Aldborough in 1833
Aldborough, a town in the West Riding of York shire, in the parish of Aldborough, and wapentake of Claro on the Ure, 16 miles N.W. from York ; disfranchised by the Reform Bill ; population in 1831, 538 ; of the parish, 2,438. Aldborough is a place of great antiquity, and has been supposed by some to have been the capital of the Brigantes, the most powerful of the nations of Britain before the conquest of that people by the Romans. But however this be, the remains, which attest the former greatness of the place, go no higher than the Roman dominion. Under that people, Aldborough had the name of Isurium, which it lost upon the invasion of the Saxons, who gave it the appellation of ald-burgh (Old Borough or Town). The ancient walls are stated by Drake (Hist. and Antiq. of York) to have been about a mile and a half in circuit, and enclosing a space nearly square. Many Roman antiquities have been dug up, including coins, signets, pieces of urns, &c.: and there have been found the remains of aqueducts, cut in great stones and covered with Roman tile, and of a temple built on what is called the Borough Hill ; also several Mosaic pavements. The remains of Isurium have served for the pavements and the walls of outbuildings, both in Ald borough and Boroughbridge ; which latter place, about half a mile to the west of the former, rose on its decline.
Three remarkable obelisks are yet remaining to the west of Boroughbridge, and are therefore nearer to it than to Aldborough ; but they are connected in their origin with Isurium. Antiquaries do not agree whether they are British or Roman monuments. They are vulgarly called the Devil’s Arrows, and are rough blocks of coarse rag-stone. The middle one is above 30 feet from the top to the base, which is 6 feet below the surface.