Roman Temple at Sudeley Castle?

From the Echo:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe there could be an undiscovered Roman temple and villa in the grounds of Sudeley Castle.

A Roman column which was found propping open a door inside the castle has sparked hopes there are historic ruins beneath the grounds.

Professor Martin Henig believes the column, which would have been around 40cm high, would most likely have stood on the dwarf wall of a portico in a temple or private house.

He said the small columns were unusual in this region, and indicated the existence of a building of unusual sophistication in or around Sudeley.

Archaeologists are now calling for a full-scale investigation at Stancombe Wood in Winchcombe.

It follows the find of a stone relief of a Cotswolds Roman god, called Cunomaglos or the Hound Prince.

The sculpture was first discovered at Stancombe Wood in 1875 and was catalogued by Sudeley chatelaine Emma Dent in her book The Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley.

But all trace of the sculpture was lost until it was rediscovered last month.

It was rediscovered by Sudeley archivist Jean Bray in the bottom of a cupboard at the castle, but its identity remained unknown until archaeologist Dr Patricia Witts solved the mystery.

Prof Henig, an expert on the Romans in the Cotswolds, believes that the statue, which dates from 150AD to 300AD, points to a further undiscovered temple at Stancombe Wood.

“It is the sort of relief that one would expect to find in a temple, probably dedicated by a worshipper there,” he said.

“We are finding that villas quite often included temples on the estate and our Apollo Cunomaglos suggests that there may be more to be discovered at Stancombe.”

Dr Witts says there is evidence that when an oil pipeline was installed in the area in 1985 it cut through two Roman buildings. The site would lie between Stancombe Wood and Spoonley Wood.

“We can imagine the area around what is now Sudeley Castle dotted with prestigious Roman dwellings,” she said.

“It is exciting to think what might be found.

“The famous Chedworth Roman villa lies only a few miles to the south of Sudeley and it is known that there was a temple nearby, as well as other villas in the vicinity. Perhaps Sudeley was similar.”

This story actually broke a couple of weeks ago on the BBC (when I had limited internet access, alas): Roman artefact discovered in Sudeley Castle cupboard … there’s a brief discussion of the Apollo Cunomaglos name at one of the entries in the Curse Tablets of Roman Britain site …