Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/399

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POLITICAL HISTORY Berkshire. They possibly came up the almost forgotten Roman way which ran north-westward from the Sussex coast towards Staines, which we have mentioned in connexion with Ockley, and burst into Surrey from the forest glades between Ewhurst and Guildford. They may have been returning towards the same line for retreat, when the king came upon them from the east, ' outrode ' them according to the chronicle, by which we may understand anticipated their movements and inter- cepted them at Farnham, cutting off their retreat. There was a battle, and the Danes were forced away northwards, retreating across the Surrey and Berkshire heaths to the Thames, which they crossed where there was no ford, seeking shelter, by a march round London, with their friends in Essex and on the lower Thames. For the short remainder of Alfred's lifetime the enemy were kept away from the heart of his kingdom, and Surrey too was safe behind the bulwark of London. The building of fortresses, which consisted in the raising of mounds surrounded by palisades, was beginning to be recognized as a necessary means of defence against the Vikings. Alfred's son and daughter Edward and Ethelflaed, lady of the Mercians, deliberately consolidated their re- conquest of central and eastern England from the Danes by this device. We are probably justified in regarding the reigns of Edward and of his son Ethelstan as the period of the formation of the present midland counties as districts, contributing each to the defence of one or more burhs where the inhabitants were charged with what a later age would have called the service of castle-ward. 1 The Burghal Hidage is a docu- ment of perhaps tenth century origin, which seems to give us a view of the similar defensive arrangements in the old West Saxon kingdom and its dependencies, where the original tribal or local divisions had not been obliterated by Danish conquest as was the case further north. Two burhs seem to belong to Surrey in this list, and are given a terri- tory of i, 800 hides. The Domesday hidage of Surrey is close upon 2,000 hides more or less. 2 The names of these two are Eschingum, that is ' at the Eschingas,' and Sutbringa geweorc. The latter is pretty clearly Southwark. London is not mentioned and may have been of sufficient importance to have its defence separately organized and re- corded, neither was it in the old kingdoms of Wessex, Kent or Sussex, to which this list seems to be confined. But the defensive purpose of London was not complete without a fortification upon both sides of the river, nor probably without the bridge, which certainly existed before the end of the tenth century. The name of Southwark implies a forti- fication. The Roman defences had apparently been at both ends of this bridge. The other burh is less readily placed. Bashing represents the name, but there is no extant burh at Bashing in Godalming parish. However Eastbury and Westbury are manors in Compton parish close to Bashing. The present Eashing is out of the way on no ancient 1 Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, pp. 183-88, 502. But compare Mr. Round's remarks in his Introduction to the ' Domesday Survey.' 8 It is impossible to be sure whether certain hides are enumerated more than once. 335