How to Find a Roman Road, with a Marker Pen!

I’m doing it. Doing what? Another Roman
Road video. Oh God you know what happened last time? No? What happened? I’ve no idea. In the past I’ve been guilty of walking through our landscape not really
paying attention to a great deal around me as I go and whilst that guilt
probably isn’t a crime to everyone that guilt is manifested itself as a bit of
an obsession for me spending the last few years indulging myself with this
infatuation of human geography has really accentuated how attached I’ve
become to wanting to learn more about it or want to become more engaged with the
scars of our landscape who painted these pictures we are on the ground all around
us and what motivated them to shape it in the way they did and so today we found ourselves in this
quiet little corner of southern England looking to see if we could find some
evidence of a place where two Roman roads were set to a cross it was only
when we started doing some research on this crossing and I mean some
significant research it was only then I realized that it’s actually okay to make
your own theory not only that but also if you dig deep enough you can even
question what is commonly accepted by academics and authoritative bodies so
without further ado welcome to today’s mystery To give you some geographical context of
where we are today we are at a Ford here halfway between the villages of amongst
Kingston and Monkton Deverill and it’s a spot where two Roman roads are said to have
crossed. There’s not much argument about their crossing point it was somewhere
between here the modern crossing and about 30 yards that way so the Roman
roads in question were the lead road which is route 45 in particular this
is 45 B which went from Salisbury and Winchester across to
the mendips where they mined lead so the second route across this point is a
north-south route we went down the coast by Poole and north up to Bath so with our
Ivan Margary book in hand let’s see what Ivan Margarry made of all these routes
inwards and outwards from that crossing pointt at the ford. So you join us on
the eastern section of lead road where Margary detailed the Roman Road really
well he said there was Aggars and terraces we think we’re on
a terrace now because we’re coming down the side of this hill which is great so
the road we’re on obviously that goes towards the Deverils as we say about 500
metres short of the Devils margarys description of the road pretty much
stops. Well it didn’t just vanish did it? No it didn’t vanish, so this is the point so Margary
didn’t detail the road because he said well it obviously went down to the
Deverills but there’s no visible evidence so he didn’t make a claim to say it’s
definitely there or definitely there but you can pretty much summerise where it
was from it, Where do we pick up Margary again? We don’t. We don’t? But he was your guru. Margary is genius because he wrote this massive book and he detailed
it every Roman Road in the country but he was also really good because he
didn’t he didn’t detail conjecture so the whole of us this area the lead road
that way he said Sir Richard Hoare detailed it but he’s not sure there’s no
obvious evidence so he’s not going to guess. So what we’re going to do next is pick up about three or four others a
conjecture because when we get down into the Deverills it becomes really
interesting the geography becomes very interesting over the top of hill there’s
three or four different ideas of where it went and that’s where we also pick up
on the historic England controversy So as we’re walking back to the car
before we journey down to the Deverills This is obviously the lead road
east-west road and this is supposedly the scheduled monument that is the Roman
Road straight line down to the valley where we just were the reason why they
definitely know it’s led road is because they found along this route pig lead so
they know it was carried from the mendips back to Salisbury and Winchester and
the ports there bare off there beyond interesting We’re now on cold kitchen Hill we’re
walking up cold kitchen Hill to the west of Monkton deverill and Kingston Deverill and
we’re going to continue the pursuit for the lead road the western side of the
lead road from that fall and from those crossroads so we know now how that
Margary did not have any exact theory himself about this route from those that
crossroads for another five or six miles at least so there are however Three other
theories about this route and went number one is a man called Mayatt who wrote
a book about the devil’s and he said quite clearly the road came from the
Deverils behind us there up the slant of the hill and on to the top of the
ridge it went across a ridgeway he said above Markham woods and down the Western
and the western side of the hill both maiden Bradley. Now number two is a man called Bob Whittaker, Bob Whittaker said he found
the Roman Road and you can quite clearly see it on satellite images and that it goes
up and down all the all the shoulders of the valley all the out the bridges of
this valley I think that’s a little bit….. Uppey Downy!! A little too uppy downy for Romans. You said there was three. Yes Number three…. Yup. Its me! it’s the
uneducated me so have a look on to overlay will show you now now the
overlay that I’m going to show you is the south side of this hill the cold
cold kitchen hill and you can see with the use of this pen exactly what we’ve
done that will flick from an OS map over to the aerial view on Google Maps and
you can see exactly what we mean there’s a line as a faint line which does go in
the exact line of the lead road and it also would meet up with just north of
maiden Bradley and the cross roads down the hill there so that’s pretty
much it for the lead road. I’m still backing my theory but having said that as we walk in a higher up Coldd kitchen
