Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Wroxeter is in Shropshire, south of Shrewsbury. It was originally a legionary headquarters, and later became the fourth largest town in Roman Britain, by the name of Viroconium Cornoviorum. Its importance was as the main bridging-point across the River Severn. The Roman road of Watling Street, coming up from London, turned to the left near the modern town of Penkridge, north of Wolverhampton, and then ran due west to Wroxeter, on a line followed by the present A5. Looking south after crossing the Severn at Wroxeter, the Romans would see two lines of hills, Caer Caradoc and the Long Mynd, and they drove their next road directly towards these, down to Hereford and Monmouth. The course of the road can still be traced by the names of the present towns along its path: All Stretton, Church Stretton, Little Stretton; meaning "on the street" (see also, Stratford, etc)

There is an inscription dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, dated 129-130 A.D. The only part of the town to survive is the baths, including a massive section of brick wall (see above) and the hypocaust system that provided the heating (see below).
There is also the foundations of what must have been a fine colonnade.

Otherwise the extent of the town is difficult to trace, because for centuries farmers removed stone for their buildings and walls. Even the nearby church includes a good deal of Roman stone.
Recently there was a television documentary in which a small Roman villa was built in a nearby field, using only Roman tools and building methods. The result looks very pleasant.

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