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Roman Riverside Building Complex, The Weir Garden (New Weir), Swainshill

SMR Number
: 718
Grid Reference
: SO 43 41
Parish
: KENCHESTER, HEREFORDSHIRE

In 1891 examination of spring discovered dressed stone, roughly octagonal: stepped masonry well. Tesserae within. Diameter 7' at top 20" at base. Also revealed road. "Proximity of flanged tiles I have extracted from ancient abutments 50 yards higher up the river....". Examination of the stone masonry known as "the remains of the old Roman bridge" with a view of determining its function. Two stone buttresses support river bank some 50m upstrean from cistern. Masonry stands to 4m. River elevation has base of large blocks; similar masonry at right angles to bank to NE where stonework rises higher and has plastered surface. Mortar floor. Traces of other cross walls, tile etc in bank…..Trial trenches: mosaic floor (no 4) in situ. Possible early Christian baptismal well. Abutments may have supported a wharf or landing stage local tradition has it that corn was shipped from here in C19 to be milled at Eaton Bishop. (1) (2) (3) (4)
RB occupation. No doubt that terraces occupied during Roman period by buildings of some stature. Complex of rooms surrounding buttress. Suggests that is temple. Report discussing the evidence obtained from the excavation of ten trial-holes, 1m square, in 1977. A resistivity survey was also carried out. In conclusion evidence suggests Roman occupancy during part of the Roman period. Cistern or pool part of Nymphaeum. 2 main building complexes perhaps joined by a corridor. (5) (6)
Detailed survey of visible remains in 1991. Riverbank consolidation scheme in 1995 included localised investigations. The work highlighted the presence of a high-status Roman riverside complex of considerable archaeological interest. The remains include an exceptionally fine and well-preserved stone buttress, with room above, representing the highest standing piece of Roman masonry in Herefordshire. Early interpretations of the site as a bridge, quay or mill structure can now be rejected. The Roman river crossing point is now known to be 1km further downstream, at Old Weir (SMR 258). (9)
Ancient Monuments Lab Geophysical Survey in 1991. Apparently no AML report completed. (10)
A watching brief was carried out during groundworks for a replacement soakaway at The Weir Gardens. No significant archaeological features were revealed although some of the ground had previously been disturbed by a deeper soakaway, so features may survive at a greater depth than was exposed during the groundworks. (11)
In 2014, L-P Archaeology undertook an evaluation to assess the risk to the buried remains, they discovered that it is likely that the remains have been damaged extensively by previous excavation on the site in particular is the damge to the bath building on the east side. Surface remains have been robbed and some areas rebuilt. However, the remaining parts of the structure, including buried remains, are in a stable state and sensitive deposits such as the opus signinum wall face and mosaic are not, nor appear to ever have been, in contact with spring water lines and are considered stable from subsistence. As such the remains are not considered at risk and no immediate action to protect them is suggested. No remains are buried below hillwash in the northern part of the terrace. New spring lines do occasionally appear on the terrace and these should be monitored and redirected if they are seen to be eroding soil around sensitive remains. Trees and shrubs should not be allowed to take root in the areas of the remains. (12)

Monument Type(s)

  1. (Alternate Type) TEMPLE? (Romano-British - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  2. MOSAIC (Romano-British - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  3. VILLA? (Romano-British - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  4. (Alternate Type) NYMPHAEUM? (Romano-British - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Files

Sources and Further Reading

  1. <1> SHE10302 - Bibliographic reference: Moore, H. 1891. Discovery of supposed Buried Well. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. 244-6.
  2. <10> SHE10611 - Bibliographic reference: Payne, A. 1991. The Weir Garden: Geophysical Survey. English Heritage. AML.
  3. <6> SHE12307 - Bibliographic reference: Shoesmith, R. 1980. Roman Buildings at New Weir. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XLIII 1980 Part II. Pages 135-54.
  4. <5> SHE12391 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R & Boulton. 1977. Romano-British Buildings at New Weir.. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee.
  5. <7> SHE15687 - Serial: Attfield, C E (ed). 1978. Herefordshire Archaeological News No. 34. Woolhope Club Archaeological Research Section. 34. Pages 12.
  6. <2> SHE16589 - Bibliographic reference: Moore, H.C.. 1893. The Supposed Roman Bridge in the grounds of the New Weir, Kenchester. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. 1893. 56-60. 1893. Pages 56-60.
  7. <11> SHE16685 - Unpublished Report: Vaughan, Nicholas. 2006. New Weir, Swainshill, Herefordshire. A report on archaeological monitoring.. Archenfield Archaeology. AA/05/83.
  8. <12> SHE23808 - Unpublished Report: Williams, M. 02/2015. Archaeological Evaluation Report. Weir Gardens, Swainshill.. L-P Archaeology. 1716M.
  9. <9> SHE6249 - Unpublished Report: Barber, A & Walker, G. 1995. The Weir Garden, Swainshill. Cotswold Archaeological Trust. CAT Report 95298.
  10. <4> SHE7811 - Bibliographic reference: Ordnance Survey Record Card. 1969. SO46SW9. Ordnance Survey Record Card.
  11. <8> SHE8139 - Bibliographic reference: Esmonde Cleary, A S. 1987. Extramural areas of Romano British towns. BAR 169. p.101.
  12. <3> SHE9365 - Bibliographic reference: Jack, G. 1939. Masonry at New Weir. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. p.lxxviii.

Associated events

Protected status

  1. Scheduled Monument 335: New Weir Roman site

Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

  1. HHE303 - Co-Axial Enclosure System - Perpendicular Orientated System