Roman Leicester, England


Above image shows Roman wall with St. Nicholas Church in distance..

This evening, I am posting information on Ratae Coritanorum (Roman Leicester) supported by images of remaining tangible evidence in the form of bathhouse remains.

Today, Leicester is situated about 100 miles north of London and is home to a population of 330,000.

 Here is a summary chronology of the Roman period:

  • Prior to the AD43 Roman invasion, the area was populated by native people known as Coritani.
  • Post invasion two military forts were built. The existing native settlement formed a ready made vicus (civilian settlement).
  • Around AD80  the area converted to civilian control and a new town was laid out .
  • Commercial activity increased wealth which in turn led to improved quality of housing in early 2nd century.
  • During the late AD130s construction of a forum and basilica commenced.
  • Construction of a bathhouse commenced AD 145-50 and was completed AD 155-160.
  • Underneath the existing St. Nicholas Church (east of the baths) are the remains of a palaestra (a wrestling school or gymnasium)

Above image shows site of Roman baths

St. Nicholas Church
  • In the late 2nd/early 3rd century a market hall or basilica  was constructed.
  • Leicester appears not to have been fortified with earthworks by end of 2nd century.
  • An amphitheatre and theatre may have been built.
  • With rising prosperity, shops were re-built in stone by the early 4th century.
  • In the late 4th century there is evidence of a major fire destroying the forum, basilica and market hall.
  • Roman rule ended in AD 410.


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