' THE LYDNEY EXCAVATIONS, 1928-9 SUMMARY
A ''promontory fort', or small embanked hill-town, five acres in extent, was established at Lydney in or shortly before the first century b.c., and was subsequently, during the second and third centuries a.d., occupied by a Romano-British population, engaged to some extent in iron-mining. An intact iron-mine, not later than the third century a.d., has been partially explored. Soon after a.d. 364—7 a temple, dedicated to the otherwise unknown deity Nodens, was built within the earthwork, and with the temple, which was of unusual plan, were associated a guesthouse, baths, and other structures, indicating that the cult was an important centre of pilgrimage. About the end of the fourth century, the buildings were surrounded by a precinct-wall; but, later, they fell into decay, and the final phase of occupation, coinciding probably with the fifth and sixth centuries, is represented by a reinforcement of the prehistoric earthwork. Amongst the '•finds', the prehistoric pottery and brooches, the Roman bronze figurine of a dog, the hoard of small sub-Roman coins, and the post-Roman brooch are noteworthy.
I. PREFATORY NOTE
Between the mouth of the Wye and Newnham-on-Severn, the Forest of Dean thrusts southwards towards the Severn along a series of irregular ridges and spurs, divided here and there by small streams. At Lydney, nine miles north-east of Chepstow along the Gloucester road, one of these spurs, a mile from the present shore and 200 ft. above it, commands a vista of luxuriant forest and spacious estuary which can scarcely be matched for beauty even in a county of pleasant park-lands. The spur is ranked by deep glens of which one contains (it is said) the first plane-trees introduced into this country from Italy ; and the whole deer-park, wherof it is now a feature, has been enriched by many generations of the Bathurst family with a great variety of timber, which flourishes upon the soft ferriferous limestone of the district.
At one time it seems that the spur was known popularly by the name of the Dwarf's Hill. ' When the estate was purchased by Mr. Ben. Bathurst in 1723, all this part was overgrown with bushes, but there were walls remaining about 3 ft. above the ground, particularly in a part called Dwarf's Chapel. . . . Many large coins and other antiquities were then found . . . many of which [Mrs Bathurst] is said to have sent to a friend in London.... '
Back to the Top
Copyright © Ambra Books 2003. All rights reserved.