We started our 2019 programme on 10th January with Ron Gallivan telling us why the Romans left Britain. After initial exploratory landings by Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 BC a full-scale invasion did not take place until 43AD under the Emperor Claudius. Britain was seen to be a rich country able to supply produce for the Empire, salt from Droitwich being one important commodity. The Romans built 10,000 miles of road, introduced standard measurements for distance and weight, a justice system and the Pax Romana by providing legionnaires to counter Irish, Scottish and Saxon raids. To deal with continual rebellions in Europe, legionnaires were replaced by auxiliaries (mercenaries) and, as troubles in the rest of the Empire escalated, so this exodus grew until the legionnaires were withdrawn completely and Britannia had to fend for itself following the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. The talk was accompanied by some excellent artist’s impressions of life in Roman Britain (at least for the better off), including farms, villas and towns also the many sophisticated aids to comfortable living. When the army withdrew and the administrative system gradually broke down, Britannia went into a commercial decline. The whole system created by the Romans gradually disintegrated as efforts had to be concentrated on attempting to repel numerous invaders. The critical event was the Battle of Dyrham, South Gloucestershire, in 577 when the Romano-British lost the cities of Bath, Cirencester and Gloucester to the Saxons, thereby hastening the end of Britannia. Our talk on January 17th will be “The Blue Lamp” by Richard Dickinson (to be confirmed) and on 24th January Howard Robinson will be speaking about “The History of Bell Ringing”. We meet at 10:00 every Thursday at The Boathouse, Evesham Rowing Club. Full details can be found on our website www.eveshamprobus.co.uk

Alan Smith