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London
Walter Besant

It has been suggested that the siege of London was not followed by a massacre as at Anderida, and that there was no great battle as at Chester; but that the place was quietly surrendered and the lives of the people spared. This is a thing absolutely impossible during these two centuries. The English invader did not make war in such a manner. If he attacked a town and took it by assault he killed everybody who did not run away. That was his method: that was how he understood war. If he pushed out his invading arms he killed the occupants of the land, unless, which sometimes happened, they killed him, or, as more often happened, they ran away. But of making terms, sparing lives, suffering people to remain in peaceful occupation of their houses we hear nothing, because such a thing never happened until the close of the war, when victory was certain to one side and resistance was impossible to the other. Mercy was not as yet in the nature of Angle, Jute, or Saxon.

Suppose, however, that it did happen. Suppose that after that great rout of Craysford the victorious army had pushed forward and taken the city, or had accepted surrender in this peaceful nineteenth-century fashion, so entirely opposite to their received and customary method, what would have happened next?

Well, there would have been continuity of occupation. Most certainly and without doubt this continuity of occupation would have been proved by many signs, tokens, and survivals. For instance, the streets. The old streets would have remained in their former positions. Had they been burned down they would have been rebuilt as before. Nothing is more conservative and more slow to change than an old street. Where it is first laid out there it remains. The old lanes which formerly ran between gardens and at the back of houses, are still the narrow streets of the City. In their names the history of their origin remains. In Garlickhithe, Fyfoot Lane, Suffolk Lane, Tower Royal, Size Lane, Old Jewry, the Minories, and in a hundred other names, we have the identical mediæval streets, with the identical names given to them from their position and their association. And this though fire after fire has burned them down, and since one fire at least destroyed most of them at a single effort. A Roman town was divided, like a modern American town, into square blocks – insulæ (islands) they were called. Where are the insulæ of London? There is not in the whole of London a single trace of the Roman street, if we except that little bit still called after the name given by the Saxons to a Roman road.

Again, continuity of occupation is illustrated by tradition. It is impossible for the traditions of the past to die out if the people continue. Nay, if the conqueror makes slaves of the former lords, and if they remain in their servitude for many generations, yet the traditions will not die. There are traditions of these ancient times among the Welsh, but among the Londoners there are none. The Romans – the Roman power – the ferocity of Boadicea, the victorious march of Theodosius, the conversion of the country, the now forgotten saints and martyrs of London – these would have been remembered had there been continuity of occupation. But not a single trace remains.

Or, again, continuity of tenure is proved by the survival of customs. What Roman customs were ever observed in London? There is not a trace of any. Consider, however, the customs which still linger among the Tuscan, the Calabrian, and the Sicilian peasants. They are of ancient origin; they belong to the Roman time and earlier. But in London there has never been a custom or an observance in the least degree traceable to the Roman period.

Lastly, continuity of tenure is illustrated by the names of the people. Now, a careful analysis of the names found in the records of the fourteenth century has been made by Riley in his Memorials of London. We need not consider the surnames, which are all derived from occupation, or place of birth, or some physical peculiarity. The Christian names are for the most part of Norman origin; some are Saxon; none are Roman or British.

It has been advanced by some that the municipal government of the town is of Roman origin. If that were so, it would be through the interference of the Church. But it is not so. I believe that all who have considered the subject have now acknowledged that the municipal institutions of London have grown out of the customs of the English conquerors.

To sum up, because this is very important. When in the seventh century we find the Saxons in the possession of the city there is no mention made of any siege, attack, capture, or surrender. When, a little later, we are able to read contemporary history, we find not a single custom or law due to the survival of British customs. We find the courses of the old streets entirely changed, the very memory of the streets swept away; not a single site left of any ancient building. Everything is clean gone. Not a voice, not a legend, not a story, not a superstition remains of the stately Augusta. It is entirely vanished, leaving nothing behind but a wall.

Loftie's opinion is thus summed up (London, vol. i., p. 54):

Roman evidences, rather negative, it is true, than positive to show that the East Saxons found London desolate, with broken walls, and a scanty population if any; that they entered on possession with no great feeling of exultation, after no great military feat deserving mention in these Chronicles; and that they retained it only just so long as the more powerful neighboring kings allowed them. This view is the only one which occurs to me to account for the few facts we have.

And that great antiquary Guest thinks that good reasons may be given for the belief that London for a while lay desolate and uninhabited.

