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Richborough, which the Romans called Rutupiae, is a fascinating, multi-layered, site. Now 2 miles inland, 2,000 years ago it was on the coast where Emperor Claudius’s invading army landed in 43AD. They built a defensive barrier on the site, which then became a supply base, developing into a significant port, town and major point of entry into Britain. A monumental marble-clad arch was built (welcome to Britain!), the foundations of which can still be seen at the start of Watling Street – the Roman road that went through London all the way to the West Midlands. Nearby is the site of the amphitheatre, which could accommodate an audience of up to 5,000 people. The town was large – extending far beyond the existing visible remains of a stone-walled fort, built in the 3rd century as part of the defences of the ‘Saxon Shore’, guarding Britain against the Germanic pirates whose ancestors eventually settled and became the English. Richborough continued to be important right to the very end of the Roman occupation, probably well into the 5th century. The crumbled ruins, excavated outlines (including that of an Anglo-Saxon church) take some understanding, but it is an absolutely intriguing place to visit – right at the heart of Britain’s story.
This is a growing listings directory – over 900 entries have been listed as of September 2021.
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