Romano-Celtic temple 300m south west of Keysley Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016907

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1999


Ordnance survey map of Romano-Celtic temple 300m south west of Keysley Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kingston Deverill

National Grid Reference: ST 85997 35128


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.

Aerial photographs of soilmarks 300m south west of Keysley Farm clearly show the foundations of a Romano-Celtic temple surviving below the ploughline. It will have considerable archaeological potential providing an insight into Roman religious practice in this area. A Bronze Age barrow and a gold torc found in the vicinity suggests that this site had special significance for many centuries before Roman occupation.


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


The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple situated on Keysley Down in undulating chalk country to the south of Monkton Deverill. The site commands extensive views to the south and the north west. The temple is visible on aerial photographs in the form of light soilmarks revealing the foundations of a square structure 63m by 61m enclosing a smaller building approximately 22m square. These are interpreted as the temple precinct, or temenos, enclosing the inner temple chamber, or cella. The temenos has a break to the east thought to be an entrance. An adjoining square structure to the west is interpreted as an ancillary structure or an earlier site of the temple. A Bronze Age spirally twisted gold torc was found immediately south of the temple structures. Other soilmarks in the area representing Bronze Age settlement are not included in the scheduling, as these remains have been substantially reduced by ploughing. However, a large bowl barrow 45m to the south east is the subject of a separate scheduling.

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: 31673

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing