This compact little booklet packs a lot of information into its fifteen pages. Compiled by Atherstone Civic Society in 2013, it provides a guide to Mancetter’s Roman features.
Mancetter’s Roman Trail
The Guide is based upon a Roman Trail designed to pass close by all the local sites with Roman connections, each one marked with a colourful information board. It’s a stile-free, mainly level walk that for the most part enjoys the use of Mancetter Parish Paths (see mancetter.org.uk), with one stretch also along the towpath of the Coventry Canal. The complete circle is approximately seven kilometres (4 ½ miles), but it’s easy to curtail your walk at several accessible stopping points should you so wish.
The original Trail was created about the same time as excavations which resulted in evidence of an annexe to Mancetter’s fort, but being so new, this information was not included on the original Trail. Now we have Information Board 6 to bear witness, so please be sure your Guide shows “Second Edition” on the title page, as a copy fully updated to include that.
What has the Guide to offer you?
- The route of the Trail. There’s a fold-out map to show the way, from Information Board 1 on the main road close to St. Peter’s Church, to Information Board 6 on Church Walk, and detailed directions from Board to Board along the whole route (pages 13-15).
- As noted, there’s a map of the route. There is also a map (page 6) of the outline of the Fort, showing its boundary shape long buried under today’s village.
- Extra information to build onto that which each Board provides.
- Images of many found artefacts from within and without the fort, from the kiln sites, and from the burgus area. Artists’ impressions buildings, diagram of kiln.
Each Board carries a barcode which takes you to a paper which expands the Board’s content. These papers are also available here. Extra to the Guide.
The historical sequence of the six sites on the Trail
You might find it useful to check the order in which the six different sites developed, because of course the 1→6 order of the walk doesn’t reflect that timescale. To point out the “real”, historical order of the Boards might be helpful for school pupils.
BOARDS 1, 2 AND 6
Board 1 relates to the overall development of the Fort, in three separate phases. These took place mid-first-century, over an estimated ten years or so, from AD 48.
Board 2 is close to an entry to the Fort from some time during its life-span.
Board 6 marks the fort’s annexe, contemporary to the Fort
The site of Board 5 is a conjecture. It could be more or less central to the battlefield on which Queen Boudica fought the final battle of her campaign against the Roman occupiers, very probably in AD 60. Board 5 was produced before the research set out in the Atherstone Civic Society publication Boudica At Mancetter, and is due for an update. Nevertheless, the same author of both Board and book remains in favour of this conjectural site.
Board 3 is on one edge of the extensive Mancetter / Hartshill Roman industrial site which successfully produced pottery for well over 200 years, from the early second century to around the middle of the fourth century.
Although the exact date and the purpose of the burgus remain uncertain, it is generally thought to have developed somewhere around the turn of the second into the third century
The Guide and Colin Baddeley’s Roman Mancetter
The Guide and the Baddeley book work very well together. In fact, there is quite a bit of crossover, with a number of illustrations shared. The Guide will help you relate much of Baddeley’s information to specific Mancetter locations; Baddeley’s history will flesh out the bare bones of the Guide.
The Guide clarifies just what it is about Mancetter that justifies the title “Roman Mancetter”.