Romano-British site S of Bodiam Bridge
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002235
Date first listed: 27-May-1975
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: East Sussex
District: Rother (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TQ 78291 25156, TQ 78417 25182
Romano-British Settlement near Bodiam Bridge, 250m south of Castle Inn.
Reasons for Designation
Romano-British settlements range from towns to villages, villas and farmsteads. Roman towns included coloniae, municipia, civitas capitals, Roman provincial capitals and Roman small towns. The first four types can be classified as ‘public towns’ because each had an official status within the provincial administrative system. They were usually surrounded by defensive walls within which the main features might include the forum-basilica, other major public buildings, private houses, shops and workshops, piped water and sewage systems, a planned rectangular street grid and, in some cases, waterfront installations. Roman small towns are settlements of urban character which lack the administrative status of public towns, but which are nevertheless recognisably urban in terms of morphology, features and function. They tend to lack the planned rectangular street grids, public buildings and well-appointed town houses of the public towns and instead are generally characterised by mainly insubstantial timber or half-timbered structures. Some small towns possess an enclosing wall, while others have masonry or earthwork defences. Additional features include temples, bath houses, ovens, kilns and cemeteries.
Romano-British villages are nucleated settlements usually formed by groups of farmsteads enclosed either indivdually or collectively, or with no formal boundary. The dwellings are usually associated with pits, stock enclosures, cultivation plots and field systems, indicating a mixed farming economy.
Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates at the focus of which were groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings. The buildings usually include a well-appointed dwelling accompanied by a range of buildings providing accommodation for farm labourers, workshops and storage for agricultural produce.
Romano-British farmsteads are small agricultural units comprising groups of up to four circular or rectangular houses along with associated structures which may include wells, storage pits, corn-drying ovens and granary stores.
Despite partial damage by agricultural activity in the past, the Romano-British Settlement near Bodiam Bridge, 250m south of Castle Inn survives well. Although the exact nature of the settlement near Bodiam Bridge, has not yet been determined it was clearly of significance given the range of Roman finds and structures uncovered by excavation. The importance of the site is emphasised by the proximity to the course of a Roman road, providing good communication with other settlements in the vicinity. The link with the Romano-British Navy, the Classis Britannica, is of particular interest. The setting on the River Rother, a major navigation in the Roman period, indicates that it would have been an important port of trade for the local economy. As a result of the riverside location, the monument has archaeological potential for the recovery of wooden and other organic remains. It will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the settlement and the landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a Romano-British settlement surviving as below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a flood plain south of the River Rother near Bodiam. Investigations have recovered a considerable range of 1st to 3rd century Roman finds and the remains of buildings. The finds included coins, glassware, pottery, bronze figurines, bricks and tiles. Most notable, many of the tiles were stamped CL BR, the mark of the Romano-British fleet, the Classis Britannica. The excavations identified eight successive periods of occupation. The earliest levels were river washed and the site provides a datum for the water level in Roman and later periods. The fourth occupation level, dating to the second century, was most closely connected with the Classis Britannica. The site of a substantial building, rectangular in shape and orientated east to west has been identified from soil marks on aerial photographs. It has been interpreted as the possible site of a Roman Villa and the nature of the pottery remains suggest that there may have been an important building housing the naval authorities on the site. The course of a Roman road crosses the monument on a north to south trajectory.
The site was partially excavated between 1959 and 1967 and a geophysical survey was carried out in 1985.
The settlement is likely to have been a river port, perhaps with local inhabitants employed as labourers for the Classis Britannica.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as nearby Bodiam Castle are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ES 411
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
East Sussex HER MES3475. NMR TQ72NE2, TQ72NE32, LINEAR342. PastScape 414654, 968003, 1042732.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing