What happened to Roman Britain?
From the 2nd century A.D. Roman Britain found itself under attack from people who lived outside the Roman borders. The Romans thought these people were not civilised and called them barbarians . The Roman army and navy defended Britain.
By the 5th century A.D. barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Roman Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere. He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave. They must fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. In AD 410 the last Romans left.
Did people go on living in Roman towns?
The Anglo-Saxons and other newcomers settled in Britain and set up new kingdoms. They were farmers, not townspeople. Roman stone buildings were not used or repaired. They slowly crumbled away. People took away stones to build farmhouses or churches. People built new wooden towns inside the old Roman ones. Many Roman towns kept at least parts of their walls until the Middle Ages. Part of London's Roman Wall is still standing!
What did the Romans leave behind?
The Roman army left Britain over 1,500 years ago. They left behind a changed country. Britain had roads and towns. It had new plants and animals, such as parsley, sweet chestnut and chickens. Measurements (miles, feet and inches) still used by many people come from the Romans.
The Romans also introduced Christianity to Britain. Many churches are still built using designs like a Roman Basilica .
How did the Romans change the way we speak and write?
The Romans wrote their history, their literature and their laws. Before the Romans conquered Britain, very few people in Britain could read or write. Stories and knowledge were passed on by word of mouth. From Roman times onwards, people in Britain wrote things down. Educated people wrote in Latin, but later wrote books in their own languages, English and Welsh, for example. The English and Welsh languages changed because of the Romans. Many words in English and Welsh have links to Latin. 'Pedestrian' is one. See if you can find some more....
How can we find out more about the Romans?
In Britain, there are archaeological sites and museums. Some are at places you can visit, where the Romans actually lived. In museums and site exhibitions, you can see, and sometimes touch, objects and buildings made by Roman people. You can walk round the ruins of a Roman fort, or a Roman baths, or what was once the dining room of a Roman villa.