A Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009023

Date first listed: 26-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of A Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Swale (District Authority)

Parish: Upchurch

National Grid Reference: TQ 85152 66184


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Romano-Celtic temples were built to meet the spiritual needs of the communities they served by venerating the god or spirit considered to dwell in a particular place. The temple building was regarded as the treasure house of its deity and priests rather than as a congregational building and any religious activities, including private worship, communal gatherings, sanctuary and healing, took place outside. Romano-Celtic temples included the temple building and a surrounding sacred precinct or temenos which could be square, circular, rectangular or polygonal in ground plan. The temple building invariably faced due east and was the focus of the site, although it did not necessarily occupy the central position in the temenos. It comprised a cella, or inner temple chamber, an ambulatory or walkway around the cella, and sometimes annexes or antechambers. The buildings were constructed of a variety of materials, including stone, cob and timber, and walls were often plastered and painted both internally and externally. Some temenoi enclosed other buildings, often substantial and built in materials and styles similar to those of the temple; these are generally interpreted as priests' houses, shops or guest houses. Romano-Celtic temples were built and used throughout the Roman period from the mid first century AD to the late fourth/early fifth century AD, with individual examples being used for relatively long periods of time. They were widespread throughout southern and eastern England, although there are no examples in the far south west and they are rare nationally with only about 150 sites recorded in England. In view of their rarity and their importance in contributing to the complete picture of Roman religious practice, including its continuity from Iron Age practice, all Romano-Celtic temples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

Despite some disturbance by ploughing and the action of tree roots, the Romano-Celtic temple at Boxted survives relatively well and has been shown by partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Around 260m to the north east are the remains of a Romano-British villa. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between religious, social and economic practices during the period of their construction and use.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple situated on the southern edge of the north Kent marshes, on the western slope of a low, clay hill. The temple, which survives as buried remains, is a square building, with each outer wall measuring 13.4m in length. It has two concentric foundation walls originally forming an ambulatory, or covered walkway, enclosing a central cella, or inner chamber. The cella measures 6.7m externally, and both enclosure walls are c.0.7m thick. The temple was partially excavated in 1969-1970, when pottery sherds dating to between AD 100-AD 200 were discovered. A small votive pit was located within the cella near its north eastern corner. The modern fence which crosses the monument and the stile which is situated on the fenceline are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 25463

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Brittania' in Brittania, , Vol. 4, (1973), 321-322

End of official listing