During the iron age ( pre Roman ) the Severn Valley was occupied by many small farms and settlements . When the Roman army came to the area the original fort was built ( about 40 AD ) at Kingsholm .This fort was probably built at a river crossing because Gloucester was historically the lowest point of the river that it was possible to ford . It is fairly certain that this fort was the centre for the Romans to advance their military power into Wales.
It would have been a banked enclosure with wooden walls and gates. It is probable that the twentieth Legion were here Today some of the armour found here is on display at the Gloucester City Museum.
Roughly Twenty years later ( 60-70 AD ) this fort was dismantled and a new fort was built overlooking the river from a small hill.
At this site, they built a huge clay ramparts enclosing approximately 43 acres. The rampart had wooden gates which were set in each of the 4 sides. Watch towers and a wooden walkway were also built. In Eastgate street one of the enormous wooden timbers that supported the gates is still on display. The timbers were Oak and probably felled in the Forest of Dean.
Only towns were recognised by the Roman Empire as true centres of civilisation and so it was part of imperial policy to create towns in newly conquered areas . At Gloucester ( Glevum ) the colony gained its buildings by converting the old timber barracks into shops and houses . The new colonists were retired Romans who provided a core of Roman Citizens.
The colonists were given a plot of land in the countryside as well as a house in the town and the governed the town by electing a council of 100 decurions . This council elected four magistrates who organised and financed ( by taxes ) the rebuilding of the new city.
By the second century it had a forum, baths, and a basilica. At this time a stone wall was built to replace the clay rampart. The gates were so massive that they were in use for the next nine hundred years. The final remnants of North Gate were only demolished in 1974.
During the 2nd century the town became densely populated with extensive suburbs. Cemeteries were placed about 1 mile outside the City. This growth stimulated trade and industry .
Even today whenever building work is undertaken, Roman remains come to light.