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Frordd Las

Publid Road




Mynydd (8)

men at point (2a) was valueless. Then, taking the motor car they made a lengthy, circuitous and up-hill journey to Pen y Mynydd. A walk through the fields from the farm which lies here, brought them to where the public road intersects Ffordd Las and the farm road. Digging at point (9) there was ample inducement to leave others to make a complete section of the road, and other sections at point (9) in the field by the farm ; also to make a cut across the path which led, by an apparently artificial cutting, through the rock on which the farm buildings stand, over a small stream running by (8a). This work also had to be revisited later on. The first section showed an accumulation of vegetable mould of 12 in. to 14 in. depth, under which an old road 9 ft. to 10 ft. wide was discovered, constructed of 14 in. of rubble of the shaley stone of the district, placed on the clay which constitutes the covering of the whole of this upland. The other field sections (90) gave no returns; they were purely clay. A mistake had been made in following the course of the farm road instead of directing the men to cut on a straight line across the moorland to the farm (96), where Ffordd Las may possibly have been picked up. The cutting across the stream (8a) showed some deposit of rubble beneath the accumulated mould. It should be mentioned that the stream now runs under the modern raised road which intersects it, and leads to the precipitous track before described.

Returning to Eglwys Bach, and walking thence to Lletty and Llyn Syberi, a raised causeway was noted at the bottom of the hill which needs some further examination. The road is practically the bed of a small stream, and a similar causeway is reported in another part of the village, raised under similar conditions.

Lletty (5). The building found here and used as a farm house is modern, save the first story, which consists of three arched vaults used as stabling. The bricks of the arch are not modern, but only an expert

could determine whether they are of Roman or Mediæval manufacture. In the adjacent pig - stye, a dark-coloured tile was noticed, let into the wall. It is said that several such tiles are to be found in the neighbourhood, and these will be hunted for.

Some critics may argue that the results are not conclusive, but taken in the light of the following facts they may fairly be held as fully sufficient to establish the direct route of the Roman road to Kanovium.

(a) It leads to a fordable point on the river. (b) The almost complete subjugation of North

b Wales occurred, according to Professor Haverfield, 78-90 A.D., after Agricola's expedition to Mona.

(c) The established Camp of Kanovium was limited in area ; sufficient only for probably not more than five centuriæ, say, half a cohort, with perhaps a small accompaniment of horsemen.

There was little fighting to be done, and possibly only a small force was needed to keep in order the surrounding tribes, whose camps were near by.

Segontium, though a more important station, was not of much larger size, and could not have contained many more soldiers. Thus there was no necessity for a great military road into North Wales (via militaria) such as is found elsewhere in Britain. Making their pioneer route, it may be assumed that the Roman engineers subsequently improved it by placing a rubble foundation. Traffic could not have been great at any time, the road perhaps almost exclusively a military one, and it only needed such firm deposit as would be afforded by 12 in. to 15 in. of rubble. There was no occasion for the various statumen, rudus, nucleus, and summa cresta, as was the rule for important roads. Mr. Codrington again, p. 393, speaks of the Roman Road found near Sandbach, which was identical in structure with that of Ffordd Las, and not very dissimilar from the other sections cut on this expedition.

(d) Roman roads varied in character as may be learnt from Mr. Codrington's book, and that on the same subject – by Messrs. Forbes and Burmesterboth which any future investigators into the extremely interesting matter of Roman roads would do well to master. The great trunk roads (militaria), the subsidiary military roads (limites), ways and lanes, should be understood; these last divided into L. Actuarii, 20 ft. to 24 ft. broad, and L. Linarii, about 8 ft. to 10 ft. or more, as needed. Ffordd Las, and the rest of the track worked out, answers to such description. Other roads of different titles need no present comment, though the whole country is a network of traditional Roman roads.

It may be assumed with confidence that the course sketched on the map was made out and used by the Romans during their occupation, and that the track was traversed to and fro by Suetonius and Agricola : a little piece of sentimentality that is, perhaps, permissible!

The work done could not possibly have been accomplished in the nine hour's devoted to it but for the generous assistance and co-operation of Lord Abercon way and his son, to whom sincere thanks are due.

Further investigations will be proceeded with whenever possible. Indeed, many routes have already been walked over and points marked down. Much hope is felt that Milliaria (milestones), or boulders frequently used in default of cylindrical or squared stones, may yet be found, the former to add to the Milliaria of the reigns of Hadrian and Septimius Severus, now in the British Musemn. Additional papers will be submitted on completion of any important section, and though the assumed position of Varae is outside the area chosen by The Nant Conwy Antiquarian Society as their special ground for research, it is intended to spend some time in the neighbourhood of Denbigh and St. Asaph to endeavour to determine that place, but only

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after establishing the route further backward from Llangerniew.

The location of ruins of such stations as mansiones,

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