Ermine Street

Ermine Street should not be confused with Ermin Street, the road from Silchester to Gloucester.

Ermine Street was the Anglo-Saxon name of a road in England that ran from London to Lincoln (Lindum) and York (Eboracum). It was named for a group called the Earningas, who inhabited an area that is now in Cambridgeshire. It is now sometimes called the Old North Road. It followed the route of an earlier, longer Roman road, begun in 43 AD, that ran from Chichester Noviomagus to York.


The course of Ermine Street

The section of Ermine Street from London to Royston, Hertfordshire is now part of the A10. At this point it crosses the Icknield Way. From Royston, it was formerly represented by the A14 to the A1 but now it is the A1198 to Godmanchester (Durovigutum) and ignoring bypasses and modern diversions, the road through Huntingdon to the Anconbury junction on the A1 gives the line. The section from Alconbury to Water Newton, ignoring modern bypasses such as that at Stilton, is represented by the A1. Ermine street used to pass through Durobrivae, the slight remains of which can be seen to the east, alongside the A1. The modern road returns to Ermine street north-west of Stamford, near Great Casterton, through which Ermine Street ran.

The post-Roman road wandered off for four kilometres through Colsterworth but Ermine Street continues as the B6403, through Ancaster (Causennae), to the A17. It then continues further, as a public right of way, easily walked, until Waddington airfield blocks it at Template:Gbmapping. The section north of Ancaster particularly this quieter part, is known as High Dike. It runs roughly parallel with and to the east of the A607 between Carlton Scroop and Harmston. The High Dike takes to the level, open, dry country of the Lincolnshire Heath while the the A607 wanders through the villages on the spring line below.

Another long section also remains, now the A15, running north out of Lincoln, past Scampton and Caenby Corner, as far as Kirton in Lindsey at Grid reference SE9698. Ermine Street then continues almost to the Humber at 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 53 kilometres, from the Newport Arch, the Roman north gate at Lincoln to the Parish of Winteringham along a road so slightly curved as to be regarded as straight. This may possibly have been the longest single section of straight road in England - ever.

Roman Winterinham was the terminal for the ferry to Petuaria on the north shore of the Humber. It is now known as Brough. From there, the road curved westwards to York.

English Settlement

This landing place on the south shore is significant too because 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.

See also

External links

  • Map of Roman roads in Britain ( - Very large map; opens in separate window.


  • 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 (1983)

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