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Historic England Research Records

Brean Down

Hob Uid: 191317
Location :
Somerset
Sedgemoor
Brean
Grid Ref : ST2934058830
Summary : A Romano-British temple on Brean Down, excavated between 1957-8 was constructed c. 340 AD and demolished c. 390 AD; Smeltery furnace inserted. Building c 400 AD erected in rubble of Temple and Priest's house, demolished in C5th. Scheduled.
More information : [ST 29335883] A Romano-Celtic temple on Brean Down, first
indicated by RB potsherds in rabbit scrapes, was excavated in 1957-8.
It comprised a square cella with a verandah all round and a porch on
the south-east. On the south west were two rooms presumably for the
priests. [See plan(2)]. Coin and pottery evidence suggest it may
have been built soon after AD 340, and used for some 25-30 years
when it was ransacked and a smelting furnace erected in the northern
annexe (5). A third building, dating from C. 400 AD or later, was built in the rubble of the temple and priests' house. A skeleton outside the north corner of the temple had been buried when it was in ruins.

The original quarry for stone was 75 yards north of the site and the
Roman approach was up a narrow gully on the south face of the Down.
A sherd of Peterborough ware came from beneath the temple. The finds
are displayed in Weston-Super-Mare Museum. (1-5)

The siting of the Roman temple at ST 29355882 (approx) has been
obtained at Weston Super-Mare Museum from a large scale air
(helicopter) photograph of the excavations, with this photograph at
the site the centre of the temple can still be deduced. (6)

The temple is square in plan, constructed c. 340 AD with lateral annexes and a front porch added before c. 367-8 AD. A coin hoard was located within the interior and may be a votive offering or related to the latter phase of activity. Prior to demolition c. 390 AD. the north annexe used was for iron working. After demolition a small domestic building was constructed, this was demolished during the fifth century. A burial located within the temple appears to be part of this later occupation. (7)

A Rodwell Group 2 Temple; Small Roman type Temple (Rectangular) (8)

The area around the site of the Romano-Celtic temple on Brean Down was surveyed a t a scale of 1:1000 by the RCHME in June 1995, as part of a landscape survey of Brean Down (ST 25 NE 32). The remains of the Romano-Celtic temple on Brean Down are visible in the form of several small hollows, centred at ST 29335 58835, and the footings of two walls, at ST 29336 58847 and ST 29342 58845 (8). The hollows represent the remains of ApSimon's excavation trenches. The wall footings are part of the north annexe of the temple, partially excavated by ApSimon, who left the walls in situ before backfilling the trenches (7). The wall footings have been uncovered by erosion caused by a footpath along the summit of the Down (9).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Spec 6" (BUSS J H Crickmay 19.8.57)
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Proc UBSS 8(2) 1958 106ff plan (A M Ap Simon)
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Proc U.B.S.S. 9(2) 1959 109
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : JRS 48 1958 146 plan (2)
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : JRS 49 1959 129 plan
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 21-JAN-65
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Proc UBSS 10(3) 1965 195-258 (A M Apsimon)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : British Archaeol Report 77 Religion in Roman Britian 1980 560 (Ed W Rodwell)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Riley H 27-JUN-1995 RCHME Field Investigation
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 390
Monument Start Date : 340
Monument Type : Temple, Smeltery
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 420
Monument Start Date : 400
Monument Type : Building, Inhumation
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13811
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 10117
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 25 NE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BREAN DOWN ROMAN TEMPLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1957-01-01
End Date : 1958-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 25 NE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-01-21
End Date : 1965-01-21
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BREAN DOWN SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-06-01
End Date : 1996-06-01
Associated Activities : Primary, BREAN DOWN
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31