A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE tained three weapons : a spearhead, a sword 21 inches long, with remains of a wooden handle, and ' a small weapon with an iron handle.' This last may possibly have been the boss of a shield, and the ' pieces of broken armour ' l mentioned may have been other parts of the shield, together with the customary knife. The second find occurred in 1858, and is of a still more indefinite character. In a stone pit at Armscot Field were found fragments of pottery in close proximity to horns of the red deer. The ware was coarse and imperfectly fired, and had neither been ornamented nor lathe-turned. It was however pronounced ' post-Roman, with more of the characteristics of Anglo-Saxon manu- facture.' 2 To turn now to more satisfactory contributions to the history of the district in pagan times. By far the most important discovery of Anglo-Saxon remains in the county occurred at Longbridge during the last days of 1875, and was fully described by Mr. Tom Burgess of Leamington. 3 On the north bank of the Avon, about a mile due west of Warwick at an angle of the Castle park, a cemetery was accidentally revealed, and yielded relics that help to fill the gap left in the written history of the time. They were presented to the nation by Mr. John Stanton, and comparison of types assists in determining the affinities and era of the people buried here and elsewhere in the Avon valley. The skeletons were discovered about 2 feet below the level green turf, and not more than a foot in the coarse gravel of a slightly sloping bank that had evidently been thrown up by the river when its course was wider than at present. That the burials belonged to the early Anglo-Saxon period there could be no doubt, for here were the familiar shield-bosses of iron that protected the handle of the fighting man's ' war-board.' Here too were the iron spearheads and knives that commonly occur in male interments, and a number of brooches and ornaments that are more characteristic of the other sex. It was not however thought to have been a place of regular interment, and may have been on or near the site of a battle ; for though some of the bodies lay with the head eastward, others had evidently been interred in haste, with no regard to regularity. Some in fact were found immediately overlying others, and their hap- hazard disposal has been taken to show that these last were prisoners or slaves that had been slaughtered over a chieftain's grave. 4 This is little more than a conjecture, though some with indications of riches had evidently been handled with great care. The position of the shields as shown by the iron remnants varied considerably in the graves, and in one case the boss was found above the skull. In this and other features the present cemetery resembles in a remarkable degree a number of interments opened on two occasions at Holdenby, Northants. 6 There | Gentleman's Magazine, Nov. 1792, bm. 985. * Journal of Archaoh&cal Institute, xviii. 374. Journal of British Arcb<rological Association, xxxii. 106 ; Journal of Arclxtohgical Institute, xxxiii. 4 w* J CCtS ' S g ' Ven In p "**&, Society of Antiquaries, ser. 2, vii. 78. Ihis may possibly have been the case with two of the burials at Halford Bridge mentioned above. rutona H,,tory of Northant,, i. 246 ; Miss Hartshorne's Memorials of HoUenby, p. 6 ; and Athenaum, Nov. n, 1899. 260
Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/316
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.