Time. Travel.


When you travel out of Norwich towards London by train you pass the site of a major Roman town near the village of Caistor St Edmund. Most of the time the former town of Venta Icenorum is not very remarkable on the left hand side of the line as you accelerate towards Diss. Looking across the river meadow you can see the roughly square shape of the town marked by the grassy remains of thick walls. No buildings remain.

But recently the dry weather has exposed the grid pattern of the streets and outlines of the buildings in patterns on the sheep-nibbled grass within the walls. From the train, if you look quickly, you can see the main street running across the middle of the walled area, at right angles to the railway line.

Roman Britons walked along that street. They would have been able to see the gentle hillside where the railway runs. Although in those days it was probably wooded.

Venta Icenorum was reputedly the home town of Boudica, from where she led her rebellion against the Roman occupiers. Like you she travelled to London, following the line of the railway. It took her a few weeks and involved a great deal of burning and killing. She was very angry by the time she got to London. It will take you about 115 minutes. Sometimes it will take you longer due to a “broken down train at Colchester”. You may also be very angry when you arrive in London.

2 Responses to “Time. Travel.”

  1. 1 Camilla

    A calming counterpoint to a trip on the train is a visit to the site. It’s wonderful to stand on the wall which runs beside the modern road and imagine smoke rising from the pottery kilns, and people buying & selling in the market.

  2. 2 Camilla

    PS. I was so inspired by your post that I actually popped in to Venta Icenorum on my way home from Norwich today. You see how your blog can change people’s lives? Anything could have happened! I might have been involved in a terrible accident in Stoke Holy Cross! In fact nothing much happened, I was there for 10 minutes which was nice, then it started raining, and I drove home and found a new route through Alburgh which I’ve never done before,

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