The Foxearth and District Local History Society

Local group - events and information.

Meetings and activities, announcements and notices for the Foxearth and District Local History Society, and associated organisations. For more information on recent events and current programme, please email or contact Clare Mathieson 01787 311337 or Lynda Rumble 01787 281434

Roman Long Melford - recent discoveries - by Kenneth Dodd Tuesday 11 October 2022

Kenneth Dodd started his well-attended talk on 11 October by puncturing some widely-held myths about Roman roads (writes Andrew Le Sueur). Many were not straight. At least around these parts, they were not paved as we have little natural stone. And the evidence does not support the claim in Ivan Margary’s influential text Roman Roads in Britain (1955) that two roads met at right angles on the green opposite Melford Hall. The network of Roman roads was not constructed at the same time. We learnt that in any given site of a Roman road, which were typically 8-10 metres wide, there is often a succession of roads from different periods overlaying each other requiring careful analysis during excavations. The roads often initially had a military raison d’etre, but overtime became commercially important.

Although billed as ‘Roman Long Melford’, Kenneth’s nicely illustrated lecture ranged much further back in time to the Neolithic farmers, our Bronze Age, and Iron Age forebears. Long Melford’s football and cricket pitches have been a notable source of finds. There seem to be six different Roman roads coming in and out of Long Melford. A few miles out of Long Melford there was a massive Roman estate, served by a lavish bath house with under-floor heating and a plunge pool. In closing, Kenneth said that there was ‘a lot more to find’.

Kenneth is a trustee of the Long Melford Heritage Centre, located behind the long Melford Village Hall. Roman artefacts and more can be seen there.