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POSSIBLE ROMAN ARTIFICIAL RIVER COURSE, FROM DEEPING ST JAMES TO DEEPING FEN



Reference Name MLI34069

Name:
POSSIBLE ROMAN ARTIFICIAL RIVER COURSE, FROM DEEPING ST JAMES TO DEEPING FEN

Summary:
POSSIBLE ROMAN ARTIFICIAL RIVER COURSE, FROM DEEPING ST JAMES TO DEEPING FEN

Location:
DEEPING ST JAMES, SOUTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE
DEEPING ST NICHOLAS, SOUTH HOLLAND, LINCOLNSHIRE

Description:
AN ARTIFICIAL WATERCOURSE CUTTING ACROSS THE ALLUVIUM-COVERED FEN MARGIN TOWARDS DEEPING FEN. IT WAS POSSIBLE TO TRACE THE STRAIGHT ARTIFICIAL WATERCOURSE FOR OVER A KILOMETRE, USING AIR-PHOTOGRAPHS AND FIELD OBSERVATION. A NEWLY CLEANED MODERN DYKE PROVIDED A SECTION AT NINETY DEGREES ACROSS THE WATERCOURSE. THIS SHOWED THAT IT WAS ABOUT 30M WIDE AND HAD BEEN CUT INTO GREY ALLUVIAL CLAY. IT SEEMS LIKELY TO HAVE JOINED THE PRESENT COURSE OF THE WELLAND SOUTH OF THE CHURCH AT DEEPING ST JAMES, RUNNING THROUGH PRIOR'S MEADOW, THEN CONTINUING PARALLEL TO CRANMORE DROVE, PASSING UNDER STOWGATE FARM, INTO DEEPING FEN. HOWEVER, BOTH ENDS OF THE WATERCOURSE ARE UNCERTAIN. IN DEEPING FEN IT BECAME OBSCURED BY ALLUVIUM. IT WAS CLEARLY HEADING FOR THE MAIN RODDON WHICH RUNS FOR SEVERAL MILES ACROSS THE FEN, PASSING WEST OF CROWLAND, INTO COWBIT WASH. AT THE OTHER END, NEAR DEEPING ST JAMES, THE WATERCOURSE WAS DIRECTED TOWARDS THE MAJOR ROMAN COMPLEX IN PRIOR'S MEADOW (PRN 00179). IT WOULD THEREFORE HAVE CUT OFF THE PRESENT BEND IN THE RIVER AND THE ROUTE ALONG THE WASHES TO CROWLAND. THE ARTIFICIAL WATERCOURSE MUST HAVE PROVIDED THE PRIOR'S MEADOW COMPLEX WITH ACCESS BY WATER TO THE MAJOR IRON AGE AND ROMAN SALT-MAKING AREA IN COWBIT WASH, AND THENCE TO THE SEA. ALTHOUGH NOT DIRECTLY DATED, IT CAN HARDLY BE DOUBTED THAT IT IS ROMAN. THE COURSE OF THE MEDIEVAL WELLAND, ALONG THE WASHES AND THROUGH CROWLAND, IS CLEAR, AND THERE ARE NO GROUNDS FOR SUSPECTING A SAXON 'CANAL'. {2}~ FRESHWATER SHELLS INCLUDING THEODOXUS FLUVIATILIS WERE FOUND AT BOTH OF THE NGR LOCATIONS GIVEN ABOVE, SUGGESTING CLEAN CALCAREOUS WATER RUNNING OVER GRAVEL. {1}~, LENGTH 1.1KM, WIDTH 30M, HTM 3M
The watercourse appears to survive as earthworks in places as shown on c.2000 AP's. {3}

Sources:
1 Bibliographic Reference: Hayes, P. P. and Lane, T. W.. 1992. The Fenland Project No.5: Lincolnshire Survey, the South-West Fens. DEJ 15
2 Bibliographic Reference: Hayes, P. P. and Lane, T. W.. 1992. The Fenland Project No.5: Lincolnshire Survey, the South-West Fens. No.55 pp189-190;Fig 114
3 Aerial Photograph: Get Mapping. 2000. Digital National Imaging for Lincolnshire vertical aerial photographs. -

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Last updated: 04-December-2018 13:39:47

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