There are five inscribed stones recorded at Adel in the R.I.B.; two altarstones each dedicated to different goddesses, one found in 1879 at Church Lane, Chapel Allerton, 2½ miles north of Leeds and now kept in the Leeds Museum, the other found in 1816 at the Adel site and now in the coach-house of Adel Church together with a building stone inscribed with a phallus found in the same year, also parts of two tombstones, both of which were discovered in 1702 just south of the Roman town at Adel Mill and both now lost. All of these texts are shown and translated on this page.
The remains of a “Roman Town” upon Adel Moor near Adel Mill, adjoining the Roman road (RR 72b) were revealed by ploughing circa 1700. The site was close to a “Roman camp” measuring about 5 chains by 4 chains and surrounded by a single bank and ditch. (This description fits the enclosure at Adel Mill, SE 24 SE 8). Foundations of houses standing up to four courses high on both sides of a street were found, and the quantity and quality of the finds, including Samian ware and other pottery, fragments of statues, pillars, glass-ware and “Aqueducts”, led Thoresby to believe that the settlement had been an important one.
The Finds from Black Hill?
The two Roman tombstones (RIB 632 and 633) from the site were given to Thoresby, who states that they came from Black-hill. A hoard of Roman copper coins, mainly of the Tetrici was also found adjoining Black Hill circa 1741/2, and Whitaker, referring to Thoresby’s camp “on the slope of the hill north from Adel”, records the discovery shortly before 1816 on “the site of the Roman town eastward from the camp” of vestiges of buildings forming streets, and remains including two uninscribed altars, an altar dedicated to Brigantia (RIB 630) and a stone slab with an inscription surrounding a phallus (RIB 631). The two latter are preserved at Adel Church.
These discoveries led to excavations from 1933 to 1938 by the Leeds Roman Research Committee directed by Kent, in a field east of the Adel to Eccup road, north-east of the earthwork at Adel Mill, revealing the site of what was thought to be a “ribbon village” along the Roman road. A 12 ft length of wall footing, paving, rammed stone floors, cobbled areas and several hearths were uncovered. Samian and other pottery ranged from 1st century to 4th century, and other finds included a cremation burial, quarry pits, stone roof tiles, a few coins, a brooch and some querns. Villy, followed by Pearson, places the site of Thoresby’s Roman settlement further north, mainly on the evidence of the name “Black Hill”. The OS 6″ map of 1847 however, also applies Black Hill to the area centred SE 280 413, which agrees with the 1933-1938 discoveries and Thoresby’s description.
References for Adel
- The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).
Roman Roads near Adel
WNW (11) to Ilkley (Ilkley, West Yorkshire) E (9) to Newton Kyme (North Yorkshire) E (11) to Calcaria (Tadcaster, North Yorkshire)