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Romano-Celtic temple and Roman road at Church Field, 150m north of Church Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Tatsfield, Surrey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2761 / 51°16'33"N

Longitude: 0.0362 / 0°2'10"E

OS Eastings: 542125.373178

OS Northings: 154960.282232

OS Grid: TQ421549

Mapcode National: GBR LLD.XN7

Mapcode Global: VHHPP.L603

Entry Name: Romano-Celtic temple and Roman road at Church Field, 150m north of Church Wood

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018506

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31396

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Tatsfield

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Limpsfield and Titsey

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

Details

The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple and an adjacent, approximately
65m long stretch of the main Roman London to Lewes road, situated on a clay
rise which forms part of the Surrey Hills. The temple and road survive as
buried archaeological features, some of which are visible as parch marks
during dry weather. They are situated around 1.6km to the north east of a
contemporary Roman villa in Titsey Park.
Investigations carried out in 1879 and 1935 showed that the NNE-SSW aligned
temple, which lies in the western part of the monument, has at its focus a
small square building, of which the mortared flint footings survive. The
building has two concentric compartments originally housing a cella, or inner
chamber, surrounded by an ambulatory, or covered outer walkway. At the north
eastern and south eastern corners of the cella, flanking the east facing
entrance, are two square pillars. These have been interpreted as the remains
of plinths for the support of religious statues. The temple building was
constructed within the south eastern half of a square, enclosing sacred
precinct, or temenos, with sides around 30.5m long. The temenos boundary wall
survives in the form of up to 0.7m wide flint footings.
The roughly north-south aligned Roman road runs approximately 8m to the east
of the south eastern temenos wall. The 1935 investigations showed it to have a
flint and gravel metalled surface around 6.7m wide.
The temple lies on the watershed between the Medway and Darenth valleys, and
overlooks a stream around 150m to the north, which is one of the head-waters
of the River Eden. The analysis of pottery fragments found during the
investigations indicated that the temple was in use from the early second to
late third centuries AD. The investigations also revealed traces of earlier
occupation of the site during the Iron Age, and the subsequent wholesale
removal of building material from the abandoned temple during the medieval
period. The monument may also have been used as a campsite for medieval
travellers to and from Canterbury along the Pilgrim Way, which passes around
550m to the north.
The modern field fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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

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
importance.

The Romano-Celtic temple at Titsey survives comparatively well, and
investigations have shown that the monument retains archaeological evidence
relating to its original use. The temple lies within the environs of a broadly
contemporary Roman villa in Titsey Park, and the close association of the
temple with the adjacent Roman road provides evidence for the accessiblity of
the temple to contemporary travellers.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Graham, J, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in A Romano-Celtic Temple at Titsey, and the Roman Road, (1936), 84-101
Graham, J, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in A Romano-Celtic Temple at Titsey, and the Roman Road, (1936), 84-101
Other
Davis, M, Unpublished geophysical survey, 1997,

Source: Historic England

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