Cheshire Roman Roads

 

Welcome to Cheshire's Roman Road Web Pages

This is the first edition of Cheshire Roman Roads web pages and has been compiled by David Ratledge and Neil Buckley. As such we will probably have made several errors and missed some important information - please let us know. We will not be offended! With your help we can make this the best available resource for Cheshire.

The road numbering system is based on that devised by Ivan Margary over 60 years ago. Although long out of date it is still the best we have. Roads with a aa suffix are new (unofficial) numbers not included in his original gazetteer. Note that the roads Manchester to Northwich and Manchester to Buxton have been included in the RRRA's Lancashire/Greater Manchester web pages.

Lidar, both 2D and 3D virtual reality models have been used extensively in proving the alignment of the roads. This technique has proved an extremely efficient way of detecting linear feature such as Roman roads. In addition, the Cheshire HER records and other written sources have been consulted. Although our route map, on the face of it, looks very familiar several gaps and refinements to the course of the roads have taken place.

Finally, one puzzle for Cheshire is - where have all the milestones gone?

lancs map

Road numbers are those devised by Ivan Margary

Introduction

The Roman road map is dominated by Chester as it was an important Legionary centre not just for North-West England but North Wales too. The east of the County is suspiciously empty - perhaps more work is required here. It would also be expected that Eaton Villa, the only such known villa in the north-west, would be reasonably close to a road. The forthcoming full Lidar coverage for England may help with these and other remaining puzzles.

Cheshire's Roman Roads.

For all the known routes in detail choose the appropriate page:-

The Roman Roads around Chester (in clockwise order)

Chester to Wilderspool, Margary 701 Very difficult road to pin down due it being overlaid by modern roads for most of its length.

Chester to Northwich, Margary 7a Turned out to be more complicated than previously thought with almost certainly two routes at it eastern end.

Chester to Whitchurch, Margary 6a Just its middle portion was uncertain but perhaps a viable route has now been located.

Chester to Aldford (East Bank), Margary 6aa A long suspected road and at last we have some Lidar evidence for its route. What looks like a "new" fort turned up too.

Chester to North Wales, Margary 66a & 67a Suggestion for the initial stage of what must have been the main road into Wales.

Chester to the Wirral, Margary 670 Not too certain a route but what evidence there is we have explored using Lidar.

Bridge Trafford to Ince. Margary 701aa Again not a great deal of evidence but the fortlet at Ince must surely have a road connection back to Chester.

 

Other Roman Roads of Cheshire

Roman road(s) near Holt, Margary 660 A couple of options for how Holt was connected into the known road network.

Kelsall to Middlewich(?), Margary 7aa Very secure start but the route into Middlewich is still somewhat speculative.

King Street (Wilderspool to Middlewich to Chesterton), Margary 70a The major North-south route through the county. Progress has been made on locating its southern half.

The North Cheshire Ridge Roman Road, Margary 70aa A very puzzling road. Currently (2018) Lidar data is virtually absent here so pinning this road down has proved difficult.

Middlewich to Whitchurch, Margary 700 Excellent progress has been made on locating the missing length of this road - particularly at it southern end.

Nantwich Link Road, Margary 700aa There had to be one and a good candidate has been located.

Possible Roman Roads

Possible Roman Roads We look at four often suggested possible Roman roads but the evidence is scarce at best.

 

Acknowledgements

Top of the list for our thanks must be Moya Watson, Historic Environment Record Officer for Cheshire Archaeology Planning Advisory Service. She has proved hugely helpful in meeting our many and varied requests which, when councils are hugely under-resourced, must have been the last thing she needed. We are immensely grateful. Thanks are also due to Adrian Waddelove for many helpful suggestions and making us aware of various sources of information. He also was kind enough to proof read some of the early drafts - but of course any remaining errors are our responsibility. Thanks also for Mike Haken, chair of the Roman Roads Research Association. He was able to provide several research papers and background sources that made our task much easier.

Raw (ascii) Lidar is copyright The Environment Agency. The processed Lidar data shown here is copyright David Ratledge. Having said that, you are welcome to use any of the Lidar images providing a source reference is given. Thanks are due to Mike Aerts for developing his bespoke "MAGIC" Lidar software that turns numbers into pictures.

Mapping used is generally Ordnance Survey Opendata supplemented by Bing Mapping and Aerial Photography for selected areas. Google imagery has also been utilised.

 

References:

Below are general references. Specific ones pertaining to a particular road are included on the appropriate web page.

Roman Cheshire, W.T.Watkin 1886 (reprinted 1974). Primary source of historical information on Roman Cheshire and its roads.

Roman Roads in Britain, Codrington, 1903/1918. (Bill Thayer's excellent online version - Chapter III covers Cheshire)

Roman Cheshire (Vol. 2), F.H. Thompson, 1965. Not big on roads but provides a useful background.

Roman Roads in Britain, I.D. Margary, 1957. Way out of date but still the first "go to" source book. The Margary road numbers are from this book.

Roman Roads in Britain, I.D. Margary, 1957. Way out of date but still the first "go to" source book. The Margary road numbers are from this book.

Living on the Edge of Empire - Models, Methodology & Marginality, Ed Dr.Michael Nevell, 1999. Several chapters relevant to Cheshire.

Hidden Highways of Cheshire, R.J.A. Dutton, 1999. Dutton finds numerous Roman roads but which ones are real? Maps leave a lot to be desired.

Roman Roads of North East Wales & Cheshire, R.J.A Dutton, 2011. More of the same. Maps are neater drawn but still hopelessly inaccurate.

Revealing Cheshire's Past Web Site, Cheshire Archaeology Planning Service. The primary site for all Cheshire's historic records.

 

Contacts:

To contact David Ratledge or Neil Buckley regarding the Cheshire web pages, please email either of us:

email

 

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Last update: January 2020

© David Ratledge & Neil Buckley