Lindum Colonia

Lindum Colonia
Newport Arch.jpg
The Newport Arch is a surviving part of the
north gate to the Upper City.
Alternate name Lindum, Colonia Domitiana Lindensium
Location Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Region Brittania
Type Settlement
Builder Domitian
Founded Around 80
Abandoned End of the 5th century
Periods Roman Imperial

Lindum Colonia, formally Colonia Domitiana Lindensium but often simply Lindum, was a Roman town and colony in the province of Britannia. Today it is called Lincoln and is located in the English county of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom.


The name is a Latinized form of a native Brittonic name which has been reconstructed as *Lindon (lit. "pool" or "lake"; cf. modern Welsh llyn‚ÄČ).[1] The name survived, becoming "Lincoln" in Old English following the Saxon invasions.



The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly afterwards built a legionary fortress, possibly south of the River Witham. This was soon replaced, around the year 60, by a second fort for the Ninth Legion, high on a hill overlooking the natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham (the modern day Brayford Pool) and at the northern end of the Fosse Way Roman road. That pool is very likely to have given Lincoln its name.[2]


Roman north wall of Lindum Colonia

The legion was moved to Eboracum (modern York) in the year 71; around the year 80, the fort was converted into a colonia. This was an important settlement for retired legionaries, established by the emperor Domitian within the walls and using the street grid of the hilltop fortress, with the addition of an extension of about equal area, down the hillside to the waterside below. The town became a major flourishing settlement, accessible from the sea both through the River Trent and through the River Witham. Public buildings, such as the forum with lifesize equestrian statues, basilica, and the public baths, were erected in the 2nd century. The hilltop was largely filled with private homes, but the slopes became the town's commercial centre. They gained stone walls, like the upper region (including the Newport Arch), around 200. There was also an industrial suburb over the river which had pottery production facilities. The town had the best developed sewerage system in the province and a fine octagonal public fountain and part of its aqueduct have been partly uncovered. There were temples dedicated to Apollo and Mercury. On the basis of Lindum's size and the patently corrupt list of British bishops who attended the 314 Council of Arles, the city is now often considered to have been the capital of the province of Flavia Caesariensis which was formed during the late-3rd century Diocletian Reforms. Lincoln's St Paul-in-the-Bail Church may have been late Roman.[3]


The city and its waterways eventually fell into decline, and, by the end of the 5th century, it was virtually deserted. However, the church of St Paul continued as a place of worship until 450 and its churchyard was in use into the 6th century. When Saint Paulinus visited in 629, it was apparently under the control of a Praefectus Civitatis called Blecca.[4]


In the 3rd and 4th centuries, Lincolnshire produced a coarseware ceramic known as Dales ware, which was exported across the north of Roman Britain.[5]

See Also



  • Lincoln City and County Museum (c. 1995). A Walk about Roman Lincoln. Lincoln: Lincoln City Council. 


  1. ^ Delamarre, Xavier, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Errance, 2003 (2nd ed.), p. 203.
  2. ^
  3. ^ An overview of the archaeology of Lincoln, on which its history is reconstructed is in A. Vince, ed., Pre-Viking Lindsey, 1993.
  4. ^ Bede, History of the English Church and People, book 2, chapter 16. Latin: "16. Praedicabat autem Paulinus uerbum etiam prouinciae Lindissi, quae est prima ad meridianam Humbre fluminis ripam, pertingens usque ad mare, praefectumque Lindocolinae ciuitatis, cui nomen erat Blaecca, primum cum domu sua conuertit ad Dominum." English: "16. Paulinus also preached the Word to the province of Lindsey, which is the first on the south side of the river Humber, stretching as far as the sea; and he first converted to the Lord the reeve of the city of Lincoln, whose name was Blaecca, with his whole house."
  5. ^ Loughlin, N. 1977. 'Dales Ware: a contribution to the study of Roman coarse pottery', in Peacock (ed.) 1977. Pottery and Early Commerce: Characterisation and trade in Roman and Later Ceramics. London, 85-146