Temple Or Shrine
Wycomb lies eleven miles due north of Corinium Dobunnorum (Cirencester) and eleven miles due east of Glevum (Gloucester). There is a Roman road two miles to the east of the settlement which emerged from Cirencester to the south, and proceeded in a northerly direction. The northern terminus of this road was possibly Alcester to the north, but may also have been either Vertis (Worcester) or Salinae (Droitwich Spa) to the north-north-west. Judging from the amount of incidental Roman finds along the Vale of Evesham, I am more inclined to favour Alcester as the likely destination; only time (and a little digging) will tell.
There are numerous villas in the neighbourhood; at Whittington (SP0120), Wadfield (SP0226), Withington (SP0314), Compton Grove (SP0416), Spoonley Wood (SP0425), Listercombe Bottom (SP0711) and the famous villa and temple at Chedworth (SP0513) lies just five miles to the south.
Rectangular Temple – Wycombe 1
This rectangular building preceded the later Romano-British shrine, and, playing the “continuity of use” card, it is very likely that the earlier construction was also sacred, in other words, represented some form of temple or shrine. This building measured 30 ft. by 36 ft., with most walls around 2½ ft. thick. The entrance lay in the extreme southern end of the south-east long side and a dividing wall set towards the rear of the building created two rooms, an antechamber measuring about 19 ft. by 25½ ft. internally, with a door on the extreme right-hand side of the rear wall leading to a cella measuring about 9 ft. by 25½ ft. This supposed temple is very similar in style to the rectangular shrine at Nettleton.
Square Temple – Wycombe 2
The sacred use of this building is proved by many votive objects. Although it has not been interpreted as a Romano-British temple before, its size and its square plan strongly suggest that it was. As at Chedworth, the cella is now absent, but a description of the stone floor ‘being raised in the centre’, and the plan of the paving, suggests that there had been a cella, now robbed-away. It was built over the earlier rectangular shrine (Wycombe 1).” (Lewis 1966, p.3)
The portico was 44 ft. 2 in. square with walls between 1ft. 6in. to 1ft. 8in. thick. The temple was built in the late-3rd century and abandoned about the turn of the 4th; it faced east.
References for Wycombe Temple
- Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001);
- Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966).
Map References for Wycombe Temple
NGRef: SP0220 OSMap: LR163
Roman Roads near Wycombe Temple