Roman road and 18th century coaching road N of Pyecombe church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005821
Date first listed: 20-Mar-1968
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: West Sussex
District: Mid Sussex (District Authority)
National Park: SOUTH DOWNS
National Grid Reference: TQ 29347 13212
Roman road and late 18th century coaching road, 200m WNW of Waydown Cottage.
Reasons for Designation
The monument at Welstonbury Hill, near Pyecombe, includes a Roman road and a late 18th century coaching road.
Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Roman roads also acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. Roman roads are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection.
Coach roads were roadways that provided passage to stage coaches in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1706 the first stage coach route was established between York and London. The term ‘stagecoach’ refers to the way in which vehicles travelled in segments or ‘stages’ of 10-15 miles in length. At a stage stop horses could be changed and travellers could refresh themselves or stay and sleep for a night at an inn and catch a later coach. The popularity of stage coaches was at its height between 1780 and 1840. The quality of roads improved markedly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries following the establishment of turnpike roads (in which owners charged for passage and in return maintained the roads) and improvements in design and construction brought about by John Loudon MacAdam (1756-1836) and Thomas Telford (1757-1834). However in the mid 19th century the popularity of coach travel fell following the development of the railways.
The roman road and late 18th century coaching road, 200m WNW of Waydown Cottage, survive relatively well. They will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the roads and the landscape in which they were constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 6 November 2014. The 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 Roman road and a late 18th century coaching road that partly follow the same course, surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a south-east facing slope of Welstonbury Hill overlooking a valley north-east of Pyecombe.
The Roman road forms a terraceway, up to about 6.4m wide, on the side of the hill. It runs for over 500m from a modern trackway near Rockrose towards School Lane, Pyecombe. To the north-east is a prominent embankment cut into the hill, which runs for nearly 150m before converging with the Roman road to the west. These are thought to be the earthworks of a coaching road of about 1775, which linked to, and followed the course of, the Roman road.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WS 373
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
‘Stage Travel in Britain’, The Georgian Index (2005) retrieved from http://www.georgianindex.net/horse_and_carriage/coaching.html on 8th March 2010
West Sussex HER 5616 - MWS4201. NMR 399294. PastScape TQ21SE67.
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