The Last Roman
In 2023, archaeologists and students from Lancaster University discovered evidence of an ancient Roman temple in the meadowland between the castle and the Lune. We do not know to which god this temple was dedicated but there is evidence on other sites in Lancaster and across the county of dedications to one particular long forgotten Romano-Celtic god.
When you get old, you start forgetting things. But when you get very very old, things start forgetting you.
Between the castle and the river, there is a man so old that the trees, the winds, even the birds take no notice of him. Only the rooks remember. They caw as he wanders below their high nests.
His name has been forgotten a hundred times. They once called him the Grey Man, Grandfather Lune, the Devil’s Boatswain. But now, if he is seen at all, he’s just a shuffling old man, nameless and lost. He too has forgotten his real name.
It was a great name, whatever it was. It certainly sounded grand and venerable, muttered by priests in smokey temples. It was a name of power invoked by centurions in the heat of battle. Once upon a time, that name echoed from Africa to Gaul and even in far off Britannia.
Now, he has neither priests nor warriors. Even his temple on the banks of the Lune was lost. He shuffles between the castle and the river with rusted armour hidden beneath an old grey coat yearning only to remember.
It is said that he will grant a single wish to anyone who recalls his true name. But that is just a myth for I saw him once, clinking and shuffling on the riverbank. I hailed him and proclaimed,.
“You are Ialonus Contrebis, Lord of the Meadows, Guardian of the River, Last of the Romans.”
He granted me no wish but he remembered the name and for a time, I walked with a god on the banks of the Lune.
Then like mist, he vanished, forgotten once again.