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Historic England Research Records

Letocetum

Hob Uid: 304404
Location :
Staffordshire
Lichfield
Wall
Grid Ref : SK0989906523
Summary : The Roman town at Wall, known as Letocetum. The town lay on the Roman Road of Watling Street (and later Ryknild Street), and grew from a military presence in the first century on the border between two Iron Age tribes. There then followed the development of a civilian settlement as Wall became a key staging post on Watling Street. Visitors (usually imperial postal couriers) changed their horses and stayed overnight in the guest house (mansio), and made use of the bath house. Today the surviving remains of the bath house and guest house are visible. The bath house was in use for over 150 years and underwent several modifications. It may then have become a house. The guest house accommodation was rebuilt on several occasions. The earlier phases were of timber and included a large well. Re-used stone originated from a Romano-British religious shrine, which is likely to have had an Iron Age predecessor; indeed the Roman name Letocetum derives from the Iron Age name for 'grey wood', perhaps referring to a sacred grove. Its positioning at a crossroads ensured Wall became a commercial success, with several industrial centres producing glass, pottery and metalwork. Occupation debris, and the remains of several timber framed and stone buildings, indicate the town extended some 200 metres back from Watling Street, and over 2 kilometres along its length. Early Roman cremation burials 500 metres beyond the westernmost extent of the building remains probably indicate the limits of the town. A wealthy suburb existed around the guest house, although by the 4th century the town was in decline, long before the official end of Roman rule in the 5th century. This is highlighted by the creation of a defensive enclosure for the community, which may have remained in use until the 7th century. Wall is also one of the earliest sites with evidence for Christianity in the region: a 'Chi-rho' inscribed bowl found within a grave. The site is in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SK 099066) Letocetum Roman Town (R) (1)

Roman occupation at Wall began with a military site associated with the Roman army's advance across the midlands. Later it developed as the town of Letocetum, but its exact status has not yet been established. Excavations from 1959 to 1967 have revealed a series of Roman forts with three main phases beginning in the Claudian period. The defences of the first phase have not been located but military buildings found over a wide area suggest it is some 30 acres in extent, and Frere suggests it houses part of a legion (9). The defences of the third phase have been recovered to give the complete plan at SK 099067 (See plan from 8). This phase is dated late 1st or early 2nd century. A further walled enclosure centred SK 100065, surrounded by triple ditches, seen as a crop mark (10), was excavated by Webster in 1955 (2) and Gould 1962/3 (4) and dated not earlier than the third century. (2-10)

There are no extant remains of the Roman forts. The perimeters have been plotted at 1:2500 based on plans in authorities 6 and 8 (see illustration card) after consultation with J T Gould. (11)

Name 'LETOCETVM' accepted for 4th. edition R.B.Map.
No change since report of 26.4.74. (12)

Excavations between 1968 and 1972 by A A Round in area SK 100067 within the Roman forts, showed that the first fort was Neronian and not Claudian as previously thought. Two Flavian forts followed and the final phase, Trajanic or Hadrianic was probably non-military. (13)

LETOCETUM - The Roman town at Wall, Staffordshire. (14)

The site is listed as a possible Vexillation Fortress by Frere & St Joseph. (15)

Letocetum centred to NGR SK 1007 0652. Transcription at 1:2500 scale during RCHME Roman Camps in England Project plotted the southern length and corners of the triple-ditched defences of the probable vexillation fort within which lies the later small fortified settlement or posting-station of Letocetum. The site of the Flavian fort immediately NW of the fortress is centred to NGR SK 0995 0670. The site lies along Watling Street, the major Roman road from London to the legionary fortress of Wroxeter (Viroconium). Its function with Ryknield Street, which constituted a nodal point in the Roman road system of the region, lay only 0.5km ESE of the present village of Wall. Plan available in the NMR Archive. (16)

Additional references. (17-21)

Scheduled. (22)

