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Grimscar Roman tilery

A Scheduled Monument in Lindley, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6672 / 53°40'1"N

Longitude: -1.8037 / 1°48'13"W

OS Eastings: 413064.446649

OS Northings: 418987.807805

OS Grid: SE130189

Mapcode National: GBR HVV1.94

Mapcode Global: WHCB1.82BZ

Entry Name: Grimscar Roman tilery

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016315

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29899

County: Kirklees

Electoral Ward/Division: Lindley

Built-Up Area: Huddersfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: St Francis Fixby and St Hilda Cowcliffe, Huddersfield

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The site includes the remains of Grimscar Roman tilery. The site is situated
in Grimscar Woods, approximately 2km north west of the centre of Huddersfield.
The tilery sits approximately half way down the northern slope of the steep-
sided valley of Grimscar Dike.
Limited excuvations have confirmed that the site retains evidence of a series
of kilns, stoke holes, areas of kiln rakings and tile and waster dumps. A kiln
measuring approximately 3m by 4m was dug into the bedrock to a depth of 1.25m.
The natural banded sandstone formed the base of the kiln where ash from the
firing would have collected. The main chamber, the combustion chamber, had a
vaulted ceiling constructed mainly from the excavated sandstone. Above the
combustion chamber was the firing chamber, the walls of which were again
constructed from locally available stone. The walls of this chamber were set
on ledges cut into the walls of the original pit. They were supported on clay
and stone foundations and stood to a height of 1m. The top of the chamber was
constructed in clay and sat level with the contemporary ground level. Puddled
clay was used to prevent air escaping through cracks in the masonry of the
firing chamber. Once the kiln was loaded and sealed it was fired, fuel being
fed in through the stoke pit at the south eastern end. Although small scale
excavation of the site in 1955/56 and 1964 revealed only one kiln, it is clear
from tile dumps and kiln rakings (found some distance from the excavated kiln)
that further kilns lie in the area. The finds from the Grimscar excavations
consist mainly of roof, flue, floor, and Voussoir tiles, some of which were
stamped with `COH IIII BRE'. Roof tiles stamped with the same markings were
recovered from the nearby Roman fort and bath house at Slack. Some pottery was
also produced at the site. The types recovered can be dated to the first and
early second century AD. This helps to confirm the period of operations at
The stamped tiles bear witness to the fact that Grimscar tilery was a military
establishment operated by the Fourth Cohort of the Breuci. The site produced
building material and pottery used at Slack Roman Fort and bath house, located
about 4km west of Grimscar. The operation of the tilery would have coincided
with the Trajanic and Hadrianic reconstructions at Slack. An enlargement of
the bath house in the Hadrianic period would have required particularly large
quantities of tile. Such a clear relationship between a tilery and the users
of its products is unusual.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 34 Roman tileries are known in England, mainly located in the south and
east. They were in use from the late first century to the fourth century AD,
with a peak in construction during the second century. Generally they consist
of one or more kilns, a preparation and drying area, clay pits, tile dumps and
associated worksheds. Typically they were used to produce tiles and bricks,
although sometimes pottery was also made.
Early examples tend to be associated with military installations, whereas
later ones are associated with villas. The most prominent components of a kiln
are the combustion chamber, the central flue, the fire tunnel and the
stokehole. All known examples are rectangular in shape and built from tile,
stone, brick or clay blocks. Raw clay, which hardens in the firing process is
often used as cement. Tileries are most commonly sited away from settlements
and may occasionally be part of a larger industrial complex. Known examples
are associated primarily with roads, waterways, forts and villas, although the
prime factor in the selection of a site was probably a readily available
supply of workable clay. Tileries are almost exclusively found in the
countryside where the site utilises the lie of the land to enhance the
technology, typically built into a hillside with the central flue to the rear
and the stokehole nearest to the surface, close to a supply of running water.
Although a particularly characteristic building material in the Roman period,
bricks and tiles were not used before the Roman conquest and did not continue
in use after the Roman period until the early medieval period.
Roman tileries are very rare and form an essential element of the Roman
countryside. All tileries which clearly serve or are associated with other
buildings, as well as sites which demonstrate the technology and range of
products, have been identified as being of national importance.

Grimscar Roman Tilery survives well within its woodland surroundings and is a
rare example of this type of site in the north of England. The small scale
excavations carried out in the 1950s and 1960s illustrate the diversity of the
remains surviving beneath the ground. The recovery of stamped tiles at both
Grimscar and Slack Roman fort demonstrates the contemporaneity of the two
sites and the military involvement in both production and use of the tile and
pottery. Such a clear relationship between two separate sites is unusual but
vital for dating and understanding the context of the tilery.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hallam, A, 'Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society Bulletin' in The Roman Tilery In Grimscar Wood, (1965)
Purdy, J G, Manby, T G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Excavations at the Roman Tilery at Grimscar, Huddersfield 1964, , Vol. Vol 45, (1973), 96-107
Ebbatson,L, MPP Single Monument Description Tileries (Romano-British), (1988)

Source: Historic England

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