Part of a small Roman town known as Pennocrucium, 320m south of Water Eaton Farm.
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 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 over 130 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.
Despite ploughing, the part of a small Roman town known as Pennocrucium 320m south of Water Eaton Farm survives well and is known from excavation to possess particularly well-preserved archaeological remains relating to its occupation, use and abandonment. Its importance is further enhanced by its interrelationship with a large number of nearby contemporary sites.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 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, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes the part of a small Roman town surviving within a rectangular defended enclosure situated on the eastern side of the Penk Valley. It measures up to 250m east to west and up to 200m north to south, covering in total an area of up to 5 hectares. Originally identified through aerial photography, archaeological excavations through the north and south defences revealed three ditches enclosing an area of up to 2.5 hectares astride Watling Street, an early Roman road from London to the legionary fortress of Wroxeter. The Roman road which led to the Roman military sites at Greensforge appears to enter the site through the centre of its southern defences. Excavations in the interior have identified timber buildings fronting onto Watling Street with gardens and rubbish pits to the rear, cobbled lanes, a well and pottery dating from late first to the fourth century AD.
Ribbon development outside the defences was noted during the widening of Watling Street in 1956 but this does not form part of this scheduling. A Roman fort to the south east of the monument is the subject of a separate scheduling and the relationship between the two sites has not been confirmed. A number of other Roman military sites have been identified in the vicinity of Stretton Mill and Water Eaton, including a large Vexillation fortress, forts, and a number of camps. They occupy a strategic location and a nodal point in the Roman road system with roads leaving Watling Street for Chester, Wroxeter, Greensforge, and perhaps Metchley.