The origins of Roman Manchester


The origins of Roman Manchester go back almost to the beginnings of Roman rule in Britain. For example, the first wooden fort was built in 79AD. This was in Castlefield, close to Deansgate. The Roman name was Mancunium.

Alter the invasion of 55AD key roads were built, heading North. Consequently, Manchester became an important transport hub. Most importantly, a junction of major roads met here. This lead to a series of forts being constructed. Additionally, a supporting Vicus grew up in the Deansgate area. That is to say, the road from York to Chester passed close to the fort. Additionally, a road headed North to Ribchester. Most importantly the fort at Mancunium was one of many on the York to Chester road. Moreover, the site was well chosen, being protected on three sides by the River Medlock. Finally, this was also where the road crossed the river.

Illustration of Mamucium from Roman Manchester (1900)

The forts three phases

As can be seen from the map the top part of the fort is now under Liverpool Road. Additionally, the main Roman roads are shown in red.

The remains in the 18th century

Before Manchester grew massively in the 19th century, the fort site was about a quarter of a mile out of town. Consequently much remained above ground.

It [i.e., the fort] is about a quarter of a mile out of the town, being south or south-west from it. The station now goes by the name of Giant’s Castle or Tarquin’s Castle,[34] and the field in which it stands is called Castle Field … the ramparts are still very conspicuous.

— John Horsley, Britannia Romana

— John Horsley, Britannia Romana 1700

Modern rebuilds

There have been later reconstructions of the fort’s entrance gateway, below Martin zero looks at the actual remains!

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