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Early Leicester

Previous page: Origins of the Name Leicester

It must also be mentioned that the old medieval chronicler, Geoffry of Monmouth, claims that Leicester was originally founded by the famous King Lear, as far hack as BC 800, but as no other or less romantic historian endorses this opinion, and as no data appear to exist in justification of it, we may be content to adopt the more prosaic and reasonable derivation first given.

Later on, a Celtic tribe called the "Coranied", advancing from the low and marshy lands near the delta of the Rhine, had invaded and settled in this Loegrian or Midland district of Britain, mixing with and absorbing the older inhabitants.

In their newer dialect the colony was called a "Rath", signifying an "enclosed space or fortress to dwell in". It is probable that remains of the British settlement which succumbed to the Roman forces on the spot now occupied by Leicester, are yet to be traced in the mysterious line of mounds called the "Row" or "Rath" or "Raw" Dykes, still existing on the level meadow-land to the south-west of the town, near the Aylestone Road railway bridge, and bordering on the river. The hues of these ancient mounds formerly extended much nearer to the town, but the increase of houses and cultivated land in this direction has obliterated them.

Some authorities, however, attribute these remains to a later Roman camp, or to a summer resort of the Legions during their long occupation of Leicester, and others again, to a British or Roman Cursus or Race-course.

Next page: Mounds and Relics