Page:A History of Horncastle from the Earliest Period to the Present Time.djvu/24

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A History of Horncastle page 5.jpg

Mammoth Tooth from gravel of River Bain, south of Horncastle.

Weight 2-lbs. 6-oz., length 5¼-in., breadth 6½-in., thickness 2-in.

A Roman milestone was discovered in the Bail, at Lincoln, in 1891,[1] inscribed with the name of Marcus Piavonius Victorinus, who commanded in Gaul and Britain, and which must have been set up during his period of office, about A.D. 267. The site of this was the point of intersection of the two main streets, which would be the centre of the Roman Forum at Lindum, one of these streets leading to Horncastle; from Horncastle also there branched off, as will be hereafter noted, several main Roman roads.

As Horncastle stands on the banks of the river Bain it has been taken by Stukeley, the antiquarian, and by others following him,[2] to have been the Roman Banovallum or "Fort on the Bain," mentioned by the Roman geographer of Ravenna;[3] although, however, most probably correct, this is a mere conjecture. On the road between Horncastle and Lincoln we have the village of Baumber, also called Bamburgh, and this latter form of the name might well mean a "burgh," or fort, on the Bain, the river running just below the village. The two names, however, might well exist at different periods. It may be here mentioned that this form, Bamburg, is found in Harleian Charter 56, c. i, B.M., dated at Wodehalle, December, 1328.

Tacitus, the Roman historian,[4] tells us that the Romans "wore out the bodies and hands of the Britons in opening out the forests, and paving or fortifying the roads," and we can well imagine that those skilled generals

  1. An account of this milestone is given by the late Precentor Venables, in his Walks through the Streets of Lincoln, two Lectures, published by J. W. Ruddock, 253, High Street, Lincoln.
  2. Stukeley, Itinerarium curiosum, p. 28; Weir's History of Horncastle, p. 4, ed. 1820; Saunders' History, vol. ii, p. 90, ed. 1834; Bishop Trollope, Architectural Society's Journal, vol. iv, p. 199, &c.
  3. Ravennas, whose personal name is not known (that term merely meaning a native of Ravenna), was an anonymous geographer, who wrote a Chorography of Britian, as well as of several other countries, about A.D. 650. These were confessedly compilations from older authorities, and were, two centuries later, revised by Guido of Ravenna, and doubtless by others at a later period still, since the work, in its existent form describes the Saxons and Danes, as well, in Britian. As Gallio, also of Ravenna, was the last Roman general in command in these parts, it has been suggested that he was virtually the original author (Horsley's Britannia, 1732, chap. iv., p. 489; also The Dawn of Modern Geography, by C. Raymond Beazley, M.A, F.R.G.S., 1897, J. Murray). Messrs. Pinder and Parthey published an edition of Ravennas, or the Ravennese Geographer, as did also Dr. Gale.
  4. Life of Agricola c. xxxi.