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HER 549

Leintwardine is in the north-west of the county, close to the Shropshire border. The village lies on the line of the Roman road commonly known as Watling Street, which ran north to south from Wroxeter in Shropshire to Caerleon in Monmouthshire. Around the village may be traced the outline of a large, rectangular earthwork bank that encloses an area of 14 acres. Outside the bank was a ditch or fosse, and there were entrances on the east side and at the south-west corner.

In the 12th Iter (journey) of the Antonine Itinerary, Bravinium or Bravonium is recorded as situated 24 miles from Magna (Kenchester) and 27 from Viroconium (Wroxeter), and as it is likely to have been on Watling Street Leintwardine has been identified as the site of this Roman town.

The site is on the northern bank of the river Teme at its junction with the river Clun, and it occupies rising ground. The modern High Street was originally on the line of Watling Street, but this now lies to the east of the village, outside the embankment. The embankments around Leintwardine can still be easily traced; they are c. 20m wide and stand c. 3m above the surrounding ground. They form a rectangle c. 308m long north to south and c. 220m east to west.

At a depth of c. 1.3-1.6m below the surface within the fort is frequently found a layer of ashes and burnt materials, and from c. 0.3-0.4m below this is a further charred layer. Graves dug in the churchyard to a depth of almost 1m have revealed tiles, pottery, coins and bronze articles, mixed with ashes and charcoal. Along with the other areas of charred soil and wheat, this points to the fact that Bravonium was destroyed by fire, like Magna (Kenchester) and Ariconium (Weston under Penyard).

At Walford, not far from Leintwardine, an urn was discovered in 1736, in a tumulus on the right hand side of the road leading to Brampton Bryan. The urn is described as Roman, of yellow ware, with beading round the middle and base. It was 45cm in height. Unfortunately, the urn was broken open in the hope that it contained money, but only human bones and earth were found.

At Letton, three miles east of Leintwardine, a gold coin of the Emperor Tiberius was found about 1789. The obverse side bore the head of Tiberius and TI. CAESAR AUG. F. AUG. DIVI; on the reverse was a seated figure with lance and laurel branch, with the words PONTIF. MAXIM.

[Original author: Miranda Greene, 2004]