The Roman Period

Once the Romans had converted the area into a town they named it Durnovaria, which was probably a nod to the Durotriges tribe who inhabited the area. The first recorded reference to the Roman named town was in the fourth century when it became known as a staging post and market centre for the surrounding countryside.

Durnovana eventually became one of the twin towns of the Celtic Durottiges tribe. As with most Roman towns, the invaders built a wall around the town and the remains of this are still visible today near what eventually became the Walks near what is known as the Top ‘o’ town roundabout.

A good number of the original Roman features of the town still exist today, including part of the remains of a Roman town house, which was discovered in the nineteen thirties and can be seen close to today’s County Hall. Some of the terrace on which the Romans built an aqueduct, built to carry water to the town can still be seen today.

The area close to the town known as Maumbury Rings lies an ancient British earthwork that the Romans converted to an ampitheatre, and the pre-Roman fortification of Poundbury Hill is to the north west side of the town. Some historians believe that the town became known as Caer Durnac after the Roman withdrawal. The town remained in the hands of the British but the surrounding area had been invaded and taken over by the Saxons by 864.