Akeman Street

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Akeman Street north of Woodstock, followed by the Oxfordshire Way

Akeman Street was a major Roman road which linked Watling Street with the Fosse Way. Its junction with Watling Street was just north of Verulamium (near modern St Albans) and that with the Fosse Way was at Corinium Dobunnorum (now Cirencester). Its course passes through towns and villages including Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Aylesbury, Alchester (outside modern Bicester), Chesterton, Kirtlington, Ramsden and Asthall. [1]

Parts of the A41 road between Tring and Bicester use the course of the former Roman road. A minor road between Chesterton and Kirtlington also uses its course. Other parts are in use as public footpaths, including a 6-mile stretch between Tackley and Stonesfield that is part of the Oxfordshire Way.

Akeman Street on a map of Roman Britain


The name "Akeman Street" is not Roman but from the Anglo-Saxon period The origin of this name is uncertain but certainly date back to the Early Middle Ages.

Some have suggested that "Akeman" derives from the Old English words for "oak-man" ('acmann'), and others have suggested a connection with Bath, which is recorded in one Old English source as Acemannesceastre.[2] (Acemannes possibly derived from the Roman name Aquae Sulis). It is unclear how this might have become associated with the road, but one possibility is that the name was originally used for the longer stretch of road from Bath.[3]

Others of the name

The name "Akeman Street" is also given to the Roman road that ran from Ermine Street near Wimpole Hall northeast to the settlement at Durolipons (Cambridge), where it crossed the Roman road now dubbed the Via Devana. Within north Cambridge, the road followed the present-day Stretten Avenue, Carlton Way and Mere Way running northeast past Landbeach before joining the present A10 and on towards Ely and the Great Fen. It then reached Denver and the coast at Brancaster.[4]


  1. Copeland, Tim (2009). Akeman Street Moving Through Iron Age and Roman Landscapes. History PressLtd. ISBN 978-0-7524-4732-2. 
  2. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle  Parker Chronicle (973)

    Her Eadgar wæs, Engla waldend,
    corðre micelre to cyninge gehalgod
    on ðære ealdan byrig, Acemannesceastre

  3. Saxon Bath
  4. Gray, Ronald D; Stubbings, Derek (2000). Cambridge Street-Names: Their Origins and Associations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 2–3. 


  • Copeland, Tim (2009). Akeman Street Moving Through Iron Age and Roman Landscapes. History PressLtd. ISBN 978-0-7524-4732-2.