Roman

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This listings directory of over 950 entries is being phased out.
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ALDBOROUGH Roman Town

The remains of Isurium Brigantum, a significant Roman town between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD, lie largely under the charming village of Aldborough ('old borough'). Little of the Roman town is visible - small sections of town wall and a couple of good mosaics. There's a small museum, and it's a pleasant stroll round the site, but people expecting to see a great deal might be disappointed.

Location/Address
Aldborough
Boroughbridge
County
North Yorkshire
Post Code
YO51 9ES
Main Historic Period
Roman
Link to featured article
Tip/Nearby
St Andrew's parish church and the adjacent town of Boroughbridge.
Primary Management
English Heritage
ANTONINE WALL

The Antonine Wall has World Heritage status alongside Hadrian's Wall to the south. It was built in 140 AD on the orders of Hadrian’s successor, Emperor Antoninus Pius. It ran 37 miles (60km) from Old Kilpatrick in the west to near Bo’ness in the east and formed the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, but was abandoned after 20 years and the frontier shifted back south to Hadrian’s Wall. Unlike the latter, the Antonine Wall was constructed mostly out of layers of turf. These ramparts reached a height of almost 10 feet (3 m). In front, to the north, ran an enormous ditch, up to 16 feet (5 m) deep. Behind the wall ran a road to enable the movement of troops and supplies. There were 17 manned forts along the wall, plus additional ‘fortlets’. The Antonine Wall website calls it “the biggest, most awe-inspiring building project the people of Scotland had ever seen” – which is true but for the fact that Scotland did not exist at the time. There are several stretches of the wall that can be seen today – one of the best is at Rough Castle (address below). See the World Heritage website for details of all locations. The largest collection of Antonine Wall artefacts is held by the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Bonnyside Road
Bonnybridge
County
Stirlingshire
Post Code
FK4 2AA
Main Historic Period
Roman
Tip/Nearby
Runs through Scotland's Central Belt.
Primary Management
Historic Scotland
BEARSDEN ROMAN BATH HOUSE


Bearsden Roman Bath House is the excavated stone remains of a bathhouse and latrine annexed to the fort that stood nearby, part of the defences of the Antonine Wall, constructed c140 AD and abandoned 20 years later. The remains were discovered when Victorian houses were redeveloped in 1973 and are now displayed, with useful information boards, surrounded by late 20th century suburban residences. The boards allow easy interpretation of the remains. It is a fascinating site, but most people will not tarry longer than about 20 minutes. The fort is buried under modern housing and roads.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
8 Roman Court
Bearsden
Glasgow
County
East Dunbartonshire
Post Code
G61 2HS
Main Historic Period
Roman
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
About 8 miles north of Glasgow. Limited parking.
Primary Management
Local Authority
BIGNOR ROMAN VILLA


 
Bignor Roman Villa is thought to have reached its peak in the 4th century.  It was famously rediscovered in 1811, when farmer George Tupper’s plough hit a piece of stone.  Excavations revealed wonderful mosaics buried under the turf of the South Downs and the site soon became a tourist attraction.  Buildings were erected (on Roman foundations) in the early 19th century to protect the remains.  These are typical flint and thatch agricultural buildings of the time and are of historical value themselves.  The Tupper family still farm some 2,000 acres at Bignor and still own and run the villa as a tourist attraction.  The mosaics are stunning – the up-market floor coverings of their day.  Sadly, we can only make educated guesses about the people that once enjoyed them as part of their home.
Bignor Roman Villa is set in lovely countryside and also hosts regular reenactments.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Bignor
County
West Sussex
Post Code
RH20 1PH
Main Historic Period
Roman
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Section of Roman Stane Street at Bignor Hill, Arundel, Chichester, Weald and Downland Museum
Primary Management
Private - open to the public
Chanctonbury Ring

