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The Old Roman City of


To walk around the town of Dorchester is to discover its Roman past. As I did, one will discover Roman walkways, Roman houses, and a Roman coliseum, among other things.


Dorchester was the home town of one of the greatest English novelists of the Victorian Period, Thomas Hardy, who lived on its outskirts. Hardy includes details in his novels that mirror true-to-life places in Dorchester, which he called Casterbridge. In fact, if you take a visit to Dorchester, you will notice placards indicating the particular building or artifact's significance in a Hardy novel. In the picture that I took on the right, you will notice that the town renamed its post office in honor of Thomas Hardy's fictional world.

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The Mayor of Casterbridge

Apparently one of the houses in Dorchester was used as a model for Hardy in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, which has been noted on a placard.

Roman Houses

You wouldn't want to live in it, but it is remarkable that this Roman house remains as a reminder that Great Britain was once inhabited by the Romans. Also remarkable is that this piece of history which seems so extraordinary to us Americans is quite commonplace to the residents of Dorchester. Thomas Hardy remarks in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge: "Casterbridge announced old Rome in every street, alley, and precinct. It looked Roman, bespoke the art of Rome, concealed dead men of Rome. It was impossible to dig more than a foot or two deep about the town fields and gardens without coming upon some tall soldier or other of the Empire, who had lain there in his silent unobtrusive rest for a space of fifteen hundred years."

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A Roman Coliseum

Yes, there is a Roman Coliseum in England (Dorchester) and yes, in these two pictures you see a much younger Mr. Walter inside the grass-covered coliseum. 

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