Fosse Way

The Fosse Way was a Roman road in England that linked Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) in South West England to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) in Lincolnshire, via Ilchester (Lindinis), Bath (Aquae Sulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum). It joined Akeman Street and Ermin Way at Cirencester, crossed Watling Street at Venonis (High Cross) south of Leicester, and joined Ermine Street at Lincoln.

The word Fosse is derived from the Latin fossa, meaning ditch. For the first few decades after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, the Fosse Way marked the western frontier of Roman rule in Iron Age Britain. It is possible that the road began as a defensive ditch that was later filled in and converted into a road, or possibly a defensive ditch ran alongside the road for at least some of its length.

Tinkerbell No.3 visits Fosseway Special School to run as one of the attractions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school.

It is remarkable for its extremely direct route: from Lincoln to Ilchester in Somerset, a distance of 182 miles (293 km), it is never more than 6 miles (10 km) from a straight line. Many sections of the Fosse Way form parts of modern roads and lanes, and parish, district or county boundaries. Several place names on the route have the suffix -cester or -chester, which is from the Latin castra meaning military camp. Some settlements are named after the road itself, such as Fosse-, or -on-Fosse, while others have a more generic form, such as Street, Strete, -le-Street, Stratton, Stretton, Stratford, and Stretford, from the Latin strata, meaning paved road. The route runs from 50.73°N 3.48°W in Exeter to 53.23°N 0.54°W in Lincoln.

via Fosse Way

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4 Responses to Fosse Way

  1. Phil Krause says:

    Has someone given you a Roman book Jim?

  2. alfy says:

    Nice post. Did you know, Jim, that not far from here, the Roman road, Waetlinga Straet, crosses the Fosse Way at High Cross. It was the Roman equivalent of Spaghetti Junction, a major communications intersection. It is one of those curious places which give wide sweeping views in all directions even though there is no obviously high hill there.

    There is a theory that High Cross was the site of the great final battle between the Iceni tribe under Queen Boudicca and the Roman forces. The location has much to commend it because it would be possible to spot advancing forces from miles away. The Roman forces were hurrying south-eastwards from Anglesey, after they got news of the destruction of Camulodunum (Colchester) Londinium, and Verulamium (St Albans).

    If this was the site it may be that the Romano-British lay in wait across Waetlinga Straet, knowing that the Roman forces must come that way. However, the site remains a matter of debate because the contemporary accounts are weak in geography and we have not, as yet, discovered any archaeological remains to provide us with clues.

  3. Phil Krause says:

    Looks like Alfy is the one with the Roman book.

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