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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/11

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9*8. IX. JAN. 4, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


battle between Redwald of East Anglia and Ethelfrith of Northurabria in 617, says it took place " on the borders of the kingdom of Mercia, on the east side of the river that is called Idle," showing that Red vvald's domains extended at least as far as the Trent i. e. , they included Kesteven and the Fen country of South Lincolnshire.

As on the north and east the Mercians were originally shut in by the Northumbrians and El met and by the East Anglians and Gyrwas, so on the south and west they met the West Saxons. It is singular that though the 'Chronicle' is a West Saxon compilation it

fives but scanty details of their settlements, t would appear that Cerdic in 495 landed on the Hampshire coast near Christchurch and pushed his way inland ; then (c. 519), leaving this district, with the Isle of Wight, con- quered later, to his nephews or cousins Stuf and Wihtgar (514, 534), sailed away to make further conquests. If the names Chard and Chardstoke may be relied upon as indications, these new settlements were in the western part of Dorset. This may have given rise to the tradition that to rule the western part of the West Saxon country was more digni- fied than to rule the eastern (Asser, a. 855). About the same time as Cerdic, the mysterious Port, with his sons Bieda and Msegla, landed near Porchester (501), and, having conquered the Britons there, dwelt in the district. Nothing is told us of their tribe or ancestry or their subsequent history. Port himself has a name apparently derived from the place he conquered ; but the situation in- dicates that they were the Meonwaras, or dwellers by the Meon, afterwards conquered by Wulfhere of Mercia (661) and given to the king of the South Saxons. Stuf and Wihtgar and their comrades were Jutes, but the Meon- waras may have been Saxons, as nothing is said to show that they differed from the great body of the settlers on the south coast. Bede, relating the story of Wilfrid's missionary work among the South Saxons (iv. 13), states that Ebba, the queen of Ethelwalch, " had been christened in her own island, the pro- vince of the Wiccii." If these Wiccii were the same as the inhabitants of the Severn Valley, the "island" is a difficulty, unless they had a settlement in Hampshire, say on Hayling Island, in which case Port and his sons may have been of this tribe.

From their settlements on the south coast the West Saxons pushed their conquests inland in two lines : across the Thames towards Bedfordshire (571) and to Cirencester and the Severn Valley (552, 577). In the former direction they would meet the Angle invaders


from the north and east, and we may con- jecture that in this manner were formed the districts of mixed race called the country of the Middle English or Middle Saxons (Bede, iii. 21 ; ' Chron.,' 653). They became part of the Mercian confederation, and seem to be those called in the ' Tribal Hidage ' Fserpinga, Wigesta, and perhaps Herefinna. In the former essay it was suggested that the latter occupied Worcestershire, on the ground that places called Harvington occur here, and that the traditional hidage of the county seems to have been 1,200; but there are some objec- tions to this, and the Herefinna, with their " twice 600 hides," may have been settled in Buckinghamshire. In this case Middle Eng- land probably means the greater part of the g resent counties of Bedford, Hertford, and uckingham, with some portion of Oxford- shire. Along the Severn the more permanent West Saxon conquests are indicated by the limits of the old dioceses of Hereford and Worcester, the tribes dwelling here being called Hecana, Megasseta, and Hwicca. How much further they may have been extended is unknown, but if the battle of Fethanleah (584) really took place at Faddiley,in Cheshire, it seems likely that the north of Shropshire and most of Cheshire and Staffordshire were, for a time at least, West Saxon, for we are told that as a consequence of this victory "Ceawlin took many towns and spoils in- numerable." Another token of this advance may be afforded by Cuttlestone, the name of a hundred in Staffordshire. The Domesday form, Cudulvestone, points to Cuthwulfs Stone as the meaning, and Cuthwulf was the great West Saxon warrior who penetrated to Bedford in 571, and was slain in the same year at some place not mentioned. If this account of West Saxon advance be correct, the Westerna of the 'Tribal Hidage' must have been theirs originally, and even Stafford- shire and Cheshire, afterwards so distinc- tively Mercian. J. B. ( To be continued. )


THE JUBILEE OF THE 'LEISURE HOUR.'

(Continued from 9 th S. viii. 519.) LIKE Chambers^ Journal, which was started on the 4th of February, 1832, the Leisure Hour used to be published in weekly numbers as well as in monthly parts, but the sale of the weekly issue gradually fell off, while that of the monthly part increased, and in 1881 the weekly issue was abandoned. In the fresh series music was introduced, Sullivan contributing a duet, ' The Sisters,' based on newly published words,