Ancient Monuments

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A Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted

A Scheduled Monument in Upchurch, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3645 / 51°21'52"N

Longitude: 0.6583 / 0°39'29"E

OS Eastings: 585151.718464

OS Northings: 166183.578009

OS Grid: TQ851661

Mapcode National: GBR QRK.K6L

Mapcode Global: VHJLX.CYCT

Entry Name: A Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted

Scheduled Date: 26 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009023

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25463

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Upchurch

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple situated on the southern edge of
the north Kent marshes, on the western slope of a low, clay hill. The temple,
which survives as buried remains, is a square building, with each outer wall
measuring 13.4m in length. It has two concentric foundation walls originally
forming an ambulatory, or covered walkway, enclosing a central cella, or inner
chamber. The cella measures 6.7m externally, and both enclosure walls are
c.0.7m thick.
The temple was partially excavated in 1969-1970, when pottery sherds dating to
between AD 100-AD 200 were discovered. A small votive pit was located within
the cella near its north eastern corner.
The modern fence which crosses the monument and the stile which is situated on
the fenceline are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-Celtic temples were built to meet the spiritual needs of the
communities they served by venerating the god or spirit considered to dwell in
a particular place. The temple building was regarded as the treasure house of
its deity and priests rather than as a congregational building and any
religious activities, including private worship, communal gatherings,
sanctuary and healing, took place outside.
Romano-Celtic temples included the temple building and a surrounding sacred
precinct or temenos which could be square, circular, rectangular or polygonal
in ground plan. The temple building invariably faced due east and was the
focus of the site, although it did not necessarily occupy the central position
in the temenos. It comprised a cella, or inner temple chamber, an ambulatory
or walkway around the cella, and sometimes annexes or antechambers. The
buildings were constructed of a variety of materials, including stone, cob and
timber, and walls were often plastered and painted both internally and
externally. Some temenoi enclosed other buildings, often substantial and built
in materials and styles similar to those of the temple; these are generally
interpreted as priests' houses, shops or guest houses.
Romano-Celtic temples were built and used throughout the Roman period from the
mid first century AD to the late fourth/early fifth century AD, with
individual examples being used for relatively long periods of time. They were
widespread throughout southern and eastern England, although there are no
examples in the far south west and they are rare nationally with only about
150 sites recorded in England. In view of their rarity and their importance in
contributing to the complete picture of Roman religious practice, including
its continuity from Iron Age practice, all Romano-Celtic temples with
surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national

Despite some disturbance by ploughing and the action of tree roots, the
Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted survives relatively well and has been shown by
partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. Around 260m to the north east are the remains of a Romano-British
villa. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association
will provide evidence for the relationship between religious, social and
economic practices during the period of their construction and use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Brittania' in Brittania, , Vol. 4, (1973), 321-322

Source: Historic England

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