Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/275

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ROMANO-BRITISH WARWICKSHIRE details of this industry are almost unknown : perhaps we shall be able to estimate it better when the Romano-British ' villas ' have been better explored. Rather more traces have survived of the lead mining and iron mining, which at least during the first two centuries of our era was carried on with some vigour in half a dozen districts lead on Mendip, in Shropshire, Flintshire and Derbyshire ; iron in the Weald and the Forest of Dean. Other minerals were less important. The gold men- tioned by Tacitus proved very scanty, and the far-famed Cornish tin seems (according to present evidence) to have been worked comparatively little and late in the Roman occupation. The chief commercial town was from the earliest times Londinium (London), a place of some size and wealth, and perhaps the residence of the special authorities who controlled taxes and customs dues. Finally let us sketch the roads. In doing so we must dismiss from our minds the Four Great Roads which are mentioned in some early English documents. Three of these four roads were Roman in origin, but the fourth is not, and the idea of any such Four Great Roads is alien to the Roman road system. We may divide this Roman system into four groups all commencing from one centre, London. One road ran south-east to Canterbury and the Kentish ports. A second ran west and south-west from London to Silchester, and thence by ramifications to Winchester, Dorchester and Exeter, Bath, Gloucester and South Wales. A third, Watling Street, ran north-west across the Midlands to Wroxeter, and thence to the military districts of the north-west ; it also gave access to Leicester and the north. A fourth ran to Colchester and the eastern counties, and also to Lincoln and York and the military districts of the north-east. To these must be added two roads which had no connection with London. The most important of these is the Fosse, which cut obliquely across the island from north-east to south- west, joining Lincoln, Leicester, Bath and Exeter. The other is the Rycknield or Icknield Street which ran from Yorkshire past Derby and Birmingham to join the Fosse in Gloucestershire. These roads must be understood as being only the main roads, divested for the sake of clearness of branches and intricacies ; and understood as such they may be taken to represent a reasonable supply of internal communications for the province. After the Roman occupation had ceased, they were largely utilized by the English, but they do not resemble the roads of medieval England in their grouping and economic significance. We may rather compare them to our railways which radiate similarly from London. In the following paragraphs we shall be concerned with the third, fifth and sixth of these roads, Watling Street, Fosse and Rycknield Street. 2. SKETCH OF ROMAN WARWICKSHIRE Such in the main was that large part of Roman Britain in which ordinary non-military civilized life prevailed. To that part Warwick- shire belongs, and when we pass on to survey in detail the Roman 227