Wall Roman site | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Wall Roman site

Lichfield, England, United Kingdom

Amy Irvine

11 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Bs0u10e01 / CC

About Wall Roman site

The Wall Roman site in Staffordshire houses the remains of what was a Roman military staging post, essentially an inn or “mansio” along the ancient route towards north Wales.

History of Wall Roman site

The Romans came to what was then known as Letocetum in 50 AD to establish a fortress during the early years of the Roman invasion of Britain. As the land could not support large numbers of soldiers, Letocetum’s position at an important cross-roads enabled it to become a convenient stop and large scale posting station along this important Roman military road.

The road network was crucial to the Romans’ control over their empire. Wall sits on Watling Street, an ancient trackway paved by the Romans which connects the site to Wroxeter Roman City and on to north Wales, and Icknield (or Ryknild) Street (now the A38). At staging posts like Wall, weary Roman officials, soldiers and imperial messengers could find lodging for the night and change their horses.

The settlement developed with successive bath houses and mansio (official stopping places on a Roman road) built to serve the official travellers as well as the growing civilian population. Excavations in 1912–13 provided evidence that the site had once been a substantial civilian settlement with possible basilica, temples, and amphitheatre in approximately 130 AD after Letocetum had ceased to have a military function.

The settlement reached its peak during the 2nd and 3rd centuries until the town relocated within high defensive walls extending across Watling Street. After the Romans left early in the 5th century the settlement went into decline, and the modern village of Wall emerged in its place.

Wall Roman site today

The Wall Roman site is one of only a small number of sites in the UK which are under the guardianship of both management by English Heritage and ownership by the National Trust. Visitors can see the foundations of a Roman inn for travellers (mansio) as well as those of its stone bath house.

There is also an on-site museum (Letocetum Roman Baths Site and Museum) displaying excavated finds from the Wall Roman site and offering an insight into life here in Roman times.

Getting to Wall Roman site

Wall Roman site is situated off the Eastbound A5 road at Wall, near Lichfield. Free parking is available 50m from the entrance. Bus service 35B runs near the site, and the nearest train station is Shenstone, 1.5 miles away. (There is no wheelchair access to the Roman site).

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