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Historic England Research Records

Durolitum

Hob Uid: 408199
Location :
Essex
Epping Forest
Chigwell
Grid Ref : TQ4540096000
Summary : The site of a Romano-British Settlement, which may have been known as 'DUROLITUM', is located at Little London, Chigwell. It is situated on a slight eastern slope above the flood plain of the River Roding. There have been a large amount of gravel workings across the site, which has removed evidence of occupation. The site is located on a Roman Road running from London to Great Dunmow (see associated record). Several finds were uncovered on the site prior to more substantial excavations in the late 20th century. In the 18th century, a tessellated pavement and urned cremations were found in the gravel workings. In the 19th century, a Roman wood lead-lined coffin was also found. The site was excavated between 1972 and 1981, and 1990 by F. R. Clark, and the findings published in 1998. These uncovered the remains of a Roman bath house and hypocaust. The bath house consisted of a latrine and Frigidarium (cold room) with attached plunge pool to the north, a Tepidarium (warm room) further south and a Caldarium (hot room) to the west with adjoining plunge pool and hypocaust. It was built in the about the 2nd century AD and demolished by at least the 4th century AD. A substantial circular flint built structure, possibly dated to the late 4th century, and timber-lined wells were also located at Little London. The finds included 46 burials (mainly cremations but also one child inhumation), more than 84 coins, a meat cleaver, Roman shoe, Roman jewellery, animal bones and a large amount of pottery. The excavations also provided evidence for pre-Roman and post-Roman (mainly Saxon) occupation. The Roman name 'DUROLITUM' means 'the fort at the fort', suggesting there may be an undiscovered fort in the vicinity. At Hill Farm, 2.5 kilometres to the northeast of Little London, is the site of a Roman Villa, which was probably associated with this site.
More information : An extensive Roman site lies in gravel workings at Chigwell (area TQ 455960; see plan from (4)). In 1790 fibulae and a coin of Marcus Aurelius were dug in a gravel-pit near where, in about 1765, pottery, cremation urns, paterae, lachrymatories, a tessellated pavement, "some oak dovetailed boards", two wells, etc, were found, finds in Dr. Wilkinsons possession (6). About 1843 pottery including perfect urns and 2nd century Samian fragments were found at A (TQ 4534 9587)(4). At B (TQ 4537 9608) sherds, a few undecipered coins (some were identified and range from Nerva to Constantine I (1)), and a lead coffin in a now decayed wooden outer case, were discovered (4). Two pots were found by J W Maitland (and are in his possession) at C (TQ 4544 9622). I C Gould also found here sherds of Samian and Upchurch ware (4). At D (TQ 4560 9603) a bronze figure and coins were found in 1875 (7) in a pit. In about 1963 R S Smith and H G A Snow found much pottery at TQ 454 962 (1). Excavations in 1972 revealed a timber-lined well, of probable 3rd century date, containing pottery etc. The upper stage of the lining is in the Passmore Edwards Museum, West Ham, (5) as is a buff ware jug (1). Late Celtic and Romano-British sherds are in Colchester Museum (1659) (3). Other finds are in Epping Forest Museum, Chingford. (1). (1-7)

(TQ 4556 9608) Settlement (NR) (site of) (NAT) (8)

The occupation area is on a terrace shelf overlooking the R. Roding. Undulating crop and pasture shows no trace of settlement or the recent excavations, and no finds were made. (9)

DUROLITUM. Probably the Roman settlement at Little London, Chigwell. The name deives from 'Fort at the ford', therefore an early Roman fort shoud await discovery here. (10)

TQ 456963. A side road of the Roman road from London to Dunmow led via a courtyard to a flint and tile built structure containing a hypocaust system. This hypocaust was later diverted towards a substantial circular flint structure which contained late 4th century pottery. Quatntities of tesserae and windowglass were also found. (11)

Further excavation identified a caldarium and plunge bath associated with other rooms. The walls had been robbed and the robber trenches contained finds dated to c. AD 400. (12)

Excavations were completed at the bath house site. A larger room was located. (13)

ES 17 Listed as the possible site of a Roman villa. (14)

The site of a Romano-British Settlement, situated on a slight eastern slope above the flood plain of the River Roding. There have been a large amount of gravel workings across the site, which has removed evidence of occupation. The site was excavated between 1972 and 1981, and 1990 by F. R. Clark, and the findings published in 1998. These uncovered the remains of a Roman bath house and hypocaust. The bath house consisted of a latrine and Frigidarium (cold room) with attached plunge pool to the north, a Tepidarium (warm room) further south and a Caldarium (hot room) to the west with adjoining plunge pool and hypocaust. It was built in the about the 2nd century AD and demolished by at least the 4th century AD. The excavated finds included 46 burials (mainly cremations but also one child inhumation), more than 84 coins, a meat cleaver, Roman shoe, Roman jewellery, animal bones and a large amount of pottery. The excavations also provided evidence for pre-Roman and post-Roman (mainly Saxon) occupation. (16)

The site is located on a Roman Road running from London to Great Dunmow (see associated record). At Hill Farm, 2.5 kilometres to the northeast of Little London, is the site of a Roman Villa, which was probably associated with this site. (16-17)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : A history of the county of Essex, vol 3 : Roman Essex
Source details :
Page(s) : 88
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume II: [central and south-west]
Source details :
Page(s) : 47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 352
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details : (M R Eddy)
Page(s) : 40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1980
Source Number : 12
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details : (M R Eddy)
Page(s) : 50
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1981
Source Number : 13
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details : (D Priddy)
Page(s) : 135
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1982
Source Number : 14
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 61
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1
Source Number : 15
Source : Essex archaeology and history : transactions of Essex Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 150
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1991
Source Number : 16
Source : The Romano-British Settlement at Little London, Chigwell
Source details : 1998. Clark, F. R. Published by West Essex Archaeological Group.
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 17
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500, 2008
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Colchester Museum Reports 1909
Page(s) : 11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Essex Archaeological Society transactions
Source details : (I C Gould)
Page(s) : 196-201
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1893
Source Number : 5
Source : Essex archaeology and history news
Source details :
Page(s) : 21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41, 1972
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Minutes, Society of Antiquities
Page(s) : 270
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 23
Source Number : 7
Source : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference
Source details : 1939
Page(s) : 8
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : R Flack, Abridge
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:10,000 1973
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Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JRL 16-JUN-75
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman finds
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Cremation, Mixed Cemetery, Building, Bath House, Hypocaust, Well, Villa, Fort, Town Defences
Evidence : Find, Sub Surface Deposit, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Cremation, Mixed Cemetery, Building, Bath House, Hypocaust, Well, Villa, Fort, Town Defences
Object Type : CINERARY URN, COFFIN
Object Material : Wood, Lead, Bronze

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Essex)
External Cross Reference Number : 4057
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 49 NE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 408203
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1044085
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LITTLE LONDON, CHIGWELL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 49 NE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-06-16
End Date : 1975-06-16
Associated Activities : Primary, LITTLE LONDON
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LITTLE LONDON
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31