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Roman Bath House, Castleford

A Scheduled Monument in Castleford Central and Glasshoughton, Wakefield

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.7276 / 53°43'39"N

Longitude: -1.355 / 1°21'18"W

OS Eastings: 442652.158425

OS Northings: 425877.478555

OS Grid: SE426258

Mapcode National: GBR LTZB.FH

Mapcode Global: WHDC0.5K0R

Entry Name: Roman Bath House, Castleford

Scheduled Date: 19 February 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1428421

County: Wakefield

Electoral Ward/Division: Castleford Central and Glasshoughton

Built-Up Area: Castleford

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Castleford Team Parish

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

Summary

Buried remains of a Roman military bath house, built mid to late AD 80s, excavated during 1978 and re-buried. Situated within the site of a former defensible annexe that was constructed to the north of Castleford Roman fort.

Source: Historic England

Details

Principal elements: buried remains of a late 1st century AD Roman military bath house, uncovered by excavation by the West Yorkshire Archaeological Unit during 1978.

Description: Buried remains of a Roman military bath house built circa AD 90, as a detached sub-rectangular plan building, approximately 23m x 13m in size, on a north - south axis, within the defensible military annexe of the Roman Fort of Langentivm (Castleford). The bath house is situated on the northern edge of Castleford town centre; it is located in a triangular-plan grassed traffic island, flanked by Church Street to the west, Savile Road / Aire Street to the north, and a disused car park access road to the south-east.

The bath house was built of dressed limestone blocks bonded with mortar. It had six rooms; the plan form is readable, although most walls have been robbed to foundation level. The most northerly room is the apodyterium (changing room) and it was only partially exposed during the archaeological excavations. The full internal extent of the room, 11.20m x 6.65m was not appreciated until the walls of the north-west corner were exposed in a trench when a sewer pipeline was laid beneath the road surface of Aire Street. The extent of the structure to the south of the apodyterium was fully defined by the excavation. A narrow rectangular room identified at the time of the first excavation by West Yorkshire Archaeological Unit as the apodyterium, is now considered to be the lobby of the apodyterium that allowed access into the frigidarium (cold room).

The frigidarium and the cold plunge bath occupied the next room to the south, which formed a 11.20m wide and between 4.50 – 4.80m rectangular room plan. The cold plunge bath measured 4.80m x 2.90m and was situated at the eastern end of the room. The frigidarium has a mortar floor with evidence of foundation for a rectangular water trough or cistern situated towards the centre of the room, associated with a drain that passes out through the wall to the north. The floor and walls of the plunge bath were plastered with opus signinum that was quartered (regularly patterned with incised lines representing ashlar stone courses). The floor of the bath was at the same level as that of the frigidarium and the water was retained by a low partition wall.

The tepidarium (warm room) is a 7.40 x 4.90m rectangular-plan room situated immediately to the south of the frigidarium with its eastern wall butted up against the flue channels from the northern end of the praefurnium (heating furnace room). Although not fully excavated, evidence shows that the bath house was reconstructed and that the floor had two phases of construction, and some pilae (pillars of tiles supporting the hypocaust heated floor over a vented space) remained in situ.

The caldarium (hot / steam room) is a rectangular-plan room of similar dimensions to the tepidarium, with the exception that there is a projecting apse in the west wall that probably contained the hot bath. Like the tepidarium, the hypocaust floor of the caldarium was also built in two phases on pillae and a below-floor opening in the east wall connects to the praefurnium.

The praefurnium (heating furnace room) was integral to and within the rectangular bath house plan. The room was situated against the east walls of the tepidarium and the caldarium; it contained two furnaces and associated flue stacks, and a small extension, possibly a fuel store or combustion chamber, projects out from the eastern wall opposite the southern flue stack.

Extent of Scheduling: the monument includes the full known extent of the bath house, which was exposed by the West Yorkshire Archaeological Unit in 1978, and also includes the area of the apodyterium, the north-west corner of which was exposed at a later date during the laying of a sewer pipeline. The sub-trapizodal area of protection at its widest extent measures 25 x 33m and is predominantly located within the traffic island bounded by Church Street to the west, Savile Road / Aire Street to the north, and a disused car park access road to the south-east. A rectangular extension on the northern edge of the trapizodal area extends out beneath the surface of Aire Street.

Exclusions: the modern road surface and the adjacent paving that overlay the apodyterium are excluded from the scheduling. The steel sheet piling acting as road retaining is included in the scheduling for the support and protection of the monument.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Roman Bath House, Savile Road, Castleford is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Diversity / occupation: archaeological finds have demonstrated a lengthy occupation and use of the bath house, both by the military and civilian populations of Castleford until the abandonment of the Roman settlement;
* Survival / condition: the excavated bath house survives well, wall foundations show the full extent and plan of the structure, with hypocaust flooring, evidence of a plunge pool, and some low sections of up-standing wall;
* Archaeological potential: the method of excavation has ensured that considerable archaeological potential remains in the site;
* Group value: the bath house has group value with other excavated Roman structures in Castleford.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Breeze, David J (author), Roman Forts in Britain, (1983)
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, , Roman Castleford Excavations 1974-85, Volume II, (1999), 28 - 35
Wilson, Roger (Author), Roman Forts - An Illustrated Introduction to the Garrison Posts of Roman Britain, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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