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ILCHESTER Old forms:



 YevilChester; from the river Ivel,

the camp or station on the Ivel.— We next come to the very queer case of Ilchester.

Why it should ever have existed out there on the moor is difficult to gather save for this— Roman roads crossed there, from Dorchester to the coast

by the Poldens, and from Seaton and)Axminster to Bath onwards the Fosse Way.

 The latter road at least was made very early, probably before a .d . 50, and some sort of Roman station may have been thought necessary in advance of the big British work at Cadbury.

 With the Roman name in mind, the visitor comes to Ilchester, and is profoundly disappointed; for not only does he find no Roman

trace there, but hardly anything at all, mediaeval or modern    

 ……..    Dont.. forget the waterways they were

the transport highways and if you care to reconstruct the geography

 things show a different coherant picture


. He crosses a bridge over the Ivel , and finds himself at a column (comparatively modern) at the apex of a triangle with two drab streets forking away as two sides of it.

 This column, where once stood the market cross, opposite the “ town hall” , is a tall cylindrical pillar with sundial

and weather vane: and the bridge  1825 with six

arches (there were seven in Leland’s time) is apparently near where a Roman ford was. It is a

melancholy case of decay: and the ordinary traveller

contents himself, perhaps, with the memory that

here were Roman crossroads, that there was a siege

in 1088, that Roger Bacon was born here in 1214,

and that the place was fortified in the Civil War.

One thing alone catches the eye, the small octagonal

tower of the church (St Mary’s), planted on a square

base; and on inspection of the interior you see one

or two signs of antiquity— a squint, and some corner

niches in the north chapel. Unaided we are completely nonplussed, and so we have recourse to

Mr Alfred Warbis, whose booklet Ilchester (Murray

& Co., Yeovil) is an excellent example of what may

be done by patient reconstruction of a town which

has buried its past. Ilchester is generally said to be

the Ischalis of Ptolemy and the Antonine Itinerary,

but this is quite inaccurate, first, because the latitude

and longitude of Ischalis put it near the mouth of the

Axe, twenty-seven miles W. of Bath: and second,

because Ischalis does not appear in the Antonine

Itinerary. It has been known as Ivelcestre, Yevilcestre, Givelcestre, and Ivelchester. At the Conquest

it was a borough with 107 burgesses and a Wednesday

Mengele ,