Notes: Located near Coventry the fort is well sign posted and has its own car park. Note that the facility has fairly limited opening hours normally linked with Coventry School Holidays.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
The marked out layout of an excavated Roman Fort unusual in layout due to the inclusion of a large horse training facility within the perimeter. Some of the structures within have been re-created including the Gatehouse, Granary and Gyrus. There is also a small museum with a full colour version of the Trajan Column Frieze.
1. Situated in the heartland of the Dobunni, a tribe that had been loyal to the Romans and probably had pre-invasion trading links, there is no evidence to suggest a military presence in the region prior to the Bouidca revolt of AD 60/1.
2. There was a fourth Legion in Britain at the time of the Boudica revolt. Based in Exeter the Second Augustian Legion (Legio II Augusta) did not answer Paulinus’ command to rendezvous on the Watling Street.
3. The term ‘Lunt’ is a medieval term derived from ‘laund’ meaning ‘wooded slope’. Given the relatively short lifespan of the fort there are no known records detailing its Roman name.
Built at the convergence point between two key roads, Lunt Roman Fort was established immediately following the crushing of the Boudican rebellion in AD 60/1. Built to garrison a combined infantry/cavalry force that was able to respond quickly to any re-ignition of resistance it was occupied for around 20 years.
HISTORY OF LUNT ROMAN FORT
Roman mismanagement of the Iceni tribe in East Anglia led to rebellion in AD 60; coupled with the Trinovantes tribe the Iceni rebelled against Roman rule and advanced towards Colchester. A half hearted attempt to deal with the situation by sending military logisticians failed with them being annihilated. The deployment of the first cohort of the Ninth Legion (Legio IX Hispana) met the same fate with only a few of the mounted soldiers escaping. Boudica's forces then destroyed the Roman settlements at Colchester (Camulodunum), London (Londinium) and St Albans (Verulamium) massacring the populace. With the province in crisis Governor Suetonius Paulinus summoned all available forces; with the Fourteenth Legion (Legio XIV Germina) supported by elements of the Ninth (Legion IX Hispana) and Twentieth (Legio XX Valeria Victrix) he engaged Boudica somewhere on Watling Street and massacred the rebels. Boudica allegedly committed suicide.
Lunt Roman Fort was built in the wake of this rebellion to garrison forces with good access to both Watling Street (running from Wroxeter to Dover) and Fosse Way (Exeter to Lincoln) in order to ensure that any subsequent re-kindling of the Boudican revolt could be quickly dealt with. Archaeological evidence has suggested that the garrison was a combined cavalry (120 mounted troops) and infantry (480 men) unit and differed from normal Roman Forts. Whereas most were a playing card shape - a standard layout based on a Roman marching camp with HQ, Commanders House and Granaries in the centre with barracks in each quarter - the Lunt had deformed east and west sides. This was both to enable the best use of the local topography and also due to an unusual structure within; a horse training facility called a Gyrus.
The Boudica rebellion did not re-ignite and the Lunt was decommissioned circa-AD80 as the army shifted its focus to Wales and then the North; the latter would see a bloody and protracted counter-insurgency which would bog down Roman forces for centuries to come.