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Defences against Cattle-Raiding

  • G. W. B. Huntingford

When I suggested, in commenting on this quotation, that an African cattle-thief would laugh at Beech Bottom dyke, Mr Crawford did not agree; and the idea that seems to prevail with regard to the stopping-power of a ditch and bank is responsible for these notes.

Cattle-defences may be considered under two heads: 1, Fences: 2, Dykes: the latter being actually of secondary importance when the object in view is to keep cattle in or out; and stockades without a ditch do occur in Britain.

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1 ANTIQUITY, 1933, 7, 25.

2 ib. 484.

3 Res Rusticae, 1, 14. §2. Goetz.

4 B.G., v, 9, 4.

5 Pliny, describing the growth of the fig-tree (apparently in India) describes a live hedge used as a cattle-fold : ‘intra saepem earn [ficum] aestivant pastores, opacam pariter et munitam vallo arboris (=with a ‘vallum’ of tree), decora specie subter intuenti proculve fornicato (=arched) ambitu’. (N.H. XII, II.)

6 Atkinson, D. The Romano-British Site on Lowbury Hill, 1916, pp. 47, 12, 28.

7 6 in. o.s. Merioneth, 8 sw.

8 Sion Dafydd Rhys, c, 1600, Peniarth MSS. 118, fo. 829;Lhuyd, c. 1698, Parochialia, 2, 44; Ancient Monuments Commission, Inv. of Merioneth, no. 27.

9 AS. Chronicle, sub. an. 938.

10 The wolf existed in a wild state in Britain in the 12th century (Giraldus Cambrensis, Itinerarium Katribriae, 2, 10); and in Scotland as late as the 16th century (Shakespeare’s England, 1, 480).

11 The question of wooden stockades in Britain is dealt with by Myres, Hawkes, and Stevens, in ‘St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester’ (Proc. Hants F.C., 1930, 11, 6771), to which I owe the reference for Caburn.

12 Cf. ‘Wansdyke’, by SirCharles, Oman in Quarterly Review, 1929, no. 502, pp. 290300.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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