An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 1, Eburacum, Roman York. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1962.
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Thriving civilian settlements grew up beside the fortress (Fig. 37). The settlement on the S.W. side of the river, opposite the fortress, became important enough to receive the title and privileges of a colonia probably from Severus and certainly before A.D. 237 since it is so described on an altar then set up at Bordeaux by a York merchant. In the town, the capital of Britannia Inferior, a remarkable concentration of buildings has been revealed over the years; and it was demonstrably defended, for a Roman wall has been found in three places on the perimeter (see Defences below). Evidently occupation was also comparatively dense immediately outside the fortress, in the canabae or extramural settlement, particularly on the S.E. where the confluent rivers formed natural defences. The foregoing comprise the Civil Town and Extramural Settlement and are described topographically under those heads. Thereafter are described the evidences of settlement and workshops further afield comprising the Suburban Sites, again topographically arranged.
(16) Defences: The fragments of walling discovered that relate to the town defences are listed below (a–d) (Figs. 37, 38). The Inventory entry for Monument (12) has shown how N.E. of the river Ouse the walls of mediaeval York in part follow the defences of the legionary fortress, which are buried in the earth bank crowned by the 13th-century wall. Similarly S.W. of the river, in the sector between the present and the old Railway Stations, the mediaeval defences not only coincide with the boundary between the Roman built-up area and a Roman cemetery, but cover remains of massive walling (see a–c below). No archaeological study of present-day standard was made of these remains: but the fact that they are covered by the early mediaeval bank is very strong presumptive evidence for their Roman date. Differences in structure between them might well be accounted for by rebuilding in the Roman period. Apart from this sector, however, the line of any Roman defensive wall is unsupported by structural evidence of any kind.
(a) (N.G. 59685162). In 1839, when the northerly of the two railway arches was cut through the mediaeval defences, a wall with 'a double facing of worked stone and the interior filled with zig-zag masonry' was found within the mediaeval rampart (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum (1842), 47–8). The cutting for the more southerly archway was made in 1845. Bearing in mind the haphazard attitude of the day to watching, it may be noted that Robert Cook, who describes archaeological finds then made in letters to Thomas Bateman (preserved in the Sheffield Museum), does not record the finding of any wall.
(b) (N.G. 59735173). A wall of rubble roughly coursed was encountered in 1939 in making a tunnel for cables through the mediaeval defences (Figs. 39, 46), but the opportunity for careful archaeological study was missed (YAJ, XXXV (1943). 80).
(c) (N.G. 59815180). Clay and stone foundations of a wall were found in 1874 during the construction of the more southerly of the two road archways through the mediaeval defences N. of the old Railway Station (J. Raine in YPSR (1874), 9, and unpublished notes in the York Public Library). During the construction of the more northerly archway Raine records 'nothing found but coins' (J. Raine's notes ibid.).
(d) (N.G. 59695162). During construction of the old Railway Station in April 1840 'a very massive Roman wall' was found close E. of (a), running approximately S.E. towards Bar Lane. This would bring the line within that of the mediaeval wall. (Unpublished: MS. notes in the Yorkshire Museum.)
(17) Streets etc. (Figs. 37, 38): The main axis of the civil town, S.W. of the river Ouse, was formed by the road to the legionary fortress from Tadcaster, the Roman CALCARIA (see Approach Roads, Road 10), and buildings were aligned with it. Road 8 (see p. 3) must have entered the built up area W. of the bath house and other buildings, Monument (34), on the site of the old Railway Station and would appear to have governed their alignment, which was not that of the main axis. On their alignment too is a cobbled channel (see (d) below), under the Railway Offices, that may have been associated with a parallel street further to the N.E.
The main axial road, now represented in distorted form by Toft Green and Tanner Row, had another street parallel with it 120 ft. S.E., which is now represented by the mediaeval street, Micklegate, as far as Barker Lane; and possibly the line of other Roman streets may be preserved in warped form in the mediaeval street-plan, which could be interpreted as a distorted grid (YA and YAS Procs. (1953–4), 63–4). The only Roman evidence for the plan S.E. of Micklegate is however the street fountain (see (c) below) from Bishophill Junior (Plate 21). This and the other vestiges relating directly to the street-plan of the civil town S.W. of the river are here listed:—
(a) Street, represented by Micklegate between the Bar and Barker Lane though not directly underlying it: at Barker Lane the later street diverges E. to the post-Roman river crossing at Ouse Bridge. The Roman street continued N.E. on the old alignment though eventually blocked by the large colonnaded building, Monument (30), where Railway Street now is. In 1910 it was found just within Micklegate Bar (N.G. 59775148), with a 'central grit channel' (G. Benson, York I, 18; Archaeological Map of York (1929)). In 1821 it was found under the front of the terrace-houses, Nos. 78–82 Micklegate, immediately N.E. of Barker Lane (N.G. 59895161) at a depth of 9 ft.; it had kerbstones at least 1 ft. deep and stone paving (Yorkshire Gazette, 8 Dec. 1821).
(c) Street fountain (Plate 21), found in 1906 in sewer excavations in Bishophill Junior (N.G. 60005144) and now in the Yorkshire Museum. It consists of a tank 3¾ ft. square and 3 ft. high made of slabs of magnesian limestone 7½ ins. thick, closely fitted and bound with iron. The back slab rises an extra 8 ins. where it is pierced by an inlet 3 ins. in diameter; the outlet consists of a semicircular duct of the same diameter cut in the top edge of the right-hand slab. The structure was found set in thick layers of clay and protected by a vaulted superstructure.
(18) Buildings (Fig. 40), walls and foundations etc., under the church of St. Mary Bishophill Senior (N.G. 60135141), were excavated in 1959 (Unpublished: field notes with R.C.H.M.). Previously, in 1885, a wall running S.W. to N.E. and perhaps part of a hypocaust were cut through under the street close to the S.W. (N.G. 60125139). (Unpublished: MS. note in the Yorkshire Museum.)
