Prehistoric Ashwell

Photo:Plan of Arbury Banks Iron Age Hill Fort

Plan of Arbury Banks Iron Age Hill Fort

Document typed by Jackie Embury from Miss Hislop's handwritten green book owned by Janet Chennells

Prehistoric Ashwell


Ashwell had a long and ancient history.  As far back as 300 BC there was a British Camp at Arbury.

The camp was oval in shape;  it was about 300 yds west to east and about 220 yds north to south.

The bank round the camp was 13 or 15 feet high.  It was sheer on the outside like a wall, but very sloping inside, so that the British could run up the long slope and attack an enemy.

The great necessity of life water was obtained from the Springs.  There was an underground passage from the camp to the Springs.

The men hunted wolves, boar, deer and other animals, the boys took out the herds of cows and sheep and tended them in the common pasture and the women and girls did the work in camp, tilling the ground, cooking, dyeing, making clay pottery and weaving in a primitive manner with a bone and whorl.  They used woad for dyeing, an old plant of the mustard family giving a blue dye.

Boadicea Queen of the Iceni is supposed to have come along the Tops in her war chariot on her visits to the Camp on the hill.



When the British warrior queen
Bleeding from the Roman rods
Sought with an indignant mien
Counsel of her country’s gods –

Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid hoary chief.
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.

Princess, if our aged eyes
Weep upon they matchless wrongs
Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.

Rome shall perish, write that word
In the blood that she has spilt
Perish, hopeless and abhorred
Deep in ruin as in guilt.

Rome for Empire far renowned
Tramples on a thousand States,
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground
Hark, The Gaul is at her gates.

Other Romans shall arise
Heedless of a soldiers name
Sounds, not arms shall win the prize
Harmony the path to fame.

Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings
Shall a wider world command.

Empires Caesar never knew
They posterity shall sway.
Where his eagles never flew
Non invincible as they.

Such the bard’s prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.

She, with all a monarch’s pride
Felt them in her bosom flow
Rushed to battle, fought and died
Dying hurled them at her foe.


This page was added on 14/11/2011.

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