Brigstock Temple Complex

Temple Or Shrine

Two shrines of circular and polygonal shape, probably part of a larger group, were erected early in the second half of the third century A.D., and occupied until late in the fourth century. The shrines occur in an area of widespread settlement dating from the late Iron Age until the end of the fourth century. Many objects of bronze and iron of ritual significance, together with a large number of votive deposits and coins, were recovered from the circular shrine.

The Brigstock Temple Complex probably marked the tribal boundary between the Coritani to the north-west and the Catuvellauni in the south-east. Several phases of occupation are known or suggested by the archaeology, which had been almost completely ploughed-out prior to investigation. Excavations have shown that the site remained consecrated throughout the LPRIA and the Romano-British periods.

  1. The first signs of occupation on the site is a penannular ditch with an entrance causeway on the east, partly underlying the later Temple#2, which has been tentatively dated to the Late Pre-Roman Iron-Age on the strength of its very un-Roman layout and a gold stater of the Coritani (c.25AD) found during excavation. The Iron-Age temple – if such a structure ever existed at the centre of the enclosure – would have been constructed of timber.
  2. Brigstock 1 – This temple was built in the mid-3rd century about 20 ft. to the north of the original penannular enclosure. Its plan was perfectly circular, 37½ ft. in diameter with walls a uniform 2½ ft. thick. The floor was metalled with limestone slabs, and a pathway outside the entrance on the east, which ran southwards to the doorway of Temple#2, was constructed of the same material. A drainage ditch ran around the outside of the structure.
  3. Brigstock 2 – This temple was built directly upon the site of the suspected Iron-Age temple and is thought to have been contemporary with Temple#1. Built of lime- and sand-stone slabs, its form was a flattened twelve-sided polygon measuring about 29½ ft. N-S by 32 ft. E-W with an entrance on the east. Its metalled floor contained a central hearth and was strewn with votive animal-bones.

Finds from the site – mostly from Temple#1 – included 278 Roman coins ranging from 1st to 4th centuries, also a number of items of bronze; the head of a female, a model axe, several votive leaves, a number of pole-tips (some of iron) and three pairs of equestrian statues which are thought to portray a mounted war-god. The site continued in use until the late-4th century.

Other Romano-British Sites in the Area

There is a Romano-British villa nearby at Great Weldon (SP9289) and other substantial Roman buildings are known at Oakley (SP8886). Pottery kilns have also been found at Corby (SP9089), a little to the north-west.

Map References for Brigstock

NGRef: SP9685 OSMap: LR141

Roman Roads near Brigstock

NW (12) to Medbovrne (Leicestershire) SE (4) to Thrapston (Northamptonshire)

Sites near Brigstock Temple Complex