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intended merely for the transport of an army over the Rhine to overawe the Germans, was completed in ten days, and was constructed with a double row of piles set in pairs opposite to each other, those on the upper side of the river being sloped in the direction of the current: those opposite being sloped against the current. These pairs, firmly fastened together, supported transverse beams and a level roadway of planks and hurdles. Immediately after its purpose was served it was cut. It is justifiably supposed that a similar roadway was supported by the piles at Zuilichem. Dr. Pleyte, therefore, maintains that the bridge at Zuilichem was a Roman bridge, such as that described by Cæsar. If I understand him aright in an unfamiliar language, he is inclined to go further and identify the bridge with one mentioned by Tacitus (Hist. v. 26) as the scene of a conference between the Roman general Cerialis and the Batavian chief Civilis. The conference took place on a bridge over the river “Nabalia,” which, for the purpose of security, was cut, leaving a gap between the conferring parties. Dr. Pleyte gives reasons for concluding that the “ Nabalia” of Tacitus is the same as the modern Waal, and that the bridge at Zuilichem was the very one on which the conference was held.
However that may be, it seems clear that the bridge described by Cæsar and that of which the remains have been discovered at Zuilichem, must have very greatly resembled the kind of bridge which was supported by the piles discovered at Norwich. As might be expected, the work at Norwich was more roughly done than that of Cæsar and his skilled legionaries. Nor was it necessary at Norwich to provide for the occurrence of a violent flood with an immense volume of water such as suggested the sloping arrangement and grouping of the piles on the Rhine or the Waal. But in the formation of the level plank-way and the indifference as to the provision of a free water way for boats, the cases seem quite parallel, and though it is not possible to speak without hesitation, still there seem to be fairly strong reasons for assigning the Norwich bridge to the Romans during the later period of their occupation of England.
NOTE.—In my book, How the City of Norwich Grew into Shape, pp. 34-37, I have made some observations on the circumstance of a bridge being mentioned as existing at so unnecessary a spot as St. Martin's earlier than the earliest mention of Fye Bridge. I accounted for it by supposing that owing to the swampy nature of the soil there might have been much difficulty in building one for a time to supplant the Fye Bridge ford. If, as now appears probable, there were on that spot an already ancient and half-decayed structure such as rested on the recently-discovered piles, it might easily account for the traffic being diverted to a new and more commodious bridge at St. Martin's till such time as the laborious work could be carried out of removing the old structure, and constructing a new road and bridge between the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude on one side of the river, and the Church of St. Clement on the other.
Further Illustrations of Church plate
THE REV. CANON C. R. MANNING, M.A., F.S.A.,
An account of the thirty-three Medieval Patens then known to be remaining in Norfolk churches was printed in our vol. xii., p. 85. Since that time two more have been discovered, raising the total to thirty-five, besides the two, mentioned in a note at that reference, which have traces of pre-Reformation work, but have been re-made into Elizabethan patens, at Billingford and Wiggenhall St. German’s. The first is at Lessingham, near Happisburgh, and was briefly referred to in the appendix to vol. xii., p. 338. It is a well-preserved specimen, and has been parcel-gilt. Its diameter is 41: inches. The central device is the Vernicle, in the usual sexfoil depression. The Saviour's head and bust has long wavy hair, a forked beard, and a cruciform nimbus, with the shoulders in a tunic, all within a circle of nineteen short hatched rays. The spandrils are in three pairs, with rayed leaf, wedge, and strap ornament, those opposite being alike: but one spandril is vacant, leaving a sunk space. From this it appears