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HER Number:MDV115594
Name:Roman road from Charmouth (Dorset) to Exeter

Summary

A Roman road is thought to have run westward near the coast from Charmouth via Timber Hill, Lyme Regis, Colyford, Newton Poppleford and Clyst St Mary to Exeter, being a continuation of the road from Dorchester. The Devon section of the route after Lyme Regis is largely that followed by the A3052. The fact that part of the road is referred to as a herpath, an old military road, and that sections of it are followed by parish boundaries suggests that it is a road of some antiquity. See associated monuments for details of individual sections.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 138 910
Map Sheet:SY19SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxmouth
Civil ParishAylesbeare
Civil ParishBeer
Civil ParishBranscombe
Civil ParishClyst Honiton
Civil ParishClyst St. George
Civil ParishClyst St. Mary
Civil ParishColaton Raleigh
Civil ParishColyton
Civil ParishCombpyne Rousdon
Civil ParishExeter
Civil ParishFarringdon
Civil ParishNewton Poppleford and Harpford
Civil ParishSeaton
Civil ParishSidmouth
Civil ParishSouthleigh
Civil ParishSowton
Civil ParishUplyme
Civil ParishWoodbury
DistrictEast Devon
DistrictExeter
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST HONITON
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST ST.MARY
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLATON RALEIGH
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLYTON
Ecclesiastical ParishCOMBPYNE
Ecclesiastical ParishFARRINGDON
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMINSTER
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMOUTH
Ecclesiastical ParishHARPFORD
Ecclesiastical ParishAYLESBEARE
Ecclesiastical ParishHEAVITREE
Ecclesiastical ParishOTTERTON
Ecclesiastical ParishSALCOMBE REGIS
Ecclesiastical ParishSEATON
Ecclesiastical ParishSIDBURY
Ecclesiastical ParishSIDMOUTH
Ecclesiastical ParishSOWTON
Ecclesiastical ParishUPLYME
Ecclesiastical ParishWOODBURY
Ecclesiastical ParishBRANSCOMBE

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Pill boxes, anti-tank ditches and obstacles, World War II at the Boshill Cross Stong Point of the Taunton Stop Line, a defensive crossing on the River Axe

Other References/Statuses

  • Pastscape: 960332
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ROAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD (Between))

Full description

Worth, R. N., 1878, Notes on the Historical Connections of Devonshire Place-names, 300 (Article in Serial). SDV362967.

The name Harepath indicates an association with an ancient road.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The old A3052 is regularly marked as a Roman Road along its length.

Davidson, J. B., 1885, Seaton Before the Conquest, 195-196 (Article in Serial). SDV348507.

The herpath, an old military way, is mentioned in a boundary charter of 1005 at Seaton. The designation of herpath is preserved in the name of Harepath Farm.

Morshead, J. Y. A., 1898, A History of Salcombe Regis, 133 (Article in Serial). SDV101215.

The name 'Stonherpath' for the road from Lyme Regis may suggest a Roman origin.

Margary, I. D., 1967, Roman Roads in Britain, 25, 116-117 (Monograph). SDV24025.

It is thought that a Roman road ran westward near the coast from Charmouth via Timber Hill, Lyme Regis, Colyford, Newton Poppleford and Clyst St Mary to Exeter. It is largely a rigdgeway route with steep descents down Boswell Hill to cross the Fosse Way and the River Axe and again at Orleigh Hill to Sidford. It crosses the north side of Bulverton Hill as Greenway Lane and descends steeply again to Bridge End. Although parish boundaries, which are often early Saxon in origin and follow the route of Roman roads, Margary disputes the parish boundary as being the route of the road through Newton Poppleford as it follows the course of the stream. The implication is that the road continued as that now followed by the A3052. He notes the unusually wide road verges between Newton Poppleford and Clyst St Mary, a sure indication he says of age in a road. There is also [at the time of writing] the remains of an agger along the north side of the road, just after crossing the River Clyst. Finally, the road continues along Quarry Lane, descending through a deep rock cutting to East Wonford and so through Heavitree to Exeter.

Evans, H. R., 1969, Harpford, 46 (Article in Serial). SDV361174.

A Roman road reached Harpford where it crossed the Otter and Clyst St Mary where there is a bridge with Roman abutments, there turning northwest to join the road from Honiton to Exeter.

Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1992, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Branscombe to Gatcombe Water Main, 1 (Report - Assessment). SDV342841.

According to Margary, the A3052 follows in part the course of a Roman road from Charmouth to Exeter and documentary evidence suggests that portions of the road at least continued in use during the Saxon period. However, the exact course of the road has never been demonstrated archaeologically. Pipeline construction along the present road, therefore, provides the opportunity to record any surviving evidence for an earlier road.

Reed, S. J. + Watts, M., 1994, Archaeological Recording of SWW Branscombe to Gatcombe Water Main, 3 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV342842.

The Branscombe to Gatcombe water main cut across the road at one end, at SY17259071 and midway along the route at SY19849098. At these points only limited recorded was possible within a very narrow area. The most convincing evidence for an earlier road was observed at SY19849098. Beneath the modern hardcore a band of metalling lay over a layer of light clay which had been cut into the natural bedrock. The clay may represent mmake up for a road in a similar fashion to the roman material exposed during archaeological excavations in the Yarty floodplain. The metalling was truncated by modern make up about 2 metres from the centre of the (modern) road. There were no associated finds.