The evidence seems to me positive rather than negative, and, in fact, conclusive. London, I am convinced, must – not may, but must – have remained for a time desolate and empty.

The evidence is before us, to me clear and unanswerable; it is furnished by the Chronicle of Conquest, coupled with the question of supplies. The city could receive supplies from six approaches. One of these, called afterwards Watling Street, connected the city with the north and the west. It entered the walls at what became, later, Newgate. The second and third entered near the present Bishopsgate. One of these, Ermyn Street, led to the north-east, to Norfolk and Suffolk, the great peninsula, with fens on one side and the ocean on two other sides; the other, the Vicinal way, brought provisions and merchandise from Essex, then and long afterwards thought to be the garden of England. The bridge connected the city with the south, while the river itself was the highway between London and the fertile counties on either side the broad valley of the Thames. By these six ways there were brought into the city every day a continual supply of all the necessaries of life and all its luxuries. Along the roads plodded the pack-horses and the heavy, grinding carts; the oxen and the sheep and the pigs were driven to the market; barges floated down the stream laden with flour, and with butter, cheese, poultry, honey, bacon, beans, and lentils; and up the river there sailed with every flood the ships coming to exchange their butts of wine, their bales of silk, their boxes of spice, for iron, skins, and slaves.

In this way London was fed and its people kept alive. In this way London has always been fed. The moorland and swamps all around continued far down in her history. Almost in the memory of man there were standing pools at Bankside, Lambeth, and Rotherhithe. It is not two hundred years since Moorfields were drained. Wild-fowl were shot on the low-lying lands of Westminster within the present century. The supplies came from without. They were continuous. It is impossible to keep in store more provisions – and those only of the most elementary kind – than will last for a short period. There may have been a city granary, but if the supplies were cut off, how long would its contents continue to feed a population, say, of thirty-five thousand?

Four points, in short, must be clearly understood:

(1) London was a port with a great trade, export and import. To carry on this trade she employed a very large number of men – slaves or free men.

(2) If she lost her trade her merchants were ruined, and her people lost their work and their livelihood.

(3) The lands immediately round London – beneath her walls – produced nothing. She was therefore wholly dependent on supplies from without.

(4) If these supplies failed, she was starved.

Now you have seen the testimony of history. The port of London closed by the ships of the Kentish and the Essex shores; communications with the country gradually cut off; first, with the south; next, with the east; then, by the river; lastly, by the one gate which still stood open, but led only into a country ravaged by continual war, and overrun by an enemy who still pushed the Britons farther west. There was no longer any trade; that, indeed, began to languish in the middle of the fifth century; there were no longer either exports or imports. When there were no longer any supplies, what happened? What must have happened?

Let me consider the history from a contemporary Londoner's point of view. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is written from the conqueror's view; the prophecies of Gildas take the ecclesiastical line, that misfortunes fall upon a nation because of their wickedness, which is perfectly true if their wickedness leads them to cowardly surrender or flight, but not otherwise, or else the Saxons, whose wickedness, if you come to look at it, was really amazing, would themselves have been routed with great slaughter, and smitten hip and thigh. There are sins and sins. Those which do not corrupt a nation's valor do not cause a nation's fall.

This is what the man of London saw. It is a hitherto unpublished chapter from the Chronicle of a layman, a British citizen:

"The Legions left us. They had gone away before, but returned at our solicitations to drive back the Picts and Scots who overran the land (but reached not the walls of London). This done, they went away for good. And now, indeed, we understood that our long security was over, and that we must arise and defend ourselves, or meet with the fate that overtakes the weak and cowardly. They put up for us a wall before they went away, but the wall availed not long. No walls are of any avail unless there be valiant defenders behind. Then the enemy once more overran the country. To them were joined pirates from Ireland. Thus the land of Britain seemed given over to destruction, especially in the North and West. The merchants who traded with these parts were now driven to sore straits, because no goods came to them from their friends, nor were those who were once wealthy able to purchase any more the luxuries which had formerly been their daily food. But in the lands east and south, and that part of the country lying east of the fenny country, the people were free from alarms, and feared nothing, being protected by the sea on one hand and the fens on the other; so that we in London looked on with disquiet, it is true, but not with alarm. Nay, the situation looked hopeful when our people, recovering their spirit, drove out the enemy, and once more sat down to cultivate the lands. For a few years there was peace, with plentiful harvests and security. Then our trade again revived, and so great was the quantity of corn, hides, iron, and tin which was brought to our ports and shipped for foreign countries that the old prosperity of Augusta seemed destined to be doubled and trebled. Many merchants there were – wise men and far-seeing – who taught that we should take advantage of this respite from the greed and malice of our enemies to imitate the Romans, and form legions of our own, adding that the island wanted nothing but security to become a great treasure-house or garden, producing all manner of fruit, grain, and cattle for the maintenance and enrichment of the people. This counsel, however, was neglected.

