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Roman fort, Saxon church and medieval hospital at Dodderhill

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Roman fort, Saxon church and medieval hospital at Dodderhill

List entry Number: 1020621

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Droitwich Spa

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 13-Apr-1983

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-2003

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 30094

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the accommodation of troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second centuries AD. Some were only used for short periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. Roman forts are rare nationally and are extremely rare south of the Severn Trent line. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important.

The remains of Dodderhill Roman fort survive well despite some disturbance caused by continuous use and development of the area. Its prominent location will add to the understanding of Roman military strategy during the earliest period. In addition, its position above the salt springs and adjacent to the Roman road will provide information about Roman exploitation of the salt deposits in Salinae. Artefactual evidence will illustrate the variety of activities carried out in and around the Roman fort and the relative wealth of its occupants, whilst environmental evidence will provide information about the diet and standard of living within the fort and about the natural environment immediately surrounding it.

The importance of the location continued after the Roman occupation ended and is demonstrated by the successive use of the site for a Saxon church, followed by a medieval church and hospital. The remains of these will demonstrate the changing building techniques and ritual practices of religious houses from the Saxon to the late-medieval period, whilst artefactual evidence will illustrate the wealth and connections of the people who used the church and hospital. The survival of human remains from the Saxon church and the medieval hospital cemeteries, together with other environmental evidence, will illustrate the diet, health and living conditions of the local population throughout the Middle Ages.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the known extent of the buried and earthwork remains of the Roman fort at Dodderhill, as well as the remains of the early medieval church lying beneath St Augustine's Church and the buried remains of the medieval hospital of St Mary's located in the south eastern angle of the fort.

The Roman fort was located in a prominent position on rising ground to the north of the site of the Roman town known as Salinae (modern Droitwich) above the River Salwarp and adjacent to a Roman road running north from the town. Excavations in the 1970s recovered evidence for Iron Age activity, followed by the establishment of a Roman fort. The fort is believed to have been constructed in the first century AD with occupation ending in AD 70, followed by a second period of occupation during the mid-second century. Outer defences were located on the west, east and north sides, whilst on the southern side the defences are believed to have been provided by the steep natural topography. In profile the outer ditch was vertical on the outer face and steep sided on the inner, with a small V-shaped channel at the base. It measured up to 5m wide and 3.5m deep and is one of the standard ditch forms employed by the Roman army. The northern gateway was located centrally along the northern defences. Artefactual evidence including pottery, building materials, metal work, and animal and human bones relating to the Roman occupation were also recovered. Excavations of the interior of the fort located cobbled roads, ditches and rubbish pits in the area of the modern churchyard. The buildings of St Augustine's Church date from the mid-12th century and documentation for the parish survives from the mid-16th century. Excavations in the 1990s in advance of the construction of a new building demonstrated the survival of an earlier church lying beneath the present one. This earlier building, constructed of massive sandstone blocks on a different alignment to the later church, is believed to be pre-Norman in date and is thought to represent a minster, an early church ministering to a large area supported by a community of canons.

In 1285 a hospital dedicated to St Mary was founded and endowed with rents, land and salt, a valuable commodity in the Middle Ages. The hospital was located in the south eastern angle of the earlier Roman fort. It survived the Reformation but was closed during the later 16th century. Later it was used for St Augustine's vicarage which was itself demolished in the 19th century, although some of the medieval buildings of the hospital may have been converted into charity cottages belonging to the church; others were demolished in 1845 when the railway cutting was constructed. St Augustine's Church is a Listed Building Grade B.

The school buildings and the area of grounds immediately to the west of the main buildings are not included in the scheduling as the archaeological deposits in these areas have been removed by 18th century landscaping and gardening and by the construction of the modern school buildings.

The Church of St Augustine and all modern surfaces and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. The area of churchyard to the north and east of the church is totally excluded from the scheduling, both above and below ground.

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

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: SO 90214 63707

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 06:06:31.

End of official listing