Hardham Roman Settlement

Mansio and Minor Settlement

The Roman settlement at Hardham lay to the south of the crossing of Stane Street over the River Arun, just to the east of the confluence of the River Rother. The settlement includes a Roman mansio and later settlement surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains.

The earthworks survive as a single bank, up to about 1.2m high and an outer ditch. These originally formed part of a rectangular enclosure about 128m by 133m, orientated north west to south east. The bank and ditch are still visible on the north west side as a rounded corner. In 1863, a Romano-British cremation cemetery was found adjacent to and within the bounds of the mansio enclosure. The cremations were contained in urns or amphora, put in wooden boxes and placed in shafts. Other finds included a coin of Hadrian, animal bones, pottery, a pair of sandals and bronze fibula. The presence of some graves inside the bounds of the enclosure suggests that it was disused before the cemetery encroached upon it. The mansio was partially excavated in 1926 and this work uncovered the foundations of a later civilian settlement. The lower half of a quern was found in 1956. A geophysical survey in 1997 indicated that the enclosure was more regular and symmetrical than previously thought. It also provided evidence of structural features in the interior but no clear indication of substantial masonry buildings. The monument excludes all modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts but the ground beneath these features is included. Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as a nearby Priory are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

There is a Roman villa at Bignor (SU9814) about three miles (5km) along Stane Street to the south-west, and another in the oppposite direction along Stane Street at Pulborough (TQ0620), with a Romano-British mausoleum nearby (TQ0618). There are substantial Roman buildings a few miles to the west along the Rother Valley at Duncton (SU9616) and to the immediate east of the settlement at Wiggonholt (TQ0617).

References for Hardham

Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001).Roman Roads near Hardham

Stane Street: NNE (12) to Alfoldean E (17) to Hassocks (West Sussex) Stane Street: SW (13) to Noviomagvs Regnorvm (Chichester, West Sussex)

Sites near Hardham Roman Settlement