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Ancient London #3

Old ancient recordings of British History


ANCIENT LONDON #3

by E.O.Gordon (1914)


FOOTPRINTS OF NOTABLE BRITISH MONARCHS

"A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down 
From precedent to precedent.
"Where faction seldom gathers head 
But by degrees to fulness wrought
The strength of some diffusive thought 
Hath time and space to work and spread."
TENNYSON.


     WITHIN the last half-century entirely new light has been
thrown upon the prehistoric history of London and its mounds, by
Schliemann's discoveries at Hissarlik, the ancient Troy in the
north-west of Asia Minor. No longer need the story be regarded as
fabulous, that Brutus the Trojan, the grandson of AEneas (the
hero of Virgil's great epic), gave the name of Caer Troia,
Troynovant or New Troy, to London. In site and surroundings, as
we have already stated, there seems to have been considerable
resemblance between the historic Troy on the Scamander and New
Troy on the Thames. On the plains of Troy to-day may be seen
numerous conical mounds rising from out the lagoons and swamps
that environed the citadel hill of Hissarik, akin to those that
dominated the marshes, round about the Caer and Porth of London,
in prehistoric times. Sayce's researches, moreover, prove the
Trojans and the Kymry to have been of the same stock. In his
preface to Schliemann's Vios the professor writes:

"Thanks to the discoveries in unearthing the remains of Ilium, we
know who the Trojans originally were, that they belonged to the
Aryan race, speaking a dialect that belonged to the Aryan family;
so that we, as well as the Greeks, of the age of Agamemnon, can
hail the subjects of Priam, King of Troy, as brethren in blood
and speech."

     Nor is material evidence lacking of a kinship between the
Kymry of the Troad and the Kymric settlers in Britain in the
religious symbols of their primitive worship. Schliemann
discovered in the lowest diggings of Troy terra-cotta whorls
incised with the hierogram of the Deity, the three rays or rods
of light, a symbol of the "Awen," the "Holy Wings" or "Holy
Spirit," from remote ages to the present day the badge of the
Druidic Gorsedd. In the same diggings numerous other whorls have
been found incised with the Svastika (in Sanskrit meaning an
auspicious mark derived from Svasti "well" and as "to be"), a
symbol of the sun, perhaps of the vernal sun, as opposed to the
autumnal, therefore a natural symbol of light, life, health and
wealth. These Hissarlik whorls lend additional interest to the
beautiful enamelled svastika devices on the Late Keltic bronze
shield in the British Museum, found in the Thames near Battersea,
and point to Trojan and Eastern influence in this gem of British
art and craft. A triangular variant of svastika appears upon
several of the ancient Cornish crosses.
     But, as modern authorities regard the story of Brutus, the
reputed founder of London, as fabulous, before we examine the
evidence that survives to the present day of the personality of
the Trojan prince, it will help us to realize the possibility of
the truth of the tradition, if we first glance at the account of
the colonization of the isle of Britain, gathered principally
from the Triads and Druidic remains collected by the eminent
Welsh scholar and bard, R. W. Morgan (P. C. Tregynon).
     In this ancient literature concerning the primitive
migrations of the Kymry is one of the oldest recorded traditions
of the Flood:

"Long before the Kymry came into Britain the Llyn Llion, or Great
Deep (literally the abyss of waters), broke up and inundated the
whole earth.
"The Island, afterwards known as Britain, shared the general
catastrophe. One vessel floated over the waters, this was the
ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion. In it were two individuals preserved
- Dwy Van (the man of God) and Dwy Vach (the woman of God). By
the posterity of these two the earth gradually repeopled.

"The ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion was built in Britain, and was one
of its three mighty works.
"For a long time after the subsiding of the deluge the Kymry
dwelt in the Summer Land, between the Sea of Afez and Deffrobani.
The land being exposed to sea floods, they resolved, under the
guidance of Hu Gadarn to seek again the White Island of the West,
where their father, Dwy Van, had built the ship of Nevydd Nav
Neivion.

