Bath House Ruins, Wroxeter Roman City, Wroxeter, Shropshire
The ruins of the Roman town of Viroconium Cornoviorum can be seen at Wroxeter. This view looks across the baths towards the wall which divided them from the exercise hall. Though a small village today Wroxeter was the fourth largest town in Roman Britain. It was a fortress from about AD 47, then became a civilian settlement from about AD 90 and thrived for 400 years. The Roman Army first appeared in the Wroxeter region in about AD 47 when it advanced along the line of the modern A5, which largely follows the course of the Roman road, Watling Street. By the late 50s AD it was a Legionary Fortress, the base of the Fourteenth Legion and then the Twentieth Legion. Virtually all the buildings were of timber, as were the defences. While the fortress was occupied a small civilian trading settlement seems to have developed close by. When the legions left in AD 90, the street grid and some of the buildings of the fortress were used to form the nucleus of the first town that replaced the fortress. This town was the seat of government for the tribal authority who now governed the region in the name of the Cornovii, the local tribe. They set out the boundaries of the town, which included the site of the fortress. A street grid of 48 town blocks was laid out. This site is now in the care of English Heritage (2011).