The church of St. Mary is aligned approximately S.W. to N.E.; the Roman building is on a slightly different alignment, but both S. corners coincide. The S.W. wall of the church (the liturgical W. wall) incorporates remains of the Roman S.W. wall as its basis: this is visible above ground outside, and is distinguished by the difference in alignment. Similarly the S.E. wall of the Roman building largely underlies the S.E. (liturgical S.) wall of the church, but here it is buried; the two walls diverge to the extent that the E. corner of the Roman building comes just inside the church. The dimensions of the Roman building are not certainly known; the N.W. wall was not found, but the width was more than 17 ft.; the length was at least 53½ ft. A party-wall stood 18 ft. S.W. of the N.E. wall. The walls were 2½ ft. to 3 ft. thick, faced with magnesian limestone ashlars and on concrete foundations projecting up to 1 ft. beyond the walls. The N.E. room had had a stone-flagged floor. The building was dated by sealed sherds of Castor ware to the 4th century A.D. The only evidence of earlier structures was a drain (?) crossing under the N.E. room diagonally. Later levels were disturbed by burials.
(19) Building, with bath (Fig. 41), was discovered in 1852 'two-thirds of the length up' Fetter Lane (N.G. 60075156) in sewer excavations that crossed three rooms obliquely. The floor-level was 8 ft. below the modern street. The walls still stood four and five courses high.
Room (i) was 36 ft. across and bounded on the N.E. by an ashlar wall 4 ft. thick and separated from Room (ii) on the S.W. by another wall with a footing of tiles laid on concrete, the concrete being laid on gritstone blocks. Room (ii) had flooring of red sandstone flags 1¾ ft. by 15/6 ft. and 4 ins. thick laid on a bed of pounded tiles and mortar 4 ins. deep. Wall and floor were rendered with red cement and were part of a cold plunge bath, 9 ft. across, its S.E. extent being marked by a brick sleeper-wall. S.W. of (ii) and separated from it by another stone wall lay Room (iii), 21 ft. across, with a floor of tiles comprising tegulae with the flanges cut off, stamped LEG IX HIS; they were laid on concrete 2 ins. deep. The dimensions of beams found, probably roof timbers, 30 ft. long and more than 1 ft. square, suggest a building some 26 ft. or 27 ft. wide (Yorkshireman, 5 June 1852. Unpublished notes by J. Raine in the York Public Library).
A fragment of a wall with box-tiles and a concrete floor were found under the debris of a collapsed wall and ceiling. There were indications that the upper part of the building had been of timber. Beneath the building were earlier layers, possibly of the second half of the 2nd century (JRS, XXXVIII (1948), 88).
Two column bases were revealed, and one of them, now in the porch of Holy Trinity church, is a crude Attic base in gritstone (see Inscriptions etc., No. 12c). Some 90 ft. S. of the bases a fragment of wall on cobble foundations was found beneath the foundations of the old choir of Trinity priory church. Other remains, including antefixes and tegulae, have been found in the priory precinct, especially from the site of Wesley Chapel in Priory Street. (Unpublished notes by W. H. Brook in the possession of Mrs. S. Brook.)
(22) Buildings, under Micklegate, were found in 1837 during sewer excavations from Priory Street to the Bar. Much of the street was said to be filled with the remains of Roman buildings. They would have had frontages on the N.W. side of the Roman street, Monument (17a). (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum (1842), 54, 66; Report of the City Commissioners (for the sewer site), in the Yorkshireman, 9 Sept., 18, 25 Nov. 1837.)
(23) Structure and altars were revealed in 1752 during sewer excavations towards the centre of Micklegate (N.G. 59855156), near Nos. 88–90 (Micklegate House). 'Two or three firm floors of pebble [were] cut through at a depth of 8 ft to 10 ft.'; they could have been the metalling of the street, Monument (17a), or have belonged to a building fronting on the street. Several altars were found; one, which is inscribed, is now in the Yorkshire Museum (see Inscriptions etc., No. 36). (W. Camden, Britannia (ed. R. Gough, 1806), III, 303.)
(24) Building (Fig. 42), walls, etc., under the street, opposite No. 78 Micklegate (N.G. 59915161), was found during sewer excavations in 1946 (JRS, XXXVII (1947), 170. Photographs, plans and notes in the York Public Library).
A wall with a doorway ran N.W to S.E. and another from the S.W. joined it at right angles; the doorway was immediately S.E. of the junction. The walls were well preserved, standing in places to a height of 5 ft. 11 ins., 2 ft. thick, faced with small limestone ashlars on both sides and upon cobble foundations 2 ft. deep. The top of the foundations was 11 ft. below the modern street level.
(25) Buildings, 'divided into compartments'; these were found in 1821 in excavations made in building Nos. 78–82 Micklegate (N.G. 59895161). They fronted on the N.W. side of the street, Monument (17a), opposite Monument (24). (Yorkshire Gazette, 24 Nov., 1, 8 Dec. 1821.)
The foundations consisted of large blocks of gritstone. The fragments of column shafts, one being 4 ft. long, and of a squared and moulded pedestal-base 1 ft. 2 ins. high and 1 ft. 4 ins. square, all of gritstone, are in the Yorkshire Museum (see Inscriptions etc., No. 12). A large gritstone block carved with a double volute, built into the tower of the church of St. Martin-cum-Gregory nearby, is probably post-Roman. (YPSR (1853), 10; YMH (1891), 27, 71, no. 91.)
A coloured engraving of the pavement was published by W. Fowler of Winterton between 1814 and 1818 (Plate 23). Various borders enclosed a central octagonal panel depicting two stags, four corner panels depicting joints of venison and a background consisting of a 'perspective box' pattern. The area exposed in the 19th century and since destroyed measured 24 ft. by 15 ft. The building to which the mosaic belonged was immediately S.E. of Road 10 and lay outside the line of the wall (Monument 16d). (W. Hargrove, History . . . of York (1818), II, 175.)
(28) Structure, under the shop at the N. corner of Blossom Street and Queen Street (N.G. 59725145), was found in 1826. It was vaguely described, but may have been the paved corridor of a Roman house. Like Monument (27), it lay outside the line of the town defences as represented by Monument (16d). (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 37; YA and YAS Procs. (1953–4), 41.)