English Heritage guidebook describing the history and remains of the Roman site. (23)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1968
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : G Webster
Page(s) : 297-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 120, 1963
Source Number : 11
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DJC 26-APR-74
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 JR 14-JUL-76
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Source Number : 13
Source : Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : AA Round
Page(s) : Jan-66
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 23, 1981-2
Source Number : 14
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 387-8
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : SS Frere and JK St Joseph
Page(s) : 7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1974
Source Number : 16
Source : Roman camps in England : the field archaeology
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Source Number : 17
Source : Letocetum : the rise and decline of a Roman posting station
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Source Number : 18
Source : Letocetum, Christianity and Lichfield
Source details :
Page(s) : 30-Jan
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Vol(s) : 14
Source Number : 19
Source : Further thoughts on Letocetum
Source details :
Page(s) : 01-Mar
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Vol(s) : 33
Source Number : 20
Source : A response [to Further thoughts on Letocetum]
Source details :
Page(s) : 03-Jun
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Vol(s) : 33
Source Number : 3
Source : Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports
Source details : G Webster
Page(s) : 24-Sep
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Vol(s) : 75, 1959
Source Number : 21
Source : The archaeology of Roman Letocetum (Wall, Staffordshire) : implications of the proposed West Midlands Northern Relief Road. Draft for consultation
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Source Number : 22
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Scheduled.
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Source Number : 23
Source : Wall Roman site, Staffordshire
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Source : Wall/ink AP transcription 2
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Source : Wall/pencil AP transcription
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Source Number : 4
Source : Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports
Source details : FH Lyon and JT Gould
Page(s) : Nov-23
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Vol(s) : 79, 1960
Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : FH Lyon and JT Gould
Page(s) : 31-Jul
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 2, 1960
Source Number : 6
Source : Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : JT Gould
Page(s) : Jan-54
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Vol(s) : 5, 1963
Source Number : 7
Source : Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : JT Gould
Page(s) : Jan-38
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1966
Source Number : 8
Source : Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : AA Round
Page(s) : Jul-31
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11, 1969
Source Number : 9
Source : Britannia : a history of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 70, 78, 173, 222
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Source Number : 10
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : St Joseph AP BL 18
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Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Staffordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 31
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ST 15
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Staffordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 33
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Staffordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 00031/00033
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Staffordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 02069/00033
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 356
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF0763186
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 00 NE 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 304437
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 304419
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 919049
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 919092
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 929839
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 304428
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 895538
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 304407
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 304414
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : CASTLE CROFT (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1859-01-01
End Date : 1872-12-31
Associated Activities : CASTLE CROFT (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1872-01-01
End Date : 1873-12-31
Associated Activities : BUTTS FIELD (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1912-01-01
End Date : 1914-12-31
Associated Activities : TROOPER INN (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1914-01-01
End Date : 1914-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1921-01-01
End Date : 1924-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD 201 (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1921-01-01
End Date : 1921-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1927-01-01
End Date : 1927-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1955-01-01
End Date : 1955-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1956-12-31
Associated Activities : CHESTERFIELD CROFT/CASTLE CROFT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1958-01-01
End Date : 1961-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1959-01-01
End Date : 1962-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL HOUSE (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1959-01-01
End Date : 1962-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1962-01-01
End Date : 1964-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1964-01-01
End Date : 1966-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL BY-PASS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1965-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL HOUSE (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1968-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : BATHS (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : BATHS (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1974-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 00 NE 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-04-26
End Date : 1974-04-26
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 00 NE
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-07-14
End Date : 1976-07-14
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : THE BUTTS (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1980-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: WALL 1 AND 2 ROMAN CAMPS
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : THE BUTTS (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : MANOR FARM
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1989-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL (LETOCETUM)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : MANOR FARM, WALL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL HALL, WALL
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : WALL HOUSE PADDOCK
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : 3 CHURCH COTTAGES, GREEN LANE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31