Praetorio

AttestedPraetorio at one end of iter 1 of the Antonine Itinerary

Where:  Probably near the Yorkshire coast, most likely under Bridlington Priory, whose rectangular precinct is about the right size and shape for a Roman fort.  Onto it was built a church and then an Augustinian monastery, but archaeology there has so far not found anything particularly Roman, although the similarity with Dover suggests that any Roman port might lie under modern streets.  The distance (25 Roman miles) from Delgovicia is perfect if measurements were made from the edges of substantial settlements and the route went via straight segments to Settrington, then to Octon crossroads, then to Rudston monolith, and finally into Bridlington Old Town.

Name Origin:  Latin for ‘at the general's tent’.  Praetorium came to mean ‘residence of commander or governor, splendid country seat’, a common name throughout the Empire, such as where Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus.  Here it might mean a Roman headquarters for the conquest of the north, liaising with the fleet.  (Not to be confused with Praesidium.)  The name may even survive in Bridlington (Domesday Bretlinton), showing the same evolution of initial P into B as from Πρεττανια (Prettania) into Britannia.

NotesRudston is famous for its wealthy Roman villa and prehistoric traces.  Bridlington, on the Gypsey Race river, was probably where, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Hengest and Horsa landed in AD 449.  The name, spelled Ypwinesfleot or Hypwinesfleot or Heopwines fleot, referred to the fleot ‘estuary harbour’ of the *winn ‘pasture’ or winestra ‘on the left’ of the geáp ‘gape’.  Traditional attribution to Ebbsfleet in Kent is a mistake.  Known Roman signal stations on the coast, such as at Filey or at Scarborough TA05168917 were too late to appear in the Itinerary, but they and roads heading towards them indicate continuing Roman interest.  The coastline of Holderness in eastern Yorkshire is eroding more rapidly than almost anywhere else in Europe, so it is quite possible that Roman installations have been lost to the sea.  Modern Bridlington Harbour is around the mouth of Gypsey Race, a winterbourne, but see also about Ptolemy's Γαβραντουικων Ευλιμενος κολπος.  Good farmland in this area has made it rich in archaeological remains, such as several cursuses, dykes as evidence of the post-Roman expansion of Deira, and suggestive names such as Old Aldbrough near TA263388.  A small bronze plaque, highly portable but found at York, possibly set up by Demetrius of Tarsus who visited Britain in about AD 83, also mentions ΗΓΕΜΟΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΡΑΙΤΩΡΙΟΥ ‘governor's residence’.

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Last edited 1 September 2021     To main Menu