Lindum Colonia, was the Roman name for the settlement which is now the
City of Lincoln in Lincolnshire. It was founded as a Roman Legionary
Fortress during the reign of the Emperor
Nero (58-68) or possibly
later. Evidence from Roman tombstones suggests that Lincoln was
first garrisoned by the Ninth Legion, Hispana which probably moved
from Lincoln to found the fortress at
York around c.71 A.D. Lindum was
then garrisoned by the Second Legion Aduitrix, which then went on to
Chester in 77-8 A.D.
Probably under the reign of
Domitian and most likely after 86 A.D.,
the fortress became a Colonia, a settlement for retired soldiers
sanctioned by the Emperor. The Colonia now developed and a second
enclosure, often referred to as the ‘‘Lower Colonia’’ was
added between the Upper Colonia and the River Witham. Evidence has
been uncovered for the Forum, baths, temples, buildings and shops of
the Colonia which was enclosed by walls. The walls of the Upper
Colonia started to be built in the earlier part of the 2nd century
A.D., while the Lower Colonia was walled in either the late 2nd or
early 3rd centuries. The Roman settlement also spread to the south of
the river Witham in the area known as the Wigford. In the early 3rd
century A.D. with the re-organisation of the Roman Empire, a case can
be made that
Lindum Colonia had become the provincial capital of
Britannia Secunda and possibly a Bishop from Lincoln was present at
the Council of Arles in 314. In the 4th century A.D. Lincoln
continued to develop and there is increasing evidence for
Christianity, but in the 5th century, following the departure of the
Romans, Lindum declined and was largely deserted.
3 Planning, infrastructure, trade and religion
Roman aqueduct or water supply
4.1 Pottery production
5 Roman sculpture and tombstones
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
The name is a Latinized form of a native Brittonic name which has been
reconstructed as *Lindon (lit. "pool" or "lake"; cf. modern Welsh
llyn ). The primary evidence that modern Lincoln was referred to
as Lindum comes from Ptolemy’s Geography which was compiled in about
150 AD, where Lindum is referred to as a polis or town within the
tribal area of the Corieltauvi. In the Antonine Itinerary, a road book
of the mid-2nd century A.D., Lindum is mentioned three times as Lindo
in the Iter or routes numbered V, VI and VIII. Then, in the Ravenna
Cosmography, a listing of towns in the
Roman Empire compiled in the
7th century AD., Lincoln is referred to as Lindum Colonia. As the
Roman colonia for veteran soldiers at Lincoln is thought to have been
established during the reign of the Roman Emperoer
it has been suggested that the full name of the Colonia would have
been Colonia Domitiana Lindensium, but, as yet, there have been no
Roman inscriptions found that confirm this.
Tombstone of Gaius Valerius, a standard bearer of the Ninth Legion.
Found on the South Common, Lincoln (RIB 257)
The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly
afterwards built a legionary fortress, possibly south of the River
Witham. This was soon replaced, around the year 60, by a second fort
for the Ninth Legion, high on a hill overlooking the natural lake
formed by the widening of the
River Witham (the modern day Brayford
Pool) and at the northern end of the
Fosse Way Roman road. That pool
is very likely to have given Lincoln its name.
Roman north wall of Lindum Colonia
The Ninth Legion, Hispana was probably moved from Lincoln to found the
York around 71 A.D. Then, after a probable short
occupation by the Second Legion, who had moved to
77-78A.D. the Legionary fort would have been left on a care and
maintenance basis. The exact date that it was converted into a colonia
is unknown, but a generally favoured date is 86 A.D. This was an
important settlement for retired legionaries, established by the
Domitian within the walls and using the street grid of the
hilltop fortress, with the addition of an extension of about equal
area, down the hillside to the waterside below. The town became a
major flourishing settlement, accessible from the sea both through the
River Trent and through the River Witham. Public buildings, such as
the forum with lifesize equestrian statues, basilica, and the public
baths, were erected in the 2nd century. The hilltop was largely filled
with private homes, but the slopes became the town's commercial
centre. They gained stone walls, like the upper region (including the
Newport Arch), around 200. There was also an industrial suburb over
the river which had pottery production facilities. The town had the
best developed sewerage system in the province and a fine octagonal
public fountain and part of its aqueduct have been partly uncovered.
There were temples dedicated to
Apollo and Mercury. On the basis of
Lindum's size and the patently corrupt list of British bishops who
attended the 314 Council of Arles, the city is sometimes considered to
have been the capital of the province of
Flavia Caesariensis which was
formed during the late-3rd century Diocletian Reforms. However, it is
now thought more likely that Lincoln would have been the
administrative capital of
Britannia Secunda and that
York was the
capital of Flavia Caesariensis.
The city and its waterways eventually fell into decline, and, by the
end of the 5th century, it was virtually deserted. However, the church
of St Paul continued as a place of worship until 450 and its
churchyard was in use into the 6th century. When Saint Paulinus
visited in 629, it was apparently under the control of a Praefectus
Civitatis called Blecca.
