Norfolk History - The Romans

Published: Thursday 10th May 2018

Written by: Georgia Dawson

Norfolk has a rich history of invasion and conquest; however it was the Romans who got here first and make their mark on the country. Boudicca was queen of the Iceni people of East Anglia. She was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni. When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they let Prasutagus continue to rule.

However when he died in AD 59 or 60, the kingdom was split in two – Prasutagus left one half to Roman emprorer Nero and the other to Boudicca. Under Roman law, a woman had no right to inherit her husband’s property. Therefore, the Romans decided to rule Iceni and took all the tribe’s belongings. 

In AD 60, Roman governor Gauis Suotonius Paulinus headed a campaign in North Wales and backed by her anger, Boudicca and the Iceni revolted against the oppressors.

Boudicca’s hordes defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the capital of Roman Britain at the time, Colchester. They went on to destroy London and St Albans, before surrendering to Paulinus.

The defeat contributed to the 350-year period of Roman rule of Britain. Some sites of this period include:

Huge hillforts - Gallows Hill, Thetford and Warham Camp, north of Fakenham

This site was once a location of a major ceremonial centre that Boudicca would have known. 

Huge hillfort, Warham Camp, north of Fakenham. 

Icknield Way, Snettisham 

The ancient trackway may have been named after the Iceni.

River Ouse  

The river’s original name was the River Iken, which is where the name Iceni might have derived from.

Brettenham, Peddars Way, east of Therford

This site used to be a Roman settlement and was built by in order to quckly transport troops up to The Wash and Brancaster, where they had a fort protecting North Norfolk.


Caister St Edmunds

At Caister St Edmunds, there are tall flint walls of a Roman Town. The town is on the route of the Boudicca Way, between Norwich and Diss.

Burgh Castle

Visitors can stand among massive Roman flint walls overlooking Breydon Water, just inland from Great Yarmouth. Sections of the gateway and defences of another fort can also be seen at Caister-on-Sea.

Georgia Dawson
Georgia Dawson



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