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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       TRACES OF THE ROMAN OCCUPATION  
                 
types of people were to be found in Sussex-a Celtic aristocracy of Aryan type, round-headed, fair-haired and blue-eyed, together with Celticised Euskarian or half-cast serfs, the latter retaining the long skulls and dark complexion of their aboriginal ancestors.   and Steyning, and on Lancing Downs. Coins of Verica have been found at several places in Sussex, including Shoreham and Steyning and on Lancing Downs. By this we may infer that the Regni and the Atrebates traded one with the other and that by the time the two brothers, Tincommius and Verica, ruled over their respective principalities some sort of overland communication-probably by track-ways through the dense forestsexisted.
Under the bronze-weaponed Celts a more advanced type of civilization became possible, and a more extended chieftainship resulted from the improved weapons and consequent military power, and much of Britain became amalgamated into considerable kingdoms, some of which seem to have spread over several modern shires.  
  It is only reasonable to suppose that when the Romans came they found considerable village settlements on the shores of the Adur-at Shoreham, Botolphs, Bramber, and Steyningalthough these names were then unknown. It was then less a river and more an arm of the sea, which ran inland as far as Steyning, and its great importance must very early have been appreciated by them.
But while this was generally so, Sussex, enclosed by its barrier of forest, seems to have remained a single little principality of itself, held at least in later times by a tribe known to the Romans as the Regni, whose prince or king had his seat of government at Regnum (Chichester).  
  If the site of the Roman Portus Adurni is to be found in these waters it may have embraced the whole of this estuary. Some place the actual Roman station in the neighbourhood of Aldrington and tell us that, like the lost " Atlantis," it long since sank beneath the waves. Others favour Bramber, and some say that its site was at Shoreham-Old Shoreham. On the analogy of other Roman ports in Britain the latter would seem to be the most likely place. It was but a short distance up the fair-way, but so far from the open sea as to give complete security to the vessels of the period. The name New Shoreham sufficiently proves that the first wharfing must have been higher up the river, and although the first opportunity for fortification was at Bramber, where it is quite likely that the Roman military governor of the district had his seat, we have the analogy of every port upon the Sussex rivers of a harbour forward of the first fortification.
The Celts occupied the fertile valleys and alluvial slopes, cut down the woods by the river-sides and built their more regular camps of refuge upon the Downs for protection from the neighbouring tribes, so that we find the traces of their occupation mainly confined to the Downs and the seaward slopes.  
In the polished Stone Age the district had been self-supporting because of its possession of flint. In the Bronze Age it was dependent on other places through its non-possession of copper and tin. During the former period it may have exported weapons from Cissbury ; during the latter it must certainly have imported the material of weapons from Cornwall and Gaul.  
Before the Romans came iron as well as tin was found and manufactured in Britain and bronze axes had been discarded in favour of iron swords and spears. There seems to have been a considerable intercourse with the continent and among the agricultural exports were cattle and hides, wheat and barley.  
  But there are some who tell us that we must seek elsewhere than in this neighbourhood for Portus Adurni and that the river name " Adur " was first applied to these waters by Drayton in his poem " Polyolbion " (A.D. 1612). Up to that time, they say, it was usually known as the " Sore " (as in Holinshed's Chronicle, A.D. 1577). It is referred to in documents of the reign of Henry VIII. merely as " a certain river " and has been named at various times Bramber Water, Beeding River, Alder and Shoreham River. From this evidence it is argued that no Roman soldier ever set foot within miles of the Adur Valley and no Roman galley was ever seen upon its restless waves.
An important personage at the period of Julius Caesar's invasion, reigning over part of Britain, was Commius. This prince appears to have had three sons: Tincommius, who was king of the Regni (practically answering to the present county of Sussex) ; Verica, whose sway was over the eastern part of the Atrebates (Berkshire and the north part of Wilts), and Eppilos, who ruled over Kent.  
Tincommius was king of the Regni when Caesar came and his coins have been found at various places, both in East and West Sussex, in our own immediate neighbourhood, at Bramber  
                 
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002