Planning, infrastructure, trade and religion
Roman aqueduct or water supply
Roman Wall at East Bight by the Newport where there was a water
Roman Lincoln had a very sophisticated water supply. It was fed by the
‘‘Roaring Meg’’ spring to the North East of the city and then
ran parallel with the Nettleham Road towards the N.E corner of the
Upper Colonia. The ceramic pipes were encased in concrete that
provided a waterproof seal and allowed the water to pass through the
pipes under pressure. The course of the aqueduct had been well known
from the start of the 18th century.
William Stukeley had shown the
line of the aqueduct on his plan of Lincoln in 1722. The Lincoln
antiquary Thomas Sympson had written in the mid 18th century "There
must have been some contrivance for raising the water a good deal
above its natural level before it would run to Lindum; the spring
being evidently lower than the Town: and indeed there are some traces
of a Tower, or some such building at the end of the Aquaeduct by the
Spring, which one may suppose would have had a reservoir on its Top."
In 1782 the artist
Samuel Hieronymus Grimm
Samuel Hieronymus Grimm drew sections of the
sheathed pipe and also where it emerged from the ground at the
spring. Over the years further lengths of the aqueduct have been
uncovered and the base for a watertank fed by the aqueduct discovered
just inside the Roman Wall to the east of the Newport Arch. This is
just to the north of Cottesford Place, where excavations in the 1960s
revealed a probable Roma Bathhouse, which could have been supplied
with water from this source. Another pipeline, encased in concrete
was found in 1857 by the Greestone Stairs, to the east of the wall,
and this pipeline had presumably branched off from the aqueduct and
supplied water to the Lower Colonia. Thompson calculated that it
would be necessary to raise the water about 70 feet at the source at
the ‘‘Roaring Meg’’ for there to be sufficient pressure for
the water to reach the tank at the East Bight by the Newport Arch.
This may imply that there was some form of water tower and the Romans
may either have used some form of pump to raise the water, or a
revolving bucket and chain system.
Before 2007 it was questioned whether the
Roman aqueduct at Lincoln
had ever worked as there was no evidence of limescale in any of the
lengths of pipe that had been uncovered. Construction on a housing
estate close to the Nettleham showed that there was limescale ,
indicating that the aqueduct had been in use. This length of the
aqueduct had ceramic pipes, joined with collared joints , but other
lengths of the aqueduct had pipes which were about 7.5 inches in
diameter, narrowing to 4 inches and when laid, the narrow or spigot
end of the pipe fitted into the broad or socket end of the next
Lincoln was an important centre for pottery production. The earliest
discovery of a pottery kiln was on the site of the Technical College
(now Lincoln College) on Monks Road. This kiln produced Mortaria
stamped with the maker's name VITALIS. who was probably working around
90-115 AD. A further discovery was made in 1947 when Graham
Webster excavated a kiln site producing gray ware storage jars at
Swanpool, to the S.W. of Lincoln. This was followed in 1950 by the
excavation of further mortaria kilns found on the Lincoln Racecourse
by Phillip Corder. Kilns producing mortaria by a potter called CATTO
and also colour painted and rosette decorated pottery are known from
South Carlton, to the north of Lincoln. In the 3rd and 4th
Lincolnshire produced a coarse ware ceramic known as Dales
ware, which was exported across the north of Roman Britain.
Roman sculpture and tombstones
RIB 250 Tombstone of Volusia Faustina and Aurelius Senecio. Found
in 1859 in the wall of the Lower Colonia and now in the British
RIB 258 Tombstone of Titus Valerius Pudens of Second Legion,
Adiutrix Found at No 2 Monson Street in 1849. Now in British Museum.
RIB 262 Tombstone of Sacer, son of Bruscus, a citizen of the
Senones, set into the church tower of St Mary le Wigford, Lincoln
RIB 256 Tombstone of Lucius Sempronius Flavinus of the Ninth
Legion, a Spaniard. From no 17, Lindum Road, Lincoln
Tombstone of a Boy holding a pet Hare, formerly in Lincoln Cathedral
RIB 263 Tombstone of Claudia Crysis,who lived to the age of 90.
RIB 251 Found in 1785, just to the west of the Newport Arch.
Tombstone of Flavius Helius a Greek by race, lived 40 years. Flavia
Ingenua set this up for her husband.
Sculpture of Cupid and Psyche, Found in excavations on the Old Cinema
Grand Electric site in Hungate Lincoln in 1985
Legio IX Hispana
List of Roman Sites in Lincolnshire
^ "Jones" (2002). Roman Lincoln: Conquest, Colony and Capital, pg 34.
^ "Jones" (2002).34.
^ "Jones" (2002).34.
^ Whitwell J.B. (1970), Roman Lincolnshire, History of Lincolnshire,
Vol 2. pg27
^ "Jones" (2002).119.
^ Delamarre, Xavier, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Errance, 2003
(2nd ed.), p. 203.
