In the final part of his series on the ghosts which haunt Fulwood Barracks Roger Goodwin reveals the legion Roman soldiers which still march through Preston
Around 2,000 years ago, a road ran from the Roman fortress and settlement at Ribchester, on the River Ribble some miles to the east of Preston, to a supply port at either present-day Freckleton, or Lytham, on the coast. The line of it has been preserved down the centuries and is still followed today by what is now called Watling Street Road, Fulwood. Like all Roman roads, it was arrow-straight – until Fulwood Barracks was built squarely across it. Now there is a kinked diversion which leaves the original line to the east of the barracks, and then rejoins it to the west. If one mentally extends the original line, however, it will be noted that it would have run straight through the middle of what is now the Barracks’ main parade square.
It is said that on dark and stormy nights, when the wind howls in off the Irish Sea and all sensible people are tucked up safely in their homes, it is sometimes possible to glimpse a ghostly squad of Roman soldiers tramping the path of the original road across the parade square.
Except that, because the ground level has risen over the past 2,000 years, they are only seen from the waist up…