The Cullompton Roman Festival took place on Saturday 10th June 2023 at The Walronds. The festival was a result of a collaboration between Creative Cullompton, Historic England and Devon County Council to celebrate Roman Cullompton following a series of archaeological investigations at the fort of St Andrew’s Hill.
The immensely successful festival brought history to life with free hands-on, fun-filled activities and learning for the whole community, welcoming more than 1800 people over the course of the day.
The day itself featured activities and immersive experiences:
- Living History Group – Legio Secunda Augusta who provided excitement, entertainment and education offering the opportunity to meet the Roman’s and find out about Roman life, Roman Legionary talks and demonstrations and Gladiator talks and demonstrations. A high energy children’s gladiator school was also on offer and saw the children train as gladiators, learning how to use a sword, form a shield wall and even saw a highly entertaining final melee between the parents/guardians and children.
- Meet the Archaeologists – Archaeologists from Historic England and Devon County Council and the Cullompton History Group were on hand discuss Roman Cullompton and the recent archaeological investigations. There was also an opportunity for local residents to bring their own finds for identification. A variety of exhibitions about Roman Cullompton and Roman ovens, querns and cooking piqued the imagination of many. There was even a chance to have a go and learn how to uncover, wash and preserve archaeological finds.
- Roman Tasting Table run by Elizabeth and Graham Sessions and offered the chance to sample some common Romans foods such as flat breads, olives, honey cake, cheese and more.
- Free Children’s Activities
Charline Clay Colours: Roman Pottery Workshop – making Roman bird whistles and coins
Tale Blazers: Community Mosaic Creation
Mobile Music Hub: Harp making and music making
Weird Sticks: Willow and Laurel Crown workshop
The Hayridge: Roman shield making
The whole event was made possible with the support of a team of local volunteers and organisations including the trustees and volunteers at The Walronds and the Cullompton History Group to name a few.
In addition to the festivities on the day, Creative Cullompton were also able to support a series of free Roman History talks by experts in the field in the run up to the festival. These popular talks were organised by the Cullompton History Group and covered topics such as The South West in the Roman Period, Proto Cullompton and The Roman Army.
There was also a Roman History Walk, led by Cullompton History Group’s Nick Savage. This event welcomed more than 40 people, enabling them to walk in the footsteps of the Romans and to discover where the Cullompton Roman Road might have been.
Cullompton’s Roman history was also embraced by the Cullompton Lego Club who constructed amazing Roman themed creations while the Cullompton Code Club created a Roman Minecraft world featuring a reconstruction of Cullompton’s Roman Fort. A video of the Cullompton Minecraft was running during the festival morning to enable visitors to see the reconstruction. The Code Club is looking into how to preserve the Minecraft world that has been created to make it available to anyone who wants to use and explore it.
Creative Cullompton would also like to thank The Hayridge for their support of the event, as well running some very popular Roman shield making workshops on the day of the festival, The Hayridge team made a wide range of books on every aspect of Roman history available in the run up to the event.