The Roman name for this town on the Fosse Way is mentioned in the British section of the Antonine Itinerary in two separate itinera; Iter VI details the road stations between London and Lincoln and lists the name Margiduno 12 miles from Vernemetum (Willoughby, Nottinghamshire) and 7 miles from Ad Pontem (East Stoke, Nottinghamshire); Iter VIII covers the same road in the opposite direction, listing the stations between York and London, and also contains the name Margiduno, this time 14 miles from Crococalana (Brough, Nottinghamshire) and again, 12 miles from East Stoke.
The Margidunum Settlement
Sited astride the Fosse Way eight miles east of Nottingham, the enclosure is irregular in outline and measures about 200 by 250 yards inside the ditch system, enclosing an area of about 6½ acres. The defences are very elaborate, with six ditches, altogether 50 or 60 yards wide, with traces of timber entanglements on the intervening ridges.
The rampart was of timber backed by earth, and the primary buildings were originally of wooden construction, which were later replaced in stone following a “destruction” possibly related to the rebellion of Boudicca in the winter of 60/61AD.
Several “dug-outs” were found suggesting that during the earliest period there were no timber barrack buildings, and the garrison were sleeping under leather tents; the “dug-outs” being the temporary drainage ditches associated with the leather tents.
Excavations at Margidunum
A sewer pipe cut in 1970 parallel to Watling Street along Little Brickhill (from NGRef SP888377 to SP896330) intersected over 100 Roman features, including the the north-west and south-east defences, where, respectively, the inner ditch was found to be 23 feet (7m) wide, and the rampart 10 feet (3.1m) thick.
… construction of a new roundabout revealed two lead coffins and at least two other inhumations belonging to the cemetery outside the S defences examined in 1966 and 1968.” (Britannia, 1970)
References for Margidvnvm
- Britannia i 1970 p.286; Britannia ii (1971) pp.268/9;
- The Archaeology of Roman Britain by R.G. Collingwood (Methuen, London, 1930).
Map References for Margidvnvm
NGRef: SK 700 415 OSMap: LR129