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This short length of ‘road’ was once thought of as part of Ricknild Street. Known in some parts of the Midlands as Icknield Street, the road was first mentioned by Ranulf Higden (Higden 1344) where he listed Rikenildstrete as one of the four Great Ways of Britain. Higden described it as going from St. Davids in South Wales through Hereford, Birmingham, Lichfield, Derby, Chesterfield and York to the Tyne estuary. The antiquarian Roger Gale attempted to give a more precise route but from Derby northwards he was forced to concede that “the tract of it I can trace no further this way” (Gale c.1710 p131) . In 1720 however, the cartographer John Warburton included a Roman way he marked as “Rickeneild Street Way” running through Chesterfield, Rotherham, Woodlesford, and on to Boroughbridge as part of his Map of Yorkshire (Warburton 1720).
RR728, a two and a half mile length of ‘road’ to the south east of Leeds was the only part of the fabled Ricknild Street north of Templeborough which Ivan Margary considered safe to include in his magnum opus Roman Roads in Britain (Margary, 1973, pp. 139-140), although the brief eight line entry may indicate his lack of confidence about it. The feature Margary described runs alongside Bullerthorpe Lane (formerly Street Lane), just east of Temple Newsam, Leeds, and is still visible in several places today. It is almost certainly the feature that Warburton interpreted as a Roman road, being an embankment some 4ft high, which superficially at least, could be mistaken for the agger of a Roman road, except that over a long distance it is not actually very straight.
Unfortunately, excavation has demonstrated that the feature claimed as a piece of surviving agger was in fact part of the rampart of the linear earthwork Grim’s Ditch (Wilmott 1993).
The discovery of a direct road between Templeborough and Thorpe Audlin (RR18f) has probably solved the mystery of Ricknild Street, although there are still those who maintain that an early Roman route through Woodlesford and past Temple Newsam is possible, without any evidence to support the idea.
Codrington, Thomas (1903); Roman Roads in Britain, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London
Drake, Francis (1736); Eboracum: or the History and Antiquities of the City of York, London.
Gale, Roger, (c.1710); An Essay Towards the Recovery of the Four Great Roman Ways in Hearne, Thomas 1754 (2nd edition); The Itinerary of John Leland the Antiquary, Vol 6.
Margary, Ivan D. (1973); Roman Roads in Britain, John Baker, London
Warburton, J., (1720); A New and Correct Map of the County of York in All its Divisions, London.
Wilmott, T. (1993); Excavation and survey on the line of Grim's Ditch, West Yorkshire 1977-83.; Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, vol. 65, pp.55-76. Leeds