"They journeyed westward towards the setting sun, being many in
number and men of great heart and strength (Cedeirn, mighty ones,
giants). They came in sight of the Alps, and then part of their
migration diverged southward - these are the Kymry (Umbri) of
Italy. The others, consisting of the three tribes of the Kymry,
the Brython and the Lloegrys, crossed the Alps. Along either side
of the Alps, near the sea, part of the Lloegrwys settled; these
are the Ligurians of Italy and Gaul. Pursuing their course still
further they crossed the River of Eddies, the Slow River, the
Rough River, the Bright River (the Rhone, the Arar, the Garonne,
the Loire), till they reached Gwasgwyn (Gascony, the Vine-land).
Thence they turned northward and part of the Brython settled in a
land they named Llydaw ar y Mor Ucha (the land or expansion on
the Upper Sea Armorica). The Kymry still held onward until they
saw the cliffs of the White Island. Then they built ships and in
them passed over the Hazy Ocean (Mor Tawch) and took possession
of the Island. And they found no living creature on it but
bisons, elks, bears, beavers and water monsters. And they took
possession of it not by war, nor by conquest, nor by oppression,
but by right of man over nature. And they sent to the Brythons in
Llydaw, and to the Lloegrysw on the Continent, and to as many as
came they gave the East and the North of the Island. And the
Kymry dwelt in the West. These three Tribes were of one race,
origin and speech. These are the three Pacific Tribes of the Isle
of Britain, because they came in mutual good-will, peace, and
love; and over them reigned Hu the Mighty, the one rightful
Sovereign of the Island. And they called the Island the White
Island (Ynys Wen), and the Island of the mighty ones. Its name
Britain, or Prydain, was not yet known."

(Many people of many nations have the "flood story" - it was in
the Middle East, where the people were created and grew mighty.
The flood of Noah was NOT a complete globe flood, but the nations
moving from the East carried the story with them where they went.
See the study on this website about the truth of Noah's flood -
Keith Hunt)

     This account is a very striking one. The date precedes, by
many centuries, the earliest traditions of Greece and Rome. Its
statements are in entire accordance with the results of the most
recent investigations into the origin of languages and nations.

     All the most ancient writers of Greece and Rome concur in
stating that the Kymry or Gomeridoe, were under appellations
slightly varied, the Primo-genital or oldest family in the world.
Along their first habitation the shores of the Euxine and the Sea
of Azov, they were known as Kimry or Kimmeroi; the peninsula
which formed part of their dominions retains their name Kimria,
corrupted into Crimea. South of the Caucasian Range they were
called Gomrai.
     Many of the most important positions in Armenia and around
the Caucasus retain their primitive Kymric names. Gumre (the
chief fortress and headquarters of the Russian forces), Van (the
peak), Erivan (on the peak which Erivan is), Kars (the stone
fort), Trezibond, Trasseguntum (the lower town), etc. A trivial
detail, but one which shows kinship with the Kymry of the
Caucasus, is the tradition that the art of making Cornish cream
is practised only here and in Cornwall.
     So also the great natural features of Europe retain the
names assigned by the Kymry when they first penetrated its
uninhabited forests and silent plains. Alp in Kymric is the rocky
mount; Apennines, "the heads"; Cevennes, the backs or ridges;
Pyrenees, the spires; Don, the nave; Tagus, the stream; Loire,
the bright river; Pwyl, or Hwyl, the marsh; Rhen, or Rhine, the
flooding river.
     At Treves (Trer), the capital of Belgic Gaul, which
comprised not only Gaul proper so called, but the whole of Spain
and Britain, most interesting material evidence of one of the
earliest migrations of the Kymry is to be found. On the walls of
the Rothes House, formerly the Rath-haus, a Latin inscription
states that the town was founded by Tribeta, son of Linus, King
of Assyria, and that Treves was built before Rome. "Ante Roman
Treveri statet, annis MCCC." The Gesta Treverum makes its history
go back to the same founder. In further confirmation of this
statement is the Petrisberg (the mountain of stone) and the same
Gesta gives its old designation as the Mons Juranus or Jurano,
which suggests the probability that, like the Tynwald and other
British mounds, it was a seat of justice. It is a prehistoric
circular mound, strikingly like one of our own British sacred
mounds. Originally, this mound was probably surmounted by a
menhir, which acted in the same way as the index, or gnomon, of a
sundial. It was the writer's good fortune to see the sharp shadow
of the solitary tree on the summit cast directly down the slopes
of this mound of unknown antiquity as the great bell of the
Dom-Kirche of St. Peter and St. Helen boomed the hour of noon. An
object lesson which showed the value of Cotsworth's practical
experiments on the summit of Silbury Hill, in order to verify his
conviction that, like the Pyramids of Egypt, the "Cludair
Cyvrangon" had been constructed by the astronomer-priests on
astronomical lines.

