Settlement, Temple Or Shrine and Villa
The Thistleton area has shown evidence of Romano-British occupation in the form of coins, pottery, brooches and scatters of tile and other building material. Excavations on the site has also revealed traces of houses, wells, kilns, ovens, hearths and burials. It is possible that the site represents a small market settlement on the border between the Catuvellauni and the Coritani tribes. This is supported by the fact that the site also boasts a large temple precinct within which were a succession of temple buildings dating from the late pre-Roman Iron-Age to the late-4th or early-5th centuries.
The Temple Buildings
The temple precinct or temenos is delineated by a ditch enclosing a large area, at the centre of which was constructed a succession of temple buildings.
- During the early-1st century the temple comprised a circular ditch enclosing a limestone floor upon which was erected a succession of timber buildings of unrecorded dimension and plan. Iron-Age occupation is proved by several pieces of characteristic pottery and 13 coins of the Coritani.
- The original timber temple was replaced in the later 1st century by a circular structure with limestone walls around 1¼ ft. thick enclosing an area 41 ft in diameter. An entrance on the east side was approached along a metalled path. The building was floored with crushed stone and a concrete altar base stood upon it. The floor of this temple was replaced in the 2nd century by a pavement of red and white tesserae which was repaired several times before the temple itself was replaced.
- In the late-3rd century the temple was again rebuilt, this time in basilica form, aligned precisely east-west and measuring 65 ft. by 45 ft, with a 14 ft. by 24 ft. entrance hall on the east. The knave was divided into two roughly-equal areas by a cross-wall, the floor in the eastern part laid with large tesserae, the floors in the western knave and in the aisles were of stamped earth covered with limestone chippings. A silver votive feather and a silver plaque were found in the foundations of this building, the plaque bore an inscription dedicated to the god Vheterus by one Mocuxsoma (text not available).
The basilican temple fell into disrepair sometime in the early-4th century and was later converted into domestic use with two additional cross-walls in the knave, this occupation lasting until sometime in the late-4th or early-5th centuries.
Other Roman Sites in the Area
The trackway to the south-east joined up with Ermine Street after about four miles, and the fort and town at Creat Casterton were a further four miles along this major road. There are substantial Roman buildings to the north at Stainby (SK9222), near the iron-mines at Woolsthorpe (SK9224), and others to the east at Castle Bytham (SK9918) and Clipsham (SK9815), close to other iron-workings at Black Piece (SK9815), the three former sites being in Lincolnshire. There are also pottery-kilns nearby at Market Overton (SK8816), and near the junction with Ermine Street at Greetham (SK9314).
References for Thistleton
- 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), pp.84, 93ff & plate.iv.
Map References for Thistleton
NGRef: SK9017 OSMap: LR130