These charming scenes were painted by Lionel Edwards for the Illustrated London News 1933 and appeared on pages 8 and 9 of the Christmas issue.
The accompanying captions (too small to read on the above image) were:
“A WAYSIDE HALT ON THE ROMAN LEGION’S LONG MARCH ON LONG STRAIGHT ROMAN ROAD NEAR OLD SARUM."
"Famous are these Roman roads, so durable that to this day many of the most famous roads in Britain are in part at least superstructures on the original Roman built thoroughfares. Ermin Street leading from London to Lincoln thence to York and onwards into Scotland is one, Watling Street is another, crossing England to the northwest and among many others is the road from Winchester to Old Sarum, depicted by the artist, where a legion is shown on the march. Roman roads, built primarily as military roads and constructed over hill and dale, scarcely ever deviate from a straight line and where they have fallen into disuse can still be traced through green lanes and fields."
"CHARLES II, RIDING TOWARDS WILTON IN DISGUISE AFTER WORCESTER FIGHT,
PASSES ROUNDHEADS ON THE ICKNIELD ROAD."
"This road the Via Iceniana of the Romans, started from the coast of Norfolk, passed near Cambridge, to Old Sarum, Wilton, on to Exeter and to Cornwall. One of its many romances concerns Charles II who owed his life to two brave and lovely women, Jane Lane and Juliana Coningsby, with whom, after his disastrous flight after the battle of Worcester, he fled, disguised as a servant. They rode pillion behind him on a horse, and twice he succeeded in passing by Cromwellian troops who were searching the countryside for him. The picture shows Charles approaching the Parliamentary Forces with Miss Lane on the Icknield Road near Wilton.”
It is probable both the roads depicted predate the Romans and not entirely true Roman Roads scarcely deviated from the straight. Over hills and dales especially the gradient and type of traffic (foot, pack animals, wagons) dictated when roads had to bend. Topography also dictated the surveying techniques possible to achieve straight lines. There is a bend in the road to Winchester around Winterslow. Winter was slow to leave the hill it sits on, that hill was too steep for a straight route. The Monarch’s Way commemorated Charles II’s escape and was established in 1994. Just south east of Figsbury Rings the Monarch’s Way joins the Roman Road to Winchester, the two run together till east of Winterslow.
Lionel Dalhousie Robertson Edwards, RI, RCA (1878-1966) after being demobbed from WWI moved to West Tytherley near Winterslow where he lived till he died. He was a prolific author, book illustrator and painter, specialising in equine and other sporting scenes.
Images © Illustrated London News group, accessed via the British Newspaper Archive.
©The British Library Board, all rights reserved.
Photograph of Lionel Edwards 1957 by kind permission, Jo Corner. © 2021 Copyright Hang Around Art & Frames. Wherwell Hants