Old Sarum: guidebooks

OldSarum_souv

1965

I have noted before the 1922 Office of Works guide to Old Sarum. In 1965 H. de S. Shortt prepared an illustrated guide to Old Sarum for the MPBW in the format that had been produced in the 1950s for other sites in State Guardianship. The cover is based on the 1819 map prepared by Henry Wansey. One of the first features is a double page spread (pp. 4–5) providing a plan for the castle, the outer bailey and the original cathedral. The guide starts with the situation, noting paintings by John Constable (reproduced in the centre pages), before moving into the historical outline with sub-sections on prehistory, Roman-Britain, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and then later periods. It includes reconstructions by Alan Sorrell. There is then a guide to the remains, both the inner bailey, as well as the old cathedral. There are two appendices: A note on the name of Old Sarum; Saint Osmund; Excavaions at or adjoining Old Sarum.

OldSarum_EH

1994 [2003]

Derek Renn prepared the English Heritage guide (1994). The two main sections are ‘What to see’ (no longer, ‘a tour’ or ‘a description’), and ‘The story of Old Sarum’ (not ‘a history’). A pictorial ‘tour’ is provided in the centre pages. It contains sections on prehistory, Rome, as well as the Normans. One section addresses ‘From city to rotten borough’.

Renn had earlier prepared the MPBW souvenir guide to Shell Keeps in Devon and Cornwall (1969), and the English Heritage guidebooks for Orford and Framlingham Castles (1988), Goodrich Castle (1993).

OldSarum_EH_red

2006

The latest English Heritage guide is by John McNeill, with fold out plans inside the front and back covers. The two main sections are the tour, and a history, with features on the demolition of the cathedral and beneath the ramparts, showing some of the early investigations of the site.

Caistor St Edmund: inscription

Caistor_0134-Edit

Inscription from Caistor St Edmund, Norwich Castle © David Gill

In 1931 Donald Atkinson discovered a fragmentary Latin inscription cut on a piece of limestone (Collingwood, R. G., and M. V. Taylor. “Roman Britain in 1931.” The Journal of Roman Studies, 22, 1932, p. 226. JSTOR). It was found at a depth of 1 foot and 6 inches [c. 45 cm] ‘beside the road flanking the east side of the forum’. Atkinson suggested that it could be linked to the construction or refurbishment of the forum.

The inscription may have read, ADAT / SVPE (RIB 214). It can be seen in Norwich Castle Museum.

London: Roman Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre_0109

London, Roman Amphitheatre © David Gill

The amphitheatre of Londinium lies in the north-west of the Roman town. It was discovered near to the Guildhall in the City of London in 1988 as part of the development of the area prior to the creation of the new Guildhall Art Gallery.

The amphitheatre appears to date to c. AD 74 or 75 based on dendrochronology. One of the timbers from the seating had Latin markings. The structure was adapted in the 90s, and expanded, in stone, during the reign of the emperor Hadrian.

Some of the remains have been preserved (and scheduled) in the basement of the Art Gallery. Visitors enter from the east through the main entrance. The sense of space has been recreated by lit displays.

London_amphi_cov

2011

See here for an earlier guide to the remains of Roman London.

Lincoln: Newport Arch and lorries

CA_Lincoln_arch

1971

The Newport Arch forms the northern gateway of the Roman colonia of Lincoln. It is one of the most important pieces of extant Roman architecture in Britain. However it does seem to be vulnerable to lorries. A feature on the excavations at Lincoln appeared in a special number of Current Archaeology (May 1971; Christina Colyer, ‘Lincoln, pp. 67=71), and the cover showed the damage in 1964. The gate has been struck again today.

Local authorities need to restrict access to these important parts of our heritage.

Silchester: Guidebook

silchester_eh

2016

English Heritage has issued a guidebook written by Professor Michael Fulford, excavator of the Roman town (2016). It replaces a series of earlier guides to the town.

Inside the front cover is a foldout plan indicating walking routes around the site. Inside the back is a plan of the Roman town and earlier Iron Age defences.

The guidebook includes a tour of the site, and is followed by a history. There are special features on: religion; the water supply and the force pump; dogs; diet; industry; the Ogham stone; the Victorian rubbish pit; and the Silchester collection at Reading Museum.

Tiberius Claudius Paulinus at Caerwent

caerwent19

Caerwent © David Gill

The honorific inscription to Tiberius Claudius Paulinus, legate of the II Augustan legion, was recovered from Caerwent in south Wales (RIB 311). It is now displayed in the parish church of  St Stephen and Tathan (see guidebook). Paulinus, who had been based at the nearby legionary fortress at Caerleon, subsequently became governor of Britannia Inferior in 220 (and recorded in an inscription from the fort at High Rochester, RIB 1280).

The decree was set up as a result of a decree passed by the ordo or council of the Silures. It is particularly important as it provides details of the career of Paulinus, including governorships in two separate provinces of Gaul.

Verulamium: Roman walls

verulam_sign

Verulamium Roman walls © David Gill

The Roman city of Verulamium (near St Albans) was placed in State Guardianship in 1931. This image from the 1970s shows the Ministry signs in place. The walls are now in the care of English Heritage.