Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Queen Boadicea

In defeating Caractacus, the Romans had become masters of the southern part of the island only. Many Britons were not subdued, and, helped by the Celts and Gaels, they often revolted. The Roman generals stationed in Britain put down one revolt after another; but finally Suetonius, one of them, declared that he was sure the Druids advised the Britons to fight. He therefore made up his mind to go and attack the priests in their island of Anglesey, and set out with his legions.

As Suetonius drew near the Druid stronghold, he saw that the priests had been warned of his coming, for they rushed forward to meet him, uttering strange cries and curses. They were armed, and fought fiercely, while the women, too, attacked the enemy with lighted torches, uttering shrill screams, and wildly tossing their long hair.

In spite of the brave defence of the Druids, Suetonius landed on the island, killed the priests and bards, overthrew the altars and temples, and cut down the sacred oak trees beneath whose shade they had been wont to gather. But while he was doing this, some other Roman soldiers cruelly ill-treated Boadicea, the queen of one of the Briton tribes, and insulted her two daughters.

Escaping from their hands with her unhappy daughters, Boadicea drove in her chariot all through the land, calling the people together, and telling them how shamefully the Romans had treated her and her poor children. As she spoke, the men's eyes gleamed with anger; and at her appeal, they all took up their arms and swore to avenge her. Led by this woman, the Britons went forth to fight the Romans, took their principal city, killed the seventy thousand strangers who dwelt there, and set fire to the beautiful buildings which the Romans had put up. But their triumph did not last long, for they soon met Suetonius coming back from Anglesey. He attacked them, and although the Britons fought more fiercely than ever before, they were soon completely beaten.

We are told that eighty thousand Britons died on that field of battle, and that Boadicea killed herself and her children, rather than fall into the enemy's hands and be taken to Rome to figure in the victor's triumph.

This victory left the Romans masters of the greater part of the island. All the Britons who were not willing to obey them fled to the mountains, to join the Picts and Scots, who were also Celtic tribes. Here the Romans did not dare venture, for fear they should lose their way and fall into an ambush. From time to time, parties of warriors would make sudden raids down into the country, killing, burning, and robbing wherever they went. Then, before the Roman soldiers could overtake them, they would carry their spoil back to the mountains, to hide until it was time for a new expedition.

To prevent these inroads into the country, which was rapidly becoming fertile and civilized, the Romans built large fortified camps at Exeter, Chester, and York, which last they made their capital. In these camps, or cities, they built beautiful houses, temples, and public baths, such as they had in Rome. There are still some traces of these fine buildings, and the well-made Roman roads, which connected the different camps, are still good to-day.

Little by little, the Britons learned many of the Roman arts; and in the first century of our era, some of them heard Christian soldiers tell the story of Christ, and became Christians. For many years Roman soldiers did all the fighting in Britain, while the young Britons who joined the army were sent to fight in other lands, under Roman generals.