Roman Gloucester

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.