Brean Down Temple

Temple Or Shrine

Square Romano Celtic temple located on the rocky peninsula south of Weston-super-Mare. It was excavated in 1957-8.

What did the Brean Down Roman Temple look like?

The temple was constructed c. 340 AD.  The temple is square in plan, with lateral annexes and a front porch on the south-east added before c. 367-8 AD. The outer portico measured c.44 x 43 ft., the cella 26½ ft. square, all walls were around 2 ft. thick. On the south west were two rooms presumably for the priests.

The temple faced south-east. Plaster was found on the outer wall of the cella; voussoir stones have also been found, which probably indicate clerestory windows.

The original quarry for stone was 75 yards north of the site and the Roman approach was up a narrow gully on the south face of the Down.

What happened to the Roman temple at Brean Down?

Prior to demolition c. 390 AD. the north annexe used was for iron working. The temple was demolished in AD 390, and its stone removed. At this time a small building built alongside it. This was used for domestic occupation until some point in the fifth century when it too was demolished. A burial located within the temple appears to be part of this later occupation.

This could have been caused by barbarians ransacking the area or caused by a change in religion of the local inhabitants to Christianity. The new hut may have been for a Christian hermit who would have lived a simple life of prayer on the windswept headland.

A coin hoard was located within the interior and may be a votive offering or related to the latter phase of activity.

References for Brean Down Temple

  • Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966).

Map References for Brean Down Temple

NGRef: ST293588 OSMap: LR182

Roman Roads near Brean Down Temple

None identified

Sites near Brean Down Temple