Places, people or events associated with the Roman period in Britain,

Molly visits Pevensey Castle, a Very Important Place

Pevensey Castle

We bowled up to Pevensey Castle on a blue-sky day in the company of Molly.  Molly, I should say, is a small dog of exceptional poise and dignity, but has no relevance whatsoever to our story.  She is mentioned merely in a cynical attempt to win the cute dog vote.  Sorry, Molly.  We have included …

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A Bit About Britain’s History repeats itself

A Bit About Britain's History

Finally – A Bit About Britain’s History (From a long time ago until quite recently) is available as both an e-book and paperback on Amazon. A Bit About Britain’s History is a light introduction to Britain’s fascinating story.  It could be a selective reminder of what you might have learned at school; or if you …

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Viroconium, Roman City


The small Shropshire village of Wroxeter is the only surviving settlement of what was once the fourth largest Roman city in Britain: Viroconium, or Uriconium, more fully expressed as Viroconium Cornoviorum.  The Very Keen Reader will want to know what the three largest Roman cities in Britain were and these seem to have been Londinium …

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Brough Castle, Cumbria

Brough Castle, Cumbria

The bleak ruins of medieval Brough Castle perch on the western edge of Church Brough, a peaceful collection of attractive, solid, old dwellings huddled round a small square with St Michael’s church in the background.  The village of Brough is divided by the busy A66.  The larger portion, Market Brough to the north of the …

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Arbeia upon Tyne

Arbeia, Roman, fort, South Shields

I’m driving through the terraced urban landscape of South Shields, in search of a Roman fort.  It is called Arbeia, a name believed to be a Latinised form of the Aramaic for ‘the place of the Arabs’, because the last known unit stationed there was a company of bargemen – possibly some kind of specialised …

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The road to Mediobogdum

Mediobogdum or Hardknott Roman Fort

The men of the 4th Cohort of Dalmatians were a long way from home.  They were undoubtedly cold and Hardknott Fort, which the Romans probably knew as Mediobogdum, must have seemed like the end of the world.  Certainly, situated in the mountainous northern region of the most northerly province of Imperial Rome, it was one …

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Who haunts Scarborough Castle?

Scarborough Castle, North Bay

Scarborough Castle dominates the Victorian Yorkshire seaside resort from a massive precipitous headland bulging up from the North Sea.  The fortress has a fascinating three and a half thousand year, often bloody, story to tell, but one of its more dubious charms seems to be that the ghost of Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and …

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Formidable Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle, visit Edinburgh, Historic Scotland

You can’t imagine Edinburgh without Edinburgh Castle – it is one of the City’s landmarks, dominating the skyline, perched on a seemingly impregnable, daunting, volcanic rock at the end of The Royal Mile.  On a bright day, perhaps at festival time and viewed through the colours of Princes Street Gardens, it is ambiguous; fearsome yet …

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Two thousand years at Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle, River Eamont, Cumbria

I’m gazing up through the empty keep, where long-dead feet once paced across floors that have themselves long-since vanished, rotted away.  Here’s Brougham Castle, scenically sitting on the south bank of the River Eamont a couple of miles outside Penrith, just off the A66.  Someone should write a song about that road… get your kicks, …

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York’s Treasurers’ House

The Treasurers' House, York, National Trust

There are so many things to see and do in York; I’d never felt a burning desire to visit the Treasurers’ House.  Big mistake – put it on your list immediately.  For one thing, it is an outstanding house; for another, it is the location for one of Britain’s most intriguing ghost stories.  Plus it …

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Whitby Abbey and the Easter problem

Whitby Abbey, the ruins of the abbey church

The Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby is celebrated for its fish and chips, the semi-precious gemstone, jet, its associations with the explorer Captain Cook, Dracula – and its abbey.  It is less well-known as the place where the timing of Easter was decided. “When is Easter this year?” I hear you say; I’m very glad …

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Art and the amphitheatre

London, Roman, Amphitheatre, Guildhall Art Gallery

It’s sometimes easy to forget that London is a Roman creation.  A site occupying a good position on the north bank of the tidal Thames, which offered deep enough anchorage for ocean-going vessels and which was narrow enough to bridge.  Within 20 years of the invasion of 43AD, London was sufficiently large and important to …

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The British Museum – origins, controversy and internationalism

British Museum - the Great Court

The British Museum is regularly at the top of the list of the most visited attractions in Britain.  Something in excess of 6 million people – considerably more than the population of Denmark – walk through its doors and tour its galleries every year.  It is an astonishing place which, in its own words, tells …

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Bosham, Cnut, the king’s daughter and Harold

Bosham, Sussex, Holy Trinity, church

For centuries, Bosham was a fishing village, famous for its oysters.  You’ll find it on a small peninsula in Chichester Harbour in West Sussex; a bit of a yachting place, also beloved by artists, walkers, cyclists and casual visitors.  Yes, Bosham (say ‘Bozzum’) can be a busy spot, particularly on a fine day.  There are …

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