Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking with Romans

Letocetum (Wall, Nr Lichfield, Staffs) is run predominantly by the National Trust, with a bathhouse under separate guardianship of English Heritage. Near to the junction of Ryknild/Icknield Street and Watling Street, it is not far from the discovered location of the Staffordshire Hoard (now in the combined care of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-On-Trent). This Roman staging post was built in the 1st Century over an earlier Brythonic settlement known as ‘Letoceton’ (leto – grey, ceton – wooded area). Initially inhabited by the 14th Legion until 130AD, the town was afterwards run by the civitas of Cornovii from their capital in Viroconium (Wroxeter). The bathhouse served travellers, while the wattle and daub mansion provided lodging for official couriers to the Roman Empire. There was possibly an amphitheatre, basilica and a temple to Minerva, Goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade and defence.