Ancient Monuments

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Section of Roman road 270yds (250m) in length south east of Holtye Common

A Scheduled Monument in Hartfield, East Sussex

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Latitude: 51.1305 / 51°7'49"N

Longitude: 0.0885 / 0°5'18"E

OS Eastings: 546230.245553

OS Northings: 138877.12502

OS Grid: TQ462388

Mapcode National: GBR LND.55S

Mapcode Global: VHHQ9.HV47

Entry Name: Section of Roman road 270yds (250m) in length SE of Holtye Common

Scheduled Date: 2 May 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002277

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 179

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Hartfield

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Hartfield St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


A 250m length of Roman Road, 535m WNW of Scragg’s Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 September 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a 250m length of Roman road, which formed part of the London to Lewes Way. It is situated on the south-east facing slope of a valley, a short distance to the south of the A264. The length of Roman road is partly exposed as metalling above ground but otherwise survives as earthworks and buried archaeological remains. It runs roughly parallel to a footpath, which begins just off the A264. The Roman road includes a central agger or raised embankment with two ditches on either side. It was partly constructed of ironworking slag from local iron works. The iron slag is 0.3m deep in the centre of the road, reducing to less then 0.1m at the edges, and is laid directly on clay sub-soil.

The London to Lewes Way ran a distance of 71km between Watling Street at Peckham and Lewes in Sussex. It is thought to date to the late 1st century or 2nd century AD.

The road was partially excavated by Sussex Archaeological Trust in 1939. Part of the iron slag metalling showed rare evidence of Roman cart ruts.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150 miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe, changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every 20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs, kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection.

The 250m length of Roman road near Holtye survives well and forms part of a significant route leading from the south to London. Partial excavation has shown that there is surviving archaeological information relating to its construction and use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Margary, I D, Roman Ways in the Weald, (1968)
East Sussex HER MES5259. NMR TQ43NE30, LINEAR343. PastScape 972580, 1042783.,

Source: Historic England

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