button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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  BLATUM BULGIUM. Bulness. Beginning of the Wall. Subterraneous trees.
  Blatum Bulgium
  Bowness-on-Solway
  Hadrian's Wall

frith, now dividing England and Scotland as formerly the Roman province and the Picts. On this little cape stands that antient town BLATUM BULGIUM (perhaps from the British word Bulch which signifies separation or division), from which Antoninus as from the furthest point and boundary of the province begins his Itinera through Britain. The inhabitants now call it Bulnesse, and it is a very mean village, though it has fortification, and as evidences of antiquity, besides traces of streets and ruined walls, a harbour filled up, and a road said to have run hence along the coast to Elenborrow. A mile beyond this, as may be seen by the foundations when the tide is out, begin those famous Roman works the Vallum and Wall, formerly the boundary of the Roman province, erected to keep out the barbarians, who, in these parts, were continually, as the writer says [y], barking at the Roman empire. I was at first surprised at their raising such great fortifications here, when there is so large an aestuary for near eight miles; but I find now, that when the tide is out the water is so low, that robbers and marauders might easily ford over. The roots of trees, covered with sand, at a little distance from the shore, and often uncovered by the wind at ebb tide, prove that the form of this coast has undergone an alteration. I know not whether it is worth while to mention here the stories of subterraneous trees without branches frequently dug up here, discovered by the dew, which is observed never to fall on the ground under which they lie.
  Drumburgh c. Burgh on Sands. 1307. Morvilles called de Burgh upon Sands. Liber Inq.
  Drumburgh
  Burgh by Sands
  Edward I Monument

Lower down on the same frith, more inland, is Drumbough castle, formerly belonging to the lords Dacre, and antiently a Roman station. Some, contrary to all distance, will have it to have been CASTRA EXPLORATORUM. There was also another Roman station, which has now changed its name to Burgh upon sands, whence the neighbouring country is called the Barony of Burgh, which Meschines lord of Cumberland gave to Robert de Trivers, and from him it came to the Morvilles, of whom the last Hugh left a daughter, who, by her second husband Thomas de Molton had Thomas Molton, lord of this place, whose son Thomas, by marriage with the heiress of Hubert de Vaulx, added Gillesland to his other estates, all which came at length to Ranulph de Dacre by marriage with Maud Molton. But nothing has rendered this little town so remarkable as the immature death of Edward I. who here ended his days after triumphing over all his enemies: a most renowned monarch, in whose gallant soul the spirit of God found an abode worthy of it to match the state of royalty not only with courage and wisdom, but with personal comeliness and dignity of body; and whom fortune in the prime of life exercised in many wars and most difficult events of state, while she was training him for the British sceptre, which, after he came to the crown, he so managed by the reduction of Wales and conquest of Scotland, that he may justly be accounted one of the glories of Britain.
  Solway frith. ITUNA. Eiden r.
  Solway Firth
Below this Burgh, in the frith itself, the inhabitants say the Scots and English fleets engaged, and, on the retreat of the tide [z] their cavalry, which seems as extraordinary as what Pliny [a] relates with astonishment of a similar place in Caramania. This frith is called Solway frith by both nations from Solway a Scotch town on it. But Ptolemy more properly calls it ITUNA. For the noble river Eiden, which waters Westmoreland and the inner parts of this county, pours the largest quantity of water into it, still mindful of the obstruction it met with from the heaps of Scottish bodies in 1216 drowned in it in their return from England loaded with spoil, when it whelmed that band of marauders in its stream [*].
  Eimot r. Ulsewater. Dacre c. Barons Dacre.
  Eden, River
  Dacre Castle

The river Ituna, or Eiden, in its way to this county, receives from the west the river Eimot from the lake Ulse before-mentioned, near whose bank, on the little river Dacor, stands Dacre castle, well known to us for giving name to the family of the barons Dacre [b], and mentioned by Bede [c] as having in his time a monastery, as also by Malmsbury [d], because Constantine, king of Scotland, and Eugenius, king of Cumberland, there put themselves and their kingdoms under the protection of Athelstan the Saxon.
  Artur's table. Penrith. Old Penrith. PATRIANAE
  Penrith
  Old Penrith
  roman inscription

Not much higher, and but a little way from the confluence of the Eimot and Loder, where is a round fortification called by the inhabitants Arthur's table [e], stands Penrith, q.d. if derived from the British language, Red Head, or Hill: for the soil and the stones of which it is built are of a red colour; but it is commonly called Perith. It is a small market town of some note, defended on the west by a royal castle, repaired t. Henry VI. with the ruins of the neighbouring Roman fort called Maburg, has a very handsome church, a spacious market place, with a wooden market house for the use of those who assemble there, adorned with bears and ragged staffs, the arms of the earls of Warwick. It belonged formerly to the bishops of Durham, but bishop Anthony Bec growing insolent through his excessive wealth, Edward I. as we read in the register of Durham "took from him Werk in Tividale, Perith, and the church of Simondburne." For the use, however, of the town, W. Stricland, bishop of Carlisle, of a famous family in these parts, cut, at his own expence, a chanel from Pete-rill, a rivulet, on whose bank is Plumpton park [f], a large park appropriated by the kings of England antiently for deer, but wisely disposed of by Henry VIII. for men's habitations, being almost on the borders of England and Scotland. Near this I saw the great remains of a ruined town, which they, from its neighbourhood, called Old Perith, and I should think PETRIANAE. That the Ala Petriana was here appears from a fragment of an old inscription erected by Ulpius Trajanus, a veteran of the Ala Petriana, which, together with others that I copied here, I have subjoined:
  
  #x002A; annos.


D.M.
AICETVOS MATER
VIXIT A [*] XXXXV
ET LATTIO FIL. VIX
A XII. LIMISIVS
CONIV. ET FILIAE
PIENTISSIMIS
POSVIT.
173.*   Hist.Mailros.
[y] Ammianus Marcellinus
[z] reverso aestu, when the tide came in. G. which would make the battle a real wonder, whereas there was nothing extraordinary in their fighting on the sands at the ebb. H. reverso is into the sea.
[a] N.H. VI.26.
[b] See a more particular account of them in Hurstmoncaeux, c. Sussex, vol.I. 202.
[c] E.H. IV.22. Lel. Coll. II. 152.
[d] de gest. reg. Ang. II. 27.b.
[e] See before in Westmoreland, p.162.
[f] antiently called Haia de Plumpton or the Inclosure of Plumpton.
... ...
gazetteer links
button -- "Barony of Burgh" -- Barony of Burgh by Sands
button -- "Bulnesse" -- Bowness-on-Solway
button -- "Dacor, River" -- Dacre Beck
button -- "Dacre Castle" -- Dacre Castle
button -- "Drumbough Castle" -- Drumburgh Castle
button -- "Eiden, River" -- Eden, River
button -- Hadrian's Wall
button -- (monastery, Dacre)
button -- Penrith Castle
button -- "Penrith" -- Penrith
button -- "Pete Rill" -- Petteril, River
button -- "Plumpton Park" -- Plumpton Park
button -- Maia
button -- "Castra Exploratum" -- Concavata
button -- "Old Penrith" -- Voreda
button -- "Solway Frith" -- Solway Firth
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