Tag Archives: Dark Ages

The Early Days, the Romans

Swintons very early history may well be associated with the Northern Britons of the Brigantes tribe. The Brigantes held an impressive hill fort at Wincobank and Swintons land most likely came under their lordship.

Coins found at Rockingham Road

Coins found at Rockingham Road

At times during the Roman invasion, the legions had to overcome violent resistance from the Brigantes who would have used natural defences such as rivers in their battle plans. As Swinton is sited on higher ground to the River Don, we can speculate that the area witnessed some desperate hand-to-hand combat.

Evidence of Roman presence has been verified. In 1853, workers digging out a cellar on Rockingham Road uncovered a hoard of 300-400 coins covering the period from 69 to 212 AD. We have no idea who the hoarder was nor what became of him. Further indication of Roman activity is the existence of two roads crossing the area which would have linked the Templeborough Roman fort near Rotherham with territory of the North.

The Romans withdrew back to their capital in around 410AD. Western Europe then entered the Dark Ages. It is believed, however, that Swintons impressive ancient earthwork, the Rig Dyke, was constructed during this period. For many years it was believed that the Dyke dated from the Roman period and it was named the Roman Rig. More recent theories have suggested that the earthworks may well have been a boundary between Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia. The Kingdom of Elmet to the North may also have played a part. The truth of our Rig Dykes origins is shrouded in the mists of time, but we can be sure that Swinton was indeed a borderland.

During the centuries of the Dark Ages, Barbarian tribes such as the Angles and Saxons invaded and settled across much of England. The River Don would have provided a watery highway to assist their migration.