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Historic England Research Records

Wroxeter Roman City

Hob Uid: 69890
Location :
Shropshire
Wroxeter and Uppington
Grid Ref : SJ5660308761
Summary : The Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum, Wroxeter, which was originally a Roman military base established in the 1st century AD, grew from the second century to be the fourth largest town in Roman Britain, with a defined area of 78 hectares. It is also one of the few not to have been built over by a later Saxon or medieval town. It developed out of a civil settlement adjacent to a first century legionary fortress between about 90-150 AD to become the tribal capital of the Cornovii. Following the visit of the Emperor Hadrian to Britain in AD122, it was much increased in size and provided with one of the largest and finest civic centres in the country occupying two complete insulae (city blocks). There was a huge forum and also extensive public baths. Excavations have enabled the city's history to be traced back to the fortress, and also forward to the shadowy end of Roman rule. Following periods of growth and relative decline in the second, third and fourth centuries, a remarkable resurgence of activity took place after AD400, at a time when the Roman administration began to withdraw from Britain. This resurgance is very unusual for Roman towns in Britain. The life of the later "Sub-Roman" town may have continued to about 650; with a phase of building in timber after the mid 6th century. It has been conjectured that Wroxeter had become the centre of a British, or possibly Irish, leader. This site is an English Heritage property.
More information : (SJ 565 087) Site of Roman town of Virconium Cornovirum. (1)

Department of the Environment booklet for description and history of excavations to 1973. (For town walls see SJ 50 NE/12; for legionary fortress (see SJ 50 NE/86). (2)

Recent discoveries here include a Romano-Celtic temple visible as a cropmark on air photos (SJ 5651 0892). Elsewhere, an unusual rectangular enclosure with rounded corners and double walls, may have served the purpose of an amphitheatre, but there is little evidence to support this (3-5)

Recent excavations have shown that the massive rebuilding of the last phase was more extensive than previously thought, extending into insula 6. The rebuilding occurred in at least three periods. A succession of late buildings north of the east-west street dividing insula 5 from insula 2 were also rebuilt at least three times. These discoveries have made necessary the reassessment of the date of final abandonment of this part of the city, and it is now put well into the fifth century. (6-7)

A mid-ninth century Saxon bronze strap-end was found in the south colonnade of the baths basilica. Published survey 25" revised. (8)

Name 'VIROCONIVM' accepted for 4th Edition Roman Britain Map. Excavations continued in 1976 and 1977 at the Baths Basilica, the macellum and the Forum. Evidence of tanning was found in the baths area and a pre-fortress phase was found below the legionary rampart (SJ 50 NE/86) at the macellum. The footings of the forum colonade were located. (9-10)

Viroconium Cornovirum. Roman city at Wroxeter, capital of the Cornovii and succeeding a legionary fortress on the same site. (11)

Seasonal excavations continued within Insula 5. Published 1:2500 survey, 1971, revised on MSD. (For the sites of the recent discoveries), the Romano-Celtic temple cropmark at SJ 5651 0892, and possible amphitheatre enclosure cropmark at SJ 5634 0852, see city plan at back of Department of the Environment booklet). (12)

SO 560080 Site of Roman town of Wroxeter (Viroconium) Scheduled. (13-14)

Additional references including excavation reports, discussions of particular finds and examinations of the development and end of the Roman/ sub-roman town. (15-44)

Additional reference and photograph, taking Wroxeter from the point of view of a photographic landscape essay. (45)

Source 46 is the final report of a long running project examining the wider hinterland of Wroxeter, led by Dr. R.H. White of Birmingham University. It is thought to have been the largest scale investigation into the hinterland of a Roman town in Britain. The general findings of the survey were that in contrast to the town, which was prosperous and heavily Romanized, the hinterland showed little evidence for Romanization and may be characterised as rural and conservatively "Cornovian". (46)

A gazetteer of Wroxeter Roman city sites and associated conservation plan. (47-48)

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Source details : OS 1:10000 map, 1977
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Source details : DoE. 1973. Guide: Viroconium, Wroxeter, Roman City,
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : The mature town 150-410
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 150
Monument Type : Town
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : The early city 90-150 AD
Monument End Date : 150
Monument Start Date : 90
Monument Type : Town, Temple, Civitas Capital
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Earthwork, Cropmark
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : The sub-roman city
Monument End Date : 650
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Town
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SA 32
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 361
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 110302
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : J900276
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Shropshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 26
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SJ 50 NE 10
External Cross Reference Notes :

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