Exeter Archaeology, 1997, Archaeological Assessment of the Sidmouth Sewage Transfer and Treatment Evaluation, 5.10 (Report - Assessment). SDV348742.

The road from Exeter to Lyme Regis through Sidford is regarded as being Roman in origin.

Horner, B., 1997, Roman Road along A3052 (Personal Comment). SDV362955.

The course of the Roman road largely follows the existing A3052 but diverges from it Trow Hill, running through Furzey Hill Copse to join the lane to Trow. A 'harepath' was a Saxon military way, often utilising exiting ridgeways and/or Roman roads. The 'stone' element suggests metalling which in a Saxon contect would imply Roman origins. The fact that the parish boundary between Sidbury and Salcombe Regis follows the road line, including its former course through Furzey Hill Coppice, again points to the early origin of the road.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 2, 252, 1970 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

The Lyme Regis to Sidmouth road was called 'Stonherpath' in 13th century sources perhaps suggesting a Roman origin. It is on part of a Roman road route from Charmouth to Exeter. It takes a ridgeway route. Parish boundaries follow its course. At Orleigh Hill it leaves the ridgeway and descends steeply into Sidford. It reached Harpford where it crossed the Otter and turned northwest to join road from Hontion to Exeter. Metalling was found during excavations at SY19849098.
SMR.

Pink, F., 2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Historic England, 2015-2016, NRHE to HER prototype (Website). SDV359652.

Summary description
Roman road running from Exeter to Dorchester.
Full description
Roman Road: Exeter to Dorchester. For full details see linear archive.
Sources: None recorded
Monument types, periods and evidence
Road: Roman
Related monuments: None recorded
Related events
636644 SHUTE Excavation
1158153 A30 IMPROVEMENTS HONITON-EXETER Watching Brief
1583134 LAND NORTH OF WOODLANDS Evaluation
Related archives/objects: None recorded
Record created prior to 01/04/1999

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

After Lyme Regis the line of the Roman road is largely followed by the A3052.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV101215Article in Serial: Morshead, J. Y. A.. 1898. A History of Salcombe Regis. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 30. A5 Hardback. 133.
SDV24025Monograph: Margary, I. D.. 1967. Roman Roads in Britain. Roman Roads in Britain. Hardback Volume. 25, 116-117.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV342841Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1992. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Branscombe to Gatcombe Water Main. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.54. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV342842Report - Watching Brief: Reed, S. J. + Watts, M.. 1994. Archaeological Recording of SWW Branscombe to Gatcombe Water Main. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.42. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV348507Article in Serial: Davidson, J. B.. 1885. Seaton Before the Conquest. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 17. Unknown. 195-196.
SDV348742Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1997. Archaeological Assessment of the Sidmouth Sewage Transfer and Treatment Evaluation. Exeter Archaeology Report. 97.10. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.10.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 2, 252, 1970.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. ACD618/4/3. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV359652Website: Historic England. 2015-2016. NRHE to HER prototype. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/home. Website.
SDV361174Article in Serial: Evans, H. R.. 1969. Harpford. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 101. Paperback Volume. 46.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #126569 Only the Devon section of the road is polygonised., ]
SDV362955Personal Comment: Horner, B.. 1997. Roman Road along A3052. Not Applicable.
SDV362967Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1878. Notes on the Historical Connections of Devonshire Place-names. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 10. Digital. 300.

Associated Monuments

MDV14008Parent of: A3052 from Gatcombe Ash to Stafford Bridge, (Monument)
MDV16880Parent of: Greenway Lane, Stowford (Monument)
MDV55050Parent of: Pillbox S.V.16 circa 320 metres north of Squires Lane, Axmouth (Monument)
MDV63659Parent of: Quarry Lane, Exeter (Monument)
MDV18548Parent of: Roman Road at Aylesbeare Common (Monument)
MDV18576Parent of: Roman Road at Boshill Cross, Axmouth (Monument)
MDV18537Parent of: Roman Road at Crealy, Farringdon (Monument)
MDV18554Parent of: Roman Road at Sidford (Monument)
MDV16647Parent of: Roman Road at Trow, Sidmouth (Monument)
MDV18544Parent of: Roman Road in the Parish of Aylesbeare (Monument)
MDV18542Parent of: Roman Road in the Parish of Sowton (Monument)
MDV16021Parent of: Roman Road in the Parish of Uplyme (Monument)
MDV10570Parent of: Roman Road through Newton Poppleford (Monument)
MDV54936Parent of: Roman Road to east of Norman's Grave, Southleigh (Monument)
MDV125676Parent of: Roman Road to east of Stafford Cross, Colyton (Monument)
MDV125622Parent of: Sidford High Street, Sidbury (Monument)
MDV117010Related to: Deepway Field Names, Southeast of Four Elms Fruit Farm, Newton Poppleford and Harpford (Monument)
MDV16876Related to: Ford over the River Otter to north of Newton Poppleford Bridge (Monument)
MDV106640Related to: Former Routeway Along the A3052, South-West of Ware Cross, Uplyme (Monument)
MDV67630Related to: Four Elms Hill, Bowd, Sidmouth (Monument)
MDV125618Related to: Part of the Clystwicon Estate Boundary, Sowton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 22 2020 3:07PM