^ Rivet A.L.F. & Smith C. (1979), The Place-Names of Roman
Britain, Batsford, pg.393.
^ "Jones", (2002),pg. 51-2
^ "Jones" (2002) pg 31
^ "Jones" (2002) pg. 51
^ "Jones", (2002), 119
^ Bede, History of the English Church and People, book 2, chapter 16.
Latin: "16. Praedicabat autem Paulinus uerbum etiam prouinciae
Lindissi, quae est prima ad meridianam Humbre fluminis ripam,
pertingens usque ad mare, praefectumque Lindocolinae ciuitatis, cui
nomen erat Blaecca, primum cum domu sua conuertit ad Dominum."
English: "16. Paulinus also preached the Word to the province of
Lindsey, which is the first on the south side of the river Humber,
stretching as far as the sea; and he first converted to the Lord the
reeve of the city of Lincoln, whose name was Blaecca, with his whole
^ "Thompson" (1954), 108-9 and Pl.VII
^ “Whitwell”, (1970), pp. 31-33.
^ ”Richmond” (1946), p.37
^ ”Jones”(2002), pp96-98
^ Archaeologists Find Evidence Romans Used Lincoln Aqueduct .
^ ’‘Thompson’’ (1954), 110,- the ceramic pipe, formerly in
Lincoln City and County Musem is illustrated on PlateVII, C
^ ”Baker” (1985), 19 , fig 9
^ Darling 1984. Darling, M. J., Roman Pottery from the Upper Defences,
Lincoln Archaeological Trust. Monograph, 16/2, Council for British
Archaeology for the Lincoln Archaeological Trust, London.
^ Webster G and Booth, Antiquaries Journal, Vol 40, pp214-40
^ "Whitwell" (1970), pp108-114
^ Loughlin, N. 1977. 'Dales Ware: a contribution to the study of Roman
coarse pottery', in Peacock (ed.) 1977. Pottery and Early Commerce:
Characterisation and trade in Roman and Later Ceramics. London, 85-146
^ RIB 250 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/250
^ RIB 258 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/258
^ RIB 262 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/262
^ RIB 256 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/256
^ RIB 263 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/263
^ RIB 251 https://romaninscriptionsofbritain.org/inscriptions/251
Baker F. T.(1985) A Lifetime with
Lincolnshire Archaeology: Looking
back over 60 years. The Society for
Lincolnshire History and
Colyer C. et al (ed. Jones M.J. (1999), The Defences of the Lower
City: Excavations at the Park and West Parade 1970-2 and the
discussion of other sites excavated up to 1994. CBA Research Report
Collingwood R. G. and Wright R.P. rev edition Tomlin R.S.O, (1995),
Inscriptions of Roman Britain, Alan Sutton, Stround.
Darling M. and Precious B. (2014), A Corpus of Roman Pottery from
Lincoln Oxbow Books ISBN 978-1-78297-054-5
Jones M.J. et al, (1980), The Defences of the Upper Roman Enclosure.
Council for British Archaeology/Lincoln Archaeological Trust.
Jones M.J., (2002), Roman Lincoln: Conquest, Colony and Capital,
Tempus, Stroud. ISBN 9780752414553
Richmond, Sir I. A. (1946) The Roman City of Lincoln and the Four
Colonia of Roman Britain, Archaeological Journal Vol. 103, 25-68.
Steane K. et al (2016), The Archaeology of the Lower City and Adjacent
Suburbs, Oxbow. ISBN 9781782978527
Thompson F H.(1954), The Roman Aqueduct at Lincoln, Archaeological
Journal, Vol. 111, pp. 106–128.
Thompson F H. and Whitwell J.B. (1973), The Gates of Roman Lincoln,
Archaeologia Vol. 104, 126-207.
Trollope Rev E. and A. Trollope (1860) Roman Inscriptions and
sepulchral remains at Lincoln, Archaeological Journal, 1860, pp
Webster G. , (1949), The Legionary Fortress at Lincoln, Journal of
Roman Studies 39 (1949), 57-78.
Whitwell J.B. (1970), Roman Lincolnshire, History of Lincolnshire, Vol
Lincoln City and County Museum (c. 1995). A Walk about Roman Lincoln.
Lincoln: Lincoln City Council.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lindum Colonia.
Major towns of Roman Britain
Placenames in brackets are either present-day names or counties where
the towns formerly existed.
Corinium Dobunnorum (Cirencester)
Deva Victrix (Chester)
Durovernum Cantiacorum (Canterbury)
Isca Augusta (Caerleon)
Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter)
Isurium Brigantum (Aldborough)
Lindum Colonia (Lincoln)
Noviomagus Reginorum (Chichester)
Ratae Corieltauvorum (Leicester)
Venta Belgarum (Winchester)
Venta Silurum (Caerwent)
Verulamium (St Albans)
Viroconium Cornoviorum (Wroxeter)
Calleva Atrebatum (Hampshire)
Venta Icenorum (Norfolk)
List of Roman place name