Page 8 - Illustrated Reditch History
P. 8

The Romans Were Here

         Nearly 2,000 years ago, in 43AD, the Romans invaded. Worcestershire was attacked
         in  the  years  50AD  to  80AD.  The  Romans  came  to  this  area  because  they  were
         attracted by the salt springs at Droitwich. Salt was very important to the Romans
         as they used it in several ways, for example to preserve their food. From Droitwich
         two major Roman roads were built to take the salt, one south to Birmingham and
         onwards  and  another  north  to  Lichfield  and  beyond.  Sometimes,  you  would  see
         Roman legions marching along the road.
         The Romans began draining the land at Osmerley (Redditch) so that they could grow
         crops there. They built a Roman road known as Icknield Street along the edge of
         the site. This was an important trade route with travellers carrying salt and other
         goods to and from Droitwich. If you look on a map of the Midlands you can still see
         the  line  of  the  road.  It  goes  from  Droitwich  to  Alcester  then  along  the  A435
         Birmingham Road to Studley. Here the road goes straight northwards through Ipsley
         to Moons Moat and Church Hill then Beoley.  In some places it’s still known as Icknield

         The Roman soldiers were very proud of their roads.
               “We soldiers and some locals built the first roads in Britain. We made the
               roads straight, so we didn’t have so far to march and our enemies couldn’t
               hide behind a corner and jump out on us. You could use our roads whatever
               the weather, as the roads sloped either side down from the middle to ditches
               on either side. This allowed the rain to drain away and not make the road too
                                    muddy.  The  road  had  several  layers.  The  foundation
                                        contained a layer of rubble with stones which were laid
                                         in such a way as to provide drainage. A layer of sand
                                         or  gravel  and  sand  was  laid  on  the  foundation.  The
                                          surface was made from gravel or flint and small broken
                                             stones. The top paved area was edged with upright
                                                 stones to keep the stones in place.

                                                         After the Romans left in AD 410 Britain
                                                          was defenceless. England was  invaded
                                                          by Saxons, then Vikings. The roads fell
                                                          into  disrepair.    Some  of  the  invaders
                                                          settled here so that England became a
                                                          country of small kingdoms all at war with
                                                         each other.”

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