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43 – 1649


The Romans, from a city state in what is now Italy, arrived in Britain in the year AD43. By the end of the 2nd century most of Britain was ruled by the Romans.

The Romans had to fight to keep control and built forts and walls to guard the lands they had conquered. The most famous of these is Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches 73 miles across the north of England. The Romans built towns and villages which became places like St Albans and Colchester.

Evidence of the Romans living in Oxfordshire has been discovered by archaeologists. They discovered a Roman villa at North Leigh and a fort the Romans built a fort near what is now the town of Bicester. The fort was called Alchester and was built on the crossroads of two Roman roads. One of the roads was between two important towns in Roman Britain, Cirencester and St Albans.

When archaeologists dug up the Roman ruins at Alchester they found a gravestone of a Roman soldier, it had been smashed up to make a wall. A copy of this can be found in the garden of the museum in Woodstock.

Things to Do

Print your own worksheet to write down your answers on (Click Here - PDF)

How many years ago did the Romans Arrive in Britain?

How many years did the Romans control Britain for?

In which century did the Romans leave Britain?

Can you write the answers to the above in Roman numerals?

Can you find North Leigh on a map? Why might the Romans build a villa here?

You can use this link to Google Maps, or challenge yourself to find it on a Road Atlas!

Making a Roman Mosaic

Romans would decorate their buildings with statues, paintings and mosaics. Mosaics are pictures made up of small squares of coloured stone. 

They are laid out to make patterns or pictures.

Roman Mosaic, photo by RGY23 from Pixabay

Design Your Own Mosaic

You can make your own mosaic using squares of paper.

Use different coloured paper and chop them up into squares. They don’t need to be exactly the same, just roughly square and roughly the same size.

Draw a frame for the mosaic, use some graph paper, or Download a Mosaic Sheet to build your Roman mosaic.

Place your squares of paper to make a picture or design.

When you are happy with your design glue the squares on to the paper.

If you would rather draw your mosaic, you can colour in your mosaic grid instead.

Helpful Hint #1: Roman Numerals

Roman numerals are made up of the following symbols/letters with these values

I = ONE 1 V = FIVE 5

X = TEN 10 L = FIFTY 50



There are never more than 3 Roman numerals in a row so to write numbers like 4 or 9 a subtraction system is used.

For example:

4 is written as IV 9 is written as IX 40 is written as XL

The year 1919 would be written as MCMXIX

Helpful Hint #2: Years, decades and stuff

  • A year is the time it takes for the earth to orbit the sun, it is 365 days long.
  • A decade is 10 years.
  • A century is 100 years.
  • A millennium is 1000 years.

Names of years

The name of the century is always one number before the actual number of the year. For example, the 1900s was the 20th century.

This happens because the 1st century was made up of the years 1 – 99. That meant the 100 – 199 became the 2nd century.

AD or BC?

BC – BC stands for ‘before Christ’, the time before Jesus Christ was born.

AD – stands for ‘Anno Domini’ which is Latin for ‘in the year of the Lord’. This is the year that Jesus Christ was born.

BCE – stands for Before Common Era, can be used instead of BC

CE – stands for Common Era, can be used instead of AD

Years in BC/BCE count backwards so 100BC comes before 10BC, it is the opposite for AD/CE which go up so 100AD comes after 10AD.


After the Romans left there were invasions by Saxons and in the 11th century the Norman Conquest of Britain. Oxfordshire was not really troubled by war until the 17th century and the English Civil War between the King and Parliament.

A civil war is a fought between 2 sides from the same country. In this case the Members of Parliament (MPs) did not like the way the King, Charles I was ruling England and Scotland. The King introduced taxes that were unfair and did not allow people to follow the Christian religion in their own ways. The war in 1642 started when the King tried to arrest 5 MPs.

The two sides became known as Roundheads and Cavaliers. The Parliament’s soldiers were called Roundheads, a name given to them by the King’s men. It was a rude name based on their short haircuts. The Cavaliers got their name from their long flowing hair, a sign of wealth and privilege. It was also meant as rude name but was taken on by the King’s men themselves.

The King used Oxford as his base from 1644 onwards. The Roundheads attacked several times and Oxford surrendered in April 1646. However, the King was not caught as he had escaped disguised as a servant. The King surrendered to the Scottish at Newark in Nottinghamshire. The Scots handed the King over to the Parliamentarians and he was imprisoned by them in different parts of the country.

  • First near Holdenby in Northamptonshire, followed by…
  • Newmarket in Suffolk
  • Oatlands near Weybridge in Surrey
  • Hampton Court in Surrey
  • Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight
  • Hurst Castle in Hampshire
  • Windsor Castle in Berkshire

King Charles I was found guilty of treason and was executed on 30 January 1649 at Westminster in London.

Fun with Flags - Design Your Own!

Flags were used on the battlefield to show where your soldiers and were and where the enemy was. 

This was the Royal Standard or flag of King Charles I:


 Each symbol on the flag stood for one part of the kingdom, 3 Lions for England, harp for Ireland and the Red Lion for Scotland.

A lion is an example of how the symbols on a flag can represent things such as strength and bravery.

Designing Your Own Flag – Things to Think About

Shape – flags can be rectangular, square, triangular or a unique shape like the flag of Nepal. The two triangles represent the mountains of Nepal, the Himalayas.

Colour – strong colours work well, like red, blue, yellow. Some colours like black make people think of pirates so choose carefully. Some countries use blue to represent the sea.

Symbols – animals represent things. For example, an owl may mean wisdom, as do stars, or crosses. Some countries have used symbols such as tools to suggest hard work, for example, Angola.
The cog is for workers, the machete for farmers.

Things to Do

Using a road atlas of Great Britain complete the following tasks.

1. Find all the places that King Charles was kept prisoner. Write down the Grid Square reference for each place.

    Look below for Helpful Hint # 3 where we have used Holdenby as an example for you to follow.

Newmarket in Suffolk
Oatlands near Weybridge in Surrey
Hampton Court in Surrey 
Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight 
Hurst Castle in Hampshire 
Windsor Castle in Berkshire

2. Starting at Holdenby Hall in Northamptonshire write down the direction that the King travelled in between each place.
Road atlases will have a map of the counties of England.

Newmarket in Suffolk 
Oatlands near Weybridge in Surrey 
Hampton Court in Surrey 
Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight
Hurst Castle in Hampshire 
Windsor Castle in Berkshire 

Helpful Hint #3: Map Skills
The best thing to use for these activities would be a road atlas of the United Kingdom.

Finding the Places 

Let's use Holdenby as an example. Use the index to find the places and make a note of the map coordinates for Holdenby.
Road atlas coordinates will use letters and numbers.

For example: Holdenby House

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum
Park Street.
Oxfordshire OX20 1SN

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