past few years we have had many talks - about individuals, the
landscape and the history of the area. Many of these
reports have been published in our parish magazine. Have a
browse by clicking on either the drop-down list or an
In the past few years we have had many talks - about individuals,
the landscape and the history of the area.Many of these reports
have been published in our parish magazine. Have a browse by
clicking on either the drop-down list or an appropriate button.
“Very tall, terrifying, with a
mass of tawny hair”: a Romanchronicle description of
Boudicca over one hundred yearsafter her death. We have only the
Romans to tell us whathappened and they probably played
down her achievements– but she certainly got under their
skin.Clothed in coarsely woven materials,
with hair to her waistand carrying an eight-foot spear
Molly Housego looked very much the part when
she addressed a near capacity audience in the
Methodist Church, and was no doubt instrumental in
the fact the eight new members signed up on the
Most of us will have heard of
Boudicca’s fame as a great warrior who challenged
the might of the Roman Empire, but do we know how
and why a woman should have come to this role at so
unlikely a time? It seems to come down to two
things: a culture clash almost deliberately provoked
and a royal woman most decidedly scorned.
Contrary to popular belief, the
Romans, in 43 AD, did not really invade but came
seeking trade, although they were resisted. The fact
that they also chose to stay did not seem to matter
too much and, for twenty years, the Druidic-based
Britons quietly absorbed the incomers. But then the
Romans began to build temples and put up statues
venerating their God Emperors. Druid leaders raised
objections so Nero sent an army to Anglesey to sort
things out, leading to a great massacre of the Druid
One of the people defending
Anglesey was Boudicca’s husband, king of the Iceni
tribe, and he was killed. Boudicca now expected to
inherit his position but the Romans would have
nothing of it. They denied her right to rule,
confiscated her wealth and had her publicly flogged
in Thetford. To make matters worse they then had her
two teen-age daughters raped by Roman soldiers.
So Boudicca’s revolt was rapidly
underway. Other tribal rulers joined her and she was
eventually able to lead an army of 200,000.
Colchester was attacked, the castle burned down and
people massacred for having collaborated with the
Romans in what was their capital city. St Albans was
similarly treated and then Boudicca headed off
towards Anglesey to avenge the slaughter there.
By this time the Romans were on
their way back from Anglesey and the twoarmies met, probably near
Mancetter(on the A5 Roman road in NorthWarwickshire).
Although outnumberedthe highly trained and
disciplinedRoman foot- soldiers
easily defeatedthe more individualistic Britons, inspite of their use of horses andchariots.
simply disappeared. Was she killed on the
battlefield or did she die later from injuries or
illness? A grave is yet to be discovered. But she
remains in our memory, partly thanks to her
greatest fan, Queen Victoria, during whose reign
the magnificent but rather idealistic monument was
erected near London Bridge.