Seven stone bases 3 ft. in diameter stood 6 ft. apart in a line slightly divergent from the adjacent modern street. Four further bases stood in a line parallel with the first and 40 ft. away nearer the river. Mid-way between the two lines at the Tanner Row end, an intermediate base was noted. Other extensive remains were exposed but not recorded. A hoard of two hundred silver coins was dispersed; of these, fifteen, the latest of Geta, reached the Yorkshire Museum. An inscribed altar also comes from Railway Street (see Inscriptions etc., No. 35) and a cobble and clay wall-foundation was found in Railway Court. (G. Benson, York I, fig. 20, Appendix A, 79; YPSR (1898), x.)
(31) Building, with a heavy gritstone facade, and various architectural fragments were found in 1901 during preparatory excavations for the present Railway Offices in Tanner Row (N.G. 599517). They were as follows:—
(a) Wall, remains of a facade parallel to and about 30 ft. back from the main Roman Street, 3 ft. thick and composed of gritstone blocks 3 ft. by 2 ft. by 1½ ft. The fragment stood 5 ft. high and was 9 ft. long. Other remains discovered of walls 1 ft. thick and standing two courses high in worked stone were probably of internal divisions behind the foregoing. The building extended back at least 50 ft. and was more than 30 ft. wide. An earlier circular stone-lined well 3½ ft. in diameter was underneath one of the fragments of walling. (b) Three column capitals, found widely separated on the site; these are now lost. One was enriched with acanthus leaves, the others had plain mouldings (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 11a, b). (c) Fragment of a segmental conduit, some 50 ft. W. of (a); it was 3 ft. across and built of worked stones 1 ft. thick. (d) Pit, 8 ft. below Roman ground-level, near (c), rectangular, 5 ft. by 4½ ft., and lined with upright 3 ft. oak planks. (YPSR (1901), pl. VI, 104.)
(32) Buildings, dedication-stone, mosaic pavement, foundations, etc., were found in the 18th and 19th centuries under and near Toft Green (N.G. 598517) The religious dedication-stone and the foundations of one apsed building were discovered in 1770 in the course of digging the cellar of a house in Toft Green opposite and N.W. of Barker Lane. In 1840, whilst the street (Toft Green) was being revetted adjacent to the old Railway Station and almost opposite Barker Lane (N.G. 59835166), a mosaic pavement set in a concrete floor 6 ins. thick and wall foundations of a second apsed building were uncovered at a depth of 6 ft. (Fig. 43). Although under the street, a collapse of soil enabled a large part of the mosaic to be recovered.
The dedication-stone comprises a large slab of gritstone with an inscription recording the building of a temple of Serapis by the legionary legate, Claudius Hieronymianus (see Inscriptions etc., No. 54). It was found within the apsed building and below the foundations, which were of a soft brick set in a hard mortar. (York Courant, 21 Aug. 1770; Gents. Mag. (1770), 391; R.S. Pegge in Archaeologia III (1775), 151.)
The mosaic is now in the Yorkshire Museum and shows a bull with a fish tail (Plate 22). The find was adjacent to the remains found in 1770 and may be part of the same complex. The room containing the mosaic was 12 ft. wide and extended almost to the centre of the street, being 27 ft. long; the S.E. end was apsidal with an external buttress; at the N.W. end was a curved step. A parallel wall stood S.W. of the room. The walls were 2 ft. thick. Some 30 ft. S. of the building was a Roman well. (Unpublished notes in the Yorkshire Museum; J. J. Sheahan and T. Whellan, York and the E. Riding (1855), I, 295–6; YMH (1891), 94, no. 3). A tile drain with flagstone cover was found in 1853 in Tanner Row opposite the old Railway Station (Yorkshire Gazette, 19 Feb. 1853).
(34) Public Baths, furnace etc. and remains of other unidentified buildings, were found on the site for the old Railway Station and yard in 1839–40, during excavations for the station building, and again in 1939 in excavating for a bomb shelter in the mound of the mediaeval defences behind the old Station. Many fragments over a large area were uncovered; several could be identified as belonging to baths, but those recorded with any accuracy were isolated; the result is that they cannot be related together in a consistent plan. Indeed there is no certainty that all the fragments belonged to the same complex; nor need all have been contemporary, for the 1939 excavations demonstrated that the buildings had had a complicated structural history.
Even with these reservations, however, clearly the baths were important and extensive. They included a caldarium that has been described as the largest in Britain (Arch. J., CIII (1947), 76). All the buildings of ascertained alignment were, with one minor exception, parallel not with the main Road 10 but with the minor Road 8 (Fig. 38). Most of the buildings lay N.E. of the continuation of this last. Remains in the extreme N. of the site suggested that a Mithraeum stood nearby (see (g) below).
Traces of earlier use of the site included 1st-century timber buildings, also on the minor road alignment. The site encroached on the N.W. and S.W. upon a cemetery (see Burials: Railway Station Cemetery), but the relationship between buildings and burials was not properly recorded even where the two overlapped. Modern analysis is further confused by the later use of the area for a friary; this too had its burials, which, from the inadequate records made, are not always distinguishable from the Roman burials.
(a) Room, rectangular to apsidal end, 130 ft. N.W. of Toft Green (N.G. 59775166); O.S. 60 ins. (1853), Sheet 11. The dimensions were 39 ft. by 24½ ft., the long axis being approximately N.W.-S.E., with the apse at the N.W. end. The S.E. wall had foundations 5 ft. wide; no trace of the other walls remained except the internal plaster, which survived to a height of up to 3 ins. above the floor. The floor was composed of 'lime, pounded sherds of fine terra-cotta, and unburnt pounded lime, laid on rubble stones and grouting, and finely polished' (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 70). The apse was almost a semicircle.
