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The earliest Roman military site, of 50, was at Kingsholm. The move to the present site took place in the mid‐60s with the building of a legionary fortress. This was turned into a colonia for legionary veterans under Nerva (96–8). As elsewhere, well‐appointed houses became more common at Gloucester in the 3rd and 4th cents. There is no evidence that the town was still in being when it fell to the Anglo‐Saxons after the battle of Dyrham in 577.

Gloucester revived as a royal and ecclesiastical centre in the 7th cent., and as a fortified and planned town (burh) in the 9th. Situated at the lowest point bridgeable on the Severn (until 1966), it was long an important inland port. The medieval town was dominated by St Peter's abbey (created the cathedral in 1541) and the Norman castle: the Norman kings wore their crown at Gloucester annually and the town then ranked among the ten richest in England.

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