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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

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An early lover of Chesterholm & its setting; "V.W.", 1833
Topic Started: Mar 31 2010, 07:46 PM (523 Views)
Mike McGuire
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I'm very fond of this particular article. Harry, sorry I've only just discovered you put it on WDV. I think it's very evocative and beautifully written by someone who was obviously delighted by Chesterholm and it's surroundings in Anthony Hedley's time.

Sylvanus Urban was the pseudonym of Edward Cave (1691-1754) who launched the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731 (see Cave's entry on Wikipedia). After Cave's death, subsequent editors of the GM took the same nom de plume. Hence Hodgson's article is addressed to "Mr Urban".

The article was reprinted in 1851 as an appendix to a book of reprints on the subject of Treasure Trove by John Fenwick. Although the article is just signed V.W., Fenwick comments that "I have no doubt of it's being from the eloquent pen of Mr Hodgson, the accomplished Historian of Northumberland".

A few comments about the text:-

Note that at this time it was still thought by many that Septimus Severus was responsible for the Wall. Only the vallum was thought to have been constructed in Hadrian's time.

The "Brooky-burn" is nowadays marked on maps as Brackies Burn but is known locally as the Cockton Burn. Cockton was a farmstead about 100m north of the burn at NY763668.

The "Crag-lough" burn is nowadays known as the Bradley Burn.

I have considerable doubts whether the water which bubbles up into the Chineley Burn below Chesterholm originates from Grindon Lough. Grindon Lough is above a different limestone stratum from that on which Chesterholm sits. Note that on maps this burn is marked as Chainley Burn, and I have seen yet other spellings.

What Hodgson refers to as the "Causey" or "Cawsey" we now call the Stanegate.

When Hodgson talks about the "pillar-crowned mountain of Borcum" he is referring to the Long Stone on Barcombe Hill. Robin Birley explained to me that the Long Stone was erected in the late 18th century as a memorial to a quarryman who was killed extracting stone for drystone walls during the enclosure of Thorngrafton Common. The date of the article (1833) is further proof that the quarrying fatality did not occur, as is sometimes thought, when the big Barcombe Quarry was re-opened in 1837.

Harry, thanks for all your work on the Vindolanda background material on WDV.

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