(b) Baths (Fig. 44), suite of five or more rooms, 120 ft. N. of the foregoing (N.G. 59805172); O.S. 60 ins. (1853), Sheet 11. Rooms (i)-(iv) were in line S.W. to N.E. Room (i), 18 ft. by 15 ft., contained a plunge bath with a floor similar to that in (a) above; from it on the N.E. was a lead outlet-pipe, 6 ins. bore and 3 ft. long, to a drain; on the S.W. three steps led to two small Rooms (ii) and (iii); beyond, cement-covered steps led down into Room (iv) containing a second plunge bath, but here the foundations had been largely destroyed. W. of Room (iv) was a small floor, Room (v), 5 ft. square in which was found a small altar to Fortune recut for use as a building stone (see Inscriptions etc., No. 33); under the floor was a tile drain running N.E. Slight traces were found of a further room, or rooms, lying to the N.E. of Room (i). (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 71.) An MS. note in the Yorkshire Museum (without reference or pagination) records that the steps from Room (iii) to (iv) were four in number and of cement-covered brick laid on rubble, that the side walls were 'at least a yard thick' (Wellbeloved's plan shows them 2 ft.), and that the lead pipe had an arch over it of Roman tiles. The MS. also refers to a square building vaguely located as 'opposite Backhouse's Garden House', that is, in the same general area as the finds here already listed. It was about 6 yds. square, with walls more than 3 ft. thick and standing up to 3 ft. high at a depth of 15 ft. to the base. It had a double wall in one place. There was no floor.
(c) Bath (Fig. 45), room and furnace, 250 ft. N.E. of the foregoing baths (N.G. 59855172); O.S. 60 ins. (1853), Sheet 11. The room was 30 ft. by 37 ft. and contained to the N.E. a cemented plunge bath, 15 ft. by 30 ft., with a lead base outlet, 3 ins. bore and 3 ft. long, to the N.E. Two steps led down into the plunge. The rest of the room, floored at a height of 4 ft. above the bottom of the plunge bath, was paved with red sandstone flags 4 ins. thick and varying in size from 1 ft. square to 3 ft. by 2 ft. The furnace adjoined the room on the S.W.; the entrance to it was flanked by two pillars, each pillar being formed of eighteen circular tiles 8 ins. in diameter and 2 ins. to 3 ins. thick; the sides were constructed of small tiles 8 ins. square and 2 ins. to 3 ins. thick; the roof was of large rectangular tiles. A small room with a cement floor adjoined on the other side of the furnace. A wall beside this room on the S.W. was traced for 38 ft. to the S.E. (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 72; W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1844), 24–5; MS. (no reference) in the Yorkshire Museum.) The rebuilt furnace (Plate 21), some of the sandstone flags, lead pipes and fragments of the cement flooring from this building are now in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH (1891), 29, 72, nos. 95, 96, 98). Here also are two stone pillars found nearby (see Inscriptions etc., No. 12f) (YMH (1891), 72, no. 98; C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 72, pl. VIII, figs. 7 and 8). A fragment of the flooring and a pipe are in the Sheffield Museum (nos. J. 93. 1087–8).
(d) Caldarium (Plates 19, 20. Figs. 46, 47), under the mound of the mediaeval city wall (N.G. 59755172), close W. of (b) described above, was excavated in 1939. Unpublished except for a brief note and plan in Arch. J., CIII (1947), 76–7, fig. 11. Photographs etc. in the Yorkshire Museum. The caldarium had comprised a large hall, 30 ft. wide, aligned N.E. to S.W., with a semicircular apse the full width of the building at the S.W. end. Projecting from the N.W. wall at the base of the apse was a small heated room about 9 ft. square inside, probably a bath. Half the width of the caldarium for about 40 ft. N.E. from the apse and the whole of the small room were uncovered. The building had been levelled to the floor of the hypocaust basement, which had been of sandstone flags each about 2 ft. square. The heat was conveyed into the projecting room through a flue lined with large blocks of sandstone. The walls, 3 ft. thick, were of rubble and concrete faced inside and out with small limestone ashlar blocks; they had rubble and cobble foundations. The apse was buttressed outside, the buttresses being of masonry similar to the walls and bonded into them. A masonry drain ran round the outside of the apse.
(e) Structures (Figs. 46, 47), traces of earlier buildings lying N.E. of the caldarium, (d) described above, and discovered at the time and in the circumstances set out under that head, included the following: remains of plaster and wattle walls of timber buildings associated with abundant pottery of the 1st and 2nd centuries; a 13 ft. length of walling 2 ft. thick from an early stone building; a fragment of a building with a masonry wall 3 ft. thick with an air-duct (?) built against it on the inside and with external buttresses; three sides of a small square room with masonry walls, originally plastered internally, and a concrete floor; fragments of two drains comprising a stoneflagged drain overlying an earlier tiled one. Several fragments of walling were found in 1959 S. of the foregoing buildings but they could not be related to any of them. All the structures with the exception of the 13 ft. length of stone walling were on the same alignment.
(f) Structures, miscellaneous remains, discovered in 1840 and referred to in the MS. notes in the Yorkshire Museum, cannot be identified with those described by Wellbeloved (Eburacum, 70–3), nor were their positions accurately recorded. The following were the most important:—(i) at the N.E. end of the site, that is, nearer to (c) above than to (a) or (b), a small bath, 4 yds. by 3 yds.; W. of the same the foundation of a thick and strong wall 100 yds. long with a corresponding wall 12 yds. or 14 yds. 'nearer the Bar' (to W. or S.W.) with several foundations occurring between them. (ii) At the S.W. end of the site, 100 ft. or more S.W. of (a) above, two small cement floors. (iii) On the site of the Chapel of Lady Hewley's Hospital (N.G. 59855169), the floor of a bath or room, 4 yds. square, of cement on a cobble foundation, the whole covered by large square tiles stamped LEG VI VIC and some round hypocaust tiles.
(g) Miscellanea, finds made in the extreme N. of the site (N.G. 59815180) during construction of the S. road archway through the mediaeval city wall in 1874, included a statue of Arimanius (see Inscriptions etc., No. 58), possibly from a nearby Mithraeum, an uninscribed altar (ibid., No. 45), and a large piece of cement flooring similar to that in the nearby bath buildings. (YMH (1891), 30, no. 1; 45, no. 25; 72, no. 100.)
