button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 131:-

book 5
  chapter 1


Ambleside, -- Amboglana here the Roman Station, -- Grant of a Market by James II. -- Inhabitants and Trade, -- Donations and School.
  roman fort, Ambleside

CAMBDEN says, "At the upper corner of Winandermere lieth the dead carcase of an ancient city, with great ruins of walls, and many heaps of rubbish, one from another, remaining of buildings without the walls, yet to be seen. The fortress thereof was somewhat long, fenced with a ditch and rampire, took up in length 132 ells, and breadth 80. That it has been the Romans work is evident by the British bricks, by the mortar tempered with little pieces of brick among it, by small earthen pots or pitchers, by small cruets or vials of glass, by pieces of Roman money oftentimes found, and by round stones as big as millstones or quernstones, of which laid and couched together they framed, in old times, their columns, and by the paved ways leading to it. Now the ancient name thereof is gone, unless a man would guess at it, and think it were that Amboglana, whereof the book of notices maketh mention, seeing at this day it is called Ambleside."
By some stones found on Agricola's wall since Cambden's time, it appears Amboglana was there; the stones are now at Naworth Castle. The cohort might be first established at the Picts wall, and a part of them remove hither and give it their name; for Guthrie says, "under the Honourable the Duke of Britain was placed the prefect of a detachment of the Nervii called Dictenses at Ambleside."
The fort lyes a little below the town; the remains of it are now very small, but many coins have been found there; and in the year 1785, a man planting potatoes with the spade there, found a crucifix of brass, which was given me. The inhabitants dug up, not many years ago, several pieces, (as they called them) of free stone, which probably had been altars or the pedestals of Pillars. As there is no free stone within twenty-five miles of the place, I should think they were brought hither for urns, fonts, or some purpose of that kind, as the blue ragg, or granite stones found here, cannot be worked with a chissel: Had any Antiquarian been there, some things perhaps might have led to a more perfect discovery, but they were generally broken small for scowring sand, which is a scarce article at Ambleside. That it was a Roman station is, I think, beyond a doubt: it is by the inhabitants called the Castle, and I should suppose that this castle or fort was of some account in the year 794, and was the place where the two sons of Elfwold were decoyed to before they were murdered, and not Bowness, as Cambden has conjectured: All the old authors agree that they were murdered at Winandermere, and I should suppose this was the only place of note in 794 within the parish called Winandermere.
  market charter
King James the II. granted to the inhabitants of Ambleside a weekly market on Wednesday, and two fairs in the year, with a court of Pie-powder to be holden before his Steward: The profits arising from the said fairs and market shall be for the use of the poor inhabitants of the town of Ambleside. A poor salary indeed! for the market frequently begins at twelve o'clock, and ends at noon! It hath one tolerable good fair, viz. on the 29th of October, commonly called the Tip-Fair. There is on that day a good shew of long-horned heifers, and Tips *, which here sell at great prices: The country meet to drink, and dance as at wakes, and the steward reads the charter.
Ambleside is a long rambling awkward town, (see plate X.) pleasantly situated amongst woods of all kinds, which thrive here remarkably; apple trees, of which there are great numbers, bear surprizingly well in this place. The trade of this town is not
* i.e. Tups or Rams.
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button -- "Ambleside" -- Ambleside
button -- "Amboglana" -- Galava
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