The Glebe

The Glebe Field is located at the western boundary of Teffont Evias. The area had not been the focus of archaeological investigation prior to the start of the Teffont Archaeology project. Fieldwalking in 2008 yielded large quantities of Roman pottery, while geophysical survey was undertaken the following year. Trial excavations in 2009 discovered Roman activity within the area. Excavations from 2010 to 2015, as well as further geophysical survey, revealed an unusual Roman site.

The most significant features in the Glebe Field are a D shaped enclosure, within which was an L shaped building, and a monumental well outside the enclosure. This was reached by a trackway from the Upper Holt ridge, which was cobbled in the area immediately outside the well building. It is probable that the D shaped enclosure is Late Iron Age in origin, but that the Roman period saw the main phase of occupation at the site.

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Trench with well building in the centre. The cobbled road to the Upper Holt is party covered by the tarpaulin on the far side, and the wall in the foreground links to the well building and D shaped enclosure.

The first structure a visitor to the Glebe encountered in the Roman period was the monumental well. The building surrounding the well comprised a rectangular southern entrance and circular northern half. This was terraced into the slope of the field, resulting in a partially sunken room. The revetment was formed by a curved, stepped cut into the natural, with large masonry blocks and roughly cut stones placed on the stepped sides of the cut. The eastern side was stepped up through a portico-like structure, into an open area in which later pits were dug. The floor around the wellhead was paved in White Lias stone which was often used in bath houses, as at Chedworth, and a stone vaulted ceiling covered the room. Initial reports on the stone from the structure suggest that it came from a wide variety of sources across southern England and Wales. The monumental masonry dates to later than the well, suggesting that the building may have been created around an existing well, while domestic refuse within the collapsed layers suggests that the settlement continued in use after the well became disused.

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A section of the collapse within the northern end of the well building. The stepped profile can be seen at the unexcavated area on the right, and the well cut is visible at the base of the section

After passing through the well building, entrance to a D-shaped enclosure was controlled by walls projecting between deep, V-shaped boundary ditches and the well building. The northern half of the enclosure was occupied by an L-shaped building built in rough stone, comprising a series of small rooms. Excavation of this building revealed stone walls, a pounded chalk floor and hearth, as well as tiles from the collapse of the roof and an external yard surface. The function of this structure remains uncertain, although the most likely explanation is that it was a domestic building. The southern half of the enclosure remains unexplored, although geophysical survey suggests that only one small building is present, comprising a single rectangular room.

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Section of deep V-shaped ditch of the D-shaped enclosure

The roadway and the unusual nature of the well structure suggest that activity on the site is closely linked to the contemporary activity on the Upper Holt ridge. Due to the fact that the roadway stops at the core buildings in the Glebe, it is likely that this site was placed at the end of a route.

 

partly covered by the tarpaulin in the far side