(35) House (Fig. 48), with three mosaics, was found in 1853 under Toft Green, 160 ft. S.W. of Barker Lane, extending from the centre of the roadway to within 1 ft. of the building-frontage on the S.E. side (N.G. 59775160); O.S. 60 ins. (1853), Sheet 11. The alignment was that of Road 10 and not that of the nearby buildings on the old Railway Station site, Monument (34). The house had at least five rooms. A posthumous coin of Claudius II (A.D. 268–270) and traces of an earlier concrete floor were beneath the mosaic in Room (ii). (Sketch-plan in unpublished notes of James Raine in York Public Library; Yorks. Gazette, 12 March, 2 April 1853; YPSR (1853), 10; YMH (1891), 28–9.)
Room (i), 18 ft. square with a concrete floor, was separated from Room (ii) lying to the N.E. by a wall 14 ins. thick. Room (ii) contained the mosaic, 13¾ ft. square, depicting the Four Seasons, which is now in the Yorkshire Museum (Plate 24). No wall was recorded alongside the mosaic on the N.W. nor on the N.E. but on the S.E. a wall 8 ins. thick provided separation from Room (iii). The mosaic has a head of Medusa, now very badly damaged, in the middle between the heads and shoulders of four female figures representing the Seasons against a simple geometric background. Spring is symbolised by a bird (Frontispiece), Summer by a rake, Autumn by a bunch of grapes, and Winter by a bare bough, the attributes being on or beside the shoulders. Room (iii), S.E. of Room (ii), contained a mosaic pavement 18 ft. square of which only the border survived, comprising a band 4 ft. wide; a fragment (Plate 22) in the Yorkshire Museum shows a simple grid pattern of narrow lines crossing at right angles. Room (iv) lay immediately N.E. of Room (iii) and was bounded on the N.W. by a continuation of the wall separating Rooms (ii) and (iii); a step led into the area beyond to the N.W. It was 16 ft. square and contained a mosaic with an entirely geometric pattern; some fragments of the mosaic are in the Yorkshire Museum, where too was a drawing made at the time of discovery, but only a photograph of the latter is now there (Plate 23). Room (v) lay S.E. of Room (iv) but was too near the limits of the excavation to be explored.
The lay-out here was governed by the two main Roads 2 and 5 (see Approach Roads), leading past the front of the legionary fortress to the river crossing about where the Guildhall now is (Fig. 37). Between Ouse and fortress no evidence of subsidiary Roman streets has come to light, indeed there is little space for them, nor is the evidence for settlement here abundant though two finds in Coney Street, Monument (42), and the building in Lendal, Monument (43), show that it occurred alongside the two main roads. To the N.W. (in Museum Gardens) and the S.E. (Spurriergate-Ousegate area) subsidiary streets probably did exist, at right angles or parallel to the main roads, the evidence for them, slight though it is, appearing under Monuments (38), (39) and (44) below.
A road or street is likely to have issued from the S.E. gate of the fortress, but whether it was an alternative, perhaps earlier, route for Road 2 or just for access to wharves on the river Foss is not certainly known. Possibly too a road existed by-passing the fortress along its S.E. side to link Roads 3 and 4 with the Ouse crossing; such a one and Road 2 would have provided the nucleus for any street-plan in the small built-up area S.E. of the fortress.
No further details are known. A column base found in 1883 on the other side of Castlegate, the S.W., in front of Castlegate House (N.G. 60445159) probably came from a building rather than a tomb (YMH (1891), 12).
(37) Buildings, architectural fragments, inscribed stones, wall, well, etc., have been found at different times under and near the Midland Bank at the corner of High Ousegate and Nessgate (N.G. 60335168). The remains were fragmentary and ill recorded but sufficient to imply an important group of buildings fronting on the road, Road 2, that crossed the site.
The dedication stones show that the group included a temple to Hercules and another to numinibus Augustorum et deae Iov . . ., (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 4, 52–3); they were found during the construction of the Bank, in 1839, together with fragments of columns, a capital and a base in gritstone and limetone (ibid., Nos. 11c, 12g) and a well covered by a flagstone. The Roman level was between 8 ft. and 10 ft. down. (MS. notes in the Yorkshire Museum; York Courant, 11 May 1843.)
The following have since come to light beneath Nessgate: in 1877 a wall parallel to the Bank and about 2 yds. from it (J. Raine, unpublished notes in the York Public Library); in 1925 a column base at a depth of 11½ ft. (YPSR (1925), 31), and in 1928 part of a column shaft (Plate 48) carved with scale ornament (YPSR (1928), 25) (see Inscriptions etc., No. 9).
The largest fragment was a wedge-shaped mass of masonry approximately parallel with High Ousegate (S.W.-N.E.), 6 ft. across the front, 9 ft. across the back and 6 ft. thick. S.W. of it was a paved passage 4½ ft. wide at the front and 2¼ ft. at the back, and S.W. again, just appearing within the excavated area, the abutment of another wall composed of large blocks of stone. One of the blocks measured 4 ft. by 2 ft. on the face. The corner of another wall was found 4 ft. S.E. of the large masonry mass. N.E. of this last were two fragmentary walls running S.E. to N.W., probably part of another structure, and beyond again, some 20 ft. away over all, was another paved passage. Two crude Ionic capitals and two bases were also found (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 11d, e, 12d, e).
(39) Buildings (Fig. 49), foundations, walls, floors, including parts possibly of two bath buildings, and remains of roads were observed in 1959 during the building redevelopment of a large site extending along the N.E. side of Spurriergate from High Ousegate to within some 35 yds. of Market Street. Only an area at the S. end some 35 yds. by 23 yds. average was excavated, mechanically, to the Roman level, some 12 ft. to 13 ft. below the modern pavement level. The ground had been much disturbed by the digging of mediaeval pits. Two lengths of road were disclosed, at right angles to one another, at the S. end; of these, the length running N.W.-S.E. was part of Road 2 and is described under that heading (see p. 1); the other running N.E. was of much slighter construction. The buildings in the angle so formed were of different periods, fragmentary, and in places overlying one another; all were similarly aligned, parallel with Road 2. Other finds included a small patch of concrete flooring and a stone gutter. (Unpublished: information from G. F. Willmot.)
Building (i) (Plate 25), partly uncovered beneath Road 2, comprised a cobble wall-foundation at least 3 ft. thick running N.W.-S.E. with an arrangement of sleeper trenches 8 ins. wide adjacent on the N.E. indicative of two adjoining rooms 4½ ft. wide; their length is unknown. The trenches contained rotted timber, debris of wall-plaster with impressions of wattle, and tile fragments. The floors were of concrete and supported a layer of burnt timber and roof tiles. Some 12 yds. to the N.W. a 5 ft. by 4 ft. patch of concrete flooring was found, but without apparent association with the foregoing. A late 2nd to early 3rd-century pot found in the foundation of Road 2 gives a terminus ad quem for the building.
Building (ii) was found 12 yds. N.E. of Road 2. Only one corner, the W., was uncovered; the S.W. wall consisted of two courses of large gritstone blocks typically 4 ft. 2 ins. by 1 ft. 11 ins. by 1 ft. in course and cramped together on the top; they stood on a plinth of smaller blocks with a 7 ins. projection; the N.W. wall was similar but rather slighter. Within were traces of a floor of opus signinum with a quarter-round moulding at the level of the surface of the upper surviving wall-course.
Buildings (iv), close E. of (iii), appeared to be of two periods and to incorporate a bath building. A foundation of gritstone blocks consisting of 1½ ft. cubes was traced for over 20 ft. on the alignment of (ii) and (iii) laid against a bed of cobbles 11 ins. wide on the S.W side. At right angles at the N.W. end was a core wall 3¼ ft. thick with gritstone facings on a cobble foundation (Plate 25); a 2nd-century necked jar had been cut through in forming this last. Any junction of the two walls was destroyed, but their materials suggest contemporary works. They were of the first period, of the late 2nd century or later. The long foundation was overlaid by the mortar-spill from the wall next described parallel with it and some 4½ ft. to the N.E. This, built of roughly squared and coursed magnesian limestone blocks 4 ins. thick facing a concrete core, the whole being 1¼ ft. thick, stood 2½ ft. high above a footing projecting 1 ft. in two steps on a trench-filled cobble foundation. Beyond a flue aperture to the N.W. closed by an upright tile 1 ft. 11 ins. square (Plate 25) it was destroyed by a mediaeval pit. Immediately N.E. was a small hypocaust (Plate 25) defined by fragmentary remains of limestone walls 1 ft. thick in part over the earlier gritstone core wall. The chamber had an upright stone, probably a floor-prop, near the middle and a flue to the S.E.; the opening to this last showed in the side of the excavation. Emerging from the same side further N.E. another limestone wall, conforming in alignment with the hypocaust, led some 6 yds. N.E. The limestone buildings represented the second period.
Building (v), standing close N. of (iv), was apsidal and perhaps part of another bath-house. The walls were of magnesian limestone 2 ft. thick and the apse had an external radius of some 10½ ft. A wall, 2 ft. thick and of similar material to the foregoing, found away to the N.E. may have belonged to the same building. No floor was found.
Miscellanea: An open gutter of limestone blocks hollowed down the middle ran beside Road 2, turning N.E. towards Building (iii). A fragment of a moulded cornice or plinth, unrelated to any of the foregoing, was also found (see Inscriptions etc., No. 16).
(40) Wall, of rubble 2 ft. thick, was revealed as recorded by Benson at a depth of 14 ft. 10 ins. below Pavement (N.G. 60505180). The depth suggests that it might have been Roman (G. Benson, York I, Appendix A, 79).
'A thick and strongly cemented wall' at a depth of 16 ft. ran approximately E. to W.; N. of it was a floor of stone flags. Over one corner of the floor flowed a spring of clear water. More building-remains lay to the N. (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 52–3). In 1849 'burnt wheat' was found at a depth of 16 ft. under Market Street, suggesting perhaps the presence nearby of a granary (J. J. Sheahan and T. Whellan, York and the E. Riding (1855), I, 306).
On the site of the Yorkshire Penny Bank (N.G. 60255178), over a small area well outside the fortress defences and ditch system, was considerable occupation debris, including a coin of Nerva and sherds of 2nd-century Samian ware (JRS, XII (1922), 246). These finds are preserved in the Bank. (See also Inscriptions etc., No. 51).
(43) Building (Fig. 50), walls, etc., was found in 1883 on the site of the General Post Office in Lendal (N.G. 60125192). It stood outside the S.W. gate of the fortress on an alignment some 14° divergent from that of the fortress wall and was substantial.
The E. angle was revealed, from which one wall was traced 45½ ft. N.W. and the other 14 ft. S.W.; they were 4½ ft. to 4¾ ft. thick with footings projecting 3 ins. on either side. The wall stood 3½ ft. high and its top lay 5½ ft. below modern ground-level. A flagged drain from the fortress crossed under the longer wall; the footings of this last were built down to incorporate it. (Plan with notes in the York Public Library.) At a different time another wall, about 3 ft. thick and approximately parallel to the shorter wall already mentioned, was found (MS. note, undated, in the Yorkshire Museum). This was also on the Post Office site, some 60 ft. from the street, but it need not have belonged to the same building. Yet another wall, of magnesian limestone, a few feet on the fortress side of the longer wall already mentioned, is recorded by G. Benson (York III, 170).
(44) Buildings, of stone and timber, and part of a street, under the N. walk of the cloister and the nave of the church of St. Mary's Abbey, in Museum Gardens, were excavated in 1952–3. (Unpublished: information from G. F. Willmot.)
Under the cloister-walk and W. of the modern garden path (N.G. 59925214) was found evidence for (i) a rectangular timber hut with rectangular post-holes on an alignment parallel with the N.W. wall of the fortress. The hut was 19 ft. wide and of unknown length. Associated with it was abundant late 1st-century pottery, including some that, out of this context, might have been considered pre-Flavian, though insufficient to suggest a pre-Flavian date for the occupation here. With the pottery were coins of Vespasian and Titus. The hut was covered by (ii) a cobbled floor with a robbed wall foundation. This last, which was apparently on a different alignment from the hut, contained several tiles stamped LEG VI SEV retrograde. On the floor were coins of Septimius Severus, Julia Mamaea, Elagabalus, and Valerian. Floor and wall were overlaid by (iii) the metalling of a street, of uncertain width, running approximately N.W. to S.E. and made after c. 260 A.D. On each side of the street was fallen wall plaster from buildings beyond the excavation. Further, over the fallen plaster was (iv) a cobbled floor with 4th-century pottery.
Under the S.W. corner of the nave of the church (N.G. 59885215) were (v) a robber trench, indicating a wall parallel with the wall (a) described under Monument (13), and a ditch or pit with a 2nd-century filling. The whole complex (i–v etc.) lay outside the Fortified Enclosure (Monument 13).
The remains of the fortress and of the colonia that developed close alongside the fortress are listed and described above in this Inventory, but scattered remains of buildings and occupied sites beyond these limits have also come to light. They are listed and described here as Suburban Sites grouped topographically, in the way the Civil Town was grouped, under the two sub-heads: S.W. of the Ouse and N.E. of the Ouse.
An area 11 ft. by 8 ft., representing about half the pavement, was uncovered; damage had been caused by grave-digging and 2 ins. of cement overlay it. Drawings were made but only a photograph of one of them survives, in the Yorkshire Museum (Plate 23). The design was geometrical. No record was made of the building that contained the pavement. The site was on elevated ground and nearly 400 yds. S.S.E. of the nearest building, Monument (18), which stood within the built-up area of the town; a small cemetery lay between (York Herald, 20 Sept. 1851). See Burials, V Region, a, b.
(46) Building (Fig. 51), behind No. 18 Blossom Street (Forsselius' Garage), was excavated in 1953–4 (N.G. 59645143). (Unpublished: information from L. P. Wenham.) The S.W. angle lay some 25 ft. N.W. of Road 10 and 35 ft. N. of the junction with Road 9 (see Approach Roads). The building alignment approximated more nearly to Road 9 than to 10.
The rough limestone footings of the S. and W. walls were traced a short way; they were about 3 ft. wide. The floor was of opus signinum; on it was a coin of A.D. 335–40 and sealed beneath it one of Victorinus, A.D. 268–70. The foregoing was the last of five buildings for which evidence was found on the site. The sequence may be summarised thus: (i) a 1st-century timber building, destroyed by fire; (ii) a 2nd-century building on clay and cobble foundations, which was superseded by (iii) a late 2nd-century building, dated by a sealed coin of Faustina I, A.D. 138–141, also with clay and cobble foundations, which had painted wall plaster and was probably destroyed by fire; (iv) a 3rd-century building, roofed in thin stone slates, distinct from the tegulae on the earlier roofs; (v) the 4th-century building described above. The alignment of the four earlier buildings could not be determined.
(47) Building debris, including material possibly from a mason's yard, comes from the grounds of Mount School, formerly Diciknson's market garden (N.G. 59155110) (YAJ, XXXIX (1958), 295–6). Here an area was cleared in Roman times and the debris swept into four pits.
The contents of the pits included a lump of lead dross retaining the shape of a melting pot, wall plaster, stone roofingslates, roof-tiles stamped LEG VI, many worked gritstones, a moulded base and, amongst occupation debris, coins of Severus and Gordian. One pit was filled with stone chippings. These last and the worked stones suggest that the site, at least in part, was perhaps used as a mason's yard.
(48) Building debris, including material from workshops, was found on the site of the present Railway Station and just W. of it. Here was a large cemetery (see Burials) that had covered waste land formerly used for industrial purposes (Arch. J., CIII (1947), 79). Structural evidence of kilns and workshops is still lacking but pottery making and the manufacture of small ornaments here are indicated by the finds.
The finds include a Samian mould, rough-outs of jet pins and ornaments (Plate 70), unfinished bone pins and a polisher for them. The mould (Plate 31) is for a figured bowl, of form 37, and is itself of Samian ware, made by the potter x–3 from central Gaul, and is Trajanic in date; this and another fragment of a similar mould are in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH (1891), 118, d; see also JRS, XLII (1952), 68, and J. A. Stanfield and G. Simpson, Central Gaulish Potters (1958), 16, pl. 16, 206). The rough-outs range from squared but otherwise uncut pieces of jet to partly turned pieces spoiled in manufacture (YMH (1891), 127, q). Lengths of bone cut ready for making into pins and partly-finished pins were with the polisher, this last being a small tapering piece of ivory of square section grooved on one surface.
The building debris found in 1874 at the approaches to Scarborough Bridge, N. of the Station, included painted wall plaster, tiles, and a large fragment of tessellated pavement (J. Raine, unpublished notes, 5–6, in York Public Library). It was believed to have been dumped in Roman times to level the ground (York Gazette, 21 July 1883), but it is not impossible that it came in 1845 from the cutting for the York to Scarborough railway-line, immediately W. of the Station (N.G. 595517). This cutting is known to have yielded painted wall plaster (T. Bateman, Catalogue of Antiquities . . . Bateman (1855), E.1.55). Despite this uncertainty, it seems probable that somewhere on the Station site stood a building with painted walls and a mosaic floor. This might itself have been a tomb.
(49) Occupation debris, revealed by chance in the 18th century, was found on the gravel terrace overlooking the Ouse 1½m. S. of York and just over ½ m. N. of Middlethorpe Manor, E. of Bishopthorpe Road (N.G. 600496). Gravel digging disturbed a mass of debris 'within a compass of 50 to 60 yards'.
The debris included Flavian Samian sherds, metal objects, oyster shells and a great many cattle bones (W. Camden, Britannia (ed. R. Gough, 1806), III, 304; Archaeologia, II (1773), 182). The reference in contemporary accounts to soil 'like soot mixed with oil' is probably to a bed of manganese dioxide, MnO2, which is a feature of the local gravels (Yorks. Geological Soc. Procs., VII (1878–81), 426–8). Another occupation site has been found further N. at Old Nunthorpe (N.G. 60074998) (YPSR (1934), 46).
(50) Building, mosaic pavement, behind Acomb House in Front Street, Acomb (N.G. 57385132), was discovered in the 19th century, but not described (YMH (1891), 95; information from the Rev. Angelo Raine).
(51) Occupation debris, a surface-scatter of Romano-British pottery sherds of the 2nd-4th century, without associated finds, was discovered on Bachelor Hill, ½ m. to the S.W. of Monument (50) (N.G. 56825080) (YAJ, XXXI (1934), 198, XXXIV (1939), 81).
The present course of the river Foss in the area is the result of 12th-century damming to provide a fishpond, subsequent reclamation and, lastly, canalising. Formerly it was wider and tidal; it thus provided convenient access for boats to unload relatively near the S.E. gate of the legionary fortress. The old bed was visible in deep excavations recently made on the Stonebow site, see Monument (52). The following three structures are recorded along the old banks of the river.
(52) Structure (Figs. 52, 53), walls, piles, cobbling, etc., built into the steep W. bank of the old bed of the Foss river, was found in 1951–2 during deep excavation for a Telephone Exchange in Garden Place, Stonebow (N.G. 60595180) (YA and YAS Procs. (1951–2), 28; Arch Journal, CXVI (1961), 51–6). The river had crossed the site obliquely, approximately N. to S., the E. bank being just S.E. of the new Exchange building. In the 12th and 13th centuries the area formed the Stagnum Regis; it was subsequently part of the precincts of the Carmelite Friary. This and the two succeeding structures are therefore unlikely to be mediaeval and are tentatively attributed to a Roman date.
The stone structure was massive, rectangular on plan, 23 ft. by 20 ft. over all, with a large platform of great gritstone blocks below it on the riverside. The walls were some 5 ft. thick and also of large blocks of gritstone. A single sherd of mediaeval pottery is stated to have been found at a low level mixed among these stones, but conditions of excavation were not such as to preclude contamination from a higher level. In front of the structure, in the river bed, was a double row of piles, which had either been part of a revetment or supported a wharf. On the N. these piles were noticed as far as the line of the N. edge of the stone structure, beyond which accurate observation was not possible. On the S. they extended some 15 ft., as far as the edge of the excavation. N. of the structure was a cobbled area 10 ft. to 15 ft. wide along the top of the river-bank; W. of this was a scatter of Roman pottery without other signs of occupation.
(53) Jetty, wall and timbers, was found in 1829 S. of the present S. bank of the Foss in sinking a well in the yard of the Malt Shovel Inn, near and E. of Foss Bridge (N.G. 60645169). See introductory note to Monument (52).
At a depth of 30 ft., below a layer of 'marine vegetation containing mussel-shells', was a wall of 'Roman bricks' resting on gravel and supporting a jetty formed of beams and posts (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 43).
(54) Wharf, columns only, was excavated in 1938 on the site for the Employment Exchange in Piccadilly (N.G. 60685154). In Roman times the Foss river ran by the site, now it is 100 yds. away to the W. See introductory note to Monument (52).
(55) Structure, wall and roofing-tiles, was found in the first half of the 19th century in the churchyard on the N. side of St. Cuthbert's church, Peasholme Green (N.G. 60785207). The site is marked on R. Skaife's Map of Roman and Mediaeval York (1864).
A 'strong' wall ran 'from nearly S.S.E. to N.N.W.' (W. Hargrove, History of York (1818), II, 346), but no further details are known. The tiles found in 1836 about 7 ft. down were said to be stacked (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 60–1); but an appearance of stacking can result from 'herringbone' work or a roof collapse where the tiles retain their positions relative to one another in the fall. They included Sixth and Ninth Legion stamps. More were found in 1911 and are preserved in the church. The E. wall of the church itself includes reused Roman masonry.
The part only, 5 ft. by 3½ ft., of the pavement revealed was formed of coarse red tesserae about 1 in. square (G. Benson, York III, 170). A silver Finger-ring inscribed DEO SUCELO found nearby in 1875 may suggest the existence hereabouts of a shrine to that god (YMH (1891), 123, vii; see Inscriptions etc., No. 140). Another Finger-ring, of gold set with an engraved onyx, was also found in 1875 in the city moat in the same road (ibid., 123, v).
(57) Occupation debris, 2nd to 4th-century pottery, was found near No. 210 Stockton Lane (N.G. 62465325). The quantities of sherds probably derived from occupation rather than burials; none was later than the mid 4th century (YAJ, XXXV (1943), 424).
An extensive cemetery, for cremations and inhumations, bounded Road 5 beyond the small built-up area W. of the fortress. Remains of it were unearthed in the 17th-18th century between the road and the river and subsequent finds show it to have extended N.W. as far as The Avenue and N.E. to the line of the BoothamClifton road and beyond. The area cleared in the 17th-18th century revealed no buildings or other evidence of occupation. (fn. 1)
Evidence of scattered occupation (Monuments 58–61) comes from alongside Roads 6 and 7, reflecting ribbondevelopment, mainly of the 2nd century. (For the above passim, see Approach Roads and Burials, III Region.)
The pottery sherds revealed in quantity were mainly 2nd-century but included a Rhenish motto beaker inscribed AXSASI (see Burials, III Region, (b) and Inscriptions etc., No. 151a). Though the stratification was disturbed, its context suggested an occupation site rather than disturbed grave goods (YMH (1891), 99, 107, II. D.b; YAJ, XXXI (1934), 77; JRS, XXII (1932), 203).
A rubbish pit 2 ft. by 10 ft., open in the Hadrian-Antonine period, was sealed by a dark floor in occupation late in the 2nd century. A stratum of stiff clay above included 3rd to 4th-century sherds (YPSR (1947–8), 28; JRS, XXXVIII (1948), 88).
(61) Building, tessellated pavement, was found in 1813 in making a sunk fence before Clifton Grove, now St. Olave's School (N.G. 59425267). The site is marked on R. Skaife's Map of Roman and Mediaeval York (1864).
Only a small fragment of pavement was uncovered; no further details are recorded (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 68). Building debris, including painted plaster, was used in repairing or enlarging Road 6, a few yards E. of this find.