Archive for the ‘Roman History’ Category

St Albans

Posted: September 11, 2020 in Hertfordshire, History, Roman History, UK
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A military installation at Portchester dates back to Roman times. Excavations have revealed what was probably a base for the Classis Britannica, the Roman fleet based in the UK. It probably dates from 285-290 AD. The remains of the curtain wall of this base can be seen at Portchester today.

The fort continued in use after the Romans left Britain, as evidenced by the presence of a 10th century Anglo-Saxon hall within the walls and in 904 records show the castle passed into the ownership of the crown. The castle as we see it today dates from the 11th century and was built by William Maudit. He sought where possible to include as much as possible of the still-standing Roman walls within his construction. In 1154 the castle passed to King Henry II and it would remain in royal control for almost 500 years. King Henry and King John were recorded as visitors and it was used to house important prisoners. In 1216, Portchester surrendered to Prince Louis of France, who commanded the French forces supporting the Barons rebelling against King John. It was recaptured by John’s son, Henry III the following year and eventually, the French forces left Britain a few months later. Portchester was important as it was an embarkation point for troops going to France to defend the royal lands there.

The castle was refortified by Edward II in the fourteenth century and it continued to be used by armies campaigning on the continent. Queen Elizabeth, I visited the castle in 1603.

In 1632 Charles I sold the castle to Sir William Uvedale. It was used as a prison, often with prisoners of war from the Anglo-Dutch war (1665-1667), the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1712) and the Napoleonic Wars (19th century).

The old part of Lincoln is situated on a hill overlooking the River and has been occupied since Roman times.

The remains of a Roman gateway to Lincoln

The old town is full of medieval buildings

The towers of the Cathedral dominate the skyline

There is evidence of Pre-historic occupation in the Derby area.

The Romans built a fort on the site in 50AD and a vicus (town) grew up around it. However when the Romans left Britain the site was abandoned.

There was possibly an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area, but the Vikings founded a settlement in 873 which was captured by the Saxons in 917. It prospered and a mint and market are recorded in the 10th century.

Viking Sword

The Doomsday book (1086) records a population of 2000 (The average size of a village was about 100-150).  It received charters in 1154 and 1204 and a wool industry was established in the town. Despite outbreaks of the plague in 1636 and 1665, the town continued to grow. The UK’s first silk mill was opened in Derby in 1717.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

The city was occupied by the Jacobite Army in December 1745 and King George I visited in 1773 and warranted the change of name for the local china from Derby to Crown Derby (it later became Royal Crown Derby by permission of Queen Victoria). The Railway reached Derby in 1839 and the Midland Railway soon set up a depot for maintenance and construction of engines.

The Old Roundhouse from the Railway Works

In 1907 Rolls Royce opened a factory manufacturing cars and airoplane engines.

It is interesting that apart from the materials from which they were made the Roman doctor /surgeons instrument kit resembles that which was still in use up until relatively recent times

Probes, needles and sharp hooks

Probes, needles and sharp hooks

Scoops, probes and spoons

Scoops, probes and spoons

Forceps

Forceps

Catheters

Catheters

These examples all from the collection of the British Museum

Vidoeo by Alice Goss

A Roman chariot stadium in Colchester Esssex

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The Colchester Sphinx was discovered in 1821 near the Balkerne Gate, It is a small statue of a mythical creature with a human head between its claws and was carved from British stone. It is still an object of some mystery but is probably from the 2nd century AD and most recent suggestions are that it was a ‘grave guardian’ from a military tomb. It is on display in Colchester Castle Museum.

The Romans in Colchester (3)

Posted: January 15, 2019 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Another thing that stood out for me from our recent visit to Colchester Museum was the examples of locally manufactured goods, particularly Glassware and pottery.

 

 

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Also some examples of fine mosaics found locally

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Some interesting religious connections from our trip to Colchester

Butt Road Church

 

The Apse at Butt Road church.

The Apse at Butt Road church.

In the 1980’s during the building of the new police station, a cemetery of 371 graves together with a narrow building were discovered. The original building dates from 320 to 340 A.D. The original building was rectangular in shape and an apse was a later addition. Whether it was originally a Christian church or whether it was converted to this function at a later date is unclear. If the former is the correct interpretation than the date 340 would make it the earliest known Christian church in Britain.

The body of Butt Road church

The body of Butt Road church

 

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

Longinus originally came from the area of modern Bulgaria and was a member of the First Thracian cavalry, which had come to Britain with the original invasion force. He rose to the rank of Duplicarius, second in command of a unit of 32 men. He was 40 when he died in A.D. 55.

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Marcus Flavonius Facilis was the centurion in the 20th legion, when he died in A.D. 43, a few years after the invasion. The style of Tombstone comes from the Rhineland, where the 20th legion had been stationed prior to the invasion of Britain.

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new