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Roman town

A Scheduled Monument in Alcester, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.2123 / 52°12'44"N

Longitude: -1.8683 / 1°52'5"W

OS Eastings: 409096.058532

OS Northings: 257131.503201

OS Grid: SP090571

Mapcode National: GBR 3K2.8GP

Mapcode Global: VHB08.KNPD

Entry Name: Roman town

Scheduled Date: 6 April 1964

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005738

English Heritage Legacy ID: WA 128

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Alcester

Built-Up Area: Alcester

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Alcester St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


Part of the Roman small town of Alcester 370m north-west of Oversley Green Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 2015. This 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

This monument, which falls into three areas, includes part of the Roman small town of Alcester situated to the south of the current settlement which bears the same name on the banks of the Rivers Arrow and Alne at their confluence. The town survives as entirely buried structures, layers and deposits the presence of which has been confirmed by chance finds from 1660 onwards, limited excavation, geophysical survey and a study of aerial photographs. The town began as a small military outpost but functioned mainly as a manufacturing and marketing centre and served a large surrounding agricultural hinterland. The exact location of its principal buildings is not known, but residential and industrial areas have been noted to the south and the town defences from early 1st century simple earthen ramparts to later 4th century stone replacement walls with a bastion are known in the north for example. The town was apparently irregularly divided by a series of streets extending from two main Roman roads – Ryknild Street and the Salt Way. The buildings range from simple timber, wattle and daub structures to extensive stone buildings with tessellated floors and painted plaster and cover industrial, manufacturing, commercial and residential functions. Cemeteries have also been located. The town is known to have been extensive and part lies beneath the modern and medieval successors. The scheduling aims to protect those significant areas of the town which have not been subject to sustained successive redevelopment. The Roman town was operating from the 1st to 4th centuries and expanded continuously and remained prosperous until the late 4th century. From this point it declined universally but continued to function until the 5th century.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Five types of town are known to have existed in Roman Britain: coloniae, municipia, civitas capitals, Roman provincial capitals and Roman small towns. The first four types can be classified as `public towns' because each had an official status within the provincial administrative system. Roman small towns are settlements of urban character which lack the administrative status of public towns, but which are nevertheless recognisably urban in terms of morphology, features and function. They tend to lack the planned rectangular street grids, public buildings and well-appointed town houses of the public towns and instead are generally characterised by mainly insubstantial timber or half-timbered structures. Some small towns possess an enclosing wall, while others have masonry or earthwork defences. Additional features include temples, bath houses, ovens, kilns and cemeteries. Roman small towns began to emerge in the mid-first century AD. However, the majority of examples appeared in the later first and second centuries, while the third and fourth centuries saw the growth and development of existing establishments, together with the emergence of a small number of new ones. Some small towns had their origins in earlier military sites such as fort-vici and developed into independent urban areas following the abandonment of the forts. Others developed alongside major roads and were able to exploit a wide range of commercial opportunities as a result of their location. There are a total of 133 Roman small towns recorded in England. These are mainly concentrated in the Midlands and central southern England. Some examples have survived as undeveloped `green field' sites and consequently possess particularly well-preserved archaeological remains. The part of the Roman small town of Alcester survives well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, layout and development, social, political, economic, strategic and political significance, industry, agricultural practices, trade, commerce, communications, domestic arrangements, decline and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 328440
Warwickshire HER 4495

Source: Historic England

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