History of the Roman Invasion of England
The Romans invasion of Britain started in 43AD. The Roman Occupation of the UK was to last for nearly 500 years. The Romans left of their own accord responding to a recall to Rome to defend their homeland in 410AD when the Visigoths, led by Alaric, sacked Rome. The Romans left a great legacy - the Roman Roads of England.
Construction of the Ancient Roman Roads
The Ancient Roman roads were of major importance to the Romans and their vast Empire. They allowed fast and easy access and communication across hundreds of miles of territory. The soldiers of the Roman army provided the labour and Roman roads were built as follows:
- Roman roads were generally laid out in a straight line ( although they sometimes followed natural curves )
- Ancient surveying techniques using 'Sighting Marks' were used
- The ground was cleared of any trees
- A trench where the road was to go was dug and then filled with big stones creating an embankment
- Roads were generally built on top of an embankment ( called an Agger ). Romans were the first to build roads on this foundation basis
- The foundation, or Agger, contained a layer of rubble with stones which were laid in such a way as to provide drainage
- A middle section consisting of a layer sand or gravel and sand was laid on the foundation
- The top surface of the roads were paved roads with gravel or flint and small broken stones
- There were ditches on either side so water could drain away
- Road widths measured between 8 and 40 feet - wide enough to take a Roman chariot with two horses
- There were even lay-bys allowing other chariots past!
The Names and Location of the Ancient Roman Roads in Britain
The first great ancient Roman Road to be built in Britain was called the ' Fosse Way '. Fosse Way extended from Exeter to Lincoln, passing through Bath, Gloucester, and Leicester. Ermine Street was the name of the road that ran from London to Lincoln and York. The third major Roman road in Britain was called Watling Street which ran from London to Shrewsbury, in central England.
Ancient Roman Roads in London
Some of the main London roads of today follow the routes of the first great ancient Roman Roads. The ancient Roman Silchester Road is today followed by Oxford Street, Bayswater Road and Notting Hill! The Northern section of Watling Street which crossed part of London still follows the route of the Edgeware Road.
Examples of Ancient Ancient Roman Architecture remains in Britain
There are many examples of ancient Ancient Roman Architecture remains - walls, roads, villas and forts in England and Wales. The following lists of locations and sites of the remains of famous Ancient Roman roads:
- Roman Town - Londinium (London)
- Roman Road - Blackstone Edge - Lancashire, North-West England
- Fosse Way
- Watling Street
- Silchester Road
- Ermine Street
Roman Roads - The Roman Empire
The Roman Roads date from the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509BC to the transfer of the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330AD. This date is subject to debate as the fall of the Roman Empire was in 476 AD when the last Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was defeated by Odoacer, a German Goth.
Ancient Roman Architecture in England & Wales