Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/258

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NOTES AND QUERIES.


coine down to us. The fords, such as that at Oxford, would be used by animals other than oxen by horses and cows. Why should it have been called Oxenford? Oxen were no doubt used in Anglo-Saxon Oxford, but the fields they had to plough were certainly not the damp low-lying lands liable to floods on the west, but land in another direction. Again, the Anglo-Saxons had a name for cattle, hrytker, that was applied to ford and field names as hrythera-ford, which occurs in the boundaries of Cuddesdon close to Oxford, and from which our numerous place-names Kotherford, Rotherfield, Rother- wick, Rothley, Rothwell, and others have been derived. Cows may from necessity have been driven frequently across the ford at Oxford to the western meads, but it is clearly more probable that the oxen would have been kept near to their daily work at the other side of the town two miles away.

Is it worthy of Oxford scholarship that for the origin of the name Oxenford we should still appeal for our authority to the dark ages of English learning, and conclude that, be- cause the identification of Eoccenford with Oxford is new, it must therefore be im- possible"? Modern knowledge has not been advanced by such methods.

MR. STEVENSON'S last reply was remark- able, in addition to his avoidance of the main question, for his assumption of those wide premises under which, if granted, some philologists have been known to be able to prove anything whatsoever entirely to their own satisfaction.

As regards Ceadwalla's boundaries, in 9 th S. iv. 382 he said the " boundaries are pre- served in early thirteenth-century MSS., and for philological purposes this is the only date that can be cited"; also they "are obviously a post-Norman forgery," and " late forgeries given in the chartulary." In my reply (9 th S. iv. 479) I pointed out that these boundaries, quoted in Ead red's charter, the text of which is written in Latin-, are written in Anglo- Saxon, and I asked him to produce his evidence that in the thirteenth century any forger would be able to write in Anglo-Saxon at all. As he cannot do this he has shifted his date back more than a century, "to about the year 1100, when most of the for- geries of O.E. charters were made." ME. STEVENSON first invented the forger writing in Anglo-Saxon in the thirteenth century, and a few weeks later disowned him. After such a procedure his statements will be esti- mated at their true value. He has also made the astonishing statements (9 th S. iv. 383) that as the boundaries of Ceadwalla's grant,


uoted in Eadred's -charter, are in Anglo- Saxon, " it is conclusive proof they were not derived from a seventh-century charter" ; and also that "if they had been they would have been in Latin." There are nine charters of dates from A.D. 672 to 701, i.e., about the time of Cead walla, which have boundaries attached to them, copies of which are con- tained in ' Cartulariurn Saxoriicum,' vol. i. Six of these sets of boundaries are in Anglo- Saxon, one in Latin with Saxon boundary names, and two in Latin alone. Any one can verify my statement, and thus ascertain the value of MR. STEVENSON'S assertion that because the Cead walla boundaries are in Anglo-Saxon they are a forgery.

Why the supposed forger should have been so foolish as to have created new diffi- culties, and so have assisted in defeating the object he had in view, by inventing new boundary names such as Eoccenford, not con- tained in the recognized charters of the forger's own time, MR. STEVENSON has not explained.

In 9 th S. v. 70 he said, " The evidence of Nature merely consists in this, that there is now a forked-shaped channel," where I had identified the position of "geafling lace." In 9 th S. iv. 383 he said the forked- shaped channel was "an imaginary feature." Nature makes no imaginary features, and the evidence of Nature in the subiect under discussion is not confined to the forked- shaped channel round the island south of St. Ebbe's bathing-place, described by Cead- walla, but extends to the whole boundary line from Sandford-on-Thames to Osney Bridge, on which my case, as I have repeatedly said, is mainly based. You can proceed along this boundary line at the present time and identify the rivers and brooks, the Thames, the Cherwell, and their side channels, with two islands that caused the alterations from " up stream " to " with stream," exactly as Cead walla described them more than 1,200 years ago. Moreover, you can ascertain that the large island between the two ancient channels of the Cherwell is still part of the Berkshire Hundred of Hormer, and you will, I think, be unable to discover any beginning of that singular connexion except in the grant of Cead walla to the abbey of Abingdon. MR. STEVENSON, however, disregards the unchangeable and certain evidence of Nature, and prefers the present conclusions of philo- logy, which are necessarily ever changing as knowledge advances. He apparently regards the subject under consideration to be one for philological discussion only. This is not the case. Primarily, in regard to the natural