The Romans in Dorset

Roman Dorset

Maiden Castle
Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle was captured by the Romans in 43AD. Some legions are thought to have landed at Poole harbour and moved inland, while others travelled west from Winchester. The Romans founded a new town called Durnovaria, and built roads radiating out from it to existing villages and larger towns such as Ilchester, Winchester and Bath, many of which are still in use today.

Mosaic - Roman Town House, Dorchester
Mosaic - Roman Town House

Parts of Durnovaria's original town walls are still visible in what is today the county town of Dorchester. Dorchester has a number of historical artifacts dating from Roman times. In the grounds of the County Council offices, for example, there is a Roman house with well preserved mosaic floors and an aqueduct with a covered timber-lined channel nine kilometers long.

Dorset had already been trading with Rome before the invasion and local industries such as quarrying continued under their supervision. Evidence suggests that the Roman takeover was generally peaceful, although 130 skeletons found at Spetisbury suggest that the invasion was not entirely free of drama.