     Treves is more closely connected with our early British
monarchs than any other continental town, from its having been
the favourite residence of the Queen-Empress Helena, who founded
here the first Christian Church in Germany. The basilica of the
palace of her husband, Constantine Chlorus, forms the actual
walls of the present Cathedral. From her gifts of one of the
nails of the Cross, of the Holy Coat, and other relics, the name
of King Coel's beautiful and accomplished daughter "Elaine" is
held in the greatest veneration as a patroness of the city. And
it is of no little interest to find that the ruins of the
imperial palace at Treves, built by her son Constantine, bear so
strong a resemblance to similar ruins in Colchester that
postcards of the one may easily be taken for those of the other.
The Crimean War in the fifties of the last century afforded
exceptional opportunity for comparing the present aspect of the
Caucasian Cambria or Crimea with that handed down in the old
British traditions. It is still what the latter describes it as
being 3,500 years ago: the east of it covered by salt lagoons; a
large portion occupied by the Sivash, or putrid, Sea; the rest
composed of spits, reefs, and sandbanks. The southern part, which
they called the Summer Land (Gwlad yr HAv), is now known to
richly merit the title. It is the Naples of the Russian Empire.
In the battles of the Alma and Inkermann and in the assaults on
Sebastopol, more than 30,000 British Kymry in different regiments
were engaged. It is a fact unparalleled in history that the
descendants of a race which emigrated thirtythree centuries
since, should thus return, to fight in the sacred cause of
justice and civilization, to the cradle of their ancestors in the
remote East, preserving the same language, the same freshness of
life, the same indomitable spirit and endurance, the same innate
attachment to liberty. Such an extraordinary instance of vitality
in a nation appears to justify the faith of the Kymry in their
popular proverb, "Tra mor, tra Brython" - "as long as there is
sea, so long will there be Britons."

     Geology enables us to determine that at the period of the
Crimean colonization of Britain not more than half of it was
inhabitable. The eastern parts, the lands adjoining the great
estuaries of the Thames, Mersey, Humber, Trent, the Fen
countries, were either submerged or mud-swamps. Many centuries
elapsed before they became fit to support human life. The
districts first settled were consequently the mountainous regions
of the west and the elevated plateaus of the north and the south.
Hence in Devonshire, Cornwall, Wales, Cumberland and the East of
Scotland, are found the earliest works of man's hands in Britain
- the circles, mounds, tumuli, and caerau, or fortified
enclosures, of the three Pacific Tribes.
     The patrimony of inheritance of the Elder Tribe, or Kymry,
lay between the Severn and the sea; that of the Lloegreans
extended from Kent to Cornwall; that of the Brythons stretched
from the Humber northwards. The Kymry, gradually enlarging their
bounds, colonized the north-west of the Isle, and the east of
Albyn, or Scotland. These latter became known to the Romans as
the Picts. All the names of the Pict kings, as of the rivers,
mountains, etc., in Pictland, are Kymric.
     The monarchic and military supremacy was vested in the
Kymry. Strictly speaking, there appear to have been no laws, but
the three tribes regulating their affairs by certain usages,
which afterwards were called the Usages of Britain, and formed
the foundations of its subsequent codes of law.
     The whole Island was considered to be under one Crown - the
Crown itself subject to the "Voice of the Country"; hence the
maxim, "The Country is higher than the King," which runs through
the Ancient British laws, and was directly opposed to the feudal
system, in which the Country itself was dealt with as the
property of the King.

     The Kymric language prevailed in different dialects over the
whole of Europe and a large part of Asia. It is the substructure
of all the Keltic tongues and the Archaic element in the Greek,
the Latin, the Sanskrit, and the hieroglyphic Egyptian (see
Bunsen, "Christianity and Mankind," vol. iv., p.158). It is the
key to the affinity between the languages of the East and the
West. All other languages can be traced to an alien source - this
alone cannot. It is certain it was brought by the Kymry into
Britain, as it was spoken by their forefathers in Armenia 1700
B.C., and that its purity and integrity have been guarded by them
in all ages with jealous care. It is the witness, alike above
suspicion and corruption, to the extreme antiquity of their
nationality and civilization.

     The three Pacific Tribes remained undisturbed in the
enjoyment of their several patrimonies in Britain for five
centuries. A second colonization then took place on the breaking
up of the Trojan Empire in the East. The Empire of Troy, its
kings and people were of the same race and language as the Umbri
of Italy and Britain. Hence on its dissolution part of the
survivors directed their course to the former; part to the latter
country. Troy was regarded as the sacred city of the race in the
East.
     The only two national names acknowledged by the Ancient
Britons are Kymry and YLin Troia, the race of Troy. There seems
no sufficient reason therefore to doubt the traditional story
that Brutus, having accidentally killed his father in the chase,
and being ordered by his grandfather AEneas to quit Italy,
assembled three thousand of the bravest youths of Umbria, and
putting himself at their head, sailed to his countrymen in
Greece. A series of victories on the Trojan side resulted in
peace; Pandrasus giving his daughter Imogene in marriage to
Brutus. But, finding that a Trojan kingdom could not be
established in Albania (afterwards called Epirus), except at the
cost of incessant hostilities, Brutus emigrated with all his
people to the mainstock of his race - the White Island. Drayton,
the Elizabethan poet, gives an account of the wanderings of
AEneas after the destruction of Troy and relates the expulsion of
Brutus from Italy and his ultimate arrival in the:

"... Isle of Albion highly bless'd With giants lately stored...
Where from the stock of Troy, those puissant kings should rise
Whose conquests from the West, the world should scant suffice."

     Spenser also in the Faerie Queene refers to "Noble Britons
sprung from Trojans bold" and to Brutus having given, the name of
Troja Nova to London. We have the testimony also of the early
British historians Gildas and Nennius, the Welsh "Bruts," Matt.
Paris and other writers in support of the tradition. But perhaps
the most ancient documentary evidence of the foundation of London
is to be found in a Latin chronicle, in which Edward the
Confessor speaks of London as "fundata olim et edificata ad
instar magna Troje," which, translated, runs thus: a city founded
and built after the likeness of Great Troy.
     Tradition says that on his journey to the "White Island"
Brutus touched at Melita (Malta) and, coasting along the southern
shore of the Mediterranean, he gave the coast the name of
Mauritania, which it still retains. They then steered through the
Straits of Libyan Hercules (Gibraltar) into the Atlantic, then
called the Tyrrhenian Ocean. Upon the southern coast of Spain
they came across four other Trojan colonies, under Troenius.
These were readily persuaded to join them. The combined
expeditions sailed northwards, and anchored off the mouth of the
Loire. The great plain between the Alps and the Atlantic had by
this time been thickly peopled by the descendants of the Alpine
and Auvergnian Kymry; these called themselves Kelts or Gael, and
the country Gaul or Gallia. The King of the Gael was Goffar.
Brutus, advancing through Gascony, threw up his camp in the
centre of Goffar's domains. An engagement was fought, in which
Tyrrhi, Brutus' nephew was killed. In honour of him he built an
immense tumulus where now stands the city, called, after Tyrrhi,
Tours. Goffar being completely defeated, the fleet repaired and
re-victualled, sailed the next year round the Horn of Armorica
and finally anchored off Talnus in Torbay.

