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Section of medieval road, south of Pomparles Bridge, north of Street

A Scheduled Monument in Street, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1346 / 51°8'4"N

Longitude: -2.735 / 2°44'5"W

OS Eastings: 348671.33825

OS Northings: 137510.882209

OS Grid: ST486375

Mapcode National: GBR MJ.8YQ2

Mapcode Global: VH8B3.JRZ3

Entry Name: Section of medieval road, south of Pomparles Bridge, north of Street

Scheduled Date: 28 June 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014443

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27984

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Street

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a length of road or causeway with organic preservation,
aligned north to south on Press Moor immediately to the east of the present
road between Glastonbury and Street. The road was once thought to be Roman,
but is probably of medieval date. It is not visible as an earthwork, but was
recorded during excavation in 1881 as being eighteen inches to two feet,
(0.45m-0.60m) below the ground surface. It was noted a few years before 1881,
during drainage works, as being cut across in many places; it was traced from
the River Brue in the north almost to Street. The drains did not cut through
the whole depth of the road, as it had a substantial structure. The 1881
excavation took place approximately 7m south of the river bank at the north
end of the monument. The road was built on a surface of peat, 2.13m below the
level of the field. The base of the road consisted of transverse roundwood,
mostly alder, some of which was split, up to 4.3m long. With additional
brushwood, this formed a layer 0.45m deep, which was overlain by a thin
spread, reportedly of concrete, but probably mortar.
On this was built a wooden framework of large squared oak timbers, laid
lengthways. Each timber was up to 2.1m in length and they were laid three to
four deep at the sides of the structure, forming a trough up to 0.75m deep.
They were held in place by oak piles or stakes, driven up to 0.6m into the
peat. The excavated area held two large transverse oak logs, up to 0.6m in
diameter, into which the side timbers were notched. Some of the timbers
showed evidence of reuse in the form of unused mortice holes and obsolete
pegs.
The space between the timbers and above was filled with limestone and lias
which appeared to be placed at the sides, and randomly infilled centrally.
These stones had a maximum size of 0.3m. The surface was levelled with
smaller stones.
The structure was further strengthened by the addition of an embankment of
stones, logs and brushwood, sloping down from the road surface for a distance
of 9m either side. The whole structure was overlain by clay from flooding
episodes.
Two lengths of the road, with the same structure, were investigated in 1921 to
the north of the river. This work provided evidence for the road's medieval
date. A sherd of an Upchurch Ware bowl, 1st-2nd century AD, was found below
the road, and from the road surface a number of iron artefacts were recovered.
One of these, a spur, was identified as late 12th or early 13th century date.
In this case the road was less well preserved and is not included in the
scheduling.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences and posts, though the
ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval roads are widespread througout England. They are artificial ways
providing a means of communication between places and features used in
medieval times; many roads utilised the existing Roman road system. Generally
3m-4m wide, the surface is metalled with various materials, and associated
with ditches, drainage channels, fords, causeways and junctions. Wheel ruts
are a common feature. Artefactual and environmental evidence is rare.
This section of medieval road between Glastonbury and Street is unusual in
having a wooden structure which survives through rare organic preservation.
There is evidence for the reuse of structural timbers. It will provide much
environmental, dendrochronological and woodworking evidence for the medieval
period. It was first noted in the late 19th century during drainage
operations, when a section was excavated, but has not been exposed since 1921.
It is located within the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and Moors, an area of
high archaeological value which has seen rapid landscape change in the past
200 years as a result of drainage and intensive peat cutting.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Morland, J, On an Ancient Road between Glastonbury and Street, (1881), 43-50
Morland, J, The Brue at Glastonbury, The Roman Road, Pons Perilis and Beckery Mill, (1922), 64-69
Other
SMR entries, Chapel 23570, bridge 23577, church 24705,

Source: Historic England

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