Dorchester Roman Festival

I blogged about plans for this, earlier in the year. Now it’s upon us. From This is Dorset

TAKE a trip back in time this weekend as Dorchester hosts its first ever Roman Festival.

Held over two days and centred around the Roman Town House at County
Hall, it promises to be a fantastic opportunity to find out more about
Dorchester’s classical heritage.

Historical re-enactment team Legio II Augusta – named after the most
successful Roman legion to serve in Britain – will be billeted in the
town over the two days and will be marching through the town,
practising military drills and looking for new members in recruitment
and training drives at Maumbury Rings and Maiden Castle.

At the Town House you will be able to meet and talk to Roman
soldiers, aristocrats and slaves and learn about Roman cookery,
midwifery techniques, children’s toys and medical science. There will
also be storytelling with Tim Laycock and time with Dorset County
Council’s Family Learning Team.

A number of events are also taking part at Dorset County Museum in
High West Street, including a talk by Lindsey Davies, the author of the
hugely popular Falco detective novels. There will also be Roman craft
workshops for children.

Blue Badge Guide Christine McGhee is leading a walk around the
ancient town of Durnovaria and there are also plans for a walk to
Maiden Castle.

Festival organiser and Roman Town House heritage officer Sarah
Harbige is delighted that it is taking place and hopes it will take off
and be held every other year in future.

“There is a real move to make more of the town’s Roman heritage,
which has come in the wake of the revamp of the Roman Town House,” she
said. “It is a great opportunity to highlight the Romans’ influence on

“Kids will love the legion being in town, especially if they get the
chance to become a Roman recruit! The adults will be fascinated by it
all too as Legio II Augusta are very professional and extremely
knowledgeable. If you have any questions they will be able to tell you
the answers.”

Sarah joined the Town House team this year and is excited by what it could hold for the future.”

Dorchester’s Roman Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday,
August 30 and 31 in and around the town. Call Dorset County Museum on
01305 262735 for full details and event bookings.


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