Monday, November 14, 2011

1,800-year-old Roman well unveiled in Bingham

1,800-year-old Roman well unveiled in Bingham | This is Nottingham

1,800-year-old Roman well unveiled in Bingham

Saturday, November 12, 2011 Nottingham Post Follow

AN 1,800-year-old Roman well was today being unveiled to the public.

The well, which dates back to about 160AD, was found in 2009 by a group of archeologists.

​ Bingham Heritage Trails Association chairman Pete Allen and vice-chairman Geoff Ashton at the reconstructed Roman well in Bingham Cemetery

But it was in the route of the A46 road-widening scheme, and had to be dug up and moved stone by stone.

From today it will be available for public viewing at the Bingham Cemetery, in The Banks, a few miles from where it was found.

Pete Allen, chairman of community group The Bingham Heritage Trail Association, which campaigned for the well’s restoration, said: “It is a piece of history that deserves to be kept for the enjoyment of the public.” The well was discovered by archeologists as they checked land which was to become the new A46 dual carriageway.

The experts could tell the well was Roman from the way it was built, the formation of the stones, and because it was discovered close to the ancient site of Margidunum, an old Roman town on the outskirts of Bingham.

Road contractors Balfour Beatty paid for two archeologists to carefully dismantle the well so the stones could be reconstructed elsewhere.

They were then stored in the garage of trail association member Geoff Ashton while the group tried to raise money for it to be re-built.

Donations of more than £2,500 came from Notts County councillor Martin Suthers and Bingham Town Council.

Mr Allen said its reconstruction “was a real exercise in community spirit.” He said: “Everyone has come together on this for the greater good of the public. I think the cemetery is the perfect site for the well.” Today’s unveiling ceremony was being attended by the town’s Mayor Maureen Stockwood, Mr Suthers, and a representative from Balfour Beatty.

Mr Allen has also discovered that the cemetery, founded in 1888, was originally intended as an arboretum and has a wide selection of rare trees planted in it. The association has now labelled these trees and created a walking path through the site for people to enjoy. “We want it be an educating experience for people,” said Mr Allen.

Highways Agency senior manager Geoff Bethel, said: “For the Highways Agency, archaeological surveys are an important part of developing a road scheme.

“The well was an exciting find as it taught the archaeologists much more about Margidunum than was already known.

“We were delighted to be able to donate it to Bingham Heritage Trail Association and are pleased so many members of the community will be able to see it in its new position.

“We hope it gives people in Bingham an understanding about the Roman community that was here before.”