Pagans Hill Roman Temple

Pagans Hill Roman Temple

Pagans Hill Roman Temple

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The Pagans Hill Roman Temple was a Romano-British-style temple excavated on Pagans Hill at Chew Stoke in the English county of Somerset.


The temple was situated on a promontory overlooking the River Chew. It was excavated by Philip Rahtz between 1949 and 1951. In addition to the foundations of the temple a well (17 metres deep) and several ditches were found which contained small artifacts showing occupation of the site before the Roman period including pottery of Iron Age type, and a coin dating from c335-7. Evidence of continuing use after the Roman period is provided by a bucket and an exotic 7th century glass jar found in the well.

It was originally thought, on its discovery in 1830, to have been a beacon, for signalling between adjoining hill forts.


It was a double-octagonal temple building comprised an inner wall, which formed the cella or sanctuary, surrounded by an outer wall forming an ambulatory, or covered walkway. The outer portico measures about 56½ feet in diameter, the inner cellar about 32 feet across. All walls were about 3 feet thick. Along each wall were two features described by Rahtz as buttresses but were more likely to have been pilasters, as their small size would render them ineffective as wall supports. Warwick Rodwell suggests that the ambulatory would have been cross-vaulted and the pilasters used as...
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