The scientific study of rural settlement in Britain was initiated in 1883 when Seebohm published The English Village Community. In this study he argued for a continuity between the Roman villa and the Anglo-Saxon vi1lage. In 1897, however, Maitland published his Domesday Book and Beyond by way of rejoinder to Seebohm’s views. Thereafter it became customary for historians, geographers and archaeologists alike to regard the nucleated settlements of the English lowlands as Anglo-Saxon creations, implanted by groups of free English settlers in a countryside emptied, by force or fear, of its Romano-British occupants. Of late this hypothesis, which lays so much stress on Germanic as distinct from earlier achievements, has come under criticism from several quarters. Archaeologists are increasingly conscious of the survival into the Dark Ages of a British tradition in ornamentation even in England. As a philologist, Jackson has adduced sufficient linguistic evidence to undermine, even for eastern Britain, the old theory of the nearcomplete extermination of the Celts and has argued for a bilingual phase when English settlement was being effected. On a narrow front in the Cotswolds the historian, Finberg, has cogently portrayed various facets of continuity between the Roman villa and the adjoining village at Withington. On a broader front, Aston has demonstrated the limitations of Maitland’s thesis on the origin of the manor; he suggests that the primary Anglo-Saxon penetration of England was carried out not by freemen, each owning one hide of land, but under lordly direction and was therefore organized by large estates. The vacuum created by this sapping of the traditional view of Anglo-Saxon settlement has not been filled by the adoption of a convincing alternative hypothesis. This absence of an alternative is largely due to fundamental misconceptions about the organization of that Celtic society which occupied England before the advent of either Romans or Saxons. The purpose of this article is to remove these misconceptions and, by so doing, to show that the basic patterns of settlement distribution in the English lowlands date from at least Celtic times.