Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005271
Date first listed: 12-Feb-1979
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Canon Frome
National Grid Reference: SO 63620 43243
Roman small town 280m south east of Canon Frome Bridge/
Reasons for Designation
Five types of town are known to have existed in Roman Britain: 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. 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. Roman small towns began to emerge in the mid-first century AD. However, the majority of examples appeared in the later first and second centuries, while the third and fourth centuries saw the growth and development of existing establishments, together with the emergence of a small number of new ones. Some small towns had their origins in earlier military sites such as fort-vici and developed into independent urban areas following the abandonment of the forts. Others developed alongside major roads and were able to exploit a wide range of commercial opportunities as a result of their location. There are a total of 133 Roman small towns recorded in England. These are mainly concentrated in the Midlands and central southern England. Some examples have survived as undeveloped `greenfield' sites and consequently possess particularly well-preserved archaeological remains. Mansiones were substantial, mostly masonry, buildings of varying size and plan providing facilities, including accommodation and stabling, for travellers associated with the Cursus Publicus (the provincial postal service of Roman Britain). Constructed on or adjacent to major contemporary roads, they are usually found in urban contexts or within forts, although some examples lie between towns on roads which cross the more sparsely settled rural areas. They are found throughout England. Dating from the second to mid-fourth centuries AD, mansiones were often amongst the largest buildings of the town. The largest recorded urban example is at Silchester, where the mansio covers an area of c.0.4ha. Most examples survive in the form of buried foundations. Few examples have been positively identified.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 21 May 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a Roman small town situated in the valley and on the southern floodplain of the River Frome near a natural ford. The small town survives as entirely buried structures, layers and deposits visible as crop and soil marks on aerial photographs as a rectangular enclosure defended by ditched ramparts and containing buildings. Excavations in 1842 and 1983 have produced a range of finds including Samian and coarse Romano-British pottery, a bronze spear head, animal bone, nails, charcoal, stone, slate, oyster shells and tile. Since it is also known to lie at the junction of two Roman roads and close to other Roman military sites (scheduled separately) it is also speculated by some sources that this may be or could contain a mansio.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 330
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
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