,
And thus in English:
Hadrian Trajanus Augustus,
illustrious Trajan Parthicus,
From Ratæ (Leicester) two miles.
If the Roman Milliary-stones were ever generally used in England, it is rather singular that so many of them should be destroyed: for a very few only have been preserved. Horsley only notices three, one of which has already been referred to in the present volume. That now under consideration is the most curious that has hitherto been found, as it defines the station of Ratæ, and contains the name of the Emperor Hadrian, whose name, says Horsley, “ is the first that occurs in any of our British inscriptions; and we have but few of his, though he built a rampart quite across the country; and the few erected to him are simple and short *.”
In different parts of the town, and at distant periods of time, have been found a great number of Roman Coins : among which, were several with the names of Titus, Trajan, Dioclesian, Constantine the Great, Constantine Junior, Constantius, Hadrian, Theodosius, Honorius, &c. Besides these, broken pottery, urns, jugs, &c. have been dug from the earth ; and, in a place near St. Nicholas church, a vast quantity of bones have been found beneath the surface. This spot is still called Holy-Bones, and is supposed to have been a place of sacrifice. Contiguous to this is a curious fragment of Roman architecture, commonly called the JEWRYWALL. It consists of a mass of brick-work, stones, and rubbish, with dilapidated arches. Mr. King describes it in the following terms: “What remained of this wall was about 70 feet in length, and between 20 and 30 feet in height, and about five feet in thickness; and from the bottom to the top it was built of alternate
Horsley's Britannia Romana, p. 183.
courses of rag-stone and of brick, in the Roman manner. Each course of bricks consisting generally of three rows, though the upper one of all has only two; and the several bricks being of unequal dimensions; yet, in general, a little more, or a little less, than 18 inches long, and about 11 inch thick, or sometimes a little more, and about 10 or 12, or sometimes 15 inches broad. The mortar between each row was found to be nearly as thick as the bricks themselves*.” The courses of stone were not so regular; as they consisted sometimes of four or five rows of rough forest stone, and in some places the stones were thrown carelessly and promiscuously into the mortar. The arches were turned entirely of tiles, which are bound together by a large quantity of mortar. The peculiar shape of these, with the disposition of the bricks or tiles, have excited many and various conjectures. Some writers have considered it as a rempant of a temple of the Roman Janus, whilst others have described it as the Janua, or great gate-way to the Roman town. Though neither of these opinions seems very plausible, it would be difficult, in the present mutilated state of the object, to define its original appropriation. If intended merely as a gate-way, it would not have had above two arched openings, and these nearly, or close together;, but, according to Dr. Stukeley's drawing, this had four large arches on the eastern side, with a sort of arched niche in the middle, and on the western side two arches. Besides, a tessellated pavement, with other Roman relics, have been found on the outside of this wall-between it and the river—and had it been intended as a great gateway, it would certainly have been in the exterior wall of the city. The other opinion is liable to many objections, and it would be extremely difficult to assign it a use that should prove quite satisfactory to all persons. A wall, with very similar arches, constructed with stone, is now remaining at Southampton, a particular description of which may be seen in Sir Henry C. Englefield's interesting little volume, entitled “ A Walk through Southampton," &c. 1805. Another object of remote
Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. II. p. 216.
antiquity, though not immediately in the town, is properly connected with the present class, and will consequently best come into this place. About a quarter of a mile south of the Infirmary are some artificial banks, which are known by the name of Radykes, or Rawdykes *. These were formerly about four yards in height, and consisted of two parallel mounds of earth, extending 67 yards in length, at the distance of fifteen yards from each other. Before Dr. Stukeley visited Leicester, these earth works were generally considered as parts of a Roman encampinent, but the Doctor suggested the idea that they formed a British Curcus, or racecourse, and this opinion has since generally prevailed; but I am more inclined to consider them Roman than British.-Such are the most ancient subjects, and historical particulars respecting Roman-Leicester; and though these may appear merely trifling memorials of a warlike and refined nation, who probably possessed this station for more than three centuries, yet they afford abundant matter for reflection and investigation. If these remains are neither beautiful nor fine, as works of art, they are all curious as vestiges of remote times, and of a particular people. Of Leicester during the Saxon Heptarchy, the history is very vague and uncertain, though, from the concurring testimony of all writers, it was certainly a place of considerable note from the departure of the Romans to the time of the Norman conquest. According to Godwin, a Bishop's See was transferred from Sidnacester † to Leicester,
* In the county of Merns, in Scotland, is an encampment called Raedykes—and in the county of Aberdeen is another, called Re-dykes. See King's Munimenta Antiqua, Vol. II. p. 157.
+ The situation of this ancient Saxon city, and Roman station, for its name implies it to be such, has afforded a subject of much controversy; for writers are not agreed in fixing its site. Camden says, that it is “now so far out of all sight and knowledge, that, together with the name, the very ruins also seems to have perished, for, by all my curious inquiry, I could learn nothing of it.” Bishop Godwin is equally at a loss. Camden, however, conjectures that Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, was the place: Gibson refers it to Stow, or
in the year 737. At this period the Saxon kingdom of Mercia had, according to some authors, three Bishops' Sees: Lichfield, Dorchester, and Leicester.' Carte specifies Landesse and Worcester, but omits Dorchester. The accounts of these, as related by early chroniclers, and retailed by later topographers, are very vague and unsatisfactory, whence it becomes almost nugatory to particularize any of their anpals. Those writers who bave dilated on the subject, are very equivocal and contradictory. Carte says, that the See of Leicester was taken out of the Diocese of Lichfield in 691, and another account states, that Leicester was constituted a Bishop's See in 680, when Sexwulfus was installed. As this place was nearly in the middle of the Mercian kingdom, it must naturally have participated in the barbarous wars that were constantly occurring during the irruptions of the Pics, Scots, Danes, &c. From the Saxon annals, it appears that Ethelfrid, King of Northumberland, being an avowed enemy to Christianity, marched an army to Leicester, where they slew so many of the inhabitants, that they could not be all numbered. This account must not be taken in its full latitude, for though Leicester was certainly well peopled at that period, it is not very likely that its population was innumerable. It has already been noticed, that the Danes made themselves masters of this town, and kept possession of it for some time. Jowallensis relates, that Ethelred, King of Mercia, and his Queen Elfreda, who was daughter of Alfred the Great, repaired the town, and rebuilt and enlarged the walls, about the year 901. The latter was now made to inclose the castle, which before that period appears to have been on the outside of the town. On the conquest of England by William the Norman, Leicester soon became part of the royal demesne, and a castle was either newly erected, or enlarged, and strengthened, to ensure the submission of the inhabitants and those of the surrounding country. The
Mariestow, in that county; and Pegge, with some other writers, are in clined to fix it at Kirkton, in the same county. In the History of Lincolnshire, which will follow that of the present county, I will endeavour to elucidate this doubtful subject.