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concluded that Wat’s Dyke consisted of three separate stretches of earthwork, with gaps between them.

In these places, he surmised, formerly dense forest or deep ravines made a formal barrier unnecessary.

Offa’s Dyke is the best known and longest of these, but other well known examples include the Rowe Ditch in Herefordshire and the one I will be discussing here, Wat’s Dyke.

It is usually thought that the name is not of any great antiquity, being first documented (as Clauwdd Wade) in 1431, although the lateness of the date may be a result of the vagaries of survival of Welsh medieval documents.

All manuscripts of Bede have the incorrect initial Uc-, so the corruption of the name must go back to a very early copy of the Historia, if not to Bede himself.

Nevertheless, the Old English town name may be analysed as meaning ‘ Roman city of the Watlingas’, the Watlingas being the ‘people of little Wat’.

Watling Street shares the same derivation and is the main road passing through Verulamium.

Who the Watlingas were or where they lived is not at all clear and it would be dangerous to assume that they were the people who lived around Verulamium.

As a champion of the just, he was temporarily able to frighten off the Romans who were preparing to invade Offa’s kingdom.However, whilst he was away resolving a conflict in India, the Romans took the opportunity to land in England.The Indian crisis averted, Gado had hoped to return to his homeland, but his magic boat brought him instead to England, where he visited the Roman army in the hope of preventing the Emperor from attacking Offa.Between 19, he worked for the Chester City Council, developing an extensive knowledge of the region’s archaeology.Since 2004 he holds the post of Archaeology Officer at the North Hertfordshire District Council’s Museums Service. The Welsh Marches contain a large number of linear earthworks of various sizes and lengths.

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