Romano-Celtic temple and Roman road at Church Field, 150m north of Church Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018506

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Romano-Celtic temple and Roman road at Church Field, 150m north of Church Wood
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Surrey

District: Tandridge (District Authority)

Parish: Titsey

National Grid Reference: TQ 42121 54962


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.

The Romano-Celtic temple at Titsey survives comparatively well, and investigations have shown that the monument retains archaeological evidence relating to its original use. The temple lies within the environs of a broadly contemporary Roman villa in Titsey Park, and the close association of the temple with the adjacent Roman road provides evidence for the accessiblity of the temple to contemporary travellers.


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


The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple and an adjacent, approximately 65m long stretch of the main Roman London to Lewes road, situated on a clay rise which forms part of the Surrey Hills. The temple and road survive as buried archaeological features, some of which are visible as parch marks during dry weather. They are situated around 1.6km to the north east of a contemporary Roman villa in Titsey Park. Investigations carried out in 1879 and 1935 showed that the NNE-SSW aligned temple, which lies in the western part of the monument, has at its focus a small square building, of which the mortared flint footings survive. The building has two concentric compartments originally housing a cella, or inner chamber, surrounded by an ambulatory, or covered outer walkway. At the north eastern and south eastern corners of the cella, flanking the east facing entrance, are two square pillars. These have been interpreted as the remains of plinths for the support of religious statues. The temple building was constructed within the south eastern half of a square, enclosing sacred precinct, or temenos, with sides around 30.5m long. The temenos boundary wall survives in the form of up to 0.7m wide flint footings. The roughly north-south aligned Roman road runs approximately 8m to the east of the south eastern temenos wall. The 1935 investigations showed it to have a flint and gravel metalled surface around 6.7m wide. The temple lies on the watershed between the Medway and Darenth valleys, and overlooks a stream around 150m to the north, which is one of the head-waters of the River Eden. The analysis of pottery fragments found during the investigations indicated that the temple was in use from the early second to late third centuries AD. The investigations also revealed traces of earlier occupation of the site during the Iron Age, and the subsequent wholesale removal of building material from the abandoned temple during the medieval period. The monument may also have been used as a campsite for medieval travellers to and from Canterbury along the Pilgrim Way, which passes around 550m to the north. The modern field fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 31396

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Graham, J, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in A Romano-Celtic Temple at Titsey, and the Roman Road, (1936), 84-101
Graham, J, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in A Romano-Celtic Temple at Titsey, and the Roman Road, (1936), 84-101
Davis, M, Unpublished geophysical survey, 1997,

End of official listing