1902 Encyclopedia > William Shakespeare > Shakespeare's Country: The History of Warwickshire

William Shakespeare
(Part 5)


The History of Warwickshire.

On the historical side Warwickshire has points of interest as striking and distinctive as its physical features. During the Roman occupation of the country it was, as we have seen, the site of several central Roman stations, of which, besides those already noticed, the fortified camps of Tripontium and Praesidium on the line of the Avon were the most important. A Roman road crossed the Avon at Stratford, and radiating north and south soon reached some of the larger Roman towns of the west, such as Uriconium and Corinium. Between these towns were country villas or mansions, many of them being, like that at Woodchester, "magnificent palaces covering as much ground as a whole town." The entire district must in this way have been powerfully affected by the higher forms of social life and material splendour which the wealthier provincials had introduced. The immediate effect of this Roman influence on the native populations was, as we know, to divide them into opposed groups whose conflicts helped directly to produce the disastrous results which followed the withdrawal of the Romans from the island. But the more permanent and more important effect is probably to be traced in the far less obstinate resistance offered by the Celtic tribes of Mid Britain to the invading Angles from the north and Saxons from the south, by whom themselves and their district were eventually absorbed. Instead of the fierce conflicts and wrathful withdrawal or extermination of the conquered Britons which prevailed further east, and for a time perhaps further west also, the intervening tribes appear to have accepted the overlordship of their Teutonic neighbour and united with them in the cultivation and defence of their common territory.

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