« السابقةمتابعة »
tents more for the purpose of temporary shelter than as fixed places of residence.
This was indeed in the most early ages, but long after they began to relish the sweets of a more civilized life, their dwellings remained rude and unimposing. The residences of the aboriginal British chiefs are described by Whitaker as formed of wood, the dwelling house and attendant offices forming a quadrangular court; he, however, notices the ruins of some stone buildings discovered at Manchester and Aldborough, of a square form, the walls being two yards broad and one deep, composed of three layers of common paving stone, on which were laid a tier of larger blocks, all cemented with clay.
The square form of these ruins certainly bears little indication of a British origin. The Celts adhered to the
. circular plan, at least while independent: on the subjugation of the Southern tribes they were induced to abandon their native manners, and imitate those of their conquerors, and their houses, we know from Tacitus, were then built after the models of the Romans.
Stone work is, however, no proof that ruins are not British. We are informed by the Welsh antiquaries that Morddal Gwr Gweilgi, mason to Ceraint ap Greidiawl, first taught the Britons to work in stone and mortar;" but the chronicles of that nation stretch too far into the regions of fable to receive unhesitating credence to all their relations. It would appear from Henry of Huntingdon, that stone buildings were not very common in the Principality before the reign of Edward the First, but the natives were certainly able to construct such edifices.
In all parts of the island where stone was abundant, it may be safely presumed that the substructure of the primi
h Roberts' Early Hist. of the Cumri.
i Book iv. 126.
tive hut was composed of it. Small circular vestigia are to be seen on the muirs in most parts of Scotland that' are certainly the remains of the Celtic booths. They are sometimes in considerable numbers, and often appear within the area of fortifications. A remarkable instance occurs in Cornwall, and is noticed in the “Beauties” for that county. The diameter of the ancient houses of the Caledonians is usually about nine yards, but some are considerably larger, and the door was invariably made to face the rising sun. In Glen Urquhart, near Lochness, these foundations are numerous, and one is observable called the Castle, which is much larger than any of the others. There is also one which has a double concentric wall, evidently intended to form separate apartments. Many similar remains are also to be seen in the neighbourhood of Fort George, or Ardnasceur.
The current tradition is, that these are the remains of the houses of the Picts. In Gaëlic they are denominated Larach tail Draonich, the foundations of the houses of a Draoneach, which has led to the belief that they were the dwellings of Druids. This arises from the similarity of the term to that of Druinich, which signifies a Druid, but it is obvious that that order was not so numerous as to require so many houses. Some circular remains in the Isle of Sky and elsewhere, so small as only to be sufficient for the residence of a single individual, may have indeed been the houses of Druids, and in Tai nan Druinish retain their proper name, but the true signification of Draoneach is a cultivator of the soil, a term which the inhabitants of the eastern parts of Scotland, where agriculture was first
*These places were called Longphorts, or camps, by the Irish, from long, a field tent. Or taod, i. e. tai fhod, rubbish of a house.
Martin, p. 154.
practised, received from their neighbours in the Highlands, who continued a pastoral people.
Whether Draonaich be the origin of Cruithnaich, the name which the Irish gave to the Picts, it is certain that the latter people were distinguished from their brethren of the hills whom they termed the Scuit or Scaoit, from moving about with their flocks: and it is no less true that cultivators of the soil are to this day called Draonaich by the Gaël. It is a proof that the inhabitants of these houses employed themselves in cultivating the earth, and consequently erected edifices calculated for some duration, that in scarcely any instance are they unaccompanied by evident marks of surrounding cultivation.
Another curious group of these unobtrusive ruins is found in the parislı of Dalmæk, Aberdeenshire, and points out, as there appears every reason to believe, the site of Devana, the capital of the Taixali. A notice of this remarkable place was communicated to the Society of Scots Antiquaries, by the late Professor Stuart, of Marischal college, who describes the remains as amounting to some hundred individual circles, two or three feet high, and from twelve to twenty or thirty feet in diameter, scattered over a space of more than a mile in extent. The numbers of these observable in one place, evince that it must have been a settlement or permanent residence. Some care, it may be observed, is requisite to discriminate the site of a Celtic town, for many remains, presenting a similar appearance, may be referred to military encampments of more recent times.
The arrangement of the huts was made apparently without much design. The Germans, according to Tacitus, placed their houses in opposite rows, each having a certain clear space
around it. In one of the bardic poems we are informed that twelve were the houses in the camp of
Fingal, and twelve were the fires in each house. This seems to prove that there was a settled order
the Gaël. The disposition of the booths or tents within the area of a fortification was probably left to a certain individual who acted as quarter-master: such an officer in the Highlands appears to have had a power of regulating the position of the vassals' huts. This member of their establishment was retained by most of the chiefs in the beginning of the last century, and he was entitled, among other perquisites, to the hides of all animals that were killed.
The royal palace of Wales was surrounded by lesser edifices, constituting the kitchen, dormitory, chapel, granary, storehouse, bakehouse, stable, and dog house. Whoever burnt or otherwise destroyed the palace, was obliged to pay one pound and eighty pence; and the fine for each of the other houses was a hundred and twenty pence, a total of £5: 68:8d, or about £160 of our money.
In the Infancy of society, natural caverns are used as hiding places during war, and repositories for grain or other valuable articles. That the Britons availed themselves of such places of retreat there can be no reason to doubt, and that they improved the work of nature is evident from many curious remains. Several caves in the Western Islands, and throughout Britain, contain places for the purpose of cooking, seats hewn in the natural rock, &c.; and some are not only well lighted, but are divided into various apartments.
Subterraneous abodes seem to have been invariably selected for secretion by primitive nations. Josephus mentions them in Galilee, and during the Crusades the inhabitants retired to them for security. The Cimmerii lived in caverns underground, and the Germans, in winter, retreated to caves covered with dung, where they also deposited their grain." Even in the time of Kirchurus, they occasionally lived in such places, and there the gypseys of that country still pass their winters.
The singular caves at Hawthornden, near Edinburgh have at different periods afforded a safe and not uncomfortable retreat to the celebrated Alexander Ramsay, Dunbar, Haliburton, and others. A remarkable cave was discovered at Auxerre in 1735;o and in Picardy, a vast excavation in form of a St. Andrew's cross was laid open." The subterranean works and caverns of the Britons may be seen near Blackheath and Crayford in Kent, at Royston, in Hertfordshire, in Essex, in Cornwall, near Guildford, at Nottingham, and in other parts. A curious place of this sort was recently discovered near Grantham, hewn out of the white stone rock, in the interior of which was found a hand mill, with wheat and barley of a black colour, and apparently mixed with ashes. The great cavern in Badenoch, where nine of the principal men of the Cumins were slain by Alexander Macpherson, commonly called the Revengeful, is thirty feet square and ten high. Curious subterraneous edifices are to be seen in many parts of Ireland, and generally within the area of fortifications. The side walls are usually formed of large stones pitched on end, the roof being covered with horizontal slabs. In many cases the roof is formed by several stones, each overlapping the other until a small space is left, which is covered by one of a larger size, thus forming a rude sort of arch. Some of these curious structures are of considerable dimensions, and are divided into different apartments or cells. That some may have been places of
• Le Beuf, Divers Ecrits, i. p. 290. P Mem de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, ap. Pinkerton.
9 A view and plan of a singular remain of this kind at Annaclough Mullach, Kilslevy, Armagh, is given in Archeologia.