Up the Watling Streetby Dick Dawson
The Watling Street will never be the same to you again, if you go down it after reading this book. Instead of a long straight road disappearing over the horizon you will realise you are going through places where thousands died when the Romans and the Britons fought along it as they struggled against other for sovereignty; and you will also realise how the brilliant Roman engineers made it the longest road in Britain and did all they could to keep it in a straight line.
You will be surprised at the huge amount of treasure found, including the famous Staffordshire Hoard, discovered recently by a man with a metal detector who found over 1,600 delicately crafted items of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver, valued at £3.3 million.
Another recent discovery, also by a man using a metal detector, at the side of the Watling Street, was a hoard of gold Roman coins valued at over £100,000. And hundreds of ordinary people have discovered coins, pottery, glassware and other items as a result of trips to the Watling Street.
One of the most interesting places along it is the remains of the Roman city of Verulamium at St Albans. which was once nearly 200 acres in extent and was beautifully designed with temples, a town hall, ceremonial arches and streets on the grid system. Here you can see a museum filled with Roman artefacts and containing some of the finest mosaics in Europe.
As time went by traffic greatly increased and the Watling Street became a famous haunt of highwaymen, with many gibbets being put up by the side of the road to try and deter them.
Then when the motor car arrived, horse riders saw it as a threat to their livelihood. They hated the dust the cars threw up and when they broke down and had to be towed to the blacksmith, the drivers would line the side of the road shouting and jeering.
During the last war the Watling Street had an unwelcome visitor in the shape of German bombers who used it as a guide on their way back to Germany after dropping their bombs on Britain. Then later the allies also used it to guide their bombing raids on Europe.
Since the war much of the Watling Street has been replaced by roads and by-passes, but there are still areas of long straight roads to remind you of the work of those Romans centuries before, and it is amazing that so much of the ancient road builders work still exists and that the Watling Street remains the longest road in Britain.
And it is just a great pity that Bess, the landlords black-eyed daughter, is not around any more to hear the tlot, tlot, tlot of the horses hooves.
- Legend Press Ltd
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.16(d)
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