Fosse Way

From Academic Kids

The Fosse Way was a Roman road in England which linked Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) in South West England, to Lincoln (Lindum) in the East Midlands, via Bath (Aquae Sulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Coritanorum).

It formed a junction with a number of other Roman roads. It linked with the Akeman Street and Ermine Way at Cirencester, Watling Street at Venonis (High Cross) south of Leicester, and at Lincoln the Fosse Way joined another Roman road, the Ermine Street.

For the first few decades after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, the Fosse Way marked the western frontier of Roman rule in Britain. The word 'Fosse' is derived from the Latin Fossa meaning 'ditch'. It is possible therefore that the road began as a defensive ditch which was later filled in and converted into a road. Or possibly a defensive ditch ran alongside the road for at least some of its length.

The Fosse Way is the only Roman road in Britain to retain its original Latin name, most others were named by the Saxons, centuries after the Romans left Britain.

The route today

Many parts of the Fosse Way still exist and form parts of modern roads, although there are many gaps. Between Leicester and Lincoln the A46, follows the route of the Fosse Way.

South of Leicester, apart from a short deviation near Narborough where the original course is no longer visible, the road follows the route of the old A46. Upon the building of the M69, this part of the A46 was renumbered as the B4114. However, a couple of miles north of Watling Street, now the A5, the B4114 diverges from the line of the Fosse Way. A modern road picks up the alignment again south of the A5 as the B4455 in Warwickshire. The B4455 follows the route of the Fosse Way for the entire length of Warwickshire, until it joins the A429 near the border with Gloucestershire.

The A429 follows the Fosse Way's route until just south of the town of Cirencester. Beyond the A429, a short section of the A433 continues along the Fosse Way. However, after this point, the Fosse Way route does not correspond to any major modern roads. Between that point and Bath the only modern routes to follow the road are short, unconnected sections of a few country lanes.

Between Bath and Exeter, the Fosse Way's route is roughly followed by a number of modern roads, including the A367, A37 and A303.

See also

External Link

  • Map of Roman roads in Britain ( - Very large map; opens in separate window.

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