by 'Simon Straight'
While not exactly a gold-mine of historic remains, Burton Latimer has as interesting a past as many other more famous places in this area.
As is well-known, the whole area seems to be a happy-hunting-ground for Roman remains enthusiasts, and
Mr. Douglas Ashby, urban councillor and active resident in the town, was telling me the other day about the Roman coins found here and the rumour that a Roman settlement stood where the town now is, and before that, possibly a Saxon habitation.
"Several Roman coins have been found on the farm of Mr. W. D. Evans, across the road from the rumoured Roman road which has been dug up." said Mr. Ashby.
North of the church seems to have been a favourite place for Romans to bury their coins, or whatever they did with them, for several more have been discovered there, and near St. Crispins Close.
"It seems quite possible that there was a Roman pavement running under the High Street, so why not a Roman settlement nearby?" asks Mr. Ashby.
Why not, indeed - and as the A6 is still an important road running from Carlisle to
But the Saxon times are like the Dark Ages - very little is known about those days.
A large area in Burton Latiiner, known as the Wold, was being excavated for farming purposes some time ago, when the diggers uncovered a Saxon urn. Only one person saw its contents - a child's skull. For the skull disintegrated when the seal was broken and the air allowed in.
A rather gruesome find, but nevertheless an interesting one. Another find was a portion of stonework from a Saxon church yard, probably from a cross. "But when the church was restored about a hundred years ago it was buried in the tower floor, which strikes me as a stupid thing to do," said Mr. Ashby, who has an old drawing of the fragment.
A final flight of fancy is that the Manor House may stand on the site of a Saxon Thane's residence - the hillocks and bumps surrounding it indicate some kind of building or upheaval.All very interesting - but most of it I am afraid, is only theories.
To read about later Roman finds click here