Ermine Street is the name of a major
Roman road in England that ran
London (Londinium) to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) and York
(Eboracum). The Old English name was "Earninga Straete" (1012), named
after a tribe called the Earningas, who inhabited a district later
known as Armingford Hundred, around
Arrington, Cambridgeshire and
Royston, Hertfordshire. "Armingford", and "Arrington" share the
same Old English origin. The original Roman name for the route is
unknown. It is also known as the Old North Road from
London to where
it joins the A1 Great North Road near Godmanchester.
2 Alternative course
3 See also
6 External links
Ermine Street begins at Bishopsgate, where one of the seven gates in
the wall surrounding Roman
London was located. From here it runs north
up Norton Folgate,
Shoreditch High Street
Shoreditch High Street and
Kingsland Road through
Stoke Newington (forming
Stoke Newington Road and
Stoke Newington High
Edmonton and Eastern Enfield (Ponders End, Enfield
Highway, Enfield Wash and Freezywater) to Royston. This section of
Ermine Street from
Royston, Hertfordshire is now largely
part of the A10. At this point it crosses the Icknield Way. From
Royston, it was formerly the A14 to the A1 but now it is the A1198 to
Godmanchester (Durovigutum). Ignoring bypasses and modern diversions,
the road through
Huntingdon to the
Alconbury junction on the A1 gives
the line. The section from
Alconbury to Water Newton, ignoring modern
bypasses such as that at Stilton, follows the A1. Ermine street used
to pass through Durobrivae, the slight remains of which can be seen to
the east, alongside the A1 at Peterborough. The modern road returns to
Ermine Street north-west of Stamford, near Great Casterton, through
Ermine Street ran.
Roman road wandered off for two and half miles (4.0 km)
through Colsterworth, but
Ermine Street continues as the B6403,
through Ancaster to the A17. It then continues as a public right of
way, easily walked, until Waddington airfield blocks it at SK981626.
The route from Colsterworth, through Ancaster, to Bracebridge Heath is
known as High Dike. It runs roughly parallel with and to the east of
the A607 between
Carlton Scroop and Harmston. High Dike takes to the
level, open, dry country of the
Lincolnshire Heath while the A607
wanders through the villages on the spring line below. From the
Antonine Itinerary there is known to have been a Roman Settlement on
the road in South Lincolnshire, called Causennae which has been
variously identified with
Ancaster Roman Town
Ancaster Roman Town or Saltersford, south of
Another long section remains, now the A15, running north out of
RAF Scampton and
Caenby Corner, past Kirton in Lindsey
at grid reference SE9698, and continuing almost to the
Winteringham. Before the diversion was made round the extended runway
at Scampton, with a very slight diversion at Broughton, it was
possible to travel about 33 miles, from the Newport Arch, the Roman
north gate at Lincoln, to the
Winteringham along a road so
slightly curved as to be regarded as straight.
Winteringham was the terminal for the ferry to
on the north shore of the Humber. From there, the road curved
westwards to York.
This landing place on the south shore of the
Humber is significant
Winteringham translates as "the homestead of Winta's people".
Apart from Woden, the god, the first leader on Lindsey's list of kings
is Winta. Clearly, the end of the
Jurassic limestone ridge at the
Humber was significant in the English settlement of Lincolnshire.
Winterton is a little further inland.
Ermine Street and the River
Trent together were evidently an important early route of entry into
early post-Roman Britain.
The Roman Map of Britain above shows a sector of
Ermine Street for
which there was an alternative route. As
Ermine Street extended north
out of Lincoln and past
Scampton an alternative course of Ermine
Street curved left and formed a semicircle on a wide heading west of
Humber Estuary. The straight northerly route, traced in red on the
map, between Lincoln and
York was the shorter, but was not passable
Humber Estuary during adverse weather conditions. Thus an
alternative route was established (see also Roman roads in Britain).
This 'alternative' route is detailed in the
Antonine Itinerary and
Littleborough (Agelocum) and Lincoln (Lindum).
Beginning at the modern
Lincolnshire Showground the portion of this
Lincolnshire is known as Till Bridge Lane, the modern
A1500. The route in the
Doncaster area, and again north of
Castleford, is known as the Roman Ridge or Roman Rigg.
A large section of this road formed for many later centuries the Great
North Road between
Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire.
Roman roads in Britain
^ P.H.Blair, An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England
^ Historic England. "Monument No. 325760". PastScape. Retrieved
15 September 2013.
^ Whitewell, J.B. (1970). Roman Lincolnshire. History of Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire local history society. pp. 64, 65.
^ Margary, Ivan D. (1967). Roman Roads in Britain. London: John
^ Lincoln & Newark-on-Trent (Map) (C3 ed.). 1:50 000. OS
Landranger. Ordnance survey of Great Britain. 2 June 2011. § 121.
I. D. Margary, Roman Roads in Britain (3rd ed. 1973)
Ordnance Survey 1:50 000 maps. (1972 to 2001)
Ordnance Survey, Map of
Roman Britain (3rd edn. 1956)
Soil Survey of England And Wales, Soils of England and Wales , Sheet 4
XTC song Chalkhills and Children, from Oranges and Lemons (1989)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ermine Street.
Roman roads in Britain
Roman roads in Britain at the
Wayback Machine (archived 11
January 2008) - very large map
Ermine Street - A Journey through Roman Britain' web page by the BBC
Coordinates: 53°09′05″N 0°32′04″W / 53.15151°N
0.53454°W / 53.151