Chanctonbury Ring is an Iron Age hillfort, constructed c6-400BC, though actually in use since Neolithic times. It was probably not a fort, nor ever occupied, but more likely a religious site or, possibly, animal enclosure. 2 Romano-British temples have been found on the hill (they are not visible). In 1760, Charles Goring of nearby Wiston House planted a ring of beech trees around the hill; these, or their descendents, are still there. The hill was used by the army during WW2. There are several other prehistoric sites nearby. Chanctonbury also has a number of legends associated with it - most notably variations of the story that the Devil appears if running seven times anti-clockwise (or backwards) round the hill, alleged links with witchcraft (young ladies sleeping out on the hill are more likely to conceive), UFOs as well as suggestions that the hill is haunted and claims that spending the night on it is an unpleasant experience.  Nonetheless, there are great views from the top.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Chanctonbury Ring Rd
Steyning
County
West Sussex
Post Code
BN44 3DR
Main Historic Period
Prehistory
Tip/Nearby
Cissbury Ring
Primary Management
National Park
FISHBOURNE ROMAN PALACE

The excavation of Fishbourne Roman Palace by Barry Cunliffe in the 1960s caused a sensation. It is the largest Roman residence north of the Alps, with the largest collection of in situ mosaics in the UK and the earliest garden discovered so far anywhere in the country. The palace dates from the 1st century AD and underwent various alterations in its time until it burnt down in c270AD. The first occupant was possibly Togidubnus, a local British pro-Roman tribal chieftain.

Managed by the Sussex Archaeological Society.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Roman Way
Fishbourne
County
West Sussex
Post Code
PO19 3QR
Main Historic Period
Roman
Tip/Nearby
Chichester, Weald and Downland Museum
Primary Management
Other
JULIUS CAESAR’S LANDING PLACE

A concrete memorial near the beach between Deal and Walmer commemorates the landing of Julius Caesar and his invading army in 55BC, which allegedly took place nearby. However, the location of this great event, and Caesar’s more serious landing the following year, 54BC, is disputed. It is suggested that Caesar, who described his landing in graphic detail, actually came ashore a little further north, in Pegwell Bay. This, claims the experts, more accurately fits the coastal geography of 2,000 years ago. The remains of a Roman fort have also been uncovered near Pegwell Bay, now inland but close to where the coast would have been twenty centuries ago. Maybe the Romans landed at Deal first and Pegwell Bay later.

Anyway, we can still stand by the Deal-Walmer memorial and contemplate the Romans offshore, fearfully hesitant to get stuck into the screaming woad-covered Britons waiting for them on the shingle beach – until the eagle-bearer of the X Legion leaped from his ship and lead to way to battle – and victory.

At school, we used to recite, “Julius Caesar, the Roman geezer, conquered Britain with a lemon squeezer.” Just thought I’d mention it.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
The Beach
Walmer
Deal
County
Kent
Post Code
CT14 7HE
Main Historic Period
Modern
Tip/Nearby
Between Deal and Walmer Castles.
Primary Management
Local Authority
LONDON’S ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE

Discovered during excavation work for the new Guildhall Art Gallery, the remains of London's Roman Amphitheatre date from the 2nd century AD. It had a capacity for an audience of 7,000 watching animal fights, executions and gladiatorial contests. The ruins of the eastern entrance, including sections of wooden drains, are displayed in an innovative way, underneath the art gallery - which is where you need to enter to see the amphitheatre.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
off Gresham Street
County
London
Post Code
EC2V 5AE
Main Historic Period
Roman
Link to featured article
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Bank of England, Museum of London
Primary Management
Local Authority
RICHBOROUGH, Roman fort

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.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
Richborough
County
Kent
Post Code
CT13 9JW
Main Historic Period
Roman
Useful Website Address
Primary Management
English Heritage
ROMAN THEATRE of VERULAMIUM

The Roman theatre at Verulamium is unique in Britain, because it's a theatre with a stage, rather than an amphitheatre. It was built in about 140AD, later redeveloped and by the 4th century it is estimated it could seat an audience of some 2,000. Close to the ruins are the foundations of shops and a temple. There is not a great deal to see, but it is opposite the Roman Museum - so park near the latter and combine the two.

Part of the Gorhambury Estate.

Region/Nation
Location/Address
A4147 Road
St Albans
County
Hertfordshire
Post Code
AL3 6AE
Main Historic Period
Roman
Useful Website Address
Tip/Nearby
Verulamium Roman Museum is virtually opposite. Also St Albans Abbey nearby.
Primary Management
Private - open to the public

If your favourite attraction is not listed yet, and you have a good quality digital photograph of it that you are able to freely send, please get in touch

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