28th September 2014: Old post updated
It’s interesting how, since starting this blog, I’ve begun noticing things more. Apropos the subject of this post it’s less a case of noticing and more a case of paying some actual attention. Kiln Park West Swindon a case in point.
I live in West Swindon and regularly walk to the West Swindon Centre, my route to which traverses an area of open ground that forms a sort of ‘no-man’s land’ between the villages of Grange Park, Westlea and Freshbrook. On this area there sits a tree. The tree once was circled by a bench – now long gone.
However, what does still circle the tree are clay tiles. Clearly I’ve noticed both the tree and the tiles before but haven’t, until now, really given any thought about the message they bear:
Kiln Park 150 AD – 1989 with patterned tiles in between the tiles with text on them.
Roman History of Kiln Park West Swindon
Back in the day when the Romans were stamping around this area there was a large Roman pottery industry in West Swindon. Certainly the ground here is all clay. I eventually got rid of my lawn because it either was so dry and hard that it had cracks like the San Andreas Fault running through it – or it was like Flanders.
‘The Roman town of Durocornovium was located at Covingham, the junction of two Roman roads, the Ermin Way and the road south to Mildenhall (Cunetio). The Ermin Way connected London via Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum ) to Cirencester ( Corinium Dobunnorum ), the second largest Roman town after London.’
It is probable then that Swindon first began life as a settlement linked to a military encampment in the early days of the Roman occupation. The place that is now Swindon lay on the junction of two Roman roads. One leading south from Cirencester towards Marlborough and the other south eastwards to Silchester ( Ermin Street). Evidence exists to show that Swindon’s quarries were in use at this time to produce stone for villas and clay from the Whitehill region (now West Swindon) was used to produce Whitehill Ware pottery.
All of which is really rather fab and interesting is it not? An example of the seemingly small and mundane things that, at face value, appear insignificant but yet have history and stories behind them.