Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/328

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A HISTORY OF SURREY tions at Hawkshill, and closely resembles a specimen known to belong to the Merovingian period, from Caranda in the Department of the Aisne, France. Several discoveries l too have been made in the neighbourhood of Mitcham that point to occupation in the early Anglo-Saxon period, though the record is in each case lamentably deficient in details that are essential in this branch of archaeological investigation. In September, 1882, human remains were found in a field adjoining Morden Lane, on a bed of yellow sand which was covered by about 3 feet of black earth. The body had been placed in an extended position almost due north and south, although the direction of the head is not stated, and no trace of any metal or other object was found with the bones. About the year 1880 excavations were being made in the coal wharf adjoining the rail- way, about 50 yards north of the site just mentioned, when the work- men came upon some human remains and a corroded iron vessel, which, from a further description supplied, may be supposed to have been a shield-boss of the ordinary type. Two years later objects described as buckles, and possibly of Anglo-Saxon date, were found near the surface in a gravel pit hard by belonging to the railway company. Though Mitcham is not an unlikely place for a settlement of that early date, it must be confessed that the evidence above cited does not amount to proof. More confidence may however be placed in the brief account of an earlier discovery near Morden Lane. In 1856 there was exhibited to the Surrey Archaeological Society * the iron boss of a Saxon shield which had been found many years before. The land in this locality has been known in the Court Rolls of the Manor for the last four centuries as Dead Man's Close, and the name may be due to a tradition that it was an ancient burial place, or more probably to the discovery of human bones from time to time. 8 More isolated interments have been disclosed in other parts of the county. In 1896 some glass beads 4 were found with a skeleton laid with the head westward at Wallington, but the grave was almost obliterated and the contents scattered before any notice was taken. A cinerary urn of the Anglo-Saxon period from Walton-on-Thames was exhibited to the Archaeological Institute 6 in 1867, and contained besides calcined bones a small glass bead and portions of a bronze ornament. Very near this site, but outside the county, a mixed cemetery has been found at Shepperton on the north bank of the Thames ; and an urn that lay only 4 yards from an unburnt and orientated burial is figured in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (iv. 118, 191). To summarize the foregoing accounts of excavations and discoveries, which are certainly more monotonous than most of their kind, it may be remarked that with very few exceptions the burials were orientated in 1 Recorded by Mr. Garraway Rice in the Croydon Advertizer, September 23, 1881. 8 Surrey Architokgical Collections, vol. vi. pt. ii. Report p. xii. 8 Journal of British Archaok&cal Association, vii. 442. 4 Now in the possession of Dr. Cressy of Wallington. 5 Journal, xxv. 1 78. 268