The Roman Temple on Brean Down

<b>A map showing the location of the Temple</b>
A map showing the location of the Temple

When Mark Courtier from the National Trust spoke to the Society in October he only made parting reference to the Roman Temple. In 1957 an interim report on the excavations of this site was published by A. M. ApSimon, a copy of which is in our archives and the link below.

Rabbits scratching brought the to the surface fragments of Romano British pottery. Three buildings have been found on the hill top, together with a Bronze Age round barrow and signs of cultivation by low banks of old fields.

The main building was a Romano Celtic Temple. This had a central square Cella or Sanctuary, surrounded by a veranda, entry through a porch on the south east side. The walls were of Carboniferous limestone quarried probably only 75 yards north of this site. Bath freestone and lias limestone (from Hutton?) was used for arched windows(no sign of glass) and the roof was covered with Pennant Sandstone tiles. The outer walls were covered with a thick layer of Stucco, inside decorated with painted plaster.

Besides Romano British pottery of fourth century AD type 150 Roman coins were found from Faustina 2 (AD 145-6 to Valens AD 364-75). This suggests the Temple was built soon after AD 340. 25-30 years later it was allowed to fall into decay. On the SW side of the Temple there was accommodation for a Priest, just two rooms. Some time after the Temple was in ruins, a skeleton was buried in the north corner.

Finds from this excavation can be seen in a permanent exhibition at Weston Museum.

Barbara Seaton

<b>A plan of Brean Down Temple</b>
A plan of Brean Down Temple