Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/278

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A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE 3. PLACES OF SETTLED OCCUPATION (Cave's Inn, High Cross, Mancetter, Chesterton, Alcester) No Roman remains have yet been discovered in Warwickshire which can be reasonably interpreted as the remains of a large or even moderate-sized Romano-British town. On five sites however we meet traces of permanent occupation which have been generally taken to indi- cate the existence at least of hamlets, if not of very small towns, and the evidence appears on the whole adequate to support this view. These five sites are Cave's Inn, High Cross, Mancetter, Chesterton and Alcester. All are on Roman roads, Cave's Inn and Mancetter on Watling Street, High Cross at the crossing of Watling Street and the Fosse, Chesterton on the Fosse and Alcester on the road called Icknield or Rycknield Street; and most of them probably owe their origin to the roads. Of the first three we happen to know the Roman names, but it need only be pointed out that the knowledge of a name does not in itself help us far towards ascertaining the character of a place, and the survival of a name does not prove that a place was large or small or of any par- ticular description. (a) CAVE'S INN, TRIPONTIUM Cave's Inn, once called New Inn, originally a wayside tavern but now a farm, is situated on the extreme east of Churchover parish and of Warwick county. It stands on the west side of Watling Street, which here divides Warwickshire from Leicestershire, on a site that slopes southwards to a stream, close to the point where the Great Central Railway crosses the Street. The fields above, that is, north of the house, have yielded various traces of Roman occupation. So long ago as 1657, Elias Ashmole, journeying along Watling Street, wrote to Dugdale that he had seen here much Roman brick and tile and had heard of Roman coins ; the information came, however, a year too late to be inserted in Dugdale's history of the county. In the last century Mr. M. H. Bloxam called fresh attention to the place and recorded various objects found from time to time, most of them in the course of intermittent digging for gravel. These objects include bricks and tiles, window glass (?), a rubbish pit rudely steyned with boulders ; further, abundance of potsherds, including Samian and a pelvis said to be inscribed NDRICAN; a bronze fibula, rings and stylus, and three coins a denarius of Nerva, a ' first brass ' of Pius, and a ' second brass ' of Faustina the elder. 1 Much 1 See Ashmole's letter in Nichols' Leicestershire, i. p. cli. and BibRotheca Toj>ogr. Britann. vii. 287. Mr. Bloxam's accounts of the site are in the Birmingham Analyst, iv. (1836) 191 ; Fragmenta seful- chraRa (privately printed, circa 1840-50), pp. 26, 35 ; Proc. oftheSoc. of Antiquaries, ser. 2, v. 303 and viii. 318 ; Transactions of the Birmingham and Midland Institute (Archaeological section), 1875, p. 35. In the two first, he mentions also some interments which he omits in his later accounts. I suspect that these belong to a post-Roman cemetery near Cave's Inn, which he at first considered Roman and afterwards discovered to be of later date. Mr. C. Roach Smith, in his Collectanea jfntijua, i. 35-8, figures some Roman pottery etc. from Cave's Inn shown him by Mr. Bloxam. Some fragments are in Rugby School Museum (fig. 2). In examining the site, I noticed traces resembling a rampart and ditch, much worn ; but these are very uncertain. 230