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Roman Mancetter Exhibition


Hopefully this newsletter will go some way to answering that question.

Who were the Romans and why did they choose Mancetter to make a fort in the first Century occupation of Britain?

Almost everyone has heard about the Romans and how good they were at fighting. However there was so much more to the Romans than just being good at fighting. They were also brilliant at building roads, temples, villas and of course walls!

They first came to Britain in 43AD as part of expanding their empire and as we know they stayed for over 400 years. When they came to Britain it wasn’t for the weather as they seemed to be constantly complaining how cold it was when writing messages to the folks back home. No. They came to our island because we had what they wanted. Gold, Silver, Tin, Lead, hard wearing quarry stone and more.

As they expanded their grip on Britain they moved around using carts and needed a good road network to use which unlike some of the existing routes needed to be as straight as possible so as to make distances between places as short as possible, to set a standard distance in Roman miles and to avoid the risk of being ambushed. Some of their roads are well known to us as we still use them today including the A5 Watling street which originally passed close to Mancetter as it went through the centre of Atherstone.

As the Roman soldiers moved around the country, they needed safe places to stay so they built a series of garrisons which they called forts. One of these was built at Mancetter around AD49/50 and would have been able to support about 2,500 men. We can imagine that the villages around the fort would be involved in supplying food and vital supplies to the Legion.

In AD61 the leader of the Celtic tribe in what we today call East Anglia died, leaving half of his Kingdom to his wife Boudica and half to the Romans. Sadly, the Romans were not satisfied with that and took all the Kingdom before beating Boudica and attacking her daughters. At the time of the battle, the fort had been dismantled but evidence of Roman occupation has been found in the area and is still being discovered.

We have all heard about the ‘Battle of Watling Street’ but there is so much more to Mancetter than the suggestion that the battle took place in the fields surrounding the village. For example, in the fields opposite the Church of St Peter’s there is evidence of Roman Kilns producing pottery that was transported around the Kingdom. Where the site of ‘The Bull’ Inn is today was the site of a Roman Burgus which was a large rectangular enclosure which was a defensive structure.

Please visit the free ‘Roman Mancetter Project’ exhibition inside the Church and see what has been found, hear the stories behind the finds and read information boards that detail why many

people including some historians believe the battle took place at Mancetter.

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Roman Mancetter

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