After more than 300 years, Roman Britain ended abruptly in little more than one lifetime. An elderly man, Caradoc, born when Buxton was a thriving Roman spa, lives now on a farmstead below the ruined and abandoned town. He tells his story in the year 430 AD, over half a century before the Anglo-Saxon invaders arrived in force. What caused Roman Britain’s dramatic collapse?
The life story of the old man weaves its way through sixty turbulent years of Britain’s history. The eyes of an ordinary man from a small British town witness the steady demise of his civilization. Caradoc sees the withdrawal of the rich from the towns as they move to the country to avoid taxation, the staged withdrawal of the army to fight in foreign wars at the whim of men seeking power and self-glory and, finally, the collapse of the old order as the British tribes turn on one another in the settling of ancient scores. Throughout it all, only the thermal spring of Buxton runs constant.
This fascinating book has already received enthusiastic endorsement from the experts:
Yale Historian Cyrus Vakil writes, “What a majestic tale! I learnt more from it in six hours than I learnt from Gibbon in six days. It is masterful and persuasive, and very relevant today – with many a barbarian at our gates. In addition to the issues of decline (who writing of late antiquity can escape them?) you explore the very interesting question – to Parsis, Coptic Christians, and Chinese close to the last emperors, at least – of the identity of minority groups when the colonizer they identified with leaves.”
…and Netta Christie Director Discover Buxton Heritage Tours writes, “The thermal waters of Buxton have provided a place of healing and hospitality for centuries .David Wilkinson’s new book, The Constant Spring, lets us eavesdrop on a period of Buxton’s history rarely explored. His portrayal of Aquae Arnemetia during the latter stages of the Roman occupation will add to our telling of the Buxton story.”