Idyllic and tranquil, the largest of the ponds in Stanmore’s little common, Caesar’s pond is the perfect spot for picnics or just a peaceful sole outing.
Though the pond now outlooks many residential housing developments, common to the borough of Harrow, the history of the pond’s origins stems back to the Classical Antiquity period in a way that any reader may find intriguing.
It’s a common myth that Emperor Julius Caesar had once drank from the pond in his initial invasion of the land as a part of the Gallic Wars, hence the tribute to the pond, under his name.
The other assumption is that Boudicca (Boadicea) and her rebel tribes, who’d led a failed uprising against the Roman Empire in 60 Ad, had again sipped the waters.
Nevertheless, the pond’s origins hold a deep significance to the conquest of Britain and the establishment of the Province of Britain in the overarching Roman occupation.
Its area being either boundaries, battlefields and Roman highway fortifications, where the spring pond is now situated, it’s irrefutable that once stood a Roman Garrison. It is presumed that it was a part of the Sulloniacae, on Brockley Hill in Stanmore, where Roman legionaries were stationed from 43-54 AD.
The Sulloniacae was a small settlement housing the Claudian Auxiliary Fort. Though the rapid conquest of lowland Britain meant that the force was not stationed at the settlement for very long, Roman presence remained regardless in the form mutationes or posting stations.
This is where official Roman travellers could be cleansed, fed and quartered before continuing their journey.
The establishment of this posting station undeniably encouraged numbers of civilian populations to remain behind, to offer their services, despite the advance of the garrison.
The idea that the Sulloniacae, one of the first Roman settlements in Britain, was primarily established in Harrow, not only speaks to the profundity of the history of the region but its efficacy in either establishing concord or defending the territory.
I hope it was a pleasure for you to join me in this historical deep dive into the significance of Caesar’s pond and its relation to the conquest of Britain by the Roman Empire.
To say the Roman conquest was a monumental part of our national history would be a dramatic understatement. Though however many contributions or reductions the Romans made whilst and after being situated at Sullonaicae, we Harrovians can revel in the knowledge that what was once lost, has been reclaimed as our own.