"Then there fell upon the country a plague which carried off an immense number. The priests said that the plague, as well as the Pict and the Scot, came upon us as a visitation for our sins. That may be, though I believe our chief and greatest sin was that of foolishness in not providing for our own defence.

"Now we had long been troubled, even when the Count of the Saxon Shore guarded our coasts, by sudden descents of pirates upon our shores. These devils, who had fair hair and blue eyes, and were of greater stature than our own people, carried swords a yard long, and round wooden shields faced with leather. Some of them also had girdle daggers and long spears. They were extremely valiant, and, rushing upon their foes with shouts, generally bore them down and made them run. They seemed to know, being guided by the Evil One, what places were least defended and therefore most open to attack. Hither would they steer their keels, and landing, would snatch as much pillage as they could, and so sail home with loaded vessels, at sight of which their brothers and their cousins and all the ravenous crew hungered to join in the sport.

"In an evil moment, truly, for Britannia, our King invited these people to help in driving off the other enemies. They willingly acceded. So the lion willingly accepts the protection of the flock and drives off the wolves. This done, he devours the silly sheep. Not long after a rumor reached the Bridge that the Jutes had arrived in great numbers and were warring with the men of Cantia. This news greatly disquieted the City, not only because from that country, which was rich and populous, great quantities of food came to the City, with grain and hides for export, but also because the fleets on their way passed through the narrow waters between Ruim, which the Jutes call the Isle of Thanet, and the main-land, on their way to Rutupiæ and thence across the sea to Gallia. The rumor was confirmed; and one day there came into the City across the Bridge, their arms having been thrown away, the defeated army, flying from the victorious Jutes. After this we learned every day of the capture and destruction of our rich ships in the narrow waters above-named, insomuch that we were forced to abandon this route and to attempt the stormy seas beyond the cliffs of Ruim; and the perils of our sailors were increased, with the risk of our merchants, insomuch that prayers were offered in all the churches; and those who divined and foretold the future, after the manner of the old times before the light of the Gospel shone upon us, came forth again and were consulted by many, especially by those who had ships to sail or expected ships to arrive. The priests continually reproached us with our sins and exhorted us to repentance, whereof nothing came, unless it were the safety of the souls of those who repented. But while one or two counselled again that we should imitate the Romans and form legions of our own, others were for making terms with the enemy, so that our trade might continue and the City should grow rich. In the end we did nothing. We did not repent, so far as I could learn, but who knows the human heart? So long as we could we continued to eat and drink of the best, and we formed no legions.

"Why should I delay? Still the invaders flocked over. Of one nation all came – men, women, and children – leaving a desert behind. In the year of our Lord 500, the whole of the east and most of the south country were in the hands of this new people. Now this strange thing has been observed of them. They love not towns, and will not willingly dwell within walls for some reason connected with their diabolical religion; or perhaps because they suspect magic. Therefore, when they conquered the country, they occupied the lands indeed, and built thereon their farm-houses, but they left the towns deserted. When they took a place they utterly burned and destroyed it, and then they left it, so that at this day there are many once rich and flourishing towns which now stand desolate and deserted. For instance, the city and stronghold of Rutupiæ, once garrisoned by the Second Legion; this they took and destroyed. It is reported that its walls still stand, but it is quite deserted. So also Anderida, where they massacred every man, woman, and child, and then went away, leaving the houses in ashes and the dead to the wolves; and they say that Anderida still stands deserted. So, also, Calleva Atrebatum, which they also destroyed, and that, too, stands desolate. So, too, Durovernum, which they now call Cantwarabyrig. This they destroyed, and for many years it lay desolate, but is now, I learn, again peopled. So, too, alas! the great and glorious Augusta, which now lies empty, a city lone and widowed, which before was full of people.

"When Cantia fell to the Jutes we lost our trade with that fair and rich province. When the East Saxons and the Angles occupied the east country, and the South Saxons the south, trade was lost with all this region. Then the gates of the Vicinal Way and that of the Bridge were closed. Also the navigation of the Lower Thames became full of danger. And the prosperity of Augusta daily declined. Still there stood open the great highway which led to the middle of Britannia and the north, and the river afforded a safe way for barges and for boats from the west. But the time came when these avenues were closed. For the Saxons stretched out envious hands from their seaboard settlements, and presently the whole of this rich country, where yet lived so many great and wealthy families, was exposed to all the miseries of war. The towns were destroyed, the farms ruined, the cattle driven away. Where was now the wealth of this famous province? It was gone. Where was the trade of Augusta? That, too, was gone. Nothing was brought to the port for export; the roads were closed; the river was closed; there was nothing, in fact, to send; nay, there were no more households to buy the things we formerly sent them. They lived now by the shore and in the recesses of the forest, who once lived in great villas, lay on silken pillows, and drank the wine of Gaul and Spain.

"Then we of the City saw plainly that our end was come; for not only there was no more trade, but there was no more food. The supplies had long been scanty, and food was dear; therefore those who could no longer buy food left the town, and sallied forth westward, hoping to find a place of safety, but many perished of cold, of hunger, and by sword of the enemy. Some who reached towns yet untaken joined the warriors, and received alternate defeat and victory, yet mostly the former.

"Still food became scarcer. The foreign merchants by this time had all gone away; our slaves deserted us; the wharves stood desolate; a few ships without cargo or crew lay moored beside our quays; our churches were empty; silence reigned in the streets. Now, had the enemy attacked the City there would have been no resistance, but no enemy appeared. We were left alone – perhaps forgotten. The marshes and moors which surround the City on all sides became our protection. Augusta, to the invader, was invisible. And she was silent. Her enmity could do no harm, and her friendship could do no good. She was full of rich and precious things; the Basilica and the Forum, with the columns and the statues, stood in the midst; the houses contained pictures, books, baths, costly hangings; yet the Saxon wanted none of these things. The City contained no soldiers, and therefore he passed it by, or even forgot its existence.

"There came the day when no more provisions were left. Then those who were left, a scanty band, gathered in the Basilica, and it was resolved that we should leave the place, since we could no longer live in it. Some proposed to try escape by sea, some by land. I, with my wife and children, and others who agreed to accompany me, took what we could of food and of weapons, leaving behind us the houses where our lives had been so soft and happy, and went out by the western gate, and taking refuge where we could in the forest, we began our escape. Mostly we travelled by night; we passed burning towns and flaming farmsteads; we encountered hapless fugitives more naked and miserable than ourselves. But finally we arrived in safety at the town of Glevum, where we have found shelter and repose.

"Every year our people are driven westward more and more. There seems no frontier that will stop them. My sons have fallen in battle; my daughters have lost their husbands; my grandchildren are taught to look for nothing but continual war. Should they succeed in reaching our City, the old will perish; but the young may take flight across the river Sabrina, and even among the mountains of the West – their last place of flight. Should they be driven from the hills, it will be into the sea. And of Augusta have I learned nothing for many years. Wherefore am I sure that it remains desolate and deserted to this day."

The writer of this journal, most valuable and interesting – even unique – was not quite right. Not all the inhabitants of Augusta went away. In the city a remnant was left – there is always a remnant. Some of them were slaves. All of them were of the baser sort, whose safety, when cities are taken by assault and massacres are abroad, lies in their abject poverty and in the dens wherein they crouch. These remained; there were not many of them, because hunger had already driven away most. When the rest were gone they came out of their holes and looked about them, irresolute. Seeing no enemy, they hastily shut and barred the city gates and sat down fearful. But days passed, and no attack was made upon them. Then they began to take courage, and they presently bethought them that the whole town was their own to plunder and to pillage. They began, therefore, with great joy to collect together the things which the people had been unable to carry with them – the sacred vessels from the churches and the rich embroidered robes of silk worn by the priests. They found soft stuffs in the villas, with which they wrapped themselves; they found curtains, rich hangings, pillows, cushions, carpets – all of which they took. The carved work and statues, books, pictures, and things which they understood not they broke in pieces or burned. They carried off their plunder to the houses on the river-side – the quarter which they chose as handy to their boats in case of an alarm and convenient for fishing – on which they now placed their chief reliance for food. When they found that no one molested them they ventured out into the Northern forest, where they trapped the deer and the boar. Their thin veneer of civilization was speedily lost: when they had used up all the fine clothes, when they had burned up all the wood-work in the place, when the roofs of their houses fell in, they went back to quite the ancient manner; they made a circular hut with a fire in the middle of it, around which they crouched. They had no more blankets and woollen cloaks, but they did very well with a wild beast's skin for dress. Their religion slipped away and was forgotten; indeed, that was the first thing to go. But, which was strange, they had not even kept the remembrance of their ancestors' worship. If they had any religion at all, it was marked by cruel sacrifices to a malignant unseen being.

By this time nothing remained of the old houses but their walls, and these, disintegrated by frost and rain, were mostly ready to fall; the gardens of the villas, the beautiful gardens in which their owners took so much delight, were choked and overgrown with nettles and brambles; the mosaic pavements were covered up with rubbish and mould.

How long did this go on? For fifty years or more. The rude survivors of Augusta and their children lived neglected and forgotten, like the Arabs in the ruins of Palmyra. Outside they knew that a fierce enemy roamed the country; sometimes they could see a band of them on the southern bank gazing curiously at the silent and deserted walls of the City. But these warriors cared nothing for cities, and shuddered, suspecting magic at the sight of the gray wall, and went away again.

One day, however, because nothing remains always undiscovered, there came along the great Vicinal Way so tough and strong, on which the tooth of Time gnawed in vain, a troop of East Saxons. They were an offshoot, a late arrival, a small colony looking about if haply they could find or conquer a convenient place of settlement not yet held by their own people. They marched along the road, and presently saw before them the gray walls of the City, with its gates and bastions. It was a city of which they had heard – once full of people, now, like so many others, a waste chester. It was of no use to them; they wanted a place convenient for farming, not a place encumbered with ruins of houses; a place where they could set up their village community and grow their crops and keep their cattle. The first rush and fury of battle were now over. The East Saxons were at peace, the enemy being either driven away or killed. A single generation of comfort and prosperity had made the people milder in temper. They desired no longer to fight and slay. What, however, if they were to visit the City?

The gate was closed. They blew their horns and called upon the people, if there were any, to surrender. There was no answer. No arrow was shot from the walls, not a stone was thrown, not a head was seen upon the bastion. Then they plied their axes upon the crumbling wood until the gate gave way and fell backward with a crash. Shouting, the men of Essex ran forward. But they soon ceased to shout. Within they found a deserted city; the walls of what had been stately villas stood in broad gardens, but the houses were roofless, the pictured pavements were broken or covered up, the fountains were choked, the walls were tottering. The astonished warriors pressed forward. The ruined villas gave way to crumbling remains of smaller houses standing close together. The streets showed signs of traffic in deep ruts worn by the cart-wheels. Grass grew between the stones. Here and there stood buildings larger than the houses; they, too, were roofless, but over the lintels were carved certain curious emblems – crosses and palm-branches, lambs, vine leaves, and even fish – the meaning of which they understood not. Then the men reached the river-side. Here there had also been a wall, but much of it was broken down; and here they found certain circular huts thatched. Within, the fire was still burning in the middle of the hut. There were signs of hurried departure – the fish was still in the frying-pan, the bed of dried leaves still warm. Where were the people?

They were gone. They had fled in affright. When they heard the shouts of the Saxons, they gathered together their weapons and such things as they could carry, and they fled. They passed out by the gate of that road which their conquerors afterwards called Watling Street. Outside the City they turned northward, and plunged for safety into the pathless forest, whither the enemy would not follow.

When these Saxons found that the walled area contained nothing that was of the least use to them they simply went away. They left it quite alone, as they left the places which they called Pevensey, Silchester, Porchester, and Richborough, and as they left many other waste chesters.

Then Augusta lay silent and dead for a space.

Presently the fugitives crept back and resumed their old life among the ruins and died peacefully, and were followed by their children.

How, then, did London get settled again?

The times became peaceful: the tide of warfare rolled westward; there were no more ships crossing with fresh invaders; there were no more pirates hovering about the broad reaches of the Lower Thames. The country round London on all sides – north, south, east, and west – was settled and in tranquillity. The river was safe. Then a few merchants, finding that the way was open, timidly ventured up the river with wares such as might tempt those fair-haired savages. They went to the port of which the memory survived. No one disputed with them the possession of the grass-grown quays; there were no people, there was no market, there were no buyers. They then sent messengers to the nearest settlements; these – the first commercial travellers, the first gentlemen of the road – showed spear-heads of the finest, swords of the stoutest, beautiful helmets and fine shields, all to be had in exchange for wool and hides. The people learned to trade, and London began to revive. The rustics saw things that tempted them; new wants, new desires were created in their minds. Some of them went into the town and admired its life, how busy it was, how full of companionship; and they thought with pity of the quiet country life and the long days all alone in the fields; they desired to stay there; others saw the beauty of the arts, and were attracted by natural aptitude to learn and practise them. Others, quicker witted than the rest, perceived how by trade a man may live without his own handiwork and by the labor of his brother man. No discovery ever was made more important to the world than this great fact. "You, my brother," said this discoverer, "shall continue to dig and to toil, in hot weather or cold; your limbs shall stiffen and your back shall be bent; I, for my part, will take your work and sell it in places where it is wanted. My shoulders will not grow round, nor will my back be bent. On the contrary, I shall walk jocund and erect, with a laughing eye and a dancing leg, when you are long past laugh or saraband. It is an excellent division of labor. To me the market, where I shall sit at ease chaffering with my wares and jesting with my fellows and feasting at night. To you the plough and the sickle and the flail. An excellent division."

Then more merchants came, and yet more merchants, and the people began to flock in from the country as they do now; and London – Augusta being dead – set her children to work, making some rich, for an example and a stimulus – else no one would work – and keeping the many poor – else there would be no chance for the few to get rich. And she has kept them at work ever since. So that it came to pass when Bishop Mellitus, first of the bishops of London, came to his diocese in the year 604, he found it once more a market and a port with a goodly trade and a crowd of ships and a new people, proud, turbulent, and independent.

So began and so grew modern London.

To the old Rome it owes nothing, not so much as a tradition. Later, when another kind of influence began, London learned much and took much from Rome; but from Augusta – from Roman London – nothing. Roman traditions, Roman speech, Roman superstitions linger yet among the southern Spaniards, though the Moor conquered and held the country for six hundred years. They linger, in spite of many conquests, in France, in Italy (north and south), in Roumania, in Anatolia. In London alone, of all the places which Imperial Rome made her own, and kept for hundreds of years, no trace of ancient Rome remains. When London next hears of the Eternal City it is Rome of the Christian Church.

Compare the conquest of London by the men of Essex with that of Jerusalem by Titus. The latter conqueror utterly destroyed the city, and drove out its people. One might have expected the silence of Silchester or Pevensey. No, the people crept back by degrees; the old traditions remained and still remain. Behind the monkish sites are those familiar to the common people. Here is the old place of execution – the monks knew nothing of that – here is the valley of Hinnom; here that of Kedron. These memories have not died. But of the old Augusta nothing at all remains. Not a single tradition was preserved by the scanty remnant of slaves which survived the conquest; not a single name survives. All the streets have been renamed – nay, their very course has been changed. The literature of the City, which, like Bordeaux, had its poets and its schools of rhetoric, has disappeared; it has vanished as completely as that of Carthage. All the memories of four hundred years have gone; there is nothing left but a few fragments of the old wall, and these seem to contain but little of the Roman work: an old bath, part of the course of an ancient street, and the fragment which we call London Stone. Perhaps some portions of the Roman river-wall have been unearthed, but this is uncertain.

One fact alone has been considered to suggest that some of the old Roman buildings remained and were used again for their old purposes.

In the oldest part of the City, that which lies along the river-bank, the churches are mostly dedicated to the apostles. Those which stand farther inland are dedicated to local and later saints – St. Dunstan, St. Botolph, St. Osyth, St. Ethelburga, for instance. But among those along the river are the churches of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mary, St. Stephen, St. Michael. It is therefore suggested, but with hesitation, that when the East Saxons took possession they found the Roman basilicas still standing; that when they became converted they learned the original purpose of their churches and the meaning of the emblems; that they proceeded to rebuild them, preserving their dedications, and made them their own churches. This may be so, but I do not think it at all likely. It is possible, I say, but not probable.

You have heard the story how Augusta disappeared, and how the East Saxons found it deserted, and how London was born, not the daughter of Augusta at all. Augusta was childless.

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