Roman memorial commemorating ancient remains unveiled at school in Warwick

A Roman memorial has been unveiled at a school in Warwick.

The Roman Memorial 'As the Romans' at King's High School. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography
The Roman Memorial 'As the Romans' at King's High School. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography

On Monday, (December 5), the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mr David Kelham, visited King’s High School to officially unveil a Roman memorial dedicated to the ancient remains discovered beneath the school site.

After an archaeology session with students from local primary schools, students, staff and guests saw the unveiling of the school’s memorial ‘As the Romans.’

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Artist Liz Middleton with Dr Burley and the High Sheriff of Warwickshire. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography

In 2018, archaeologists discovered a 30ft Roman barn and other artefacts during the construction of the school’s new Banbury Road site.

To celebrate the findings, Foundation Principal, Richard Nicholson commissioned a sculpture by artist, Liz Middleton who worked with King’s High pupils on the project.

Head Master of King’s High School, Dr Stephen Burley said: “It was a great pleasure for us to welcome so many guests to King’s High to mark the formal opening of our Roman Memorial.

"It was a special occasion for us to thank everyone who has contributed to the Roman project, as our students have worked with several leading archaeologists, historians, poets and artists as they have explored the extraordinary discovery of an ancient building on the site of our school.”

The High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mr David Kelham after unveiling the roman memorial. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography

Joined by members of the Landor Association and local history groups, the memorial was unveiled by the High Sheriff and Dr Burley.

Cast in silver steel in script inspired by tablets from Vindolanda and the archaeological finds uncovered on the school site, the sculpture features an extract from a poem King's High’s Year 12 pupil, Rose.

Liz Middleton selected Rose’s poem from the anthology, ‘A Growing World’, which was produced by Professor Gregory Leadbetter during his poetry residency at King’s High.

Rose said: “I was as surprised as everyone else when I learned it was going to be put on the school wall.”

The High Sherriff of Warwickshire with Foundation Principle, Mr Richard Nicholson. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography

During the opening ceremony, Liz outlined the inspiration for her work, accompanied by readings from King’s High pupils, Emma, Ivy and Isabella.

Two poems inspired by the discovery of the Roman building were also read – ‘Sediments’ by Rosie B and ‘As the Romans’ by Rose.

Liz said: “The student research and poetry was impressive, and the High Sheriff captured the moment's significance in his generous and inspiring speech. What a privilege it has been to be part of this extraordinary story.”

Following the unveiling, guests visited a display of the archaeological finds, guided by students who have been investigating the Roman building over the last four years as part of the project led by Mr Grier and the History Department.

Pupil, Rose reading her poem, 'As the Romans'. Photo by Victoria Jane Photography

They then gave a presentation on the discovery before inviting questions for Caroline Rann of Archaeology Warwickshire and Dr Jerry Evans.

The group have also produced a guidebook of the finds.

Mr Grier added: “It was wonderful to see this important archaeological discovery celebrated and to share with guests our thoughts on what was happening on this site almost 2,000 years ago.

"We are all delighted that the Roman presence on the site has been commemorated.”

The memorial's official unveiling does not mark the end of the project – it marks the beginning of an important development for the school.

Dr Burley said: “We are looking forward to sharing more widely across the community our insights into the ancient lives, families and people who inhabited the site on which our school now stands.”

Pupil, Rose with artist, Liz Middleton. Photo Victoria Jane Photography