The Roman settlement at Wareham underlies the modern town, on the eastern fringes of Poole Harbour between the River Piddle to the north, and the River Frome to the south.

Although no Roman roads are apparent, communication by water probably existed with the port at Hamworthy, and the River Frome may have been navigable in Roman times as far as Durnovaria (Dorchester).

There is a pottery-kiln nearby at Stoborough (SY9286) and another on the Isle of Purbeck at Corfe Mullen (SY9986). There are also substantial Roman buildings at Creech (SY9382) and Brenscombe (SY9782).

The Isle of Purbeck to the south-east was a hive of activity in Roman times, with shale quarries at Worbarrow (SY8799), North Egliston (SY8980), Kimmeridge (SY9179), Encombe (SY9478), Blashenwell Farm (SY9580), Corfe (SY9582) and Worth Matravers (SY9777). There were also stone quarries at Purbeck (SY9879), and salt workings at Hobarrow Bay (SY8979) and others at Arne (SY9587 and SY9888). Some of the administrative activities may have have taken place at the substantial Roman building sites previously mentioned, but being the nearest large settlement, a large amount of the managerial and bureaucratic workforce were probably housed at Wareham, and the activities were possibly centred there too.

The settlement lies in an area which saw a lot of action during c.44/46AD, when Legio II Augusta under the command of Flavius Vespasianus (emperor 69-79AD), subdued the Durotriges of Dorset. It is not impossible, therefore, that the settlement was preceeded by a military camp of some kind.

References for Wareham

  • Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001).

Map References for Wareham

NGRef: SY9287 OSMap: LR195

Roman Roads near Wareham

None identified

Sites near Wareham