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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       THE SAXONS    
               
Alternative names for rivers, and especially for particular reaches of rivers, are of course quite common but they do not exclude one general name. The word Adur is of Celtic origin, " Dwyr " = running or flowing waters, and sufficiently describes the river as a whole, for it is seldom at rest. We may reasonably conclude that even before the Romans came and made it their Portus Adurni it was known as the Dwyr, the running waters, " hurrying down to the live sea " as one has so aptly written of it.   bury Ring. In the course of the excavation of these remains coins were again found and these cover a period from the reign of Nero (A.D. 54-68) to Gratian (A.D. 375-383). Roman remains have also been discovered at Botolphs. In the year 1800 about one hundred Roman urns were found on Beeding Hill, near the confines of Edburton and Old Shoreham parishes. Roman coins innumerable have been and are continually found in Shoreham. Worthing has yielded important finds of pottery and a notable incised stone now in Lewes Castle Museum. The discovery of a Roman villa at Preston (Brighton) and another at West Blatchington, near Hove, seems to suggest that the highway from east to west before mentioned ran through those places.  
We know that the Roman engineers, nearly two thousand years ago, made that great military highway from the east gate of Regnum (Chichester) to London Bridge. We call it the " Stane Street " and much of it is still in use. From this road, in the neighbourhood of Croydon, there was apparently a junction which led directly to the Adur mouth. Of this highway two short sections have been discovered and they are in direct alignment towards Shoreham. Apparently the way was across St. John's Common (Burgess Hill) to the Hassocks sand pits, where many fine specimens of Romano-British pottery and Samian ware have recently been found. These are now exhibited in the Sussex Archaeological Museum at Lewes. The road ascended the South Downs by way of the old track up the Saddlescombe side of the Devil's Dyke and made for Portslade (Portus ladus = the way to the port) and so to the Adur mouth, joining or crossing a highway which ran from east to west through the county-from Anderida (Pevensey) to Regnum (Chichester). The latter highway probably crossed the Ouse at Lewes, which has been claimed as the site of the small Roman town of Mutuantonis.    
  From the foregoing we may infer that Roman civilisation influenced this part of the country to a considerable extent. Doubtless the native population were for the most part engaged in agriculture and other useful arts and as the centuries passed they almost forgot the use of arms.  
  So it was that after four hundred and fifty years, when Imperial Rome was distressed by troubles nearer home and was compelled to withdraw her legions from these shores, the Britons were left without military protection and became an easy prey to their enemies. In a few years horde after horde of Saxon pirates swooped down upon the unprotected shores of Britain.   Very soon their keels were swarming into the creeks and penetrating up the rivers of this county.  
  In the year A.D. 477 the Saxon warrior, Ella, and his three sons, Cymen, Wenceling, and Cissa, " came to the land of Britain " and landed at Cymensora, the modern name of which is Kynor, near West Wittering.   Another and somewhat later landing is said to have been at Shoreham. Tradition tells us that one of those sanguinary but fruitless struggles between the Romanized Britons and the Saxon invaders took place on Slonk Hill, northeast of Shoreham, and that the origin of the word " slonk " is to be found in the Saxon " slaught." The term " slonk-butcher" is still used in some parts of the country. It would appear that the hill-name has therefore some connection with slaughter North-east of the Slonk is another hill known as " Thunder's Barrow," possibly derived from Thor, the God of Thunder, to whom the Saxons offered sacrifices-it may be on this hillbefore they accepted Christianity as their religion.
       
Several specimens of Romano-British Pottery now in the Brighton Museum were found during the erection of the soldiers' huts north-east of Buckingham Park.  
Mention may be made of several important Roman finds in the neighbourhood. Just across the river where the Downs rise towards Lancing Clump the foundations of a Roman villa, a bath and interments, were discovered in the year 1828. Numerous coins were also turned up at the same time, and these, ranging from the date of the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) to Gallienus (A.D. 260), seem to indicate a long possession of the spot by the Romans. Only a few years ago the foundations of a Roman temple were discovered amidst the trees at Chancton  

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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002