Site of Rocester Abbey and part of Roman town
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006106
Date first listed: 09-Jan-1962
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Staffordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 11130 39321
Part of Roman fort, Roman settlement and the medieval site of Rocester Abbey to the south and west of St Michael’s Church.
Reasons for Designation
Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or accommodation for troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second centuries AD. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. Some small towns had their origins in earlier military sites and developed into independent urban areas following the abandonment of the forts. All Roman forts and small towns with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important.
From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. They vary considerably although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. They were established in all parts of England and many acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225 of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. From the 12th century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.
That part of the Roman fort, Roman settlement and the medieval site of Rocester Abbey to the south and west of St Michael’s Church survive well as preserved buried features and archaeological deposits.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 June 2015. 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 the buried remains of part of a Roman fort and Roman settlement as well as the medieval site of Rocester Abbey. The south west rounded corner of a rectangular fort has been identified from aerial photography to the south east of St Michael’s Church and excavation at the western end of the monument has revealed the survival of its rampart and an annex to the fort with truncated Roman features, and dense scatters of Roman pottery which are the possible remains of a fort-vicus. The earthwork and buried remains of the north west corner of the fort lie within the grounds of the new cemetery to the north of Church Lane (SK11093950). Excavations here suggested the rampart dated to no earlier than AD 160 and within the defences substantial timber buildings were recorded. A later stone wall was recorded on top of the rampart thought to date no earlier than AD 280. The buried foundation of a Roman stone wall has been noted along the southern boundary of the site and indicates a walled Roman town. Only the southern parts of the fort and later walled town are included within this scheduling. The monument also includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval Abbey of Saint Mary, to the south of St Michael’s church. It was a small Augustinian Abbey founded between 1141 and 1146 by Richard Bacon, the nephew of Ranulp, earl of Chester. In 1538 the monastery was surrendered to the Crown.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ST 66
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Pastcape: 307305, HER: DST5765 & NMR: SK 13 NW 4
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