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FROM THE ROMAN INVASION, B.C. 55,
TO THE YEAR A.D. 1863.
BY EVAN DANIEL,
VICE-PRINCIPAL OF THE TRAINING COLLEGE, BATTERSEA ; LECTURER ON
The object of this work is to give such a sketch of English History as may be fairly mastered by Upper Classes in National and Trade Schools, and by Pupil Teachers and Monitors in the early stage of their education.
It will be observed that the matter which is most important in an elementary point of view, and which is most easy of comprehension, is printed in a larger type. The Author has endeavoured to avoid the dulness of a mere compendium by the introduction of illustrative anecdotes and striking passages from our early chroniclers and best modern historians.
I. THE BRITONS. 1. Early History.—The British Islands appear to have been first peopled by various Celtic tribes, who must have migrated from the neighbouring coasts of Europe.
The Celts were a people who, at a very early period, occupied a great part of Western Europe. It is conjectured that they came over to Britain in two bodies, and that between these migrations a considerable time elapsed. For the sake of distinction, the first body has been called the Old Celts, and the second the New Celts. The descendants of the former are supposed to be found in the Erse or Irish, and in the Highlanders of Scotland; those of the latter in the ancient Britons and modern Welsh.
Before the Romans visited Britain some Teutonic tribes had settled on its southern shores. They came from the district now called Flanders, having been driven from that country by an inundation.
They are said to have crossed the sea in open boats without sails, and to have first landed in the Isle of Wight.
2. Name.—The derivation of the name Britain is uncertain. It comes most probably, however, from a Celtic word, meaning painted, which was, perhaps, first applied to the painted natives, and then transferred to the island itself. The British Islands were called by the early Greek writers Cassitérides, or T'in Islands, because tin was the chief article of commerce for which they were then visited.
Some derive Britain from Prydain, one of the early British princes; others from Brettan, signifying “a land of hills."