The earliest evidence of literacy in Devon

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The earliest evidence of literacy in Devon

The Roman army came into an illiterate world in South-West England. The first evidence for literacy in Devon is this tile, which formed part of a stack of tiles supporting the floor of the legionary bathhouse. It was certainly made in Exeter and must have been scratched using a blunt stick by a craftsman before it was fired. Along its top edge can be read the first letters of the Roman alphabet: IABCDIIFF.

Publication: Hassall, M.W.C. 1979 ‘Graffiti’ in Bidwell, P.T. The Legionary Bath-house and Basilica and Forum at Exeter, p243.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum