Roman Period

“The Romans and the Ninth Legion”

An unbelievable story everyone should read.

Under the reign of Claudius during the year 43 AD the Romans invaded the south coast of Britain. The invasion force consisted of four legions: the 2nd, 9th, 14th and the 20th totalling 20,000 fully equipped crack troops, 7,000 cavalry and 20,000 light troops. The 9th legion spearheaded the attack, once headed by Julius Caesar, and as a ruthless fighting force they had a reputation to keep! They headed North eventually arriving in what is now the county of Lincolnshire.

It was not a good day when the Legion arrived in Ancaster, a few miles to the south of Lincoln.  Immediately recognising the potential of this high ground with commanding views in three directions.  This site was ideal for their new fort.  Unfortunately for the local tribes people the invaders were not about to take the land over a handshake and a few warm words, nor would compensation be negotiated. Rather they took their usual ‘fire and sword’ approach which simply means that they killed everything and burnt everything.

It wasn’t long before the thatched iron age roundhouses could be seen burning for miles around.  Two tribal men who attempted to offer resistance found themselves flogged and tied to the newly erected gate posts.  Skeletal remains were finally unearthed in 2010 during an archaeological excavation.  Both were described as young adult males between the age of 18 and 29, each had been dragged into the defensive ditches to each side of the gate posts.

The Legion didn’t stop at Ancaster.  Once they had established the 28 acre wooden fort on land which would later become the Goldholme Stone quarry. The Boudicca campaign involving up to 70,000 Celts from the Iceni and Trinovantes Tribes waged war on the Romans which became a distraction for the Ninth Legion who were dispatched to quell the uprising.  Despite losing many troops the Roman Legion survived. Later they returned and pushed North onto Lincoln and eventually up to York making this the new Northern Frontier.  This was the last and most northern posting for the Legion, and it’s fair to say their luck was about to run out.  History believes that they ventured into Scotland where the rugged terrain would force the 12,000 to string out over a distance of 1.5 miles.  Here they would fall prey to an ambush by a confederation of Scottish tribes probably numbering a hundred thousand.  The Legion was never heard from again.   This would prompt Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD to commence one of the largest Roman engineering projects in the history of Rome, Hadrian’s Wall.  The land at Ancaster became overgrown and fell silent for over a thousand years in what would become known as the dark ages and through the Middle Ages.  The timber fortress eventually rotted away and became lost in the fog of time that is until its discovery in 2010. To this day the true fate of the Ninth Legion (known as the lost legion) remains a mystery.

During the middle ages (13C) it is likely that the quarry now called ‘Castle Pits’ quarry was expanded to supply churches, dwellings and strongholds including Lincoln Tatteshall, South Kyme, and Somerton Castles.

Quarry stone was transported by ox cart for 12m in an easterly direction where at a location known as Appletreeness near South Kyme, building stone was loaded onto barges awaiting at the river Slea, the stone would then be transported to the east coast via the rivers Slea and Witham.  Notable projects included Windsor Castle (‘J Alexander’) Southwell Minster, The Boston Stump,  Wollaton Hall.

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