This is the first in a series of articles featuring what people have done during Lockdown as they’ve had more spare time on their hands than usual.
Roman Centurion by John Macklin
If you’ve driven through Bishopstone recently, you may have spotted a life-size model of a Roman Centurion standing by the entrance to Jolin, a house near the turn for Bishon Lane. The work of John Macklin, this model has taken many painstaking hours to make. Here’s John’s story…
I was looking at my scrap metal pile in the yard and thought I must sort it out, when the end of an old copper water tank caught my eye. I thought it looks like a shield, I had a pair of old motor cycle forks which looked a bit like legs so the idea came to make a life sized Roman Centurion out of scrap metal. I had an old copper ball float from a cattle water drinking tank to make his head, and a load of thin metal strip recovered from when I cleared out an old industrial unit years ago.
So from these basic bits, I started to build the Centurion, welding up thin metal for his arms and legs, the knee caps were old ends of a curtain rail, the feet came from old cobbler’s trees, motorcycle forks for the hips and legs, from part of an old tow bar I made the hand, the armour was hammered out of the old copper cylinder, the skirt and leg shields were cut from an old road sign, ball bearings were used for the eyes, odd copper bits made the nose and ears.
The helmet was beyond my tin bashing skills, and I had run out of metal (my excuse). This came courtesy of eBay made by skilled tin bashers in India.
So why make a Roman Centurion?
Having been born within 200m of the site of the Roman Town of Magnis, Kenchester and attending Kenchester School. I developed an interest in Roman History maybe because we played with Roman coins and other artefacts donated to the school uncovered by ploughing the town site over many years. We as school children were taken to look at the excavations made by archaeologists when they exposed the remains of the West Gate of the Town.
Living in Bishopstone on the side of an old marching road used by Centurions between AD43-410 on their way to the border forts of Clyro and Clifford, I thought the Statue would be a nice tribute to those men.
What have you been doing during Lockdown? Get in touch and we’ll share your story with others in our parish.