Roman Cheshire

To find “where we come from” and why the yDNA results show so many various surnames matching OUR Stocktons, we need to take on board the history of our area of Cheshire. When you take into account the following history, it’s hardly surprising that there are such connections.


The Cornovii controlled the land before the Romans took over. These Britons formed the base bloodlines of the ordinary people of Cheshire: their various ancestral lines have been here since the ice retreated, using flint, bronze and then iron tools as new technologies became available. Local families would have been living within the area.

The next major invasion of blood came then from the Roman armies of occupation. Chester’s fort at Deva was raised by the 2nd Assistant Legion, the Legio II Adiutrix Pia Fideles, in 72. They were there until sent to Dacia – Romania – in 87, to try to defeat Decabalus. The Legio II was originally raised from marines in the Mediterranean fleet at Ravenna, Northern Italy – most were from the seafaring peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean. This would be modern day Italy, the Adriatic countries, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Egypt and so on.

The legionary fort attracted local entrepreneurs and their families. And their daughters would have attracted the legionaries like bees round a honey pot. It’s unlikely that any legion, never mind one composed of sailors, would have remained celibate for 15 years. After their withdrawal in 87, the fort was taken over by the Legio XX Valeria. It’s not known where it was originally raised, but it was common policy to take conquered military personnel into the Roman Army and then send them to serve hundreds, even thousands of miles away from home. The 20th Legion, Valiant & Victorious – whose crest was a boar – is first traced fighting on the Danube, in Dalmatia, in Germany and then in the British Isles.

In Britain, the 20th were sent to Camulodunum (Colchester), then to Kingsholm near Gloucester: they were a major part of the force that defeated Boudicca. They were then sent to Wroxeter, saw action in North Yorkshire, were stationed at Carlisle, and had just finished building a fort at Inchtuthill in Perthshire when they were given their marching orders to Chester. The 20th was there until the end of military occupation in Britannia – and a few hundred years is bound to have a not inconsiderable effect on the gene pool. The locals would have spoken their own language - and the Cheshire version of Latin, if they wanted to do business with the town.