Many people are well acquainted with the occupation and existence of Romans in Britain, from London, to as far north as Scotland. What might be lesser known is an area in the southwest end of Deansgate, Manchester, containing the ruins of an ancient military fortress Mamucium. Also referred to as Mancunium, is a pre-existing Roman compound in the Castlefield area at the intersection of Duke Street and Beaufort Street.
Even the city’s name is derived from the Latinization for “breast,” or to be generally etymologically accepted “breast-like hill.” Constructed sometime around 79 CE, Mamucium was ideally situated between the confluence of two rivers, the Medlock and Irwell. This was a strategic move to protect consequential roads between the trading posts of Chester and York. This fortification was manned by nearly 500 soldiers and was rebuilt on at least three occasions, the last time being in 200 CE. Eventually, the stronghold was abandoned sometime after 410 CE.
Today, visitors are invited to freely roam around Castlefield, the United Kingdom’s first Urban Heritage Park. Highlights include a reconstruction of a gatehouse, the remains of the original Roman roadway, along with numerous other stone building foundations. There are several posted placards throughout, that give the history and drawings of what this once-former garrison used to be like.