|Sometime around A.D.60, the Roman invaders constructed the Ryknild Street: this crossed the old Salt Way, also used by the Romans, close to the junction of the Rivers Alne and Arrow. It was a perfect spot for a fort: this, in turn, led to a British settlement, which eventually grew to a fair-sized town with defensive ditch and wall. 'Alauna' was probably its name and it developed its own small industries; it seems likely that the Roman authorities would have used Alauna as an administrative centre. After the Roman armies left Britain around A.D.410 we know nothing about Alcester until after the Norman Conquest. In between, legends are the only source of information but because they are legends, we do right to pay no attention to them.|
Mediaeval Alcester was largely a farming community, with a weekly market and several fairs serving South Warwickshire: it also specialised in linen making and leather work. The town, with its farming and markets, was governed by the lord of the manor's court leet: this body continued to wield power much longer than in most other places and even re-constituted itself in the 1780s.
Alcester's geographical position and its commercial stability through the centuries made it the obvious centre for the 18th century local net-work of turnpike roads and the 19th century union of the parishes under the poor law. In both these centuries the town became one of the centres of the needle industry, with the establishment of the Midland and Great Western Railways adding to its importance.
Alcester today has lost its traditional industries but acquired new ones. It is still, however, regarded as a centre by local villages and newcomers to the town soon learn to respect its history and tradition.
Autumn 1994 Index