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Henry MacLauchlan’s Devil’s Causeway: A New Presentation of his 1851 “Memoir Written During a Survey of the Eastern Branch of the Watling Street”

ISBN 978-0-9927324-8-6

MacLauchlan’s survey of Devil’s Causeway, from Hadrian’s Wall to Berwick-upon-Tweed, togther with the branch from Rochester to Whittingham, was carried out at a time when Roman remains were far more visible in the landscape than they are today. Roman masonry has since been plundered for reuse in various buildings, and ploughing has eroded much of what was just below the surface. The antiquarians of the time therefore could view many more relics than their modern counterparts. They also had access to the memories of the very people who were dismantling the Roman remains. The writings of MacLauchlan thus provide a fascinating insight into our Roman past, which also continues to provide a vital source of information for current archaeologists.

MacLauchlan’s works are readily available both as scanned documents on the internet, and in print. Print versions are generally facsimiles, based on the scanned images and as such, they can be difficult to read. For example, the old fonts can be unclear and the layout can be confusing, with much use being made of extensive footnotes. Also, the scanning process itself often introduces spelling errors.

This version of the “Memoir” has been created from MacLauchlan’s original, with the text being reviewed to, hopefully, remove the majority of the scanning errors. The text has been converted to a more modern font which should make reading easier and explanatory notes have been added where it was felt this might be helpful. The extensive footnotes have been moved to the end of the book, as end notes, in order to simplify the main text. Also, many of these notes have been removed altogether when they seemed less useful to the modern reader. References to other texts have been simplified to merely refer to the author.

The book has 52 pages and is priced at £4.50. Post and packing is free in the UK.

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