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Historic England Research Records

The Chessalls Roman Town

Hob Uid: 209044
Location :
Gloucestershire
Cotswold, Stroud
Wotton-under-Edge, Kingscote
Grid Ref : ST8069795880
Summary : A large unwalled Roman settlement with at least seventy five buildings. Excavations in 1975-6 revealed a winged corridor villa. Many of the finds date from the 1st to the 4th centuries. There is cropmark evidence of part of an associated field system to the west and south west and traces of a building to the south of the main villa building. Scheduled.
More information : (Centred ST 808957) Roman Coins found (NAT). (1)

A very large unwalled Romano-British settlement, at least
seventy-five buildings of which have been identified is
concentrated within an area of more than 50 acres of arable
fields called The Chessalls (centred ST 806961). See plan, now
superseded in detail by that on illustration card). Its extent
seems to be limited on the east by the modern road, on the west by
Middle Chessals field (ST 805960) and on the north by the A 4135;
but it probably extends further southward. A paved road about
30 ft wide with side ditches which approaches from the west
(ST 80409604) narrows sharply across the settlement (to
ST 81129575). Further north another track (ST 80429620) to
80579610) with a possibly Roman quarry north of it runs
approximately parallel.
Between them, at ST 80619601, is a long rectangular mound of
building debris. Another concentration of debris indicative of a
large building lies near ST 80899596. Slight traces of
rectangular platforms may be seen around ST 80759610 and
cropmarks of two rectangular buildings (ST 80779540 and 80829538)
appear on air photographs, with a sub-rectangular enclosure
further west (at ST 80589544).

Widespread occupational debris dating from the 1st to the 4th
centuries has been reported, including a Dobunnic silver coin
(ST 89 NW 11). The central and southern parts of the site have
yielded much Claudian and early Flavian material, possibly of
military origin. Finds of the 4th century, particularly the
second half of that century, occur widely and probably
represent the settlement at its maximum extent. A single sherd
of grass-tempered pottery is reported.

The record of finds begins in 1691 with an enamelled brooch. In
the 18th century a mosaic pavement and the head of a statue of
Minerva now in Corinium Museum, perhaps from a temple (a) were
recorded.

An inscribed Oolitic relief (ST 89 NW 15), probably representing
an equestrian Mars with worshippers, formerly at Calcot Barn
(ST 89 SW 17) is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and a
stone votive tablet (ST 79 SE 21), said to have come from
Symonds Hall Hill (ST 782959) may have come from this settlement
instead. Many of the small finds are in Gloucester City and
Stroud Museums. (2)

The settlement at Kingscote, which covers an area of
approximately 200 acres, appears to have been based on
agriculture. (3)

Kingscote should not be called a 'Major Settlement' on the new
OS Map of Roman Britain, but "buildings" (that is - 'Other
Substantial Buildings') (4). The finds indicate something more
than an unsophisticated rural settlement and its remoteness from
the main road sets it in a class apart. An agricultural village
perhaps, rather than a town, supplemented but not dominated by a
temple (5). (4-5)

The long rectangular mound of debris (at SO 80619601.
See revised RCHM survey on illustration card), excavated
1975-9, proved to cover a sumptuous 4th century town house
wholely atypical to such a settlement (see plan). It contained
hypocausts, a mosaic representing Venus at her toilet and wall
plaster depicting Achilles on the Island of Skyros. It overlay
roughly-constructed 3rd century strip buildings erected over
quarry pits delimited by a 2nd century wall and ditch. (6)

additional ref (7)

ST 80659608. Continued excavation of the northern end of the site in 1981 revealed 2 drystone strip buildings divided by a metalled E-W street. The northernmost building overlay a large quarry and had a keyhole - shaped oven in its south wall with 2 horizontal flues to the west. Finds included a small relief of Fortuna and some 3rd century coins. (8)

Kingscote: Summary of 1975-80 excavations with site plan and photograph (9)

Discussion of 'a figure of Fortuna from Kingscote, Gloucestershire'. (10)

Kingscote mentioned in discussion of the relative importance of agricultural and industrial production in Roman rural settlements. (includes plan of metalworking debris recovered by fieldwalking at Kingscote.) (11)

A 1:2,500 scale level 3 photogrammetric survey was carried out by the RCHME Air Photography Unit of the crop marks of plough-levelled remains of the site of a small Roman town situated to the SW of the village of Kingscote. The survey was carried out in conjunction with Cotswold Archaeology Trust as part of the `Roman Small Towns in the Cotswolds' project between the 10th May and 17th August 1993, and a 1:2,500 scale plan in the form of an overlay to relevant OS maps was produced. The mean accuracy of the plan was no greater than 2.0 metres, generally between +/-0.1-1.0 metres (Event UID 927359). The survey was able to identify a number of individual buildings, roads and enclosures previously recorded through finds and field work (1-12), including the villa and associated buidings and trackways (6) at ST 80649602 for which there is cropmark evidence of part of an associated field system to the west and south-west and traces of a building to the south of the main villa building - ST 80619597. The whole area of the settlement was covered with clusters of dark amorphous crop marks which in many cases corresponded to the location of building remains identified during field observations by the RCHME in 1967. To the northern end of the settlement (FCE ST 81029600) there are a number of larger dark crop marks which are thought to be associated with contemporary or later limestone quarrying. The survey identified traces of a number of buildings at ST 80759607, 80779605, 80799597, 80839586, 80829570, and 81009598, and several larger buildings at ST 80969604 and 81029589. To the south of the centre of the settlement an irregular grid (FCE ST80849566) was identified which may be related to the settlement, but requires further fieldwork to confirm this. To the SW of the settlement the survey identified the two rectilinear enclosures (FCE ST 80589544) mentioned in earlier an source (2). The origin of these features is unknown, but it is possible that they may be related to the 1-4th century occupation of the site. The are further traces of possible buildings to the north and east of the settlement (Collection UID 927336). (13)

The Roman settlement referred to and described above (1-13) has been viewed and mapped from available aerial photographs as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP survey. The features mapped are almost the same as those identified and mapped in source 13, as part of the 'Roman Small Towns in the Cotswolds' project though some new features were identified.

Scheduled. For the designation record of this site please see The National Heritage List for England. (15-15a)

A new building was mapped from aerial photographs which show an excavated building at ST 8076 9577. Another two possible buildings were identified at ST 8036 9570 and ST 8044 9579; they are both visible as partial foundation walls. A possible partial ring ditch at ST 8047 9599 was visible underlying the Roman road on one set of photographs taken in 2001. This may possibly suggest an earlier levelled Bronze Age barrow, though alternatively it may be the result of agricultural practices or a geological feature. (16-18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Ancient and historical monuments in the County of Gloucester. Volume one: Iron Age and Romano-British monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds
Source details :
Page(s) : 70-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1976
Source Number : 9
Source : Roman Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 73-80
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Antiquity
Source details : (M Henig)
Page(s) : 351-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 61, 1981
Source Number : 11
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : 1982 (M Fulford)
Page(s) : 407-409
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 103
Source Number : 12
Source : RCHME: Kingscote Roman Town, Gloucestershire
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Fiona Small/10-May-1994/RCHME: Kingscote Roman Town Project.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details : GS 61
Page(s) : 73
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1
Source Number : 15
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Districts of Cotswold and Stroud, 09-Oct-1979 , amended 11-JAN-1999
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15A
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage. 2013. ‘English Heritage: The National Heritage List for England’, < http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1018607 > [Accessed 03-MAR-2013]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR ST 8196/5 NMR SF717/386 21-JUN-1974
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR ST 8096/129 NMR 21250-06 22-JUN-2001
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : Temples in Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 126
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR ST8095/41 NMR SF302/308 28-JUN-1971
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Kingscote Roman Town/ink AP transcription
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Kingscote Roman Town/AP report
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Kingscote Roman Town/pencil AP transcription
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2b
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR ST8095/1 NMR 148/225-229 30-JUL-1969; NMR ST8095/2 NMR 148/230-231 30-JUL-1969; NMR ST8096/1/102
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Glevensis : Gloucestershire and District Archaeological Research Group review
Source details : (W H Chouls & D A Mears)
Page(s) : 03-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1968
Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (A L F Rivet Keel University 8.5.1977)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : 1975 (A L F Rivet)
Page(s) : 114
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15
Source Number : 6
Source : Current archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 294-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6 No10, 1979
Source Number : 7
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : DOE AM's Record Form 23 Mar 76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : 1982 (N B Rankov)
Page(s) : 379-380
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : 1st-4th century
Monument End Date : 399
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Villa, Temple, Town, Field System
Evidence : Cropmark, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : COIN
Object Material :
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 325
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : GC467
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 31929
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 27601
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1018607
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 89 NW 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 209055
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 209063
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 209067
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 209176
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 927438
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE CHESSALLS ROMAN TOWN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE CHESSALLS ROMAN TOWN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KINGSCOTE ROMAN TOWN
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: KINGSCOTE ROMAN TOWN PROJECT
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1993-05-10
End Date : 1993-08-17
Associated Activities : Primary, CHESSELS ROMAN SETTLEMENT
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE COTSWOLD HILLS (SOUTH COTSWOLDS) NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-10-01
End Date : 2010-10-01