Grimscar Roman tilery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016315

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Grimscar Roman tilery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SE 13067 18984


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

Reasons for Designation

Around 34 Roman tileries are known in England, mainly located in the south and east. They were in use from the late first century to the fourth century AD, with a peak in construction during the second century. Generally they consist of one or more kilns, a preparation and drying area, clay pits, tile dumps and associated worksheds. Typically they were used to produce tiles and bricks, although sometimes pottery was also made. Early examples tend to be associated with military installations, whereas later ones are associated with villas. The most prominent components of a kiln are the combustion chamber, the central flue, the fire tunnel and the stokehole. All known examples are rectangular in shape and built from tile, stone, brick or clay blocks. Raw clay, which hardens in the firing process is often used as cement. Tileries are most commonly sited away from settlements and may occasionally be part of a larger industrial complex. Known examples are associated primarily with roads, waterways, forts and villas, although the prime factor in the selection of a site was probably a readily available supply of workable clay. Tileries are almost exclusively found in the countryside where the site utilises the lie of the land to enhance the technology, typically built into a hillside with the central flue to the rear and the stokehole nearest to the surface, close to a supply of running water. Although a particularly characteristic building material in the Roman period, bricks and tiles were not used before the Roman conquest and did not continue in use after the Roman period until the early medieval period. Roman tileries are very rare and form an essential element of the Roman countryside. All tileries which clearly serve or are associated with other buildings, as well as sites which demonstrate the technology and range of products, have been identified as being of national importance.

Grimscar Roman Tilery survives well within its woodland surroundings and is a rare example of this type of site in the north of England. The small scale excavations carried out in the 1950s and 1960s illustrate the diversity of the remains surviving beneath the ground. The recovery of stamped tiles at both Grimscar and Slack Roman fort demonstrates the contemporaneity of the two sites and the military involvement in both production and use of the tile and pottery. Such a clear relationship between two separate sites is unusual but vital for dating and understanding the context of the tilery.


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


The site includes the remains of Grimscar Roman tilery. The site is situated in Grimscar Woods, approximately 2km north west of the centre of Huddersfield. The tilery sits approximately half way down the northern slope of the steep- sided valley of Grimscar Dike. Limited excuvations have confirmed that the site retains evidence of a series of kilns, stoke holes, areas of kiln rakings and tile and waster dumps. A kiln measuring approximately 3m by 4m was dug into the bedrock to a depth of 1.25m. The natural banded sandstone formed the base of the kiln where ash from the firing would have collected. The main chamber, the combustion chamber, had a vaulted ceiling constructed mainly from the excavated sandstone. Above the combustion chamber was the firing chamber, the walls of which were again constructed from locally available stone. The walls of this chamber were set on ledges cut into the walls of the original pit. They were supported on clay and stone foundations and stood to a height of 1m. The top of the chamber was constructed in clay and sat level with the contemporary ground level. Puddled clay was used to prevent air escaping through cracks in the masonry of the firing chamber. Once the kiln was loaded and sealed it was fired, fuel being fed in through the stoke pit at the south eastern end. Although small scale excavation of the site in 1955/56 and 1964 revealed only one kiln, it is clear from tile dumps and kiln rakings (found some distance from the excavated kiln) that further kilns lie in the area. The finds from the Grimscar excavations consist mainly of roof, flue, floor, and Voussoir tiles, some of which were stamped with `COH IIII BRE'. Roof tiles stamped with the same markings were recovered from the nearby Roman fort and bath house at Slack. Some pottery was also produced at the site. The types recovered can be dated to the first and early second century AD. This helps to confirm the period of operations at Grimscar. The stamped tiles bear witness to the fact that Grimscar tilery was a military establishment operated by the Fourth Cohort of the Breuci. The site produced building material and pottery used at Slack Roman Fort and bath house, located about 4km west of Grimscar. The operation of the tilery would have coincided with the Trajanic and Hadrianic reconstructions at Slack. An enlargement of the bath house in the Hadrianic period would have required particularly large quantities of tile. Such a clear relationship between a tilery and the users of its products is unusual.

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


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

Legacy System number: 29899

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hallam, A, 'Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society Bulletin' in The Roman Tilery In Grimscar Wood, (1965)
Purdy, J G, Manby, T G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Excavations at the Roman Tilery at Grimscar, Huddersfield 1964, , Vol. Vol 45, (1973), 96-107
Ebbatson,L, MPP Single Monument Description Tileries (Romano-British), (1988)

End of official listing