Roman amphitheatre 1/2 mile (800m) N of Charterhouse


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mendip (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 49887 56506


Romano British amphitheatre 430m north west of Mendip Farm.

Reasons for Designation

The Romano British amphitheatre is an elliptical structure with a long axis of between 50m and 115m comprising banks of raised seating around a level interior space. The seating banks are breached by at least one entrance passage giving access to the arena and in some instances to the seating. The amphitheatre was invented towards the close of the Republic and was considered especially characteristic of the Roman Empire. Dates have been ascribed principally on the basis of associated finds of pottery and coins and to a lesser extent by analogy with other buildings of a known construction date. Archaeological evidence suggests their construction in England began at the time of the Conquest, around the mid 1st century AD and reached its peak in the latter part of that century. No new amphitheatres were built after the late 3rd century but there was renewed interest in renovation of many existing structures at this time. There is some evidence that some sites were used for defensive purposes in the 5th century and later. Some amphitheatres were in use continuously throughout the Roman period, although this use may have been seasonal, others were abandoned in the 2nd century and never re-used. Others had a period of abandonment followed by renovation in the latter part of the 3rd century. Final abandonment appears to occur by the latter half of the 4th century AD. The most distinctive features are the arena and surrounding seating banks. The former was a level space excavated below ground level and the latter are embankments built in part, if not wholly from the material up-cast material from the arena. Amphitheatres have five main constructional components: the arena; seating banks or cavea; entrance passageways and ramps; inner revetment wall; and outer revetment wall. Minor components include inner safety fences, perimeter drain, axial drain, shrines, apsidal recesses in the arena wall, a raised access walk or podium and a tribunal. The excavated surface of the arena was often covered with sand, gravel or paving slabs. Amphitheatres are confined to the south of England, the most northerly being at Chester. They were often located on the outskirts of settlements and are usually discrete isolated monuments. They are nationally rare with only twelve known examples. The Romano British amphitheatre 430m north west of Mendip Farm is the smallest of the amphitheatres known in England and is associated with the lead mining settlement of Charterhouse-on-Mendip. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, social, economic and cultural significance and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 30 July 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.

This monument includes a Romano British amphitheatre situated on the south east facing slopes of a prominent hill forming part of the Mendip Hills and overlooking the Roman lead mining settlement near Charterhouse-on-Mendip. The amphitheatre survives as an elliptical enclosure measuring approximately 50m long with an internal depression or arena of 28m long by 23m wide defined by a bank of up to 1.8m high externally and 3.6m high internally. Excavated by Gray in 1909 and 1938 two entrances were established, one to the west and one to the east along with flints and sherds of pottery, including Samian on the old ground surface beneath the bank.

Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
SO 218
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-194337


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

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