Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/277

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ROMANO-BRITISH WARWICKSHIRE than now, and the little valleys less carefully drained. It is not hard to understand why the midlands should have possessed a less richly developed civilization than many other parts of the Roman province of Britain. This characteristic of Roman Warwickshire has been generally but not always very accurately recognized. For the recognition has been commonly accompanied by errors which tend to obscure the truth and which deserve correction. Two quotations from previous writers on Warwickshire will illustrate these errors and serve our purpose. The first quotation is from one of the most famous of our county histories, John Nichols' Leicestershire : Arden was an extensive wild, solely appropriated to the pasturage of the Cor- navian and Huiccian cattle, attended by their keepers, the Ceangi of the different tribes. If we except a few hovels for the herdsmen, there were at that time no other habitations save at some of those stations on the roads going through the Arden (iv. 1028). The Cornavian and Huiccian cattle and the herdsmen Ceangi are all pure inventions, due originally to the fertile brain of William Baxter and expanded by later writers. 1 We have no evidence that the Cornavii lived in Warwickshire ; the Huiccii were not a British tribe at all, and the Ceangi were not herdsmen but a tribe occupying what is now Flint- shire. The one thing that is true in the passage is the general view that the district was thinly populated, and even this is distorted out of its true setting by the added errors. A second quotation from a modern description of the county will exemplify a different conception of the subject, which is free from the definite errors of that just quoted, but is not itself correct : The Roman occupation of this part of the Midlands appears to have been only partial and chiefly limited to the camps along their roads, as the native tribes were enabled by the natural characteristics of the thickly wooded district, which afforded a secure ambush, to offer considerable resistance to the invaders. This may have been true of the first ten or twenty years after the original conquest, while the land was still unquiet and resistance still rife. But a brief reflection will show that it cannot be true as a description applicable to three and a half centuries. Such a situation would quickly have been felt intolerable in the heart of a generally civilized country. Moreover the actual remains found in Warwickshire, which we shall now proceed to survey, give us no hint of roads per- manently fortified by blockhouses and forests permanently occupied by unconquered natives. They indicate, on the contrary, a normal and peaceful life, which probably differed from the ordinary civilization of Britain only in the scantiness of population and the lack of prominent and distinctive features. Our next section, dealing with possible towns and villages, will immediately illustrate this. 1 Baxter, Gloisarium Aniiquitatum Britannicarum (London, 1709), p. 73. 229