The Roman Road from Coddenham to Long Melford

Margary Number: 34a

Distance: 16.5 miles

One of Suffolk's straightest Roman roads linking the two settlements of Coddenham and Long Melford. The incredible straight alignment of this road is for some reason not on Coddenham but to its north.

The first half of this road as far as Bildeston was part of Iter IX.



Historic Counties: Suffolk

Current Counties: Suffolk

HER: Suffolk



mini map

Lidar Image - Full Route

Apart from the dog-leg at the start, the route could not have been straighter. A little bit of uncertainty at the Long Melford end for its final approach.

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full route

Gallows Hill - Bing Map

The route from Coddenham seems to have been set out from Gallows Hill at a height of 27 metres or alternatively a back sight on Beacon Hill was used. Which ever it was the chosen spot it is off-line so there must have been a good reason - but what? I could find no direct connection to Margary 34b.

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gallows hill

Lidar Image and Route Map 1

From Gallows Hill the very straight alignment begins and heads through Wattisham Airfield.

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Roman Road approaching Wattisham Airfield

Appropriately named Roman Road heading towards Wattisham Airbase. The road obviously went through the airfield and is now severed but re-emerges on the other side as Needham Lane. The latter is now just a footpath.

Image: Google

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Lidar Image and Route Map 2

The actual junction and route at Bildeston is perhaps speculative. There are some Lidar traces that it more or less went straight on rather than deviated into the village.

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Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Bildeston

The junction with the road down from Ixworth. This was the route of Iter IX.

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3D lidar

Lidar Image and Route Map 3

Just the slightest of kinks to negotiate the valley at Brent Eleigh.

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Washmere Green

The modern road is dwarfed by the size of the Roman agger that it sits on. The Roman south ditch is way over to the left.

Image: Google

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washmere green

Lidar Image and Route Map 4

The approach to Long Melford is no longer a straight alignment - it would have have had to climb over a hill where today there are old sand pits. Passing to the north of the hill was most likely. The roads's overall alignment would suggest that it was aiming to approach Long Melford south of Chad Brook and finally along Bull Lane.

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Bull Lane, Long Melford

The Roman road probably entered Long Melford down Bull Lane where it would join up with the Roman road from Ixworth.

Image: Google

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bull lane

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Last update: March 2020

© David Ratledge