(Whitchurch) Shropshire, England.
Site of a Roman town known from both the
and the Ravenna Cosmography
although confirmation of its location at Whitchurch
awaited excavations in 1965-66. These demonstrated that
the line of the present High Street marked the line of
the Roman road from Wroxeter to Chester and formed
the axis of the Roman settlement. The various phases
may be summarized.
1) Initial occupation in the form of timber buildings
probably predating A.D. 75 and associated with the period
of legionary occupation at Wroxeter, which ended in
deliberate dismantling. 2) Flavian auxiliary fort from ca.
A.D. 75 on, identified by discovery of the W defenses.
Demolished shortly after A.D. 100. 3) Gradual development of the site as a civilian settlement. By the mid-2d c.
much of the excavated area was covered by timber buildings, many of an industrial character. 4) The town's prosperity reached its height in the 3d c. when substantial
stone structures testify to the expansion of the town area.
5) By the later 4th c. the site was in decline. Settlement
appears to have contracted along the line of the present
High Street and recognizable urban life does not appear
to have survived the end of the century. The area of
Sedgeford S of the town marks the site of a 1st and 2d c.
cemetery. A skeleton of a young man with a trepanned
skull was found inserted beneath a floor of a building in
the town; it dates to the first quarter of the 4th c. Finds
from the excavation and earlier discoveries are housed
in the Manchester University and Whitchurch museums.
G.D.B. Jones & P. V. Webster, “Excavations at Whitchurch,” ArchJ
125 (1968) 193ffMPI
O. D. B. JONES