Boudica at Mancetter: The Latin, the Land, The Logistics

Book review

By Margaret Hughes; reviewed by Trevor James, published 15th January 2021

Boudica at Mancetter: The Latin, the Land, The Logistics, Margaret Hughes, Atherstone Civic Society, 2020, 256p, £10-00 [and £3-00 p + p]. ISBN 978-0-9551803-3-0. Enquiries to

One of the locational mysteries of the history of these islands is where exactly did Queen Boudica fight her final battle in AD 60 against her Roman opponents.

Margaret Hughes has examined the source material and the etymological and topographical evidence for a site at Mancetter in Warwickshire and she presents a very carefully reasoned argument for it to have been the location of that highly significant battle. She has provided a very interesting analysis of the place name evidence; and she has explored the detail of the site close by the archaeological remains of the Roman fort, in which the present-day parish church stands, and she reasons that this matches the clues provided by Tacitus.

Margaret has very carefully provided us with a very objective analysis of the arguments in favour of the other principal sites that are considered possible alternative locations for this battle. These include circumstantial evidence such as their juxtaposition to the Watling Street and the availability of water and other resources.

Margaret’s hypothesis shares a weakness suffered by all the other principal nominations, at Hints, High Cross, Catthorpe and Towcester. The discovery of battlefield archaeology, artefacts or extensive skeletal evidence would have helped to decide the most likely location but none has emerged.

What we do have is a very coherent and carefully argued assessment of the evidence and that is a hallmark of Margaret’s research and a compliment to her scholarship. This is a valuable contribution to the debate.