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Cirencester is the most prominent town in the Cotswold region situated 93 miles west-northwest of London. It is located on the tributary of the Thames River which is known as River Churn. It is also known as a market town in east Gloucestershire with a population of around 19000 according to 2011 census. The town is situated on the lower dip slopes of the outcrop of oolitic limestone, commonly known as Cotswold Hills. The town is divided into five major areas such as the suburbs of Chesterton, Watermoor, the town centre, Stratton and the Beeches.
The Corinium Museum of the town is highly recognised for its important Roman collection. In 1840, the oldest agricultural college ‘Royal Agricultural University’ of the English speaking world is built in the city. The Itzehoe town of the Germany is considered as a twin town of Cirencester. The twin town concept was introduced in 1947 after the Second World War to foster peace and reconciliation and promote trade and tourism. The early citation of the town was made by the Greco-Roman astrologer, mathematician and geographer Ptolemy in AD 150. The earlier name of the town was Corinium in the Roman times depicting its association with the ancient British tribe of the Dobunni. It has been suggested that the Dobunni has the same root word as the Churn River.
The early settlement of the town was formed in the early Roman area along with Colchester and St Albans. The fort was built by the Romans in AD 49 to accommodate two military allies supported to shield the provincial frontier. The fort was built at the place where the Roman road Fosse Way crossed the Churn and native Iron Age tribes ‘Dobunni’ were drawn from Bagendon and formed civil settlement near the fort. The evidence of major area roadwork was also found in the town. After the invasion of Wales, the tribe moved to the north and subsequently, the fort was closed. The public place outdoors ‘Forum’ and Christian church ‘Basilica’ were built over the site of the fort.
The town continued to grow and prospered under the Corinium Dobunnorum name. The robust wool trade and industry played a significant role towards the development of Corinium in the Roman times. The various Roman remains were found in the surrounding area including the large number of Roman villas near the villages of Withington and Chedworth. The town was also considered as the second largest city by area in the Great Britain after the wall constructed around the Roman city and covered 240 acres area.
The ancient market town in the Cotswold Hills of England known as the Roman Amphitheatre lies on the south-west of the town and still exists in the town and partially excavated. After the dissolution of the Monasteries, all the abbey buildings were demolished in 1539 and only Norman Arch and remains of the precinct wall were survived above ground. These further established the perimeter of a public park in the centre of the town. The townsmen of the Cirencester gained wealth and prosperity from the national and international wool sales, woollen broadcloth and sheep rearing businesses.
The town was severally affected by the English Civil War in the 16th century resulted in the death of 300 people and 1200 prisoners were caged in the church. The town became a robust market town and major urban centre with its convenient access to markets for production of wool and grain at the end of the 18th century. The town provides various leisure, retail and sports facilities as well as significant tourist trade for the townsfolk and the surrounding area. The important places to visit in the town are Corinium Museum, Cirencester Park, Cirencester Amphitheatre, Cerney House Gardens and much more exciting locations.
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