Ryknield Street

Description of this historic site

Roman Road.

Notes about this historic site

120 Ryknild Street which runs north from the Fosse Way at Bourton on the Water may have been an advanced section of the frontier line supposedly represented by the Fosse Way, and is likely to have developed piecemeal in the second half of the first century AD. Route can be traced through the county, though topography suggests that the road may have run to the west of the present alignment between the river at Bidford and Wixford.
23 Cropmarks show the alignment of the road on the north side of Alcester.
4 Located at SP08 57 in section, south of Alcester, its probable course is visible on the map. This route is confirmed by a section seen at SP08 55, revealing flat laid cobbled surface, 0.8m wide; no associated ditches.
5 At this section C (SP08 57) east and west ditches were located and late Romano-British pottery was found. At site K (SP08 57) trial holes revealed a likely surface, but full excavation didn’t take place.
6 A section through Ryknield street at SP08 58, in advance of a pipe trench, revealed a Roman road of at least two phases. To the east, a second road diverging from Ryknield Street with ditches on each side of a single surface. Ditches for both roads appear on an AP. A few finds (not listed); see WA4712 and WA4728.
7 Another section at Station Road (SP08 57) on garage foundations noted a gravel surface at the western edge, with a feature to the east. This was tentatively interpreted as the eastern edge and roadside ditch of ? Ryknield Street. No associated finds (see PRN 7876).
8 Work has shown that there is no connection between the course of Ryknield Street and the present Birmingham road in Alcester itself, where the street runs almost directly north-south. It survives as a trackway between Wixford and Oversley Mill, but the crossing point has been obliterated by later changes to the river, and the course north of the river into Alcester is uncertain – there may be a pronounced kink. In Alcester, excavations have picked up the course of the road at several points and shown the presence of a sequence of surfaces.
9 Repeats the above suggested alternative alignment into the south of Alcester, converging on Bleachfield Street.
10 No evidence of the road was identified in the course of the evaluation (Friday Furlong, Bidford-on-Avon, SP 1000 5270) and it is possible that the current road (Waterloo Road) follows the original course of the Roman Road. However, the lack of evidence for the Roman Road could indicate that its line lay some way further to the west, although this is speculative at present.
11 Possible line of Ryknild street was picked up by an evaluation in 2003 and an observation in 2004 at Alcester Grammar School that suggests it runs along Birmingham Road into Alcester. The road consisted of a wide, very hard surface of hard packed medium sized pebbles. A single ditch containing Roman pottery was found on the east side (west side not within excavation). The road had been resurfaced with a mix of soil and gravel, showing in section as a camber. This could represent post-Roman use fo the road. On a direct straight alingment with the last known cropmark of the road to the north.
12 During an evaluation for the A435 bypass, it was reported that ditch 1001 within trench 10 could indicate the original road alignment. It was however thought more likely to be part of a field system, (WMA10290).
13 Section through this road seen in pipeline trench at c. SP086559. Watching brief recorded “a flat laid cobbled surface 8.5m wide (southern section), 8.0m wide (northern section), the cobbles reaching a depth of 0.7m at the road centre. There were 3 sherds of unglazed thirteenth century (?) ware in the dark brown clayey road matrix. […] There was no evidence of any ditches connected with the road”. From description does not appear to be the RB road.
14 The laying of a new gas main through the fields of Alcester Grammar School revealed a section of Ryknild Street Roman Road. Several road surfaces and side ditches were located. An original road has been resurfaced twice and had a further road to its E. Of 59 sherds twelve were Post Medieval, 25 Medieval (PRN 5589) and 22 probably Romano British. Amongst the Romano British pot Severn valley wares predominated; also 21 pieces of tile including one piece of flue tile.
15 Watching Brief notes, 7 Station Road.
16 Copies of the 1958 excavation plans.
17 Staton Road archival material.
18 Five slides from Station Road.
1921A ditch was located during evaluation, suggested as a roadside ditch. Contra 11, the suggested Roman road along the line of the present Roman road may represent a re-routing of the main road, or possibly a secondary road that branched off from Ryknild Street just north of the Roman town, and headed towards its centre on a more direct alignment. The re-cutting suggests a lengthy period of use. An additional Roman boundary ditch was recorded.

More from Alcester
More from Arrow
More from Bidford on Avon
More from Coughton
More from Sambourne
More from Studley
More from Wixford
More from Ditch