GHOSTS of the ancient Roman settlement of Salinae were reawakened at the weekend as troops of soldiers and cavalry thundered across the fields of Middlewich.
The spectacular Ermine Street Guard was without doubt the most enthralling attraction at the Roman Middlewich Festival. Members of Britain's leading re-enactment group drew gasps from the crowds as they threw themselves into exciting battle skirmishes and displays of artillery.
The Guard dramatically brought the town¹s Roman heritage to life true to the spirit of the Roman Middlewich Project.
The weekend¹s festivities began as they marched through the town centre in a grand parade, joined by Middlewich schoolchildren each dressed in colourful Roman costume. They wound their way to the site of the original Roman fort at Harbutt's Field, where the Roman Middlewich Festival was officially opened at noon.
But before proceedings by town mayor Cllr Jacki Cox and guest of honour, Italian consul for the North West, Signor Marcello Cavalcaselle, a solemn hush fell on the crowds as they observed a minute¹s silence for the victims of the terrorist atrocities in America.
Cllr Cox then made her opening speech, punctuating her English with Latin.
She said: "It's a privilege to be able to stand here and see months of background work finally come to fruition. In celebrating our past it gives us a great future as we are finally recognised as part of Roman Britain."
Signor Cavalcaselle said: "This is the first time I have visited Middlewich. It is a beautiful town and it is an honour to be here today. I feel it is a way for the many children to learn history in a way which is more alive."
Borough mayor Cllr Roy Giltrap added: "Today is a wonderful history lesson for us all, especially for the schoolchildren, who will learn more today than in any classroom."