The Roman Road from Coddenham to Stratford St Andrew

Margary Number: 340

Distance: 17 miles

Another certain road to another uncertain destination. One of Suffolk's great puzzles. Where did this Roman road, and the others that head to east Suffolk, have as their destination?.We now know there not heading for site called Sitomagus!

Our road runs to the south of Margary 34b but logically it should have a different destination otherwise why build two roads? The route is pretty secure to Stratford St Andrew - this name also is a quite convincing clue to presence of a Roman road. Beyond here though then the road gets much more elusive. It could serve possible destinations around Orford and/or Aldeburgh. Definitely work in progress.



Historic Counties: Suffolk

Current Counties: Suffolk

HER: Suffolk



mini map

Lidar Image - Full Route

The initial alignment from Coddenham to Clay Lane was unknown. However with the advent of Lidar we can now fill in this gap. The explanation was it changed direction there so searching on the line of the known length did not locate the road.


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full route

Coddenham - OS First Edition Map

The Roman road branched off the road to Peasenhall east of the fort and headed through Shrubland Park to Clay Lane. This link to Clay Lane was previously unknown.

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Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Coddenham to Clopton Corner

The route is very clear all the way to beyond the appropriately named Clopton Corner.

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3d lidar

Lidar Image and Route Map 1

The alignment of Clay Lane is well to the south of Coddenham site which was probably the reason that the course of the road from the fort was lost. It is quite a big dog-leg there leading many to guess the road carried straight on rather than turning to the fort.

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Clay Lane

The big ditch on the left hand side (north) looks a modern re-cut. The Roman agger would have been much wider - around 8 metres.

Image: Google

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clay lane

Lidar Image and Route Map 2

A little deviation to negotiate Otley Bottom. It was here that Elizabeth Owles proved the road in 1967 - see below. Her excavation spot is just about visible still in the Lidar imagery.

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Otley Bottom Excavation 1967

The road was excavated at Otley Bottom by Elisabeth Owles in 1967. Her findings:-.

A trench four feet wide sevenyards from the west end of the track revealed the road and its flanking ditches (TM/21085433). The ditcheswere four feet wide and two feet deep from the present ground surface; the distance between them was twenty-five feet (Fig. 30). The road was made up of rammed gravel eight inches thick in the centre; it was not possible to estimate the original thickness because evidently considerable damage had been caused by the plough. The gravel was thinner and less dense near the north ditch. The southern edge of the road had been destroyed when a hedge, which followed its course, was grubbed up a few years ago. The soil here is heavy clay, but a fifth of a mile away, opposite the Crown Inn, is a gravel pit which may have been worked since Roman times. The only finds made were two minute fragments of Roman pottery from the north ditch.

Ref: A ROMAN ROAD AT OTLEY By ELIZABETH J. OWLES, B.A., F.S.A., Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History

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B1078 - Clopton Corner

Just beyond Clopton Corner the road changes alignment. Is this the source of the name Clopton Corner?

Image: Google

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Lidar Image and Route Map 3

For this section there is little evidence apart from the modern road. It is likely therefore that the B1078 into Wickham Market overlies the Roman road.

Elizabeth Owles also investigated what she described as a Roman Settlement at Lower Hacheston just beyond Wickham Market. This could have been the destination for our road but the existence of Knodishall Villa perhaps supports the fact that our road would have continued further east. Villas would not be in the middle of nowhere.

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Lidar Image and Route Map 4

Across that big bend in the modern road at Glemham Park then there are traces in the Lidar of the possible route of our road. In fact there look to be two parallel options - another one around 250 metres to the south-east of the one I have shown. It is not unusual for Roman roads to have two course - it usually means an upgrade or improvement occurred during the Roman era.

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River Alde Bridge - Stratford St Andrew

The name Stratford is a big clue that our Roman road ran through here. If correct then the modern bridge over the River Alde could well have been where the Roman crossed too. We are looking back to Stratford St Andrew in this view.

Image: Google

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Lidar Image - Knodishall Villa Location

Roman roads would not have a villa as a primary destination but villas would be located close to the road network. So our road, whilst not going to the villa, would surely have been within a mile or two.

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knodishall villa

Oblique 3D Lidar Image - Aldeburgh

Logically a destination on the Aldeburgh penisular would to be expected. There is a modern road which runs very directly to there so could be derived from a Roman alignment. Aldeburgh does appear to have lost much land to coastal erosion.

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3D lidar

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Last update: March 2020

© David Ratledge