Section of medieval road, south of Pomparles Bridge, north of Street

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014443

Date first listed: 28-Jun-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Section of medieval road, south of Pomparles Bridge, north of Street
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Oct-2018 at 15:41:55.

Location

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

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: Street

National Grid Reference: ST 48672 37514

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval roads are widespread througout England. They are artificial ways providing a means of communication between places and features used in medieval times; many roads utilised the existing Roman road system. Generally 3m-4m wide, the surface is metalled with various materials, and associated with ditches, drainage channels, fords, causeways and junctions. Wheel ruts are a common feature. Artefactual and environmental evidence is rare. This section of medieval road between Glastonbury and Street is unusual in having a wooden structure which survives through rare organic preservation. There is evidence for the reuse of structural timbers. It will provide much environmental, dendrochronological and woodworking evidence for the medieval period. It was first noted in the late 19th century during drainage operations, when a section was excavated, but has not been exposed since 1921. It is located within the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and Moors, an area of high archaeological value which has seen rapid landscape change in the past 200 years as a result of drainage and intensive peat cutting.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a length of road or causeway with organic preservation, aligned north to south on Press Moor immediately to the east of the present road between Glastonbury and Street. The road was once thought to be Roman, but is probably of medieval date. It is not visible as an earthwork, but was recorded during excavation in 1881 as being eighteen inches to two feet, (0.45m-0.60m) below the ground surface. It was noted a few years before 1881, during drainage works, as being cut across in many places; it was traced from the River Brue in the north almost to Street. The drains did not cut through the whole depth of the road, as it had a substantial structure. The 1881 excavation took place approximately 7m south of the river bank at the north end of the monument. The road was built on a surface of peat, 2.13m below the level of the field. The base of the road consisted of transverse roundwood, mostly alder, some of which was split, up to 4.3m long. With additional brushwood, this formed a layer 0.45m deep, which was overlain by a thin spread, reportedly of concrete, but probably mortar. On this was built a wooden framework of large squared oak timbers, laid lengthways. Each timber was up to 2.1m in length and they were laid three to four deep at the sides of the structure, forming a trough up to 0.75m deep. They were held in place by oak piles or stakes, driven up to 0.6m into the peat. The excavated area held two large transverse oak logs, up to 0.6m in diameter, into which the side timbers were notched. Some of the timbers showed evidence of reuse in the form of unused mortice holes and obsolete pegs. The space between the timbers and above was filled with limestone and lias which appeared to be placed at the sides, and randomly infilled centrally. These stones had a maximum size of 0.3m. The surface was levelled with smaller stones. The structure was further strengthened by the addition of an embankment of stones, logs and brushwood, sloping down from the road surface for a distance of 9m either side. The whole structure was overlain by clay from flooding episodes. Two lengths of the road, with the same structure, were investigated in 1921 to the north of the river. This work provided evidence for the road's medieval date. A sherd of an Upchurch Ware bowl, 1st-2nd century AD, was found below the road, and from the road surface a number of iron artefacts were recovered. One of these, a spur, was identified as late 12th or early 13th century date. In this case the road was less well preserved and is not included in the scheduling. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences and posts, though the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27984

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Morland, J, On an Ancient Road between Glastonbury and Street, (1881), 43-50
Morland, J, The Brue at Glastonbury, The Roman Road, Pons Perilis and Beckery Mill, (1922), 64-69
Other
SMR entries, Chapel 23570, bridge 23577, church 24705,

End of official listing