Further to "Was Wigan Coccium"

I read, with interest, your site and questions related to Wigan being on the site of the Roman settlement called Coccium. Your answer to one of the questions states that evidence of a Roman road between Manchester and Ribchester exists and that Wigan is in the middle of the two. Now then, anyone with half an eye knows, full well, that Wigan is not in between Manchester and Ribchester.

I have also read notes from other Roman texts which conclude that, without doubt, the position of the place called Coccium was, according to the Antonine Itinerery, somewhere around the Belmont area, so I am not convinced that Coccium was where Wigan is now. But, on saying this, I have no doubt that the Roman immigrants, at the time, set up camp in countless places all over England, Wigan, obviously, being one of these places.


It is true that, in the Itinerary states that Coccium lies somewhere between Ribchester and Manchester and for that reason many people believe that it must lie on the Roman Road which is know to exist in a straight line between these two places (the favoured location is Edgeworth but a site south of Affetside has also been suggested).

The problem with is solution is that the distances given in the Itinerary are too large (20 Roman miles and 17 Roman Miles,  which comes to 37, whereas the actual distance is more like 27 Roman miles). To add to this, as yet nothing has ever been found in these locations (despite intensive searching by Bolton Arch Soc and others).

It seems that the Romans liked to have their stations located not more than a days march from each other (roughly 20 Roman miles). The case for Wigan is that the distances given in the Itinerary, if you check on the map, are quite accurate (noting that a Roman mile is about 95% of a statute mile). Also the attraction of a diversion to Wigan is that you would avoid the higher, more difficult gradients encountered on the West Pennine route. (Admittedly a direct route between Wigan and Ribchester has yet to be found but recent researches indicate a distinct possibility that one existed.)

Other claims for Coccium are Blackrod and, very lately, Standish but I must admit I haven't heard of the Belmont claim (Belmont, like Wigan and these other places,  is not on a direct line between Ribchester and Manchester). However, I would be very interested in reading the references you mention in support of the theory (I haven't seen anything myself in the Itinerary). The question of Coccium's location has been debated long and hard over the years and probably won't be resolved until somebody finds an actual inscription, in the mean time we can all have great fun speculating.