Ivy Chimneys, Witham, Essex

Settlement (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TL 811 136

Archaeology & History

Sadly this site has been built over, as happens so much down south it seems (regional archaeo’s, architects, councillors and businesses are very much in each other pockets – even those who allege ‘pagan’ allegiances to ancient sites – hence the demise of ancient sites). Which is a pity, as it sounded a decent spot!  Essex county council employee, Robin Turner, forwarded a summary of the findings from the site to The Prehistoric Society following an assessment prior to its destruction at the end of the 1970s.  The brief account of what was there told:

“A small area of the site contained part of an Iron Age settlement, probably of village proportions.  Three hut circles, two possible hut circles and two square four-post structures were found, as well as a number of ditched enclosures.  The main settlement area was enclosed by a multi-phased series of associated palisades and ditches, the earliest of which had a causeway and external protective fence, which may have served as a defended entrance.  One of the four-post structures, c.3m square, lay immediately inside the gap, and may have been a gatehouse or lookout.  Three main areas were enclosed outside the settlement and are thought to have represented a stock enclosure, a working area and a field.  Some evidence of pottery production, weaving, thatching and metalworking was found.  The presence of unusually large quantities of deer and dog remains may have had some religious significance which carried on into the Roman period.”

Turner and his team “hoped to investigate the insdie of the settlement area more thoroughly in 1980,”but I aint been able to get a copy of the report.  There was also found remains of a Roman temple here, including artifacts that were thought to have been offerings to the gods or local spirits.


  1. Champion, T.C., (ed.), “Summary Excavation Reports,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 46, 1980.
  2. Turner, Robin, “Excavations of an Iron Age Settlement and Roman Religious Complex at Ivy Chimneys, Witham, Essex, 1978-83,” East Anglian Archaeology Monograph no. 88, 1999.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian