Wroxeter

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Wroxeter
St. Andrews Church Wroxeter - geograph.org.uk - 1754377.jpg
St Andrews Church, Wroxeter
Wroxeter is located in Shropshire
Wroxeter
Wroxeter
 Wroxeter shown within Shropshire
OS grid reference SJ5608
Civil parish Wroxeter and Uppington
Unitary authority Shropshire
Ceremonial county Shropshire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Shrewsbury
Postcode district SY5
Dialling code 01743
Police West Mercia
Fire Shropshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Shrewsbury and Atcham
Website Wroxeter & Uppington Parish Council
List of places
UK
England
Shropshire

Coordinates: 52°40′12″N 2°38′53″W / 52.670°N 2.648°W / 52.670; -2.648

Wroxeter /ˈrɒksɨtər/ is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located besides the River Severn, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south-east of Shrewsbury. It is at the site of the Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum, which was the fourth largest civitas capital in Roman Britain.

History[edit]

Wroxeter is on the site of the Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum, which was the fourth largest civitas capital in Roman Britain. In Old Welsh it was called Caer Guricon and may have served as the early post-Roman capital of the Welsh kingdom of Powys. Mercian encroachment forced the Welsh to move to Mathrafal castle sometime before AD 717 after famine and plague. The main section of the Watling Street Roman road runs across England between Dubris (Roman Dover) and Wroxeter.

The ruins of Viroconium's public baths at Wroxeter

Pengwern and Powys may have been divisions of the pre-Roman Cornovii tribal federation whose civitas or administrative centre was Viroconium Cornoviorum (now Wroxeter). The minor Magonsæte sub-kingdom also emerged in the area in the interlude between Powys and Mercian rule. Some substantial standing ruins from Viroconium are just outside the village, where there is also a small museum. The Roman city was rediscovered in 1859 when workmen began excavating the baths complex.[1] A replica Roman villa was constructed in 2010 for a Channel 4 television program called Rome Wasn't Built in a Day and was opened to the public on 19 February 2011.[2]

English Heritage has recently published a series of monographs on the excavations at Wroxeter from the 1950s to 1990s [3] [4] [5] These are available through the Archaeology Data Service.

Parish church[edit]

At the centre of Wroxeter village is Saint Andrew's parish church, some of which is built from re-used Roman masonry. The oldest visible section of the church is the Anglo-Saxon part of the north wall which is built of Roman monumental stone blocks. The chancel and the lower part of the tower are Norman.[6] The gatepiers to the churchyard are a pair of Roman columns and the font in the church was made by hollowing out the capital of a Roman column.[7] Later additions to the church incorporate remains of an Anglo-Saxon preaching cross and carvings salvaged from nearby Haughmond Abbey following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The west window, bearing figures of St Andrew and St George, designed by the workshops of William Morris & Co, is a parish war memorial, as is a brass plaque listing parish men who died serving in World War I, one of whom, Captain C.W. Wolseley-Jenkins, has an individual memorial plaque in the east end.[8]

St. Andrew's was declared redundant in 1980 and is now managed by The Churches Conservation Trust. St. Andrew's parish is now united with that of St. Mary, Eaton Constantine.[9]

Literary reference[edit]

A.E. Housman visited the site and was impressed enough to write of "when Uricon the city stood", the poem ending "Today the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon."[10]

Bernard Cornwell has the main character of the Saxon stories visit Wroxeter in Death of Kings, referring to it as an ancient Roman city that was "as big as London" and using it as an illustration of his pagan beliefs that the World will end in chaos.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ English Heritage: Wroxeter Roman City
  2. ^ BBC News Reconstructed Roman villa unveiled at Wroxeter
  3. ^ Barker, P., Bird, H., Corbishley, M., Pretty, K., White, R. (1997) The Baths Basilica Wroxeter Excavations: 1966-90. English Heritage
  4. ^ Chadderton, J., Webster, G. (2002) The Legionary Fortress at Wroxeter: Excavations by Graham Webster, 1955-85. English Heritage
  5. ^ Ellis, P (2000) The Roman Baths and Macellum at Wroxeter Excavations 1955-85. English Heritage
  6. ^ Pevsner, Nicholas, Shropshire, 1958, p. 327
  7. ^ Aston & Bond, 1976, page 53
  8. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3. 
  9. ^ Archbishops' Council (2010). "Eaton Constantine S.Mary, Eaton Constantine". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  10. ^ A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, poem XXXI, 1896
  11. ^ Bernard Cornwell, Death of Kings, Part Two - 'Angels', 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Aston, Michael; Bond, James (1976). The Landscape of Towns. Archaeology in the Field Series. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. pp. 45–48, 51–54. ISBN 0-460-04194-0. 

External links[edit]