Boudica's final battle

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Boudica's final battle

The final battle between the Roman legions and Queen Boudica’s rebel army in AD 60/ 61 (exact date unsure) determined the future of Britain for 350 years. It was one of the most decisive battles in British history as the likelihood is that had Boudicca been victorious, the Romans would have been driven out of Britain for good.

Some details of the battle are certain, others little more than guesswork. In particular, we cannot be sure where the final battle took place. It is thought somewhere in the Midlands is the most likely location, but various theories abound.

On the day of battle, Roman victory did not look likely. Boudicca had raised the banner of revolt in Norfolk and tens of thousands had joined her. In contrast the Roman army was reeling after a defeat of the ninth Legion and Roman military governor, Suetonius Paullinus was left weak when second legion refused to march to meet the rebel forces.

Consequenty, Paullinus took up a strong defensive position for his army as the rebel host approached. According to the historian Tacitus the Roman position was “a narrow defile blocked off at the rear by a wood”. The reasoning behind this battle position was to deny the rebels the opportunity to use their vastly superior numbers to surround the Roman forces.  What followed was fast, violent and decisive. Within a few minutes the Britons advanced and were showered with Roman javelins and then the whole of the Roman line charged. Legionaries attacked in wedge formation and the British line broke under impact. Their escape route was blocked and massacre ensued.

The outcome was based on a frontal collision between the disciplined, heavily trained infantry of the Roman legions against Boudicca’s rebellious horde of tribesman.  Boudicca and her men may have been able to win if they had been able to use their superior numbers for cunning, surprise and ambush, but would never have stood a chance in frontal collision.

See issue 1 of Military Times for the full story of this crucial battle.


  1. Dear sirs.
    For many years I worked as a farrier and Blacksmith at the side of the Watling street at Grendon near Atherstone. My work repeatedly took me along the Watling street and to the villages close to it through Warwickshire and Leicestershire. Over the years I have mused over the place of the final battlefield and having carried out research, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that I have located it. There are significant additional factors that I wish to clarify prior to disclosure.
    I have contacted various museums and Universities with minimal helpful response.
    What I need to do is to ascertain the daily water consumption in gallons of Paulinus’s troops and their fire wood daily usage in tons, there are Roman carvings depicting ox drawn water barrel bowsers, I also wish to assertain their capacity in gallons. Also, in physical terms how big an area in square meters would 10,000 Roman troops need to Assemble prior to battle and also how big an area would be required for 1,000 cavalry, there were 2 separate columns and 1 in reserve.
    The site that I have identified satisfies all of Tacitus’s descriptions and far more, the defile exists and the wood at its rear and sides, even the entrenchments that his troops dug still exist. The high ground where the Britain’s assembled is there and the battle plain, the wood where the Britons took shelter and were hunted like animals still exists.
    80,000 dead Britons + 10,000 dead baggage train animals would leave some trace, I have found those traces. I have also located the 380 dead Romans, plus about another 300 who would have died of wounds up to 2 weeks later.
    In addition there would have been tens of thousands of refugees that sought the protection of the Roman troops, they have left their traces also. I have also located the water source that the Romans also used. all of the evidence of these still remain.
    Do yo have any useful suggestions as to how I should progress?
    Kindest regards
    Les Armstrong.

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