Fosse Way

View archive gallery
Square tr
Square tr
Square tr
Square tr
Square tr
Square tr
Square tr

Local Sponsors

More information

The Fosse Way was a Roman road built in during the first and second centuries CE that linked Exeter in the southwest and Lincoln to the northeast, via Ilchester Bath, Cirencester and Leicester. The word Fosse is derived from the Latin fossa, meaning 'ditch'. For the first few decades after the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 CE, the Fosse Way marked the western frontier of Roman rule in Iron Age Britain. It is possible that the road began as a defensive ditch that was later filled in and converted into a road, or possibly a defensive ditch ran alongside the road for at least some of its length. This camera was installed and is maintained by the Environment Agency and can be viewed here. All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0.   Sherston is a very attractive village set in the north-west of Wiltshire. The village is about 5.5 miles from both Malmesbury and Tetbury. The older part is on a spur of land formed by the Sherston branch of the River Avon, with the earliest settlement on the flat top of this spur around the church. There is little evidence of prehistoric activity although there was a bank and a ditch to the west of the church. This could have been defensive or it might have been a land boundary. Flint arrowheads have been found in the area with remains suggesting flint working, although flint does not occur naturally in the area. Roman coins have been discovered locally since the 17th century, not a surprising fact considering the Fosse Way is only 2 or 3 miles from the village. In 1987 a Romano British farm house was discovered near Vancelettes farm, to the north of the village. This was originally (c.350) a small house with one room for humans and two for animals although it was enlarged a little later. Farming was mainly sheep and cattle and some evidence of iron working was found. A stone sarcophagus containing the lead coffin of a child was found with other burials, mostly infants. The farmstead was attacked, possibly in the early 5th century and the remains of the owners were found under the fallen buildings. This may have been in an early raid following the withdrawal of Roman troops or it could have been a local dispute following the breakdown of law and order. Undoubtedly there was a Saxon settlement here and the first written record occurs in 896 when the name Scorranston is first mentioned. It is most likely that the settlement pre-dates this. The contentious matter of Rattlebone dates from the Saxon period, in the early 11th century. In the mid 17th century John Aubrey records the following piece of doggerel from Sherston.