Viroconium – Wroxeter Roman City

Related Articles

Related Articles

Viroconium, now named Wroxeter Roman City is an archaeological site located in the village of Wroxeter in Shropshire, England.

The region was ruled over by the Cornovii, an Iron Age tribe of the Britons whose territory covered Cheshire, Shropshire, north Staffordshire, north Herefordshire and eastern parts of the Welsh counties. After the Roman invasion of Cornovian territory in AD 47, the Cornovii capital was moved from their proposed stronghold of Wrekin hillfort.

Image Credit : Zoltan Kuruc

Viroconium was first established as a frontier post for Thracian Auxilia during campaigns by Publius Ostorius Scapula, a general and governor for the province of Britannia. The site was chosen to protect the River Severn valley from Cambria (Wales) and due to its proximity to Watling Street, a major Roman highway that traversed across the province.

By the mid-first century, the site became one of the staging posts for the invasion of Cambria and was garrisoned by the Legio XIV Gemina as a legionary fortress. By the end of 80 AD, the military justification at Viroconium became defunct and the site evolved from the canabae that had surrounded the fort, into a major Roman settlement with a civic street grid.

Image Credit : Zoltan Kuruc

Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Viroconium prospered over the next century, with the construction of many public buildings, including thermae, temples, shops, basilica, and a colonnaded forum. At its peak, it is thought to have been the 4th-largest settlement in Roman Britain, with a population of more than 15,000 inhabitants covering an area of 173 acres.

Something unique to Viroconium was the recruitment of Cornovii tribesman to a native British unit, the Cohors Primae Cornoviorum. Although the strength of the unit is unknown, it is estimated that the cohort was an infantry unit of around 500 Cornovii soldiers. By the 4th century, the unit was garrisoned at the fort of Pons Aelius, an auxiliary castra on Hadrian’s Wall.

Image Credit : Zoltan Kuruc

Following the end of Roman rule in Britain around 410, the Cornovii tribe divided into Pengwern (Shropshire) and Powys. This socio-political division started Viroconium’s decline as an important settlement.

It is suggested that Viroconium served as the capital of the Kingdom of Powys as an early sub-Roman capital, as written in the Historia Brittonum, although any factual credibility to the text is questionable. Town life in Viroconium continued in the fifth century, with many Roman buildings being replaced with timber-framed structures on rubble platforms.

Image Credit : Zoltan Kuruc

Viroconium was abandoned around the mid-sixth century when a ‘Great Plague’ is known to have swept through Britain, or possibly in the seventh century, when the Anglo-Saxons took control of the region.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Takht-e Soleymān – The Throne of Solomon

Takht-e Soleymān is an archaeological site located near the modern-day town of Takab in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran.

New UD study shows that tropical forest loss is increased by large-scale land acquisitions

In recent years, there has been a rise in foreign and domestic large-scale land acquisitions--defined as being at least roughly one square mile--in Latin America, Asia, and Africa where investing countries and multinational investors take out long-term contracts to use the land for various enterprises.

New research reveals how water in the deep Earth triggers earthquakes and tsunamis

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists provide the first conclusive evidence directly linking deep Earth’s water cycle and its expressions with magmatic productivity and earthquake activity.

Discovering an exoplanet the size of Neptune

An exoplanet the size of Neptune has been discovered around the young star AU Microscopii, thanks in part to the work of Jonathan Gagné, a former iREx Banting postdoctoral researcher who is now a scientific advisor at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

A Blue Spark to Shine on the Origin of the Universe

Why is our Universe made of matter? Why does everything exist as we know it? These questions are linked to one of the most important unsolved problems in particle physics.

Trimontium (Newstead) – The Roman Fort

Trimontium is Roman fort complex located in Newstead on the Scottish Borders.

Volcanic Eruption Caused Social and Political Unrest Leading to Rise of Roman Empire

The assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC triggered a 17-year power struggle that ultimately ended the Roman Republic leading to the rise of the Roman Empire.

Diets of Bronze-Age People in Southern Poland was Largely Vegetable Based

New study suggests that ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age people living in the southern parts of modern-day Poland survived mainly on a vegetable-based diet.

New Interactive Map Reveals the Lost Continent of Zealandia

A new mapping interface by the GNS Science’s Te Riu-a-Māui / Zealandia research programme (TRAMZ) reveals the geology of Aotearoa New Zealand and the lost continent of Zealandia.

Werwolf – The Classified Wehrmacht Bunker

Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename for a bunker complex built during WW2 as a military headquarters for Adolf Hitler and his generals to monitor the eastern front.

Popular stories