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 Post subject: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:01 am 
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Location: Garstang
Some members may not have seen this informative article:-

http://www.romanroads.org/gazetteer/lancspages.html

I might add that houses are at present being built on land off Stubbins Lane, Catterall where the proposed Roman road crosses!


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:16 pm 
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Location: Garstang
The road crosses the Wyre at a place some 500m downstream from the Wyre Lane ford which is said to be of Roman origin. Would the road crossing be a stone bridge and would it be unusual to have a ford so close?


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:30 pm 
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Phil

I've contacted David Ratledge (the author of those pages) with your query. I'll post his response here.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:41 am 
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Location: Lancashire
Regarding the website: there was a big update this Tuesday. There are now full details, images and maps for the "new" Ribchester to Catterall road. The junction with the main north-south road is around Stones Lane. Also added is the recently spotted Roman road at Barton to almost as far as Broughton now (see page 2 of the site).

The development on Stubbins Lane: - Dave Hampson and myself visited this site last October. We asked the foreman if they had seen anything of the Roman road (it is the main north-south road that goes through this site) but he (the foreman) stated they had found nothing. However, where they had bulldozed the topsoil there were several stones that looked like they could have come from the road. I have had one email from someone alleging they did find the road but they haven't got back to me.

Crossing the Wyre: The main north road is aiming for crossing the Wyre at around the public carpark at the back of Wyre offices. The actual spot has probably gone with river action/movements over the years. My personal opinion is it would have been a bridge. The idea that you would go to the trouble of building 20 miles of road 7 metres wide and half a metre thick and then rely on a ford to get across a river doesn't make sense. You couldn't run an empire on the basis "we can't get to Lancaster for two weeks as the river is too high". They had the technology and they would have used it here and over the River Brock too.

Wyre Ford: I visited this with Neil Thompson many years ago and it is an excellent crossing point. We were looking for the Roman road - no Lidar then - but couldn't find anything linking to it. With the Lidar data also showing nothing here it now looks like this is probably a later crossing after any Roman bridge was long gone.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:09 pm 
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Location: Garstang
Much obliged for the response, gentlemen.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:10 pm 
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Location: Garstang
I`m struck by the extent to which, for example, the present A6 Preston to Garstang deviates from the Roman equivalent and how the line got from there to now. Do roads change like rivers, slowly over the centuries or do they tend to be completely abandoned for some reasons?


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Location: Lancashire
Good question.

Small deviations are reasonably obvious. A boggy or worn-out patch and they divert to one side. The land owner of the other side moves his boundary over to get a bit more land. Very soon a dead straight road wobbles about quite a bit. Similarly with bridges. Once the Roman bridge has gone then a fording point is needed so a bigger diversion might be needed.

Large movements are a bit more difficult to explain. However, the north-south road would have spelt trouble. Allsorts of invaders over the centuries would have made use of it so living on or near the road wouldn't have been a good idea. Much safer to live about a mile away from it. The road is then in the wrong place for these sensible folk who have to develop their own parallel routes. At some stage the state of the Roman road becomes worse than the local parallel road and travellers start to use that instead.

A combination of the above would result in the situation we have today. Very little of the main Roman road between Preston and Lancaster is still in use and the A6 can be up to a mile away from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:03 am 
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Thanks, David. You mention finding "suspect" stones in the Stubbins Lane site - how would you expect the Roman roads through Lancashire to be paved? Were there better and worse paved roads, equivalent our A & B class roads today?


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:44 am 
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On the assumption that some 100 miles of Roman road throughout the Fylde were paved in some way, there must have been a great demand for stone. It is unlikely that they wanted to cart the stone a long way so there would ideally have been quarries at regular points not too far away. The Fylde is not a place flush with quarries, so they must have been east of the modern A6. Where might they be?


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:46 am 
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I'm not convinced with David R's explanation of moving roads a mile or so away from the Roman Road. If it was "safer" then no-one would live on a road :-) When you look at Roman Roads in the rest of Britain the modern roads, with some minor deviations, follow the originals. Surely it was easier to maintain a well-built road rather than create a new one from scratch.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:11 am 
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davidratledge wrote:
Good question.

Large movements are a bit more difficult to explain. However, the north-south road would have spelt trouble. Allsorts of invaders over the centuries would have made use of it so living on or near the road wouldn't have been a good idea. Much safer to live about a mile away from it. The road is then in the wrong place for these sensible folk who have to develop their own parallel routes. At some stage the state of the Roman road becomes worse than the local parallel road and travellers start to use that instead.
.


At which point, the invaders & undesirables start to use the new road which then generates another parallel road... and so on. Which means there should be a series of more or less parallel roads! Which Lidar does not appear to show?


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Location: Lancashire
"These routes would only mean trouble" is a quote from Paul Hindle's book and Mary Higham also states a very similar case. The classic example in Lancashire of parallel routes is around Clitheroe. Dere Street in North Yorkshire is another oft quoted example. On the Wyre, if Allsergate/High Gate Lane is Roman then Staynall and Stalmine keep clear of it. On the A6, I guess when the parallel route was turnpiked then the Roman road was finally forgotten. If you want more background I would recommend reading Mary Higham in Leading the Way (Ed Alan Crosby).

Paved roads: Not sure there were 100 miles of Roman road in the Fylde but they were not paved with paving stones. They generally had a stone foundation and topped by what we call today a wearing course of 2 inch down ie comprises stones from 2 inches graded down to dust. This binds together to form a remarkably weather resistant solid surface. Alongside roads were often borrow pits where suitable stone was excavated. These pits can sometimes be a good way to identify the line of a Roman road. Several Welsh Roman roads have been found this way. The only case I know in Lancashire is over Croasdale but they must have been common. In a stone scarce area then the foundation layer could be clay but they would still need stone for the wearing course.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:38 am 
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Lots of stone required then, and plenty of quarries. It also sounds like stone breaking (as done by Victorian convicts) would be a required industry. One wonders if that was a job for soldiers, employed civilians or slaves/prisoners.


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:40 pm 
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This is a fascinating discussion. It seems to me that in an area where stone is scarce, quarrying, breaking and transporting it would be an enormous effort.

I didn't realize until Dave R's message that the Romans sometimes used clay as a base with a top layer of small stones of varying size.

Aren't we describing what lowland Lancashire has in abundance - clay and gravel?

The gravel pits at Carnforth were created when the M6 was built and they are next to a Roman dock at Dockacres. A method of construction could be as follows. Plan out where your roads need to cross the rivers and barge gravel from its source up the rivers to the crossing points. Using local clay and barged gravel, build roads away from the crossing points using the road as surfaced to cart the gravel from its landing point.

After 2000 years, the road would be difficult to detect in the Boulder Clay - there would perhaps be a higher density of stone in the clay.

Just a thought.

David D


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 Post subject: Re: Roman Roads of Lancashire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:59 pm 
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When we see what the Lidar can detect in apparently flat fields, it should be no problem detecting stone borrow pits, abandoned parallel roads or temporary roads built to supply stone products from the nearest river point - if your suggestion (which seems reasonable!) is correct, David. But the Lidar map shows none at all that I can see.
David R was referring to stones up to around 2 inches in size. Could that come from a gravel pit?


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