September 30, 2022|Reports

“Roman Wickham” – Mike Hollis

The first Wickham History Society talk of the 2022-23 Programme returned to Wickham’s early history. It is becoming increasingly clear that Wickham was an important ‘industrial’ Roman settlement. This was highlighted by the recent finds from the Wykeham Vale development, behind School Road.

Mike put this in context for an audience of 62 WHS members and visitors, explaining the importantance of Wickham for the movement of troops led by the (later) Emperor Vespasian to subdue the Durotriges  in Dorset, and the local kingdom’s close ties with Rome in facilitating the AD 43 invasion. The first Roman road through Wickham was built within 3 years of the invasion in AD 46 with Wickham expanding from a pre-existing iron age potter, and probable metal working centre, to service the needs of the Roman army. Wickham continued to be an important centre with evidence suggesting later development of brewing and grain storage into the later Roman period.

So far no substantial Roman buildings have emerged, although there are tantalising finds of hypocaust remains (a Roman heating system) and roof tiles but the first Roman burials have been found at Wykeham Vale. There was a lively discussion about whether Wickham was actually the site of the lost settlement of Clausentum, currently claimed by Bitterne, and a WHS member brought along a late Roman period coin found this year in Wickham.

Mike is the author of Roman Wickham a WHS publication placing Wickham in the context of the Roman invasion of AD 43 and pulling together the evidence collected from more than twenty different archaeological investigations in Wickham. This can be purchased by contacting Wickham History Society – cost £3, free delivery locally.

Do you have something to contribute to the society?