BRITAIN and IRELAND

I. Architecture – II. Manuscripts – III. Sculpture and carving – IV. Metalwork I. Architecture. 1. Churches in Roman Britain. No direct contemporary testimonies are known, either from history or inscriptions, for any of the paleo-Christian churches in Britain. It should be presumed that three types of cult edifices existed, according to the analogy of other provinces: urban churches, cemeterial or martyrial churches in the periphery, and domestic churches installed in villas outside the cities.

Urban parochial churches: 1 Caerwent Venta Silurum: An apsed structure built in the course of the 5th c. above the south part of the forum baths has suggested but without certainty a church. 2 Canterbury Durovernum Cantiacorum: Here, more than in any other Roman British city aside from London, there is a certain continuity of use. The remains of an urban church might be identified with the basilica which is said to have been restored by Augustine and dedicated, as Bede informs us HE I, 33, to the Holy Savior. It is generally agreed that it was on the site of the present cathedral, even if the reconstruction after 1067 must have removed every trace. 3 Lincoln Lindum: Excavations in the area of Flexengate have revealed traces of a building with various construction phases, one of which is from the 4th c., oriented east-west, with an apse at the east and a portico or a nave to the north; the central zone preserves a mosaic with black, red and white tesserae as at Silchester.

At present it seems to be the best example of an urban church. 4 Richborough Rutupiae: Wall remains discovered in the northwest part of the Roman fort of Rutupiae have been convincingly interpreted as the foundations of a hall for religious use oriented east-west, probably with an apse to the east. The discovery, a little distant from the remains, of a brick structure of hexagonal form with the internal walls covered in hydraulic mortar, reinforcing the interpretation of the religious use of the building, has been interpreted as a baptismal pool of the hypothetical annexed baptistery. 5 Silchester Calleva Atrebatum: In May 1992 the remains of a small edifice with a rectangular central area, side rooms, narthex and small eastern apse 4th c., used also in the 5th were discovered in a small insula to the south of the central forum. At the eastern end are the squalid foundations of a possible baptistery. 6 St. Albans Verulamium: In the southern part of the city, a building has been discovered that is oriented east-by-northeast west-by-southwest, with rooms along the side and quadrangular extensions at both ends.

Suburban cemeterial churches: 1 Canterbury: Bede HE I, 26 notes that in 597 Bertha, Christian queen of Kent of Frankish origin, had the habit of praying in a church prope ipsam civitatem ad orientem. This was probably the basilica known until the Middle Ages as St. Martin. Otherwise, it would have been the church of St. Pancras, today in the foundations of the abbey of St. Augustine, with a vast late Roman burial cemetery on the southwest side. 2 Colchester: Of the three sites which might be hypothesized here as suburban churches, two, to the south of the city, are connected with cemeteries and near Roman roads. 3 Icklingham, Suffolk: A building with solid evidence for being considered a church with attached funeral areas and perhaps a baptistery constitutes an aspect of a Roman settlement whose status remains unclear. Probable date: end of the 4th c. 4 London: The presumable Christian presence in the capital of Roman Britain is indicated by certain suburban churches, known for being built directly on Roman buildings. St.

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