Hill there is evidence of maybe that some a ditch maybe Mayatt was right this
is the route but there’s no ditch this side it’s all a bit sketchy really and
that really is probably why Margary didn’t make much comment about this
route because it was very absolutely looks like concrete
next up just have a look at the north-south route here equal is
important it went from Poole to Bath was a very important place for the
Romans and a direct route down to the coast to Poole was obviously of great
importance then so what did Margary say about this route we also really know not
a lot he did detail from Poole almost up to here very well but again when we get
to here it all becomes very unclear and that’s really important to remember for
historic England in a little bit Margary said it “probably” joined route 52 which
went north so we’re just going to step over to the other side of the hill up
there and we’re going to talk about a man called George Allen. so you now find us on the eastern end of
cold kitchen hill in the search for anything about the north-south route and
some evidence that we’ve got from various sources
number one George Allen George Allen walk the entire route from Poole to
Bath and he tried to map as much as it could now bear in mind
Ivan Margary walked up to this point I say walked every bit up to this point
and I said there is nothing that he could see or any evidence he gather to
say the route from here went north other than it “probably” did that’s important
again come back to that very shortly now George Allen as I say what was route and
he said they didn’t go across this Ridge way the north-south George Allen said
that it came from down there which is where the Ford is and came
straight up the hill and across alongside this long barrow they could see
the long barrel just there and he said that’s really important because long
Barrows often faced the direction of old routes so potentially the Romans went
alongside this as they went on top of a route that was already here and exist act
he said down the side the North Face of this hill
and they went continued straight line north on the eastern side of that Ridge
where there that Ridgeway housed a Roman temple so what better way the George
Allen said it was to be able to walk underneath that and along the road off
to the north the next theory and which is also by Myatt we discussed Maya
earlier when he talked about the lead road the next various myatt’s might said
that it did actually go across the ridge way and joined obviously along the lead
road before it headed off north toward Pasonage farm we’re going to walk up
to that point now and we’re gonna get to the controversial historic England
scheduled monument of route 52 north you join us on the last leg of this
journey now this is really important because Mayatt in his book about the deverills
said the Roman Road travelled all the way across the ridge to the WEST and down here so then
it angled off north and went up through here through Parsonage farm back on this
north track so across the ridge and north here that’s really important
because Margaryy said….and I think…. we read it from the from
the book he says probably continued to Bath
so what Margary said by that is the route from the Ford probably continued
to bath, he didn’t mention anything about the route so he said there he must have
done yes he did met him where you didn’t mention why he didn’t mention it right
that’s really important this part we’re on now has been listed as a scheduled
monument by historic England and listed as a Roman Road now when you scroll down
to the bottom of that scheduled monument you see that their source for this
information is page 107 of Ivan margarys book that’s really strange
page 107 when you look at his book is about this route but the southern end
south of the Deverills route 46 not 52 route, 52 is on page 127 and as we
just said it only states it “probably” went north of Monkton Deverill somewhere
and probably we’re up to Bath by route 52 is only detailed from Frome north so
this section from here to Frome isn’t detailed and yet historic England have
this listed as a Roman Road on page 127 actually says “probably” meets the lead
road near Kingston Deverill but this is not yet certainly known that’s always on
127 about Route 52 so 100 page 107 he doesn’t even talk right probably
continued to bar yeah that’s all he said and page 107 so we’re really confused as
to why historic even have that listed and sourced as Ivan Margary and also
more importantly it doesn’t look like a Roman Road
there’s there’s no evidence like we found with the other scheduled monument
on the lead row to the east that looks like a road clear there’s
terraces and aggers which are listed by Margary there’s a terrace and an agger
quite clear but here nothing you can see there’s obviously two more of a farmers
tractors bit more modern farmers track and loads of our old
quarry work so that’s pretty much it from us today we’ve explored two Roman
roads their crossing point by the Ford and we’ve explored lots of different
sort of people’s ideas about where this went most interestingly probably is
historic England’s concept of this being a scheduled monument because margary said so yet Margary makes no mention of it actually being a Roman Road in
fact to other people suggested the zigzag down on the east side of cold
kitchen Hill is actually the route. we’re near here anyway right we are
going to sign off from Rome roads back to the usual abandoned railways and such
next week I’m sure thanks for watching appreciate your support as always and we
will see you next time You know what happened last time no well
we’re all the comments about coffee cups and all sorts even got coffee calendars
this time welcome to another Roman Road video.


