The Form and Growth of the City Roman Fortress

Exeter owes its foundation to the Roman army. Around AD 50-55 they built a fortress where the centre of the modern city now stands. It was the headquarters for the Second Augustan legion and commanded a vital crossing place across the river Exe. The fort was rectangular with round corners containing a grid of streets with timber buildings. It was joined by a road to Topsham, where there was a fort and other buildings, possibly a supply base or port. Other Roman roads ran through Heavitree towards the coast and from Sidwell Street to Whipton, although their precise courses are uncertain.