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of years, yet there are very few traces of the early centuries of their settlement, and we know much less of them and of their life in this neighbourhood from actual remains than we do of the life of their predecessors. But, fortunately, concerning them we have records in the old Chroniclers, and although it is not always easy to find out the exact truth from the conflicting reports of these writers, they nevertheless supply information which otherwise would be totally wanting.
Within the short space of time allotted to me this evening, I can not give even an outline sketch of the historical events associated with Southampton. All I can do is to pick out a few of the more striking incidents, and try to bring before you, in as few words as possible, some of the main features of the cardinal epochs in the history of the Borough.
The Romans had their settlement at .Clausentum, now Bittern Manor. There are various opinions as to when the settlement was made, and when it was fortified. Mr. Haverfield, one of the greatest authorities upon the Roman period, thinks that the settlement was made late in the era of the Roman occupation. But the large collection of coins from Clausentum which we have in the Roman section of the exhibition, serve very much to modify this opinion. I think it possible that if Mr. Haverfield were to look over that long series, ranging from Claudius, the Roman Emperor, who was living in A.D. 43, to Arcadius, who died in A.D. 408, he might considerably alter his views. During the later years of the Roman settlement the coast was much harassed by Saxon pirates, and at the end of the third century a special overseer, called the Count of the Saxon Shore, was appointed to strengthen the coast against these marauders. Along the shore from the Wash almost to Southampton Water strong fortresses were built, and it is very probable that the fortifications of Clausentum were put up about that period.
When the Romans departed, in 410, the coast was left more or less undefended, and the first of the striking events in the history of their locality to which I will refer shall be the coming of the Gewissas, or West Saxons as they were afterwards called, in 495. Cerdic and Cynric sailed up Southampton Water and made a settlement almost on the spot on which we are at this moment standing. There was nothing much to distinguish that settlement from the many others which were being made about that date, but a great destiny lay before it and before the people who made it. For the West Saxons who established themselves in what they named " Hamton " not only spread over the shire, which was called
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