green is typically English with its church, pub and Manor
House on a slight rise overlooking the meadows of the River
Anker. However, 2000 years ago, it was the site of one of
Rome's strategic forts built along the Watling Street (A5)
as the Roman army subdued the many English tribes. In Roman
times Mancetter was called Manduessedum.
'Finds' date the first fort to between AD 40 and 70. It was built of wood with the hill top further protected by three ditches dug one inside the other with thorns in the final ditch to deter the enemy ! In all it covered an area of 22/23 acres, large enough to house 2000 men. There were stables, barracks, a granary, store rooms and a latrine.
Later a non-military settlement (burgus) developed where the A5 crosses the river and this too was protected by ditches and earthworks which can still be seen today. In the field between Mancetter and the road over 60 kilns have been found which produced cooking pots, tiles and some glass. This civilian supply settlement is called a 'canabae' and it is known to have existed into the fourth century AD.
As well as the paved Watling Street, several other roads linked the fort, the burgus and the canabae and there is evidence that they were resurfaced 3 times during the 2nd century showing that they were heavily used.
Because of its geographical location and extensive 1st century military activity historians feel that the fort at Manduessedum must have figured in the final battle in which Boudica lost her life. After sacking Colchester, London and St. Albans Boudica's army of 100,000 Britons marched north-west to meet the 20th legion and the greater part of the 14th legion plus auxillaries totalling 18,000 troops coming south from Wroxeter under the command of Paullinus. The Romans won a decisive victory because they chose a defensive position from which to fight and because of their superior discipline and tactics. As yet no large-scale discoveries of weapons or graves have been found so the final battle site remains a mystery.
Ref. Roman Mancetter A Warwickshire Museum Publication
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