Wiltshire – Cricklade

Wiltshire – Cricklade
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CRICKLADE IS A BOROUGH town situated in a flat tract of country on the southern bank of the river Isis, or Thames, which has its source not far from the town. Concerning the origin of this place much diversity of opinion has prevailed among antiquaries and historians. William of Worcester relates that it was formerly called Chelysworth, and constituted part of an ancient parish of that name, extending six miles in circumference .1 In a tract intituled Historiola Oxoniensis, it is affirmed that a University was established here by the Britons, over which several Greek philosophers presided; and that this seminary was afterwards translated to Oxford by the Saxons. The authenticity of this account, however, though confirmed; is some writers think by the etymology of the term Cricklade, they conceive to be a corruption for Greeklade, is regarded by Camden, Stukeley, and others, as a monkish fable, and altogether undeserving of credit; In this opinion we fully coincide, but we are nevertheless satisfied that Cricklade is a town of great antiquity. Stukeley supposed it probable, that it was originally a Roman station, as the road which connected Corinium (Cirencester) with Spinae (Spene), runs through it. In the Magna Britannia it is stated on the authority of the Red Book in the Exchequer, that there for­merly belonged to it 1300 hides of land, but the period to which the record refers is, not mentioned. This great extent of land most likely comprehended the whole hundred, which was entirely possessed, along with the manor by Edmund de Langley, Earl of Cambridge, and Duke of York. About the year 905, Ethelwald nephew and brother to King Edward the elder, pretending to dispute with that monarch his title to the throne, collected a large body of troops, chiefly East Angles, and advanced as far as Cricklade on a predatory excursion. Edward immediately marched to attack him but the prince withdrew with his spoil, before the royal forces could come up. From a MS in the Bod­leian Library, it appears that Canute the Dane, also plundered this town in the year 1016.