ISCALIS

Suspected Romano-British Settlement

Nr. Bawdrip, Somerset

NGRef: ST3339
OSMap: LR182
Type: Substantial Roman Buildings
Roads
SE (20) to LINDINIS (Ilchester, Somerset) via Pitney

Iscalis - The Riverside Settlement?

The second century geography of Claudius Ptolemaeus records that the Uxella Aestuarium lies somewhere along the southern shores of the Severn Estuary (at coordinates 16*00 53°30), and this name has been associated with the River Axe in Somerset. A later entry in Ptolemy (vide supra) records a town named Iscalis, whose given coordinates (16*00 53°40) place it very near the mouth of the Axe, indeed, the name stems from the same Celtic root, usk, axe, uisg, exe, isc & c. all meaning 'water'. The name Iscalis possibly means something like 'the settlement by the water'.

"Below the Dobuni are the Belgae¹ and the towns:
Iscalis 16*00 53°40, Aquae Calidae 17*20 53°40 and Venta 18*40 53°00.²"
  1. The Dobunni occupied Gloucestershire and parts of Hereford & Worcester, while the Belgae were thought to inhabit the counties of Avon and Hampshire. It is possible, however, that any settlement at Bawdrip lay in the territories of the Durotriges and was administrated from Ilchester, with which it communicated by road.
  2. These towns have been identified, respectively, as; somewhere near Bawdrip on the Axe, Aquae Sulis (Bath, Avon) and Venta Belgarum (Winchester, Hampshire).
Above extract from Ptolemy's Geography of the early-second century

There are two substantial Roman buildings at Bawdrip, one on the north-western outskirts of the village (ST3240) and another a little along the road to the south-east (ST3539). There is also a salt working site at Huntspill (ST3743) about three miles to the north-east.

It is possible that the road from Ilchester continued north-west towards the Bristol Channel near Burnham-on-Sea, where there are known Roman buildings nearby at Lakehouse Farm (ST3550), and a Romano British temple at Brean Down (ST2958) overlooking the Channel near Weston-super-Mare, both sites in Somerset.

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