Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Watling Street

This blog is often written at my home in Furzton, an area of the "New" City of Milton Keynes. (Some posts are written while I'm working away (for example the video posted yesterday was recorded whilst away just outside St Neots in Cambridge) or from Westminster.

While MK is a new city, in the sense that it is England's newest, and completely planned, city - it was formally designated as a "new town" on January 23rd 1967 - and has grown to 245,000 (2011 estimate) - it includes many sites of historic interest. Click here to see the Washminster post on the Roman Villa at Bancroft (very close to the "concrete cows").

Furzton is bordered by Watling Street - perhaps the most most important Roman road in England. It ran from the ports in Kent to Londinium (London) to Wroxeter on the border with Wales. Late it became the main route to Ireland - ending at Holyhead. Most of the route is now the A5.

In the Borough of Milton Keynes the main Roman settlement on Watling Street was Magiovinium, just to the south of Fenny Stratford - where the River Ouzel crosses Watling Street. (the garden centre Dobbies is on part of the site). The route (which of course, being a Roman road, was straight) goes in a north westerly direction until the crossing of the Great Ouse at Stony Stratford. This was itself to become an important centre in English history (Richard III - when he was Duke of Gloucester - intercepted and took into "protective custody" his 12 year old nephew, Edward V - at a inn in the town - the Rosé and Crown)

However, the town is of Saxon origin. Roman remains discovered north of the river suggest that "Old Stratford" (in Northamptonshire) was an administrative post on the ford across the Great Ouse. When England was split between an English Kingdom and Danelaw (Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum c 878) - the border was the Great Ouse from Bedford until Stony Stratford, whereupon Watling Street became the border (going northwards).

The Loughton Brook crosses Watling Street close to what is now Furzton Lake. I am trying to ascertain whether this is Harford Bridge - which appears on page 52 in "Britannia Depicta" of 1720. Any assistance would be appreciated (please email - friend@washminster.com)

No comments: