I judge that you pick up this booklet with much the same ideas on the subject that I had a few months ago. The antiquarians had not helped you or me very much, but had left us with vague ideas and many notes of interrogation.
On early trackways they alternated between a misty appreciation of hill-tracks and ridgeways, and an implied depreciation of all track-makers before the Romans came. To learn the meaning of mounds they did not go beyond the child's investigation of a drum, cut it open to see; and, if nothing was there, quite failed to profit by such valuable negative evidence. In perhaps one moat in five they found a dwelling, and argued finely on the defensive importance of a ring of water; but as to the other four, with no dwelling, and in unexplained positions, they closed their eyes.
I do not know, dear reader, whether you will be as much astonished in reading the new facts which I disclose, and the deductions I feel obliged to make, as I have been in the disclosure. Frankly, if another person told them to me, I should want to verify before acceptance. And I try to aid you to verify. But do note this--that the important point in this booklet is the previously undiscovered string of facts, which make it necessary to revise former conclusions. My deductions may be faulty. But the facts are physical ones, and anyone can test in their own district whether moats, mounds and churches do not line up in straight lines with a hill peak at one end, and with bits of old tracks and antiquarian objects on the line.
So please do not begin with the false--as being inapplicable--word "theory." I had no theory when, out of what appeared to be a tangle, I got hold of the one right end of this string of facts, and found to my amazement that it unwound in orderly fashion and complete logical sequence.
Make your own deductions when you have verified, and I have tried to help you.