A Short History of Bernards Heath

The Roman Period

Verulamium and its roads during the Roman Period

When the Romans came the latest evidence suggests that they were welcomed in the area. The Celtic Verlamion became the Roman Verulamium and a major Celtic chief was buried at the Folly Lane site on the Osterhills ridge. A temple was erected on the burial site beside the road that lead from the city, over what is now Bernards Heath towards Camulodunum (Colchester). However the road may have been less busy than in the Iron Age period and main trading route with the continent would have switched to the new Roman city and port of London.

No evidence has yet been found of ribbon development where the road where the road crosses Bernards Heath.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary it is reasonable to assume that the Bernards Heath area was used for agriculture. While there are a number of villas on the west of the Ver valley there are none on the east. It is thus possible that the Bernards Heath area was part of the territorium (common land) associated with the city of Verulamium.

Hunting scene on Roman Beaker
from "Verulamium" by D Gareth Davies & C Saunders

We also know that hunting was an interest of the Romans and it may well be that nearly 2000 years ago you could have seen hounds in pursuit of their prey, a sport which continued until the 20th century housing developments.

Next: Abbot Ulsinus

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