     It is at Totnes on the Dart, twelve miles inland from
Torbay, the oldest seaport in South Devon, that we find the
surest proof of the personality of Brutus in a custom handed down
from time immemorial, and last observed May 6, 1910, when the
Mayor read the Proclamation of King George standing upon a
granite boulder embedded in the pavement of the principal street
(Fore Street) leading up the steep ascent from the river to the
Westgate of the town. Over this venerable relic hangs a sign
inscribed "This is Brutus' Stone," the tradition being that on
this stone the Trojan prince set foot, when he landed in Britain
some few years after the fall of Troy, 1185 B.C.
     In the Welsh records it is stated that the three Pacific
Tribes received their countrymen from the East as brethren;
Brutus was proclaimed king, and at a national convention of the
whole Island, with its dependencies, was elected Sovereign
Paramount. The throne of Hu Gadarn thus devolved upon him both by
descent and suffrage. His three sons, born after his arrival in
Britain, he named after the three Pacific Tribes, Locrinus,
Camber and Alban. Brutus' name heads the roll in all the
genealogies of the British kings, preserved as faithfully as were
those of the kings of Israel and Judah.

     The descent of the British kings from Brutus was never
disputed for fifteen hundred years. The "Island of Brutus" was
the common name of the Island in old times. The word tan is the
old British term for land; Brutannia (pronounced Britannia, the
British "u" being sounded as "e") is Brut's or Brutus' Land. The
term is also of very ancient use in Asia, as Beluchistan,
Afghanistan. The Trojan descent is said to solve all the
peculiarities in British Laws and Usages which would otherwise be
wholly inexplicable.
     Whether the Tot, or sacred mound, which has given its name
to the town and the neighbouring shores was in existence when
Brutus landed, it is impossible to say. From the organized
reception accorded to the Trojan prince, it is probable that the
"Holy Hill" had been "piled up" by the neolithic settlers of a
previous migration, who have left many similar traces of their
religious monuments, on the plateaus of Dartmoor, on the
Wiltshire downs, and elsewhere. The Tot is an entirely artficial
mound of the average dimensions of these prehistoric Gorsedds -
namely, 100 feet in diameter at the base, diminishing to about 80
feet at the top. The Great Seat stands on the highest point of
the hill, commanding the town. Round about its base lie the ruins
of the Norman castle. The summit of the mound itself is enclosed
with a stone wall, and, like the round Table Mound at Windsor,
has never been roofed in. From the summit a magnificent view is
obtained: looking south one sees a long straight reach of the
river set among the hills, up which the salt tide is pouring from
Dartmouth, so rapidly that it grows wider every moment.
     Northeast, from out of the haze loom the rugged Tors of
Dartmoor; whilst westward, roll in endless billows the forest -
clad hills of Devon and Cornwall.
     The trees and underwood that now clothe the Tot have almost
obliterated the terraced lines of its original contour, similar
to those on Silbury, and other mounds of the same character that
have not been planted, lines which only the scientific
investigations of our own day have shown were drawn with such
consummate skill by the ancient astronomers that by using these
as sighting lines, the warning star of sunrise could be observed
and the times and seasons fixed.
     That the Tot preserved its traditions as a Gorsedd, i.e. a
Great Seat or throne of the Monarch, from Kymric to Norman times
we have historic proof in the fact that William of Normandy
erected a castle, under the shadow of the mound, and gave it to
one Judhael, who is said to have been a Breton, whose contingent
of Bretons are reputed to have won for the Conqueror the field of
Senlac, so eager were they to retaliate on the foes of their
race, the Saxon. Totnes is thus referred to in Domesday: "Judhael
holds of the King the Borough of Totnes, which King Edward the
Confessor held in his demesne." William Rufus, it is recorded,
expelled Judhael de Totnes out of his inheritance. King John gave
the keeping of the Castle to Henry, son of the Earl of Cornwall.
Its romantic history onwards we have no space to relate. In 1645
the Castle was in possession of the King's forces. At the present
......

To be continued


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