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by A.Birrel, from a Pamung by L.Ibbetson, in the powurion of John Dent, Pog" M.P. for Lancaster,
LANCASTER View of the Church, Castle kr. from the S.E.
Lancashire is bounded on its whole southern side by Cheshire, having the river Mersey as a natural barrier. This extends fronu the sea to Stockport, where the river Tame joins it; and forms the boundary for a short space, till it unites to the Yorkshire line; which county constitutes the whole of its eastern border. To the north, the county of Westmoreland skirts it for a short irregular distance, and the western limits of Furness abut.on Cumberland, The whole of the remaining western side is washed by the Irish sea. A line drawn from the northern extremity, to the Mersey on the south, would measure full seventy miles; but the medium length of the county is about fifty-four miles. Mr. Yates, who pub lished a Survey of Lancashire, gives the following dimensions : Greatest length seventy-four miles; breadth forty-four and a half; circumference (crossing the Ribble at the mouth) 342 miles ; sura face 1765 square miles. In describing the towns, villages, antiquities, seats, &c. of this county, I shall adopt a systematic topographical arrangement in subdividing it into its Six Hundreds, and detailing and connecting together all the materials respectively res lating to each of these. Beginning with the Hundred of Lonsa dale, which is the most northern parochial division of the county, we find its principal town to be that which gives pame to the shire.
THERE are few of the county towns in England which have been more neglected by the Historian, or more inaccurately described by the Topographer, than that of Lancaster. That it was a Roman station, is evinced by the Saxon termination.Caster, or Castre; and this is further confirmed by the various remains of the domestic economy of the Romans, that are continually discovered in this town and its vicinity. · It has been asserted, that Lancaster * is out of the line of any of the Itinera; but whether it was or was not the Longovicum of the Notitia, its name will certainly not discover.” Camden, on the contrary, says, " Both the name, and the river running by D 2
it, prove it to be Longovicum, where, under the Dux Britanniarum, according to the Notitia, was stationed the numerous Longovicariorum, who took their name from the place.” It is extremely probable that Lancaster was the station upon the Lune, as Ribcaster was upon the Ribble; and Longovicum may possibly have related merely to the form and appearance of the place wherever it was situated ; indeed the Roman station of Lancaster must have been the Trajectus of the Lune itself, and not far from the meadow described in Speed's map, as the “ Greene Ayre,” which is now covered with houses. The Rev. John Whitaker observes, in his History of Manchester, “ In Richard's Iter, the station Ad Alaunam, appears clearly from the mention of Luguvallium and Brocavonacis on one side, and of Coccium and Mancunium on the other, to be somewhere upon or within the northern borders of Lancashire. And this and the name Ad Alaunam carry us at once to the station at Lancastar, the castrum upon A Laun, or the river Lan. The reality of this station has always been confessed, but the name of it has been soinetimes supposed to be the Lugandinum of the Chorography, and more generally, but more wildly, the Longovicus of the Notitia. It was certainly fixed upon the plane of the present Castle-hill, as the rocky eminence of the hill, and the immediate vicinity of the river, clearly eviuce of themselves, and as the still hanging remains of the Roman wall upon the steepest part of it concur to demonstrate.” Vol. I. p. 74.
Reynolds, in his “ Iter Britanniarum,” identifies this place as the Bremetonacis of Antoninus ; and as Richard left out that name in his Itinerary, Mr. Reynolds thinks it may be the Portus Sistuntiorum of the monk. Thus various opinions prevaił concerning the Roman name of this station, though all the antiquaries are agreed that it was possessed by the Romans. Camden seems
decided on this head, but the fragment of a Wall which he and Mr. Whitaker ascribed to that people, seems to have belonged to some monastic building. It was situated on the declivity of the hill, between the castle and the bridge, and was called “Wery-Wall," probably from the British name of the town Caer-Werid, the Green City, or perhaps the City on the Green Hill,
Dr. Whitaker * combats the opinion that this Wall was of Roman origin, and cites the following passage from Leland in support of his opinion : • Lancastre Castel stands on a hille, strongly builded and wel repaired ruins of an old place, as I remember of the Cat-felds, by the Castle Hill). The new toune, as thei ther say, builded hard by yn the descent from the Castel, having one Paroch Chirch wher sum time the Priori of Monks Alienis wer put downe by King Henry the Fifth, and given to Syon abbey. The old wall of the circuit of the Priory cummeth almost to Lune bridge. Sum have thereby supposed that it was a peace of the waul of the towne; but indeade I espyed in no place that the towne was ever waulid. The old towne, as thei say ther was almost al burned, and stood partly beyond the blak Freres. In thos partes, in the fieldes, and fundations, hath ben founde much Roman coyne. The soile about Lancastre is veri fair, plentiful of wood, pasture, meadow, and corn t."
Dr. Leigh asserts, that various coins, pieces of broken earthen vessels, and bones, have been found in this town. In the year 1772, an Altar Stone, four feet long, and two feet ten inches wide, was discovered in digging a cellar. It had the following inscription:
years after the above discovery, some labourers, who were employed in excavating the cellars for a large house in the upper part of Church-street, met with a supposed Roman burial place, at the depth of six feet from the surface. On this spot had forD 3
merly * In a letter to the Author,
+ Itinerary, vol. V. p. 93.