Romano-British Temples, Colchester 4 & 5

Romano-british Temple Or Shrine

These two square temples share a temenos about 200 yards to the north-east of Sheepen Farm 1. Both temples faced south-east:

  • Temple 4 to the south, the original building was constructed entirely of timber c.50AD and burned to the ground during the Boudicca uprising in 60/61. Rebuilt in stone c.70AD and temenos added. A porch was added in the 3rd century but the temple fell into disuse in the 4th. It measures 36¾ x 37 ft. across the portico wall, over 4¼ ft. thick, with a cella measuring 17 ft. 4 in. square with walls 2 ft. thick and a Purbeck marble floor. (Type IIId or IIIe, possibly IId/e)
  • Temple 5 to the north was built during the late-1st century to a very similar design to that of Temple 4 but on a smaller scale, indeed, it is one of the smallest known Romano-British temples in Britain, measuring a trifle over 28 ft. by 30, and covering an area of only 846 square ft., with a cella only 12 ft. x 13¾ ft.; all walls were only 1 foot thick. (Type IIId, or IIIe)

References for Colchester Temples

  • The Apocolocyntosis by Seneca, translated by J.P. Sullivan (Penguin, 1986);
  • Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
  • Annales by Cornelius Tacitus, translated by J.Jackson (Loeb, Harvard, 1937).