Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/281

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ROMANO-BRITISH WARWICKSHIRE else seems to have been found but not recorded for instance, by boys at Rugby school and there is more to find. When I visited the site recently, I found frequent fragments of pottery and brick in the gravel pit and in the fields on both sides of the road, but particularly on the Warwickshire side. None of these objects are remarkable. The only one that I have thought deserving of reproduction is an urn of common red ware, almost of flower-pot texture, but somewhat curiously orna- mented, which is now in the Rugby School museum (fig. 2). Still, the bricks and tiles and rubbish pit, taken together with the abundance of pottery, seem to indicate a permanent inhabitation of the spot in Roman times. As elsewhere in Warwickshire, we must wait for excavations before attempting to define the character of the occupation. We might expect to find that the place was a posting station or a wayside hamlet or perhaps a village. Obscure in character, the spot seems nevertheless to have a name. The Antonine Itinerary (477, 2) mentions a ' station ' on Watling Street called Tripontium, 12 Roman miles from Venonae and 8 from Banna- venta. Many sites have been suggested for this ' station.' Camden put it at Towcester, which he rechristened Torcester for the purpose, in his usual arbitrary fashion ; but this is out of the question. Gale and Morton more reasonably put it at Dowbridge on Watling Street, a mile south of Cave's Inn ; Stukeley and Reynolds, at Lilbourne, still further south ; Ward at Rugby ; and Salmon, eccentric as ever, at Edgehill. None of these guesses are satisfactory. Except Towcester, they have yielded no Roman remains ; except Dowbridge, they conflict violently with the distances of the Itinerary. They are in reality guesses of despair, due to an unfortunate confusion respecting Bannaventa. There can be little doubt, in the present state of our knowledge, that Mr. Bloxam was wise in identifying Tripontium with Cave's Inn. It is a suitable distance from Venonae, which is High Cross (p. 232), and from Bannaventa, which is near Norton, 1 and it is the only site which thus agrees with the Itinerary and which has also yielded definite evidence of some permanent occupation. Its name differs from most Romano-British place-names in that it is Latin and not native. It denotes the ' Three Bridges,' or the ' Bridge with three arches,' and is formed like such names as Septimontium, Trifanum, or Trimontium, which last was the name of the Roman fort near Melrose, close to the triple Eildon hills in Scotland. There was a Tripontium in Italy, an obscure hamlet near Forum Appi on the Appian Way, now Torre Treponti ; there was also, at least in the middle ages, a Tripontium in southern France near Aries. 8 The appropriateness of the name to the ' station ' at Cave's Inn is not clear. Possibly the Roman bridge over the neighbouring stream had some peculiarity which has now long since vanished. 1 fictoria Hilt, tf Northamptonshire, . 186. - Corpus Inscriptionum Latin, x. p. 642 ; Ducange. English writers on ancient geography have ignored both places. 231