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Section of Roman road on Pertwood Down

A Scheduled Monument in Chicklade, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1307 / 51°7'50"N

Longitude: -2.1703 / 2°10'13"W

OS Eastings: 388176.5555

OS Northings: 136841.9964

OS Grid: ST881368

Mapcode National: GBR 1W5.43J

Mapcode Global: VH97W.BVH1

Entry Name: Section of Roman road on Pertwood Down

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020379

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34194

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Chicklade

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: The Deverills and Horningsham

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a 1060m long section of the Roman road which ran
between the Mendips and the Roman town of Sorviodunum near Salisbury. It
is aligned ENE to WNW across the chalk downs to the south of the Wylye valley.
This section of the road crosses the south facing slope of Pertwood Down, a
ridge of Upper Chalk to the east of Monkton Deverill. The extant section of
the road runs from a point 35m to the west of the A350 road to a fenceline
west of a conifers belt, beyond which it has been reduced by ploughing and is
not included in the scheduling.
The eastern section of the road is straight and survives as an agger 0.4m
high. Here only the south side of the road is visible from the southern edge
to the middle of the cambered road surface. The north side of the road has
been covered by soil movement and survives as a buried feature. The total
width of the road in this section is 12m.
West of this straight section the line of the road runs north west for 150m to
avoid a small steep-sided dry valley cut into the hillside. It then turns west
to join the original line. Here the agger is up to 0.6m high and 11m wide.
The western end of the road overlies part of an extensive field system which
survives on the southern slope of the hill. As the road descends the eastern
spur of the valley, it follows a pre-existing double lynchet trackway
associated with this field system.
The road is thought to have been used to carry lead mined in the Mendips to
Old Sarum and eventually to the south coast for export. Several pigs of lead
have been found dropped along its course. There are three breaks in the
course of the road caused by modern trackways but it is thought that some of
the road material will survive in these areas and they have been included in
the scheduling. The surrounding field system is not, however, included in the
All fences and fence posts 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

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the
Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province
and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus
Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150
miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe,
changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on
major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every
20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads
acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry.
Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in
the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property
boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the
withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have
continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath
modern roads.
On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are
distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad
elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second
usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three
successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the
sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs,
kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the
original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-
west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and
extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the
period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil
engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A
high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be
worthy of protection.

The Roman road on Pertwood Down represents a well-preserved section of a once
important route used for carrying lead mined in the Mendips to the south
coast, providing an important insight into the economy of Roman Britain.

Source: Historic England


Crawford, O G S and Keiller, A, Wessex from the Air, (1928)

Source: Historic England

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