  1. I'm always interested in forgotten bits anent Merrie Olde England. I'm particularly keen on ghostly lore (stretches of wood shunned by the locals etc.), which you're bound to stumble on sooner or later. Good job.

  2. Coldharbour is a name often associated with Roman roads – there is one in Bristol. Could Cold Kitchen have a similar association? Just an idea…

  3. Thanks so much for your episode 'How to find a Roman road, with a marker pen'. A few years ago I purchased a book called 'A Lost Roman Road ' by Bernard Berry. He tried to trace to line of the Roman road from Bath to Poole. With my partner Caroline we spent many happy hours following his book and trying to find evidence of the road. Got a bit stuck on Cold Kitchen Hill' so was pleased to watch your episode which looked at where the road went over the hill. Like you I have my own theory about where it went and Google earth does show a shadow curving round the hill which I found very interesting. It's an amazing area and well worth a visit. I think Bernard Berry book is still available online. I know Margarys book is as I bought a copy a couple of years ago. Cost me over a hundred pounds but worth every penny!!

  4. Ooh, fascinating. Thanks. Yes clearly a bit of work went into this. My mother in law lives at Gare Hill just to the west of Maiden Bradley. Er, that's it.

  5. An interesting explore. The lack of physical evidence suggests that both these routes were not full blown military grade paved surfaces and probably utilised the former Iron Age trackways.
    In approaching a liminal area these Iron Age routes were known to fan out much as unpaved roads in Medieval and later times. Effectively the 'road' disappears – so no surprise our expert on Roman Roads keeps his mouth (and his pen) shut. There is no Roman Road at this point.

  6. Are you going to contact the powers that be to see what they have to say about this? Remembering the Time Team 'probably a moat' that wasn't because English Heritage were just too busy to check properly in the 70s/80s.

  7. Seems obvious to me:
    Given the amount of traffic, the Romans must, MUST, have created the first Roman underground highway, with multi-level interchanges, and a generous service area where travellers could stock up on wolf-nipple chips, larks' tongues, wrens' livers, chaffinch brains, jaguars' earlobes, and (of course) the much-prized dromedary pretzels and Tuscany fried bats. Whatever happened to the Judean Peoples' Front (splitters!!) anyway?

  8. Very interesting video! Traveled down the A5 (Watling street) Roman road just north of Milton Keynes to Leighton Buzzard, dont think the romans had planned it would be a four lane bypass for Milton Keynes 🤔🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  9. Ooh I do like an historic England controversy !! (Actually I can't think of any others TBH !! 😱) 😎👍👍
    PS : I thought Aggers was the nickname of the BBC's cricket correspondent ??!!

  10. Now that the rubicon has been crossed with regard to original theories, I can't wait for Rebecca's First Proclamation…

  11. I have had a quick look at the Lidar data and you are correct in your low level route for Margary45 so well done! The bit you spotted on an aerial is part of a straight alignment there and heads further on through a natural gap in the hills. Regarding the other road – I can see a faint trace over the hill to the zig-zags but it is far too slender to be Roman. So far I haven't spotted a northern route and the scheduled bit doesn't look convincing. For tracing Roman roads with Lidar see my webpages PS we usually pronounce his name as MARG – ARY

  12. This is me, my interest started with green lanes, the ones we walked where I lived as a child (my neighbour remembers them when they were surfaced) it progressed to disused railway lines, roman roads, and any old building/groundwork, I can't pass anything like this without looking and researching it.

  13. Interesting video,how did you get a dry day in the South of England? I thought it had been raining non stop for months or that’s what it feels like! 😂👍

  14. Nothing wrong with questioning "Academics". I went to uni as a mature student, I found some of them clueless without a shred of common sense, totally lost in real world situations. Keep up the good work!

  15. Interesting stuff, as usual. I wonder if you'll get any response from Historic England. It just goes to show; just because it's in a guide book, it doesn't follow that it's accurate.
    All too often, we accept the written word as factual and, unless someone challenges the mis-information, it spreads and is accepted as true. I'm sure Historic England would prefer to publish facts and I'd be very interested to hear what they have to say. I wonder how much of their information is "flawed". Good research, better than theirs, it seems.👌

    Cheers for now,

  16. Finally someone who stares at maps as much as I do, OS maps the best read before bed, or any time really…….then there’s the 6 inch 1888 hmmmm.😆😆🇬🇧🇬🇧

  17. Wow! Another great video of interest. These old road videos are wonderful. I have spent may hours with Google Earth tracing a few Roman roads here in Kent. I find that in a few cases the modern hedge lines follow very close to the line of the roads (Eastry to Dover being the clearest). Keep these coming. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *