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The Forum

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The Forum or Market Place, where the native Celtic people would soon learn to offer for sale their rude wares and country produce, side by side with the finer productions of Rome and the East, stood, no doubt, near the spot known in after times as the High Cross, and. was probably surrounded by a colonnade or covered way. Some authorities imagine it to have occupied the space enclosed between St. Nicholas' Street, High Cross Street, Blue Boar Lane, and the Holy Bones.

In close proximity to the Forum would stand the Praetorium or Governor's Residence and the Basilica or Court of Justice; while Baths, Temples, and other public buildings, and the private and official dwellings of the more important citizens would each lend their contribution to the dignity and beauty of this part of the town.

It is disappointing, however, that we do not possess proofs of the absolute whereabouts of most of the public edifices of Roman Leicester, although unmistakeable traces of two Temples have been discovered on their respective sites.

During the excavations for the rebuilding of the tower of St. Martin's Church in 1861, portions of thick wall-foundations were found, while on the north side of the Church, and close to the palisade of Town Hall Lane, was discovered another thick wall of rubble supporting a stone platform upon which stood the bases of two massive Doric columns about two feet in diameter.

These probably formed part of a colonnade having its frontage towards High Cross Street, and they have since been removed to the Town Museum. To complete the proofs that the remains were those of a Temple, a large number of the bones of sacrificial animals were also found on this spot.

Next page: Archaeological Finds