About project

Period: 2021

Client: Bellway Homes

Project: Roman Road Stelae Pillars, Derbyshire, UK.

To commemorate a Roman Road the artist Stuart Mugridge was commissioned to design a suitable and durable pieces to indicate the line of the road and its history. In Roman times, stelae were occasionally used as boundary markers to mark borders or property lines.


To produce the artists design in a red granite visual precast concrete to be aesthetically pleasing, tactile and durable. The patterns where to be exposed areas of aggregate to contrast against the ex-mould fair face.


A set of 9 reinforced graphic stelae columns ranging from 0.7 to 1.7m in height, and 0.5m diameter were cast in a striking, high contrast red granite.

Each with a single sunken lifting socket, once installed, could be easily filled.


The taller stelae columns were cast in gradual single pours to avoid banding or bulging. Mix design used GGBS to lower the carbon impact and lighten the fair face, with the fines of the granite giving a subtle pink hue to the finish surface.

Once fully cured, each had a unique pattern that was vinyl printed and etched in through grit blasting.

After installation, the filed lifting sockets were professionally retouched to blend in with adjoining surfaces.


Artist's Description

The BRAILSFORD PARK STELAE are primarily a response to the archaeology of the site and its surroundings but also nod to past local industries and to some of the wildlife that may be seen at the nearby Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve and along the River Rother.

Running roughly south-north the line of the Roman’s Ryknield Street runs near to the western edge of Brailsford Park. This road, constructed at some point after 43AD, once connected the Roman forts at Little Chester (Derby) and Chesterfield … connecting from there to the wider network of roads. Today, little remains of Ryknield Street.

The basic form of the stelae mimics the milestones that may have been present along sections of Roman roads in Britain. The bold graphics reference and adapt visuals from the archaeological surveys of the site, whilst the layout of the graphics and the placement of the stelae themselves are dictated by Roman units of measure.

Also incorporated into the surface design of the stelae are Roman numerals, Latin phrases and the silhouettes of three bird species. The patterns, words and images picked out
in the stelae are coloured to reference the past local industry of red lead milling which once took place not far from the site and today leaves a trace in the name of a brook a short way to the south.

“[Britain’s] sky is obscured by continual rain and cloud. Severity of cold is unknown. The days exceed in length those of our part of the world.”

Tacitus, ‘Agricola’
(Book I)

“Seeing the milliare containing mille passus, as the very name imports, and every passus consisting of five feet, as Columella, and Isidorus, expressly tell us, here therefore would be 5000 feet to help us to one, could there be but found out a perfect Romane mile.”

Greaves, ‘A Discourse of the Romane Foot, and Denarius’, 1647

Roman Stelae Latin to English Graphic Translations