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Course of Roman road (Margary's 543)
County: Gloucestershire
District: STROUD
NGR: SO 75 08
Monument Number: 12306
Margary's RR 543 is said to extend from a river crossing of the Severn at Arlingham through Frampton, Eastington, Frocester and Kingscote to join the Foss Way. {Source Work 154.}
No trace of it was observed during M5 construction. Mr Price observed that the straightness of Passage Road (from Arlingham village to the former ferry at Newnham) was due not to Roman ancestry but to the former existence of flanking rope walks.
Frocester parish
A length of metalling, thought to represent a Roman road, has been observed in a trench dug alongside the modern road which passes north of Frocester Court villa (SMR 5198). Information from E. G. Price & H. S. Gracie. It appears to form part of a route leading from the Fosse Way near Easton Gray (Wiltshire), by way of Kingscote to Frampton-on-Severn. {Source Work 403.}
1982 - An exploratory trench, 12m by 2m was dug across the presumed line of the road Margary 543 south of Frocester Court at SO 78748 02880, just inside the south-eastern boundary of the old walled garden behind Frocester Court. An earlier attempt to locate the road a little further to the south-east, in an orchard, had been unsuccessful. The results of the 1982 excavation were not conclusive due to many minor disturbances, but the road was tentatively identified in the form of two compacted gravel surfaces separated by a layer of silt and lying on a ridge of natural gravel. {Source Work 2343.}
Eastington parish
1947 - Part of the possible line of a Roman road (Margary's 543) is visible between SO 7781 0454 and SO 7785 0439, on RAF aerial photographs taken in 1947. {Source Work 864 and 902.}
NB/ This part of the road was formerly recorded in SMR 6817, which now forms part of SMR 12306.
1973 - A site visit was undertaken by E. Price of the Gloucester and District Archaeological Research Group in March 1973.
Parts of the Hill Road are believed to be on the line of the Arlingham - Westonbirt Roman road (Margary's 543). At the bottom of Frocester Hill it is a sunken road worn some two to three feet below the present ground level.
Opportunity arose during March 1973 to examine a section, cut during road imporivement works to take a piped culvert across the road above Coronation Cottages (SO 788 027). The trench was cut by excavator at 45 degrees across the road west to east some 3 feet 6 inches deep. A section of some three feet was dug at a time, a pipe lowered into position and immediately covered. Under these circumstances observations were brief and measurements were taken without a second chance for re-examination. The section illustrated is a projection at right-angles across the road, south-west to north-west. It proved imporssible to be certainof the eastern end, but later observatuions of the ditch face were helpful. The road was built of:
(a) Eight inches of modern tarmac, 18 feet wide, overlying:
(b) 8-9 inches of crushed limestone and gravel, 15 feet wide, with a wedge of compacted dust on each side. This in turn lay on the natural gravel to the west, and to the east on:
(c) a thick mass of large stones and crushed limestone approximately 18 inches thick and a minimum of 11 feet wide, laid on:
(d) a mass of random laid and pitched blocks 12 inches thick, bedded on the natural gravel at a depth of 3 feet 9 inches.
The clay pocket in the centre is a puzzle, It may be natural or, as has been suggested, it may actually have sloped to the bottom of the layer (c), in which case it could represent the limit og excavation for that layer. It also seems unusual that the easrliest footings are laid so into the subsoil. Observations further up the road confirmed the existence of similar material at the same depth, with a thick layer of soil lying on to of it, again to the east of the present road. It may be that there was already a deeply eroded trackway before the first road was laid. No dating evidence was found but it is suggested that the section represents (a) the modern road, (b) the turnpike construction of 1774, (c) early and Roman surfaces on (d) Roman footings. {Source Work 1783.}
2014 Cotswold Archaeology undertook an evaluation at Bath Road, Eastington. Ditches and a trackway dating to the medieval period as well as undated, but possibly earlier, features were identified in the western and central part of the site.
The trackway identified at the south-western end of Trench 1 is broadly parallel and adjacent to the current Bath Road, which lies close to the postulated course of the known Roman road (HER 12306). While the fill of the trackway contained pottery of medieval date, the possibility that it may be associated with the Roman road cannot be discounted. The ditches identified in Trench 3 and Trench 1 probably relate to medieval agricultural activity and/or land division although those located at the centre of Trench 1 were sealed by subsoil and topsoil and it is therefore possible that these features are earlier than the medieval features. {Source Work 12616.}
[The digitised line of this Roman road is very tentative. - pers. comm. Naomi Payne, SMR Assistant, 06/03/2005.]


Protection Status

Sources and further reading
575;Allden A;1984;Vol:0;
65;Codrington T;1905;Roman Roads in Britain;Vol:0;
403;RCHME;1976;Iron Age and Romano-British Monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds;Vol:0;
154;Margary ID;1957;Roman Roads in Britain. North of the Foss Way - Bristol Channel (including Wales and Scotland);Vol:2;
2343;Price EG & Price AJ;1992;GLEVENSIS;Vol:26;Page(s):22-27;
2589;Russett V;1991;Vol:0;
5277;Ordnance Survey;1971;Vol:0;
1783;Price EG;1974;GLEVENSIS;Vol:8;Page(s):8;
12616;Orellana J;2014;

Related records
HER   4565     A possible Prehistoric or Roman Trackway or field boundary is visible as a curving linear cropmark to the east of Bowldown Wood, Westonbirt with Lasborough.
HER   4566     A possible Roman or Medieval trackway is visible as a cropmark to the southeast of Bowldown Cottages, Westonbirt with Lasborough.
HER   5286     Friday Street - possible Roman road, Arlingham.
HER   27701     Margary's Roman road number 542. Amalgamated with HER 32858
HER   32859     Projected section of Roman road between Chavanage Green and Kingscote, Kingscote
HER   32858     Section of Roman road between Chavange Green and Lasborough, Beverstone
HER   47348     Medieval ditches and a trackway as well as undated, but possibly earlier, features from a 2014 evaluation of land at Bath Road, Eastington.
HER   29472     Possible remains of the Roman road through Arlingham at the village store, Arlingham.

Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive