- Watling Street
Watling Street is the name given to an
ancient trackwayin Englandand Walesthat was first used by the Celtsmainly between the modern cities of Canterburyand St Albans. The Romans later paved the route, part of which is identified on the Antonine Itineraryas Iter III: "Item a Londinio ad portum Dubris" - from London to the port of Dover. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon "Wæcelinga Stræt", which has come to be understood as the A2 road from Dover to London, and then the A5 roadfrom London to Wroxeter. Originally the word "street" simply meant a paved road (Latin: "via strata"), and did not have the modern association with populated areas.
Roman roadknown as Iter III went from London to Dover. The last section of the long Iter II route from Hadrian's Walltravelled through Viroconium (now Wroxeterin Shropshire), past Letocetum(modern day Wall), Manduessedum(modern day Mancetter- possible site of Boudica's last battle), Venonis(modern day High Cross), Bannaventa, Lactodorum (modern day Towcester- near another possible site of Boudica's last battle)), then through Stony Stratfordand Magiovinium ( Fenny Stratford) in modern day Milton Keynes, Durocobrivis (modern day Dunstable), Verulamium(near modern-day St Albansin Hertfordshire) and London (by way of the ford at Thorney Islanduntil London Bridgewas finished, and the line of the modern Old Kent Road[cite book|last=Margary|first=Ivan D.|title=Roman Ways in the Weald|publisher=J. M. Dent|location=London|date=1948|edition=third|pages=p 126] ) to Rutupiae(now Richboroughin Kent) on the southeast coast of England. While another section of Iter II linked Wroxeter to Chester, and other roads went into north Walesand central Wales, these are not generally considered to be part of Watling Street. Thus the Roman routes which comprise Watling Street are all of Iter III and the middle southern section of Iter II.
The main section of the road is that from Dover to Wroxeter. It was named "Wæcelinga Stræt" by the Anglo-Saxons, literally "the street of the people of Wæcel". Wæcel could possibly be a variation of the Anglo-Saxon word for 'foreigner' which was applied to the
Celtic people inhabiting what is now Wales. This source also gave us the name for "Wæclingacaester" (the Anglo-Saxon name for "Verulamium") and it seems likely that the road-name was originally applied first to the section between that town and London before being applied to the entire road.
Stone Streetran south for some 12 miles from Watling Street at Canterbury(the Roman Durovernum) to Lympne(Lemanis) at the western edge of the Romney Marsh. Most of it is now the current B2068 road that runs from the M20 motorwayto Canterbury.
Another Stone Street from
Magnis(Kenchester) in modern Herefordshireto Caerleon, Isca Augustaand the main Roman legionary base in the south of Roman Wales.
Battle of Watling Street
Part of the route was the site of the Roman victory at the
Battle of Watling Streetin 61 AD between the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinusand the Briton leader Boudica.
In the 9th century, Watling Street was used as the demarcation line between the Anglo-Saxon and Danish-ruled parts of England. The
Treaty of Wedmorerequired the defeated Danes to withdraw to an area north and east of Watling Street, thus establishing the Danelaw.
Like most of the Roman road network, the Roman paving fell into disrepair when the Romans left Britain, although the route continued to be used for centuries afterwards. It is likely that
Chaucer's pilgrims used Watling Street to travel from Southwarkto Canterburyin his " Canterbury Tales".
The road north of London became a Turnpike firstly in 1707 when the section from Fornhill near
Hockliffeto Stony Stratfordwas paved following an Act of Parliament on March 4th 1707. [cite web
title = House of Lords Journal Volume 18
work = British History Online
publisher =University of London
url = http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=29521#s5
accessdate =2008-06-03 ]
This was the first Turnpike Trust and showed how financially hazardous the undertaking could be.
The Fornhill to Stony Stratford case provides more evidence that Parliament would void undertakers’ rights if they were negligent. The trustees for the Fornhill to Stony Stratford road borrowed more than 7000 pounds in 1707 and 1708 to improve the road. The creditors, however, claim to have been misinformed regarding the expected revenues from the tolls, and requested in 1709 that a new act extend the term and increase the tolls. A new act was passed in 1709 extending the term, but the tolls were not increased. It also included a provision that the creditors could take receivership of the tolls if the trustees had not repaid their debts by 1711.
Apparently, the trustees were unable to borrow and the creditors took over the tolls. In 1716,Parliament tried to clarify the situation by passing an act that vested authority in the trustees from the 1709 act and another group appointed by the Justices of the Peace for Buckinghamshire.
The 1716 act was not amended for its entire term of 23 years, but once it was set to expire,Parliament decided that it would not renew the rights of the existing trustees for the Fornhill to Stony Stratford road. In 1736, the trustees submitted a petition for an extension of their rights, but it failed to pass and in 1739 their authority ended. In 1740, a new act was passed naming a replacement body of trustees. In the petition for the new bill, the inhabitants of Buckinghamshire described the road as being ‘ruined.’ This sentiment was affirmed by theMember heading the committee for the bill. [cite web
last = Bogart
first = Dan
title = Evidence from Road and River Improvement Authorities, 1600-1750
work = Political Institutions and the Emergence of Regulatory Commitment in England
publisher = University of California
date = 2007
url = http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/papers/law-bogart.pdf
accessdate = 2008-06-03]
The road was re-paved in the early 19th century by
Thomas Telfordwho brought it back into use as a turnpike road for use by mail coaches bringing mail to and from Ireland, his road being extended to the port of Holyheadon the Isle of Angleseyin Wales. At this time the section south of London became known as the Great Dover Road. The toll system ended in 1875.
Most of the road is still in use today apart from a few sections where it has been diverted. The stretch of the road between London and Dover is today known as the A2, and the stretch between London and
Shrewsburyis today known as the A5 (which now continues to Holyhead). At Blackheath the Roman road's exact path is uncertain: either diverting towards Deptford Bridge like the modern A2, or staying on a straight line through Greenwich to cross the mouth of Deptford Creek. Through Milton Keynes, the A5 is diverted onto a new dual-carriageway and Watling Street forms part of the new town's grid system and carries the additional designation V4. The name of the town of Wellington, Shropshire, which lies just east of Shrewsbury, is believed to be a corruption of the word 'Watling town' as Watling Street supposedly ran straight through the centre of Wellington.
Continued use of the name along the ancient road
The use of the street name is retained along the ancient road in many places: for instance, to the south east of Roman London and on into
Kent(including the towns of Canterbury, Gillingham, Rochester, Gravesend, Dartford, and Bexleyheath). Within London, a major road joining the A5 in north west London is called Watling Avenue. North of London, the name Watling Street still occurs in Hertfordshire(including St Albans), Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire(including Milton Keynes), Northamptonshire(including Towcester), Leicestershire, Warwickshire(including Nuneaton), Staffordshire(including Cannock, Wall and Lichfield), Shropshire(including in Church Strettonas the residential Watling St North and South) and Gwynedd.
Other Watling Streets
A Watling Street still exists in the
City of London, close to Mansion House underground station, though this is unlikely to be on the route of the original Roman road which traversed the River Thamesvia the first London Bridge. In Lancashire, Watling Street is the Roman Road through Affetsidewhich leads from Manchester to Ribchester.
The Roman Road from Catterick ("Cataractonium") to
Corbridge("Corstopitum") and onto the Antonine Wallalso came to be known as Watling Street,.
A Watling Street Road exists to this day in the city of
Preston, Lancashire. It connects the districts of Ribbleton and Fulwood and passes the site of Sharoe Green Hospital.
Great Dover Road
Roman roads in Britain
O. Roucoux, "The Roman Watling Street: from London to High Cross", Dunstable Museum Trust, 1984, ISBN 0-9508406-2-9.
* [http://www.roman-britain.org/geography/itinerary.htm The Antonine Itinerary]
* [http://www.romans-in-britain.org.uk/map_romans_roads_in_britain.htm Map of Roman roads in Britain] - Very large map; opens in separate window.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A24369951 'Watling Street - A Journey through Roman Britain'] web page by the
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Watling Street — bei Richborough Watling Street war eine Römerstraße in Britannien, die von Dover an der Südostküste Englands über Canterbury, London, Northampton und Birmingham nach allgemeiner Annahme nach Viroconium (heute Wroxeter … Deutsch Wikipedia
Watling Street — /wotˈling strēt/ noun 1. One of the great Roman highways of Britain, running from near London through St Albans to Wroxeter 2. Often extended at either end to include the roads to Dover and Chester 3. Loosely applied to other Roman roads 4. The… … Useful english dictionary
Watling Street — (spr. ŭóttling ßtrīt), alte Römerstraße in England, die von Richborough (Rutupiae) bei Sandwich über Canterbury und Rochester nach London führte, wo ein Gäßchen in der City ihren Namen trägt, und dann über St. Albans nach Wall bei Lichfield. Hier … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Watling Street — La moderna Watling Street atravesando Rochester cerca de pasos romanos y celtas. Watling Street es el nombre dado a una antigua vía situada entre Inglaterra y Gales. Los primeros que la usaron fueron los Celtas, entre las modernas ciudades de… … Wikipedia Español
Watling Street — East from St. Paul s Churchyard to Queen Street, at its junction with Queen Victoria Street (P.O. Directory). In Cordwainer and Bread Street Wards and in Farringdon Ward Within. First mention: Street leading from Cordwainer Strete to… … Dictionary of London
Watling Street — 52°39′22.5″N 1°55′37.7″O / 52.65625, 1.927139 … Wikipédia en Français
Watling Street — Wat|ling Street a long Roman road that started in Dover in the southeast of England, passed through London, and then went northwest to end near the modern town of Shrewsbury … Dictionary of contemporary English
watling-street — n. Verlam street … New dictionary of synonyms
Watling Street — a road in England, originally built by the Romans and still in use today under various different names. It runs from Dover, on the south east coast of England, through London and St Albans to Wroxeter, a small town in Shropshire. Its name comes… … Universalium
Watling Street — Antiguo camino romano en Gran Bretaña. Se extiende desde Londres hasta Wroxeter y fue una de las grandes rutas arteriales de Gran Bretaña en tiempos romanos. En el s. IX dividía Mercia. Más tarde, se le dio su nombre a otros caminos importantes,… … Enciclopedia Universal