Site record MDR337 - Roman baths (approximate site of), The Crescent, Buxton
Type and Period (2)
Traces of Roman buildings and baths have been found in the area of St Anne's Crescent, Buxton. During the construction of St. Anne's Crescent, a new tepid spring was encountered, and near it the remains of an oblong bath, measuring 15 by 24 (or 30) feet. The water entered this bath at the west end 'through a pipe of lead so large as to receive a man's thigh' and a 'floodgate' let it out at the east end. The floor was of red plaster, 6 inches thick, and is alleged to have dropped at one end to a boat-shaped cavity, 18 inches deep. The wall was 3 ft high and rudely built of limestone, covered outside with a strong cement or (according to another version) of 'mean stone masonry coated on the inside with limestone'. On the top of the walls were laid strong oak beams, firmly connected together at the corners. The site of the bath is given as 6 yards from the then 'Bathroom' which is probably now represented by the Natural Baths close to St Anne's Well [SMR 2836], at the west end of the Crescent. The remains were ordered to be filled up without examination, and a portion of the Crescent was built over them. (1) Buxton is now a modern Spa town. No Roman remains have been preserved in situ. The name 'AQVAE ARNEMETIAE' is accepted as being located at Buxton on the 4th edition Roman Britain Map. (3, 4) There exists enough information to reasonably suggest that the area around Buxton Crescent, including the Slopes, could have contained Roman remains similar to, though smaller in scale, to those at Bath. Despite a long history of development there is reasonable evidence that many of the Roman remains may still exist, as the developed area lies within a basin filled with black clays and silts. Buried organic remains, of at least Roman date, may also exist in these silts. There is therefore reasonable grounds for suggesting that the remains are of national importance. (8) In 1999 Leach brought together all the relevant accounts of the supposed Roman baths at Buxton in his article in Derbyshire Miscellany volume 15. Using these previous accounts he has attempted to plot the location of the various features described within [see source for more details]. He agrees that there is strong circumstantial evidence to believe that the structures described by the various accounts, in the setting of other nearby Roman archaeological evidence, are of Roman origin. He does, however, argue that the number and siting of the supposed Roman baths as suggested by Authority 8 could be reconsidered. (10) An archaeological evaluation was carried out at The Crescent (SMR 31116) by York Archaeological Trust in 2009. It was carried out prior to proposed redevelopment of the building in to a hotel. During the course of the evaluation, two trial pits uncovered evidence to suggest that the area towards the eastern end of the building was the location for the Roman bath structures that were identified during the construction of The Crescent in 1780-1. It is thought that the layer of jumbled stones and plaster found in one of the trial pits was from an earlier building on the site, which was demolished prior to The Crescent works and the resultant debris incorporated into the footings of the new building. At the time of the evaluation , there was a serious problem with flooding. It was concluded that the vigorous spring source in this area would have been formerly exploited by the construction of a building of sorts at the site. This building was then demolished and the debris used as a base for the wall footings of The Crescent. (11)
- <1> SDR7085 Bibliographic reference: Haverfield, F. 1905. Victoria County History: Derbyshire, Vol.1. p. 224.
- <2> SDR14391 Index: NDAT. NDAT: 0552.. 0552.
- <3> SDR6350 Personal Observation: F1 JB 02-FEB-66.
- <4> SDR12130 Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1956. Roman Britain.
- <5> SDR8263 Correspondence: Alan, J R (Manchester Museum). 1970. Letter to North Derbyshire Archaeological Committee dated 02/08/70. Letter.
- <6> SDR10777 Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500.
- <7> SDR10781 Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Committee (NDAC). NDAT SMR (Microfiche reel 1, undated).
- <8> SDR20654 Unpublished document: Walker, J, Walker L & Sheppard, R (TPAT). 1994. Buxton: The Natural Baths. HER Doc. No. 117.
- <9> SDR23157 Unpublished document: University of Manchester Archaeological Unit (UMAU). 1995. Buxton Crescent and Natural Baths, an archaeological summary. HER Doc. No. 668.
- <10> SDR22889 Article in serial: Leach, J. 1999. 'Notes on the supposed Roman Baths at Buxton', in Derbyshire Miscellany, vol. 15. p. 112.
- <11> SDR20812 Unpublished document: Pritchard, H (YAT). 2009. Buxton Crescent and Spa, The Crescent, Buxton , Derbyshire: Evaluation Report. 14-7, 44-5.
|Grid reference||Centred SK 0581 7356 (123m by 118m) (Centre)|
|Civil Parish||BUXTON, HIGH PEAK, DERBYSHIRE|
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Record last edited
Mar 15 2020 9:47AM