I might get round to writing something here eventually. I don’t have moral objections.


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Sir
    Many thanks for the very quick and informative reply. I too came accross your website when I was looking for any info. on the altar.
    Kind regards


  2. Hello Bill,

    Very wise of you not to wade through the long-drawn out and pedantic arguments! I’ve approached the question from the literary/historical angle, with archaeology being dragged in, as and where I found evidence, to support my case. So I’m not even an amateur archaeologist. The Romans have barely featured because there is little sign that they reached this area of Exmoor and north Devon: a couple of fortlets near the coast are supposed to have served as watch-out posts for marauding/invading Silures from south Wales, but nothing intended for permanent settlement. It’s been a direct leap here from the British/Welsh/Celts (Dumnonii) straight to the Anglo-Saxons, particularly under Egbert, who were determined to push as far west as possible.

    I came upon Piercebridge because I was investigating the origin of the name ‘Countisbury’ if not the historians’ assumed ‘Cynuit’. The East Lyn had two separate confluences surrounding the Iron Age hillfort and that led me to discover ‘Condatis’ the Celtic god of confluences: hence to the Roman altar at Piercebridge (and Condate as the Roman name for Northwich).

    As for Roman canals, it might be something to investigate further north, on the Somerset Levels where the Romans had a port (possibly two – at Combwich and at Crandon Bridge) and there was much Roman settlement on the uplands. Did they build canals? I don’t know of any archaeological evidence, but canals and drainage ditches or ‘rhynes’ have been built since then. Travel and transportation across the Levels were needed from Neolithic times (which is when the Sweet Track was built) but the Romans seem to have mainly relied on roads. Plenty of Roman roads across the Poldens and Mendips where they were mining lead, but these may have been too close to the natural rivers to need canals as well (my totally uneducated opinion).

    As for the Exmoor terrain, my early theory that the Vikings might have reached land at Lynmouth and sailed up the East Lyn river had to be quickly abandoned: no longships would have climbed up the steep rocky river with its waterfalls. Canals would therefore have been unlikely too.


  3. Hi
    Without reading the full story of Somerset and some of your comments could I make the following comment. I am an amaetur archaeologist and have been investigating the possibility of the Roman’s supplying Piercebridge by river or canal. This had led me to carrying out excavations in a strange “ditch” at High Coniscliffe where the Roman altar was found in 1709. The altar description condate relating to a Roman surveyer could point to this ditch being the remains of a canal. The research is an attempt to prove the controversial Piercebridge Formula on Roman navigation was a true interpretation of the Roman Dam/Bridge site at Piercebridge. In that respect is the Somerset levels a site also for Roman navigation. The excavations in the ditch could not prove a canal but it is too small to take the River Tees and cuts cleanly through higher ground. Do you have any comments please on Roman navigation.
    Kind regards
    Bill Trow
    Northern Archaeology Group.


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